Common Timing Belt Problems For The Toyota 4Runner

If you have a 2009 or older Toyota 4Runner, chances are you’ll experience issues with the timing belt at some point. (Newer 4Runners have a timing chain.) Here’s a list of symptoms related to timing belt failure on the 4Runner, as well as some diagnostic tips, repair info, recommended parts, and background information.

Toyota 4Runner Timing Belt Failure Symptoms

  • Engine ticking or rattling noises
  • Engine misfire or rough running
  • Engine overheating
  • Engine not starting

Timing Belt Diagnosis and Repair Tips

Fortunately, Toyota 4Runners with a timing belt have non-interference engines. A non-interference engine means that the valves will not strike the pistons or cause engine damage if the timing belt fails. Timing belts have teeth that index to the camshaft and crankshaft sprockets. The teeth of the timing belt can wear down with high mileage. The rubber compound of the timing belt can also become less flexible and start to crack with age. The following conditions can lead to timing belt failure:

  • Lack of scheduled timing belt replacement
  • Timing belt age
  • Timing belt wear
  • Timing belt tensioner failure

Early diagnosis of timing belt issues early can help avoid an unexpected breakdown. Preventative maintenance and prompt attention to timing belt failure symptoms will keep your engine running reliably. 

Recommended Replacement Timing Belts

Listed below are the recommended replacement timing belts available for the Toyota 4Runner.

2003-09 Toyota 4Runner
V8 4.7L 4663cc
Timing Belt Component Kit w/o Water Pump: 2470-0298
Timing Belt Component Kit w/ Water Pump: 3470-0298
1996-02 Toyota 4Runner
V6 3.4L 3378cc
Timing Belt Component Kit w/o Water Pump: 2470-0271
Timing Belt Component Kit w/ Water Pump: 3470-0271
1988-95 Toyota 4Runner
V6 3.0L 2959cc
Timing Belt Component Kit w/o Water Pump: 2470-1240
1993-95 Toyota 4Runner
V6 3.0L 2959cc
Belt Kit w/ Hydraulic Timing Belt Tensioner, w/o Water Pump: 2470-0240
Belt Kit w/ Water Pump, w/o Bypass Tube: 3470-2240
Belt Kit w/ Water Pump, w/o Bypass Tube: 3470-1240
Belt Kit w/ Water Pump & Bypass Tube: 3470-0240

Why Do Toyota 4Runner Have Timing Belt Problems?

Toyotas engines are very durable and often last more than several hundred thousand miles. For this reason, GMB sells a lot of timing belts for Toyota vehicles. Otherwise, Toyota 4Runner timing belts will experience normal wear and tear with age and high mileage. The timing belts in 4Runners do not wear out earlier than other vehicles’ timing belts. The water pump’s life can also be affected by timing belt and tensioner issues and cooling system-related problems. Always perform scheduled cooling system maintenance to ensure long water pump life. Inspect the timing belt at recommended internals. Replacing the timing belt tensioner and water pump while servicing the timing belt is highly recommended.

Learn more about the high cost of putting off timing belt replacement in our article here.

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