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DIY: Replace Your Timing Belt


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DIY: Replace Your Timing Belt


  1. Disconnecting the negative battery cable. Insure you have your radio security code (if equipped) and record any preset radio stations and the time on a piece of paper to allow for quick resetting once repairs are made.)

  2. Remove the distributor cap.

  3. Using a wrench on the crankshaft bolt rotate the engine until the timing mark on the crankshaft pulley is aligned with the 0° mark on the timing scale.

  4. Verify the distributor rotor is aligned with the index mark on the distributor housing indicating the rotor is in position to fire the number one cylinder. If not, rotate the engine another full turn.

  5. Remove any components or accessory drive belts that interfere with removing the timing belt cover. This varies by model; consult your service manual to determine which parts need to be removed from your vehicle.

  6. Remove the bolts or screws holding the timing cover in place, and lift the cover off the engine. Some engines have a two-piece timing cover.

  7. Check for proper alignment of the crank and camshaft timing marks.

    NOTE: Many engines have a dot or index line on the pulleys or sprockets that must be lined up with corresponding marks on the block, cylinder head, or accessory shaft. On some engines, the index mark on the camshaft sprocket aligns with the parting line of the first camshaft-bearing tower. This is very important if you're replacing a timing belt that has broken. Consult your service manual for the correct alignment procedure for your vehicle and correct any misalignment before installing the new timing belt.

    CAUTION: Check the area around the belt for signs of oil or other fluid leakage at seals, cam cover and oil pan. Leaks must be repaired before the new belt is installed.

  8. Loosen the timing belt tensioner.

    NOTE: Some vehicles may require a special tool to reach tensioner mounting bolts hidden by components such as motor mounts. Some engines require a special tool to release a spring-loaded timing belt tensioner. However, most engines have a spring-loaded tensioner that can be operated using common tools in the following manner.

  9. Loosen the mounting bolt(s) holding the belt tensioner but do not remove it.

  10. Pry the tensioner away from the belt and then retighten the mounting bolt(s)to hold the tensioner in the loose position.

  11. Examine the tensioner pulley for damage such as dents or cracks.

  12. Spin the tensioner pulley and listen for a rattle or humming noise that would indicate loose or worn bearings. Uneven wear at the rear of the old timing belt could indicate a misalignment between the tension pulley and timing belt due to worn bearings. If any indications of damage or worn bearings are found, replace the tensioner pulley.

  13. With the tension on the timing belt relieved, the belt should slide easily off the sprockets. Timing belts that have been used for a long time may stick in the pulley grooves and require some gentle prying with a screwdriver to release.

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