February 28

1997 Toyota Celica – Timing Belt Replacement

Auto Repair, Toyota


A 1997 Toyota Celica Timing Belt Replacement, brought to us by a client from Mount Pleasant, Vancouver is Thursday’s featured repair.

Timing Belt
1997 Toyota Celica. Still a great looking car 17 years later

This Celica arrived at our shop via tow truck. The engine had suddenly stopped running. A short diagnosis confirmed a broken timing belt.

On many engines a broken timing belt is a disastrous occurrence: this is because the pistons and valves collide causing very costly internal engine damage. On this year of Celica, and for most Toyotas of this vintage, this engine damage will not occur.

The reason that no damage occurred in this Toyota, but occurs in other vehicles has to do with two different engine designs. One is known as an interference engine and the other is a non-interference engine. Guess which one has the costly engine damage? It’s the interference engine and it derives its name from the interfering movements of the engine valves and pistons. When the timing belt is properly installed there is no cause for concern as all movements are timed properly and nothing touches.

Timing belt replacement is recommended every 96,000 kilometers on the 1997 Celica. This car had over 250,000 kilometers when towed in. The belt had certainly been changed once before, perhaps twice.

When we opened the timing belt cover we found oil strewn everywhere. A major oil leak was occurring inside the cover and had soaked the timing belt. Oil is an early killer of timing belts. This is why it is critical to replace engine oil seals in the timing belt area when replacing the belt.

The Celica is a great car. Sporty, stylish and featuring legendary Toyota reliability.

For more information on the Toyota Celica click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Celica

For more about timing belts click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timing_belt_%28camshaft%29   This article shows the consequences of a broken belt in an interference engine.

Timing Belt
Timing belt area with belt removed: note the oil all over the pulleys from leaking oil seals. Oil like this causes the timing belt to break as this one did


About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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