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kaned_ferret

So My Rav4S Cambelt Has Just Gone...

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It's kind of a sad way to join a forum really, i have had my Rav4 for a couple of years and love it, it's been a faithful runner to me. But today at 50mph the engine cuts out. RAC took a very brief look and said the cam belt had gone. Recovered it to my garage, the guy wants over £100 just to look at it to diagnose the damage and tell me if it can be repaired / how much that would cost, and that I'd be looking at probably £800 or thereabouts.

He said it wasn't worth it (and I would be inclined to agree with those costs as it didn't cost me much more than that, and I certainly don't have anything near that amount to spend regardless). But then in my hopeful manner I start to look online and I read things about it being a non-interference engine, that it might not be damaged, that it might not be the earth to repair..

I realise I'm probably being hopeful, and for me the bottom line is what is the cheapest way I can get back on the road - i'd love to make my Rav live again but wouldn't bother doing it for anything over 3-400, as I can just scrap it and get a banger. What are peoples experiences of this? At the moment I'm leaning towards listing it on ebay for spares, ironically it has just had a new windscreen, MOT and a new front tyre which obviously wasn't cheap! Should I give up so easily? I'll be the first to admit I know nothing of mechanics, but the limited experience I do have tells me that there could very possibly be another answer to the blanket one i've been given.

Any experience and honest opinions more than welcome!

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I'll even happily take the advice of "no luv, you're %$(ed with that one!" if that's the case!

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Tis truly a powerful sweary word filter on this forum Mr ferret! Big Kev is the most inventive forum member on here at circumnavigating it.

I've no experience with timing belts snapping on this engine but hopefully someone will see this and be able to help.

I had a Ford Sierra many years ago that threw it's timing chain after the tensioner dropped off into the sump, but it was pretty obviously terminal. A Big Bang, rear wheels locking up on a wet duel carriageway and plenty of water and Oil all over the engine bay!

It cost me a packet and needed a replacement engine but hopefully yours isn't terminal.

Good luck with it.

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Hi Nikki,

These issues are so difficult to offer advice on, with all respect, when it's an older vehicle. I would be tempted to spend the money on the diagnosis to attain a repair cost but also be prepared for the worst ! The fact that your Rav recently passed an M.O.T gives an indication it's in reasonable shape.

If it does transpire it's beyond economical repair then I would advertise it on e-bay.

Good luck. Paul .

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Thanks Paul, that's about where I'm at with it at the minute :) I've got a mech-minded friend coming over tomorrow so we're going to talk it over, but as of now I've already got a £200 offer on the table as spares or repairs for it I think... Also there is always the otion of scrapping, but of course my preference would be to have her back on the road, I love my little 4x4 a lot! :D

I have someone who has offered to look at it for £30, so they've already beaten my garage, and if it is a case of new cambelt and retuning, then £130 to do - this is something I'm much happier with obviously! I hope this can be resolved rather than put on the scrapheap :D

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Thanks Paul, that's about where I'm at with it at the minute :) I've got a mech-minded friend coming over tomorrow so we're going to talk it over, but as of now I've already got a £200 offer on the table as spares or repairs for it I think... Also there is always the otion of scrapping, but of course my preference would be to have her back on the road, I love my little 4x4 a lot! :D

I have someone who has offered to look at it for £30, so they've already beaten my garage, and if it is a case of new cambelt and retuning, then £130 to do - this is something I'm much happier with obviously! I hope this can be resolved rather than put on the scrapheap :D

Please keep us informed how you get along Nikki, I hope it's good news.

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As a new member, I think we owe Nikki a bit more than 'humour' in the circumstances . . .

If the cambelt has broken, then the question is 'Is This an Interference Fit Engine, or not?'. I cannot answer this, but there must be one of us who can.

Let's post an accurate answer PDQ, please.

Nikki - some more engine info would be helpful: diesel or petrol???

Chris

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As a a new member, I think we owe Nikki a bit more than 'humour' in the circumstances . . .

If the cambelt has broken, then the question is 'Is This an Interference Fit Engine, or not?'. I cannot answer this, but there must be one of us who can.

Let's post an accurate answer PDQ, please.

Nikki - some more engine info would be helpful: diesel or petrol???

Chris

Surely Petrol in a 1997 Chris .

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Should be a 'non-interference' engine Nikki. If the £30 inspector is worth his/her salt he/she should be able to confirm quite easily if there has been any terminal damage.

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According to the Autodata page in this link, the 3FSE is an interferance engine;

http://www.toyotaownersclub.com/forums/topic/109888-service-data-sheets/?hl=%2Bservice+%2Bdata+%2Bsheets

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ok so clearly some contradictory info going on here - how can you tell which it is? How far do you have to delve to find out the damage? I'm currently thinking of spending the 100 or so quid just to try a new belt and see...

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I seem to remember that the pistons on the 3S-FE have a recessed crown so surely the valves then would be unable to reach down enough to cause any damage if they went out of sync?

Del

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Think we need some input from the guru of this model of Rav...........that will be the Bothmeister then.

I will PM him on your behalf.

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just to let you know, from that i know this is a safe engine. done timing belt a few times on these once a belt snapped on mine on a saturday found a belt sunday morning, up and running sunday afternoon. belt was 14 pound fixed after a few hours work. so get your spanners out and get it back on the road. my 1998 rav is upto 158,300 miles now, plus it runs on lpg since 86,000 so dont give up on it. ultra reliable. just dont get robbed getting it fixed.

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I would say its worth paying to repair it if the car is sound and you like it. Even paying a few hundred more still means you've got a good car with a known history, otherwise you might end up buying something with more potential problems.

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Its only a couple of hours to put a belt on. Try it for that.

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Hi Nikki

I'm sorry I didn't reply before now but I was in Paris at my brothers funeral and didn't take the laptop with me.

Back i sunny but chilly Glasgow now.

I am afraid the 3SFE engine that is in your car is an interference engine which means if the cambelt breaks, then the pistons tend to bend the valves. That seemed to be the case on one of my 1994 engines, but I didn't bother wasting time as the engine had seized. Having a paek at the cambelt, or slowly turning the engine by hand with the Oil cap off would allow you to see if the overhead cam is turning. If its not.....

If that is the case, then you can buy that engine quite cheaply from secondhand car spares or breakers. The daft thing is prices for the whole RAV4 on vintage age is getting close to £300. So much so that I am sorely tempted to buy one for spares myself !! I have 2 3-door RAVs fitted with a turbo engine and on one I have just paid £230 for its 4th replacement gearbox!! As has been said, if you find the engine hasn't seized then a cambelt change is fairly straightforward.

Once you decide that it is the engine cambelt broken and the engine is seized, then you need to get an idea of how much you need to pay to get the engine swapped. Another 3SFE shouldn't cost that much as they stopped putting them in RAVs in 1999/2000. However it was a fairly robust engine if it was kept oiled the and the cam belt changed every 80,000 miles I think.

The engine drops out from the bottom and its not a particularly difficult job for a mechanic with a ramp lift.

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Hi Nikki

I'm sorry I didn't reply before now but I was in Paris at my brothers funeral and didn't take the laptop with me.

Back i sunny but chilly Glasgow now.

I am afraid the 3SFE engine that is in your car is an interference engine which means if the cambelt breaks, then the pistons tend to bend the valves. That seemed to be the case on one of my 1994 engines, but I didn't bother wasting time as the engine had seized. Having a paek at the cambelt, or slowly turning the engine by hand with the oil cap off would allow you to see if the overhead cam is turning. If its not.....

If that is the case, then you can buy that engine quite cheaply from secondhand car spares or breakers. The daft thing is prices for the whole RAV4 on vintage age is getting close to £300. So much so that I am sorely tempted to buy one for spares myself !! I have 2 3-door RAVs fitted with a turbo engine and on one I have just paid £230 for its 4th replacement gearbox!! As has been said, if you find the engine hasn't seized then a cambelt change is fairly straightforward.

Once you decide that it is the engine cambelt broken and the engine is seized, then you need to get an idea of how much you need to pay to get the engine swapped. Another 3SFE shouldn't cost that much as they stopped putting them in RAVs in 1999/2000. However it was a fairly robust engine if it was kept oiled the and the cam belt changed every 80,000 miles I think.

The engine drops out from the bottom and its not a particularly difficult job for a mechanic with a ramp lift.

Damn so not great news then, I was pretty set on trying the belt change and seeing if it worked, now I really don't know. Finance is a huge problem for me, but I am weighing the pros and cons of what is realistic - if i spent a couple of hundred on a banger, it could concievably still have a catastrophic failure just like the Rav did... The Rav was a great runner up until that point. I'm a bit concerned that several mechanics have told me it is definitely non-interference as well! So what would you advise I do? Would the process of a belt change be able to show up any more serious damage? Is the fact that there was no noise a good or a bad sign? I know nothing about cars myself, and finding someone trustworthy is difficult when you don't know what you're looking for yourself!

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There is a bit of debate over whether the engine is an interference - ie if the cam belt breaks then the valves bend when hit by the pistons. Without taking the engine to bits, the engine pistons can be turned by engaging into 2nd gear and moving car slowly back and from. If the engine turns over then its a good sign that all is ok - take the spark plugs out first. I guess you could turn the engine over with the starter and without the plugs to see if any thumping noises happen!

A mechanic of some experience will be able to tell you and fit a cam belt as Mr billy says.

I have 2 1994 RAVs and although they have had engine replacements for more powerfull turbo lumps, I'd never think of parting with them!

Don't go near a dealer as they won't know.

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I had the cam belt go in my Nubira (one of the several disasters in the last year of owning it . . . I really should have bought my RAV 12 months before I did), which had a interference engine, and made a really loud clattering noise before I stopped.

Took it to my local garage and they had a look at it, before telling me the bad news . . . Cam belts Gone . . . . Good news . . .Buy a Lottery Ticket, you haven't done any head damage.

As Bothy has said, it could be that a cam belt will sort it out, and if not than a replacement engine can be had for reasonable money.

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I just wanted to give thanks and an update for everyone that has helped and given me advice on this one - it has been a few weeks, I did some asking around, a bit of research, and finally today, after a good few hours in the rain we got a new belt on her. The moment of truth came, the key turned.. and there was a clicking sound. The Battery had become a pancake in it's stationary state! Cue one smart car, a very large set of jump leads, and a second attempt - she purrs into life, firing smoothly on all cylinders. As this happened, the skies cleared, the sun came out and a Spitfire flew overhead (no exaggeration). It was a moment of beauty, and it seems my rav lives to fight again :) Also very satisfying was driving it away right in front of the garage forecourt where the guy had basically told me I didn't have a !Removed! in hells chance, but that's just the cherry on the cake.

We've got a few bits to put back together to get her finished and road worthy again, but all being well I should have her back in a few days. So here's my next question - clearly I've *never* bothered with maintenance of any sort with any of my cars, but this close call has me thinking now is a good time to do anything that would be beneficial, so any advice on "things to check and change" would be most welcomed. At least I don't need to worry about a new cam belt now! :)

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Good News ! I'm sure the Rav would benefit from a good service now, all the fluids and filters changed, also a brake and safety check ready for winter...........Look after it now, it's looked after you... ;)

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Great news indeed Nikki.

Glad it all turned out OK in the end and the dog can be taken out again,eh

Del

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