Timing Belt Replacement

Have 2001 Toyota Tundra, V-*, auto, 4x4, limited towing or heavy hauling, and 74,000 original miles and original timing belt. Dealer service says it is overdue for replacement based on age of vehicle not miles. Understand the risk if timing belt fails, but also know the expense and wondering if need to replace with that number of miles. Thanks

Rubber also degrades with time, not only from use. Your timing belt is ten years old. It’s time to replace it.


Thanks! All other belts show no sign of deterioration, but I hear you


Look in your owners manual. It states: XX,000 miles OR XX years. It is up to you to get 'er done. You do know your engine is an interference engine? Meaning if it breaks your engine will need (at a minimum) a valve job. Price that out. I bet a timing belt is about 1/4 the cost. Then you will STILL need a new timing belt!

While you are at it, replace the water pump too and the idler pulley and the tensioner pulley and you’ll be good to got for another 90K.

BTW, I was looking at the Tundra, and my decision to NOT buy one was because of the timing belt, interference engine combination.

Yes, it is well overdue for replacement.

Figure this way. If you’ve averaged 50 mph over those 74,000 miles, the engine has run for 1,480 hours. X 60 = 88,800 minutes.

At an avg of 2,500 RPM, that belt has gone around the pulleys under tension 222,000,000 times. That’s 222 Million. Amazing, huh? Time for a change.

The belts you can see are cooled from the air passing thru the radiator. The timing belt sits behind a cover on the front of the engine, where it’s exposed to the engine heat and not cooled by the air thru the radiator.


The mfg recommended replacement interval is to prevent timing belt failures in 100% of the cars and trucks they make. Each year or each mile you exceed the recommendation increases your chances, slightly perhaps, of a belt failure.

If you are a gambler, keep driving the Tundra. You probably won’t get to the 50% failure point until about 12 years and 200K miles. This is an interference engine so be aware that a failure will pretty much wipe out your truck. The cost to repair and/or replace the motor will exceed the value of the truck.

Yup, very amazing - that will teach me to count with my fingers. Great info, thanks

the dealer service area says very 5 years. Guess I never realized the issue of belt/interference combination. Hey, what did you buy instead of the Tundra??


Why do you keep referring to “dealer service”? It’s the manufacturer’s instructions in the owner’s manual that are important here. Far too many dealers make up their own service schedules to bring in extra money on unneeded service.

Having said that, I suspect your owner’s manual will also say that you’re due or overdue.

FWIW, I have a 2000 Tundra Xtra Cab, short bed, 4x4 with the V8. It has over 320,000 miles and I’ve never had to change the timing belt. In fact, at this point I am concerned that putting in a new belt will cause a timing problem because the cam shift and cam followers have got to be worn. Is that a legitimate concern?

And, too, the truck needs a fair amount of work in addition to the belt. The rotors are warped, the check engine light is on and I suspect a bad coil, the AC is a little weak, the wheel alignment is off and can no longer be adjusted so I go through tires faster than normal. I haven’t had a working radio in about 3 years. The hood latch is broken and the passenger side view mirror glass is gone. The last few days the fuel gauge has gone kind of iffy. All this seems to add up to more than the truck is worth so I’m probably just going to wait until it just dies or becomes unsafe to drive. But I still love this truck!

Depends on how much of a gamble you want to take. Replacing a timing belt is a heck of a lot cheaper than a valve job (as previously said, if you’re lucky enough to escape with just that). Even then, your engine will probably never be as good as it was before. As a medical student, I’ll make an analogy: a heart transplant is never as good as the original manufacturer.

If you are a gambling man, take a look at the timing belt yourself and do the standard belt check. I’m not a gambler, so I would have it replaced (and I don’t even have an interference engine).


  1. Are you a gambler?
  2. Do you have the $2000-$3000 around to fix your motor if it snaps?

If not to any above change it.

Lastly if you are going to keep the truck why wait? What is your advantage in this?

Many years ago (early 70’s) I worked for a company that made timing chains and belts. They had a test area running motors constantly and noting when the chains or belts failed. The results were highly variable. Some motors seemed to run on forever and others stopped due to breaking chains/belts. It was not unusual for a belt to last 5X the norm. The mfg recommendations were based on when the belts that broke “early” gave it up. This number was far faster than the normal, or average, belt life. The mfg wanted to replace the belts BEFORE they fail, not after.

Your belt lasting ten years and 320K miles isn’t that unusual or unexpected. It doesn’t mean a belt in another motor (same V8 as yours) will last as long. Since you have so many issues with your truck you might as well keep gambling. When the belt breaks you will have either an expensive repair to deal with, or which organization you will donate your now worthless truck to.

Along the lines of Uncle Turbo’s experience testing belts, I would imagine a timing belt manufacturer’s graph of failure vs time-mileage would look something like a bell curve. And that at the typical 90K replacement recommendations, the bell curve barely begins to rise.

At 320K and 10 years, you’re likely on the right hand (falling) side of the bell curve.

BTW, I was looking at the Tundra, and my decision to NOT buy one was because of the timing belt, interference engine combination.

If you have a interference engine…it’s far better to have a timing belt as a maintenance item. Unless you never keep a car past 100k miles…then it really doesn’t matter.

the dealer service area says very 5 years.

The dealer usually takes the manufacturers service recommendations and cuts them in half. WHY YOU ASK…to generate more revenue…NOTHING MORE. If everybody followed the dealers recommendations the dealer would DOUBLE their revenue from PM.

Do you do oil changes??

Sounds like this truck is abused…good to see it’s lasting that long.

This engine is a interference engine…replacing the timing belt will NOT cause any timing problems…But at 320k miles…you might as well just let it go…when it breaks buy a new truck.