Timing Belt Confirmation? (no sticker)

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Greetings! I'm new to the GX forum having just bought a clean California 2005 GX470 with 102k miles on it. I plan to build it up over the next few years but I wanted to say Hi and ask my first question. There is no engine sticker confirming that the timing belt was changed, but the CarFax report said it was done at 62k miles or 10 years after initial purchase (by a shop in the SF area- not a dealer). The GX wasn't driven much and was well maintained, so I would like to believe the shop convinced the owner that the timing belt was good preventative maintenance at 60k. I even called the shop in question and apparently state law prevents them from sharing records from other people, but the shop owner said that CarFax records are based on an algorithm that analyzes the repair invoices, so the only way for "Timing Belt Replaced" to show up on a CarFax report is if the belt was actually changed. But there's no sticker anywhere in the engine compartment.

That being said, is there any way to verify the timing belt was actually changed? Can I open up a cover or panel to look at markings or condition of the belt? I feel moderately confident that the job was done, but I wanted to get your thoughts. Thanks in advance- and I look forward to posting pics of the buildup. Cheers! - Zipp

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The GX470 maintenance schedule calls to replace the timing belt at 90K miles or 6 years, so there's an age component to replacing the timing belt. I don't quite follow the age element because I'm in SoCal, so things last longer here than say the rust belt.

If the Carfax says it was changed, then most likely it was changed. Unless the repair shop ripped off the PO by charging him for a timing belt, reporting it to Carfax, and not actually doing it. Since the repair shop is still in business, I would think this is not the case.

One way that you may be able to tell if the timing belt was changed is if you can see the brand and/or part number stamped on the timing belt. If it's aftermarket, then you know it was changed. If they used a stock oem timing belt, then I don't think there's a way to tell.

From everything you are saying (well maintained, engine looks clean, shop still around, Carfax reports a change), I would assume that it was changed.

I would consider changing it again at 150K miles (or 12 years from when it was last changed). I just feel Toyota timing belts last a long time and things last even longer in most areas of California.

Nice score on this GX470. Good luck building it. And start a build thread as soon as you make your first modification.
 
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Thanks @HomersCanyonero for your input. I'm up in the central valley of NorCal so the weather isn't too extreme. I agree with your assessment, I think it should be good until 150k. I haven't had it long, but I have already started reading about lifts vs tire size, and all of the fun quirks of GX's/Prados. So far I love it! Cheers!
 

GXO

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You can pull the few bolts around the top of the cover on the driver side and visually inspect the belt. If it is newer looking, no cracks, and has any brand information it is handy. Remember though, the OEM belt is not Toyota. They were made by mitsoboshi
 
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Right…I couldn’t remember how to spell the timing belt mfg but I knew it wasn’t Mitsubishi!
 
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Oh and the drive belt is from Bando…that’s the other brand I couldn’t remember
 
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The age component of the belt is due to the rubber dry rotting/cracking (just like a low-mileage set of tires on a trailer or RV starting to crack with age). I would actually expect a belt to deteriorate faster in a hot/dry climate like CA compared to somewhere cooler and wetter.

I recently helped replace a 20-year old OEM timing belt with 132K on it from a 2UZ-powered Tundra. The belt "looked" fine at first glance, but after more inspection with it off of the engine, it was definitely stretched and had some areas where the rubber was starting to fray. I am not sure it would have lasted much longer without failing/breaking. The Tundra ran much better with a new belt (likely due to the cam timing not wandering as much).

One other thing to check would be the water pump - if the aluminum on the pump is noticeable fresher/less corroded than the other aluminum around it, it's a good sign the belt and water pumper were both replaced at the indicated 60K. If things still look uncertain and you can't get a positive "yes" on it being changed, I'd probably budget to do it in the next year or so.
 

binaryaudax

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apparently state law prevents them from sharing records from other people

That's funny... I could see that being a problem if you're asking for someone's personal information... but the records on a specific car? Doesn't seem like a privacy problem to me.

I had the opposite experience... the Carfax on my GX didn't say the timing belt had been replaced, and if that was true, then I was way overdue for it. But there was a gap of a few years in the Carfax records for otherwise very regularly scheduled maintenance visits. So I called up the shop that had serviced it for the years before and after the gap, gave them the VIN, and they happily looked it up in their system. They confirmed the timing belt was changed, but somehow the record of it never made it to Carfax.
 
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If that tundra timing belt lasted 20 years, then the gx470 should have no issue lasting 12! Lol

What’s more likely to last 20 years…the water pump or the timing belt?
 

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If that was almost 8 years ago, might not be a bad idea to just send it and replace it. It might be OK since San Fransisco has relatively mild summers/winters and remains humid, but peace of mind means a lot and it's not too difficult a job if you're used to working on stuff. If it was non-coastal or an Arizona/Utah car, that belt would probably be pretty dry at this point.

Definitely do water pump/thermostat/belt tensioner/fan clutch while you're in there if you do choose to R&R.
 
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If that tundra timing belt lasted 20 years, then the gx470 should have no issue lasting 12! Lol

What’s more likely to last 20 years…the water pump or the timing belt?
It did make it to 20 years, but was pretty close to the end of it's life :). The fibers were starting to fray (see below). It was an extreme case, but the timing belts will eventually wear out (although they can likely go much longer than the replacement interval - as this Tundra demonstrated).

The water pump on that Tundra actually looked great - no weeping or leaking at all, but it was of course replaced anyway.
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I see two take aways from the tundra example.

One is that stock Toyota oem timing belts and water pumps last way longer than the recommended interval (90k or 6 yrs for timing belt) especially in climate friendly areas.

Second is that its very hard to discern the condition of a timing belt by looking at it when it’s installed.

While I follow the recommended maintenance intervals on mileage, I pretty much ignore the age of my components.

I will say that when I bought my GX470 in 2017, the PO had changed the timing belt and water pump but they were inferior no name parts. I couldn’t tell when they were changed but I didn’t like those aftermarket parts.

Since the radiator was seeping pink coolant already, I ended up replacing everything including upper/lower hoses, thermostat, cap, radiator, water pump, timing belt, drive belt, pulleys, etc. My rationale was piece of mind to explore the remote outdoor areas near me. I used all the “good” brands mentioned already including Lexus/Toyota parts when available.

So as far are the OP’s situation, I would feel comfortable waiting to replace the water pump and timing belt until 150k miles given the information that he provided.

I think we tend to baby these offroad vehicles way more than normal. And maybe with good reason if you go to remote offroad areas.
 
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One other telltale I forgot to mention is socket/wrench marks on the timing and cam cover bolts. My GX had a replacement listed in the ad and I was able to verify as the bolts had clear marks from being recently removed.

The Tundra bolts had no such marks and no record of the belt being changed, so we concluded it was the original belt and promptly changed it.

I do agree that the Toyota interval is pretty conservative. It's an easy enough job that I'll change mine on that interval, but I wouldn't lose sleep over driving a belt with something like 120-140k on it or 10 years (I'd just replace it when convenient for a the GX to be down for a few days).
 

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