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The service manual that came with my vehicle recommends replacing the timing belt at 90,000 miles. It has a note at the bottom of the page though that this is for the 2uz-fe engine only. Apparently that's the 4.7 L, mine is the 5.7 L. I'm not a car guy so didn't really understand the difference between the timing belt and chain and such. Anyway I went to my mechanic and showed him the service manual and asked him how much it would cost to do all the required maintenance. He looked at it carefully and even asked me what type of engine mine was (whether or not it was the 4.7 L, etc). He then said the timing belt was really hard to replace labor wise and that was like 10 hours. He said if the manual said it should be replaced then i definitely should or else the engine could get damaged. I think he said all this in good faith. However, then he called to get a quote on the parts and I heard something mentioned about a chain.
So ... then he quotes me $850 to do the job. I'm reading online and finding out that apparently a chain doesn't need to be replaced when the belt does as the chains are designed to last longer.

So what I'm hearing is that this isn't necessary, is that right? Should I feel like he tried to rip me off? Does the chain ever need to be replaced - any idea when?

Thanks!

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So, the guy tells you that you shouldn't need something, but goes the extra mile to quote it to you in case you want him to do it anyways and you start suggesting he's trying to rip you off??? That's called good customer service! He gave you his professional opinion, but also gave you the info you needed should you choose to go ahead and replace anyways (which some people do). That right there is a mechanic you want to keep! –  Brian Knoblauch Mar 12 '13 at 15:09
    
No, he didn't tell me that I didn't need it. He called to get a quote, found out it was a chain not a belt, then quoted me to do a job anyway. That seems not so good to me. –  AZDude Mar 20 '13 at 21:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The 5.7L engine (3UR-FE) does have a timing chain, while the 4.7L engine (2UZ-FE) uses a belt.

Generally, timing chains are designed to be maintenance free. If your service manual does not recommend a replacement interval, you don't need to plan on replacing the timing chain.

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No, from the sound of it you have a knowledgable and trustworthy mechanic, and you should keep him around. Even that price seems low.

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But my car has a chain and that doesn't actually need to be replaced from what I'm hearing. –  AZDude Mar 17 '13 at 19:54
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According to your question.. you went to your mechanic to ask him how much it would cost, and he gave you a quote. If you're certain yours has the chain, just opt not to have it replaced. –  hillsons Mar 19 '13 at 20:19
    
I might not have made it clear but what happened was I asked for his advice and showed him the service manual. The service manual says only models with a belt need replacing. When he called to enquire about the parts, he learned that it was a chain system but still quoted me on doing the job. From my understanding he should have said that it wasn't necessary. –  AZDude Mar 20 '13 at 21:01

The reason a timing belt needs to be replaced is because as the rubber ages it starts to become brittle dry and crack and if it fails your valves will no longer be intime with your crank shaft causing your pistons to crash into the valves and destroy both the valves and possibly pistons and possibly much much more. Essentially it would be a bad day for your engine and your wallet.

timing chains do not have this issue as they are generally made out of a strong stainless steel or similar material which will last a very long time. It should last longer than you keep the vehicle in most cases. I wouldn't opt to replace the timing chain if that is what he had quoted you for.

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