I was working on the timing belt service this morning and I need some help/advice. I was on step #39 above but I noticed when I moved the pointer to max tension and tightened the tensioner bolt that the pointer began to fall slowly. The tension seemed good and tight so I thought nothing of it. I then proceeded to tighten the cam pulleys... and rotated the engine clockwise two revolutions stopping when I lined up with my marks.Alright, I wanted to get this out while it was still somewhat fresh. I may have some errors, so please read carefully and ask any questions if something looks odd. For doing this job I highly recommend buying the service manual. The manual does leave some details out, but I tried to include them below. This was my first timing belt job, so some of my learning’s may be obvious to those who have done one before. I did this to help others, but please do not trust my write up 100%, please get the manual and check it against what I've provided here. Also, if you haven't worked on cars a moderate amount, this may be too difficult a job for you. I do not want to scare anyone away, but I really do not want someone to get into trouble and end up screwing up their car.
Also, I bought a cheap Husky 3/8 electric ratchet and it really helped speed up the process. I prefer this to an air ratchet. Use good sense when using something like this. Stay away from using it on small bolts that thread into aluminum on the engine (cam locks), it’s too easy to mess up threads.
To store bolts, nuts, and screws during the process I bought a storage bin from. This was really helpful when putting it all back together. Keep hardware related to a particular part all together, or in adjacent bins.
1) Drive the front wheels onto two pieces of 2x4.
2) Loosen the right rear wheel lug nuts. (Loosen any other wheels to be removed as well)
3) Jack the car up on either passenger/drive side using the center jack point and position jack stands. Keep the angle relatively mild so the car is stable.
4) Jack the other side of the vehicle and place jack stands. For additional clearance, repeat the process on both sides. Go slow, and watch for any unwanted movement.
5) Remove the right rear tire.
6) Remove the right rear splash shield, two pieces.
7) Remove the right rear quarter panel. You can see most nuts and bolts from the wheel well. There is a bolt up high near the firewall that you have to reach over the engine to get. You need to remove plastic trim at the right side of the trunk lip to access some fasteners. Also, you need to peel back the seal at the upper left corner of the passenger door to access one bolt. The manual is very helpful in identifying all fasteners. There is a hose connected to panel near the gas fill nozzle that has to be disconnected. This one surprised me when pulling off the quarter panel.
8) Remove the plastic intake housing to gain more access.
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9) Remove the rear diffuser.
10) Remove the rear belly pan.
11) Remove the right engine mount. Before doing so, slide shims between the oil pan and lower cross member to support the motor. You can use a jack in addition to make sure it stays steady.
- The manual has removing the alternator, belt tensioner, idler pulley and vibration damper before removing the engine mount, but you can have more access if your remove the right engine mount first. I followed the manual, but when putting it back together thought this made more sense.
12) Remove the accessory belt by rotating the tensioner counter clockwise.
13) Remove the alternator cover and alternator.
14) Remove the belt tensioner.
15) Remove the idler pulley. There is no access to this with a standard Torx socket. I was able to use an adjustable wrench on the Torx socket to break it loose.
16) Remove the vibration damper. You need access to the flywheel in order to lock it in place. Near the starter is a cover that has two nuts, and the cover can be removed for access to the flywheel teeth. Install the flywheel lock tool, then loosen the damper bolts. I was concerned my damper was stuck and I would need a pulley removal tool, but I was able to break it loose.
17) Remove the flywheel lock.
18) Remove the top engine cover. (You can do this much earlier in the process)
19) Remove the black plastic timing cover.
20) Remove the right engine mounting bracket.
21) Loosen the vacuum reservoir on the right side of the engine and place up out of the way.
22) Remove the vacuum pump on the driver side for access to the exhaust cam.
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23) Remove the intake cam cover for access to the intake cam. You will need to disconnect a small coolant line for better access to one of the bolts. It has a crimp style hose clamp, I was able to use needle nose pliers to disconnect and re-clamp. The re-clamping was no fun. Next time I will buy a small diameter worm clamp.
24) Rotate the engine clockwise until the crank lock tool lines up to be installed. There is a dowel on the crank that lines up with a hole in the crank tool. Once aligned, use a paint marker to make a reference mark. I marked the crank with a pink mark that lined up with a slot in the engine.
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25) Install the cam lock tools on the intake and exhaust cams. You can use the bolts on the intake side, but using vacuum pump bolts are excessively long. I ended up buying 4 M6x1.0x16mm bolts to make install of the exhaust side cam lock easier. I highly recommend this. The vacuum pump bolts are too long for the bottom of the cam lock.
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26) When installing the cam locks, it is possible the bolts will not thread by hand. Do not force them. I loosened the crank lock a bit and moved the crank slightly, with the lock installed, to get to a point where I could thread the cam lock bolts by hand. Another option is to leave the crank lock tight, loosen the tensioner on the timing belt, and put some tension on the cam gear side (pushing clockwise for me), while trying to thread remaining cam lock bolts. In other words, you may easily be able to install 1 or 2 cam lock bolts, but the others may not line up perfectly. Without rotating the cam ever so slightly, you will not be able to install the remaining bolts. You want these bolts to go in smoothly to not risk screwing up the threads. The exhaust cam was the problem one for me.
27) With the crank lock and two cam locks installed, remove the two cam pulley threaded seals located in the center of the pulley for access to the Torx bolts. I did not have the large diameter socket and was able to carefully use an adjustable wrench to remove these. Oil will come out.
28) Loosen the cam pulley Torx bolts, these took some muscle.
29) Remove the moving tensioner, remover the idler pulley, remove the crank lock tool, remove the timing belt. Do not move the crank with the timing belt removed.
30)Remove the intake cam pulley for access to the water pump.
31)Remove the water pump and install new water pump.
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32) Re-Install the intake cam pulley, leave it loose.
33) Install the new idler pulley.
34) Install the new tensioner, leave it loose.
35) Slide in the new timing belt, when installing the timing belt the cam pulleys stay loose.
36) Install the crank timing lock.
37) Thread an engine bracket bolt into the bolt hole below the tensioner. Use one that does not have continuous thread. This will be used for leverage during tensioning of the cam belt.
38) Push on the metal tab with a screwdriver until the pointer moves to its maximum position. This takes some strength, the pointer will move.
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39) Once at maximum, hold it and tighten the tensioner bolt.
40) Tighten the cam pulleys.
41) The belt is now installed with all timing tools in place at max tension.
42) Remove the cam and crank timing tools.
43) Rotate the crankshaft 2 revolutions in the clockwise direction. Use your timing mark to land at exactly 2 revolutions. If you pass it up, you should be able to rotate clockwise 2 more revolutions. Do not rotate counter clockwise ever, I think this may screw up the tension process.
44) Using the screw driver for leverage, loosen the tensioner pulley. The pointer will begin to fall. Once the pointer is pointing at the hole in the pulley bracket, tighten the tensioner.
45) Fit all timing tools. They should all go on smoothly. I had to repeat this numerous times and I think it was because I would bump the crank counter clockwise if I passed the timing mark. If they do not fit smoothly, you need to start over. Thread in one or two of the bolts, then rotate the cam slightly from the pulley side until the bolts thread smoothly. With all timing tools installed, loosen the cam pulleys, then loosen the tensioner. Repeat steps 37-44 until timing tools all install smoothly.
46) Put it all back together!
I'll be happy to answer any questions. I have some more photos also, so if there is something you want to see I may have taken a picture of it.
I tried to install the cam locks but they didn't fit. (I know that this wasn't required by the procedure but I wanted to check anyway.) I was able to lock the crank and then proceeded to loosen the tensioner. I loosened it too much and I got a lot of slack in the belt. I don't think anything moved but I can't be sure. I then proceeded to retension the tensioner, moved the pointer to the hole in the tensioner body, and tightened the tensioner bolt. Everything seemed fine (belt looks tight and notches lines up all the way around) but I noticed that the pointer dropped slightly and I am also able to move the pointer with my finger up or down with very little effort which was changing the tension.
I'm not sure if this is normal or if this a faulty tensioner. I don't want to rotate the engine until I got some feedback from others. Any help or advice is appreciated.