Timing Belt Question


Asked by Jun 13, 2013 at 03:57 PM about the 2002 Lexus ES 300 Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have been told my timing belt has broken and the entire engine needs to be replaced on
my 2002 Lexus ES 300.  I can see the belt, the car will start (barely) and then dies.  Di I
really need a new engine???

18 Answers

Based on research from several forums, there is quite the debate. But from what I can conclude 2002 Lexus ES 300 DOES NOT have an interference engine. The fact that it runs at all, however poorly, means that your belt is not broken, for one thing. If it was broken the cam would not be turning and the valves would not be opening/closing and that means no run. Period.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

More research has determined the V6 in the 2002 Lexus ES 300 is not an interference engine. Even if the belt broke, you will have no valve damage, you do NOT need a new engine

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

Thank You! Is there a chance there is a relatively quick fix. I don't know what to do next or who to trust. All I know is it is stuck in my driveway and I don't dare to start it in fear I could cause significant damage. But maybe based on what you are saying significant internal damage shouldn't or may not happen?.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

In an interference engine, when the timing belt breaks, there is not enough clearance for the valves to be open and a piston at TDC. They will collide and destroy your engine. This is not the case with your car. If the belt broke it won't run, that's all. Now, I didn't say it's a quick or easy fix. It's still expensive to replace a timing belt, maybe $800 or more, but that's not a $3000 engine either. Don't start it though. Have it towed to the shop, there are too many unknowns to drive it, overheating (that has not happened, yet) and other things, Safer to spend a little more for a tow instead of taking a chance

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

So do you think my belt just slipped? Can it be adjusted? or does it need to be replaced? Thank you for your responses.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

It may have jumped time, from what you describe, that it does start but run very poorly. In order to time it back, the belt must come off, and it would be downright silly to put the old belt back on, most of the cost is labor. It must be replaced. So I guess that is good news and bad news, at least your motor is not junk.

Wait a minute. plbeck I hope you are still here. You can see the belt? Where? Are we talking timing belt or serpentine belt?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

You are way over my head. I thought I was looking at the timing belt. Maybe not if you can't see it under a plastic cover at the front of the engine. I can confirm that the car has started, runs real rough. I have been offered 3K for the car as is.... now I'm thinking it may be worth more if the belt just needs to be replaced. Other than the timing belt issue (if that's what it is) the car is in great shape.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

The timing belt that turns the cam, is internal. The serpentine belt is the one you can see on the outside of the engine. If that one, the serpentine belt, that drives the alternator, A/C, water pump broke that is a $100 fix, at the very most. You can not see the timing belt just by looking under the hood. plbeck, I have to go and take care of some things but you can PM me or if nobody else looks at this and explains further I will be happy to, but I apologize I have run out of time for a couple hours, sorry to leave you 'hanging" but I will be back if, as I say, there are other guys that may be able to pick up from here..otherwise I will be a couple hours...sorry. But I shall return.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

No Problem! Thank you for your time, I'm looking at Craigs List now trying to figure out what the car should sell for relatively quickly if it only needs to have the belt replaced. Thanks!!!


Here's a couple of pics

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

That's a beautiful car. They are going for around $7,000 to $8,000 for the ES300 with moderate mileage, 75,000 miles or so. Sorry I never got back yesterday.....but here is where we stand. If you don't want to spend a dime on it and 'get rid' of it (oh, a shame for that car) lets assume it has jumped time, because that is my best guess from all we discussed. The belt you see on the end of the engine is not the timing belt. That's the serpentine belt. Let's just go with it needs a timing belt. Since you don't have an interference engine, by the looks of the car, I don't know the mileage, but whoever offered you $3k is trying to steal it from you. No way. We can use all the low figures, start with in good running condition, a really good deal would be $7,000. I looked at lots of them right here in 'used cars'. Some are listed at $10,000. Now let's knock off a LOT for the timing belt. $2,000. So that leaves us at take no less than $5,000 ...unless you have like 200,000 miles on it, then knock off another $1,000. leaving $4k rock bottom, as is, needing timing belt. Don't 'give it away'...go back and counter that $3k offer with $5k and meet them in the middle at $4k and you are almost giving it away. The other option is get it fixed, it will cost you $1000 TOPS, and ask $8k and settle for $7k. best of luck plbeck. And let me know, ok? PM me if you want, or put it right here, I am truly interested ~~David

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Hi David, Thanks for responding again. After looking at everything available on Craig s List as well as reviewing figures from the kelly blue book I think a fair price for the car would be 7.5K - 8.5K if it was running properly. Since from what you have said that the belt can be fixed for around 1K I have listed it on Craig s List for 6.5K. I have already received about 8-10 inquiries. Hopefully I wont need to go much below 6.5K. I'll let you know how it goes.

Last time I listed a car on Craigslist I got no less than 12 "I want the car. I will buy it right now, just give me your bank account number so I can deposit the money, and I will have it picked up" I know that you are too smart to fall for that, just judging by our discussions, just watch, it will happen. again, best wishes.


While driving down the highway at about 60 mph I notice white smoke coming out of the hood of my 2001 Lexus es300. After just a mile or so I heard some clicking sounds and then the engine died. Coasted into a service station and discovered that the hose had come loose from the radiator and I lost all the coolant. I let it cool down and refilled it with water, that's all I had. Tried to start the car, and the starter would turn, but the engine would not turn over. A friend said it jumped time. Had it towed home and is now sitting in my driveway. Any thoughts or suggestions as to what may have happened? Don't know why the hose came off the radiator.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have a 99 lexus gs300 i would like to see can you change the water pump without the car jumping time


2 year old thread.

I would question the dealership that wants 800 for the belt change, locally I see adds for 179.00 , it might be extra for a lexus, but not a lot extra' imo....Lexus is a Toyota not a Ferrari so don't let them jerk you around. And as best I can tell the 3L V6 is non- interference, which means when the belt goes, the valves shouldn't get damaged as someone mentioned. Not all interference motors are free of exposure to damage, due to valve on valve crashes, but I think that is for 'some' of the newer designs.

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