Timing belt on my 88 toyota sr5 coupe



i bought a 2dr corolla with 240k on it for 500 bucks its in very good shape but i dont know when the timing belt was last changed. it 16 valve motor. is it a 0 interference motor? shoule change this belt asap? what things should i take care of 1st?


Most Toyota engines are non-interference fit engines. I’m almost dead certain this one is too.

Before getting too deep into this car I would suggest removing the spark plugs and running a compression test. At almost a quarter million miles you need to make sure the engine upper end is decent before considering sinking money into the car.

If the compression is on the way down on one or all cylinders then I’d just drive it until the engine gives up or the belt breaks. If the belt pops first then just throw a new belt on it and repeat the process.
What you have not mentioned in regards to taking care of things is if you are the doing the maintenance or if you’re going to be paying someone to do it. Huge difference.


Sorry OK, but that is bad advise. This is the SR5 model, probably with the 4A-FE engine. This is and interference engine. Other Toyota engines that are interference fit include the 3.0L V6 3MZ-FE, the 5M-GE, 7M-GE, 7M-GTE, 1JZ-GE, 2JZ-GTE, 5E-FE, 3V-ZE, and many others.


You never know about the info posted online. The OP did not state if the engine is SOHC or DOHC. Based on the cut and paste chart below it may or may not be a free wheeler.

Toyota Engine Interference Replace
1.5 (1A-C, 3A-C) Yes 60,000
1.5 (5E-FE) No 60,000
1.6 (SOHC) No 60,000
1.6 (DOHC) Yes 60,000
1.8 (Gas) No 60,000
1.8 (Diesel) Yes 60,000
2.0 No 60,000
2.2 (Gas) No 60,000
2.2 (Diesel) Yes 60,000
2.4 (Diesel) Yes 60,000
2.5 No 60,000
2.8 No 60,000
3.0 (Inline 6) No 60,000
3.0 (2JZ-GE) Yes 60,000
3.0 V-6) No 60,000
3.4 No 60,000
4.7 Yes 90,000


A timing belt job is more than you paid for the car. At this point, I’d let it ride. when the belt breaks you could have more than gotten your money’s worth from the car.


If that 3.0 (inline 6) is the 5M-GE/GTE or 7M-GE/GTE, these ARE interference engines. I have a 7M-GE in my '88 Supra, and the owner’s manual states CLEARLY that this is an interference engine, and the belt MUST be replaced every 60,000 miles or 7 years to prevent engine damage. The other owner of an 85 Supra with the 5M-GE engine has also informed me it is interference.

If your data is from the ‘Gates Timing Belt Guide’, it is misleading in this regard. I believe the ‘60,000 SEVERE’ label is to warn you of an interference engine, even if it is missing the astericks. You’ll notice a lot of the engines on your list also include the ‘SEVERE’ label.


That list I posted is not from Gates and personally, I don’t care for the Gates site that much.

The OP posed a question about an '88 Corolla which should have a 1.6 in one form or the other.

A cut and paste from the 2004 edition of timing belts by Autodata below; italics not mine.

This engine has been identified as a FREEWHEELING engine in which the possibility of a valve-to-piston damage in the event of a timing belt failure may be minimal or very unlikely.


Just about any four cylinder engine with 16 valves is going to be a valve bender when the timing belt goes. Count on it just to be safe.