2004 Lexus rx 330 with 53000 miles, I took it to the dealer for 50,000 mile service when he requested me to change water pipe for coolant because he found heavy coolant residue under the water pump. My question is do I need to change timing belt also right now. when I called the mechanics some of them recommending me to do the timing belt also. I need your suggestion on this & how much it will cost me to do both things.
The timing belt and tensioners should be changed and truth be known, the timing belt job is way past due right now. The car was probably manufactured in 2003 so this makes the belt about 9 years old.
Factor in leaking coolant which can saturate a belt and the belt becomes a prime candidate for breaking.
The cost will vary widely so it’s difficult to estimate that. Locale, parts sourcing, markups, shop policies/fees, taxes, etc all play a part in the total. Wild guessing one might say 500 to 1000 dollars. Generally speaking, the east and west coasts along with areas like Chicago are much higher than if you were having it done in some outlying area in the country’s midsection. Hope that helps.
The answer is in your maintenance manual. Typically, the timing belt should be changed around 100,000 miles or 7 years. Since your RX330 is 9 years old, you should probably do it. Note that this is not an interference engine, and you are not guaranteed to have catastrophic engine failure if the belt breaks. But it could happen at a bad time, like when you are on the highway.
If you need a new water pump, it is a no brainer to do the timing belt because it has to be removed to get to the pump. In effect, it will only add the cost of the belt and quite possibly its tensioner* to the job. There are kits out there for most cars that include the pump, belt, seals, tensioner and sealant because you usually do all of that in one shot and get it over with.
So don’t let him tell you that it is several hours worth of extra work to do the belt. It isn’t. If he does, get it done elsewhere.
*replacing the tensioner is often a good idea. It is cheap insurance. Two bolts and it is out so it is easy to do with the belt off.
Over the years several Japanese engines have come in with complaints of accessory belt squealing and I have found a crusted yellowish residue on the water pump weep hole and replacing the pump took care of the noise. Often, when replacing timing belts that residue was found on the pump which would be replaced as SOP. It would appear that the seals on Japanese OE pumps are quite good but they do fail and the residue at the weep hole is a good indication that the pump is nearing failure. If it were mine I would replace it all. If it were a customers I would insist on the complete job.