How to Replace 1990 Toyota Corolla 4AFE Engine Timing Belt

How to Replace 1990 Toyota Corolla 4A-FE Engine Timing Belt

It is very important to replace your timing belt before it breaks.According to the Toyota user manual, it should be replaced every 60,000 miles.Although this engine is listed as non-interference, it is still a chance that major engine damage could occur if it breaks.

I got lucky because my belt broke and left me stranded, but no engine damage occurred.I would recommend inspecting your timing belt at least once a year. It is best to replace the belt and tensioner at the same time. I recommend this timing belt kit.

This can be a challenging process that should not be attempted without good mechanical skills. The following tools will be required: ratchet set, air impact gun or breaker bar, jack stands, floor jack,harmonic balancer tool, and a timing belt tensioner tool or equivalent belt tensioning tool.You should also be familiar with how to find the engine Top Dead Center (TDC).


It is a good idea to take pictures and notes throughout the process to prevent confusion during installation.If you don’t have an air impact wrench, follow this procedure first to loosen up the crankshaft pulley bolt.The procedure can be done with the vehicle on the ground or on jacks.

Raise the hood and disconnect the battery.Jack the front of the vehicle and support it on jack stands.Remove the right front tire and right lower splash guard cover.Use the floor jack to support a solid point on the engine.The most convenient point is the oil pan, but be very careful not to break it! Make sure to use a piece of wood or a similar flat sturdy object between the engine and jack to prevent damage.

Using a 17mm socket and ratchet, turn the crankshaft pulley until the notch on the pulley aligns with the zero degree mark on the timing belt lower cover.This will be your initial external setting of TDC.Remove the windshield wash bottle, passenger side engine mount, drive belt, and air conditioner belt.If not already loosened, use an impact wrench to loosen and remove the crankshaft pulley bolt.

Lubricate the pulley mount area with WD-40 or equivalent. Tap the pulley a few times lightly and try to pull it off. If it is difficult to remove, use a harmonic balancer tool to get it off.Remove the upper and lower timing covers. The middle timing cover bolts can be removed, but the cover can be left in place and moved as necessary to install the belt.

The middle cover can’t be removed completely without removing the water pump pulley.This is a difficult process that is easier to avoid.The crankshaft timing belt lower sprocket mark should align with the mark on the housing above it.The marks should basically align at the 12 o’clock position.The hole in the camshaft sprocket should align with the middle mark on the housing behind it.

This will be pointing at the 12 o’clock position also.Take note of the tensioner position so that when the new belt is installed the same position can be set. Remove the tensioner, tensioner spring, and belt. Inspect the sprockets and seals for damage and leaks.


Loosely install the new tensioner and spring.Slide the tensioner back full travel away from the belt and tighten enough to keep it from moving.It is critical to make sure the sprocket timing marks are aligned prior to installing the belt and that they do not move out of position!

This is important for proper engine starting and operation. Install the new belt making sure to properly align the grooves of the belt and sprockets.Slide the tensioner towards the belt to the original position prior to removal and tighten.Use a belt tensioning tool to verify that with 4.4 lbs. of force, the belt deflects 5-6 mm. Measure the tension in the middle of the longest section of the belt. The remainder of installation will be the reverse of removal.

The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to or other Amazon sites.This mean some or all of the link in this site will be redirect to products on Amazon.