Timing Belt

Well, many keep asking for it, here it is. If anyone can take some pics I can add, please let me know. This can be done by people that can change thier own oil. But, if you have any doubts about yourself then it would help to have someone more experienced then you to help. The average you can save doing this yourself, $250-350.

Note: if you have issues with the timing belt walking off the gears, then you may have a worn or taperd lower timing gear. The early engines had a two-piece design that was prone to this type of failure. You can update it to the later one-piece model. The part numbers for all the pullies are listed at the end of this how-to.

A. Cam lock tool. Can be made from flat-bar stock or bought at some part stores. http://www.zxtuner.com carries it.
B. Metric socket set and box end wrench set. You will only need the 8 mm, 10mm, and whatever size the crank pulley bolt is, I think that is 19 mm.
C. Jack and jackstand of course.
D. Lug nut wrench or equivilent socket to remove the wheel.
E. Large adjustable wrench.
F. Set of allen wrenches.
G. Haynes or similar manual for torque values.

Getting started:
1. Put the passenger side of the car on a jackstand and remove that wheel. Remove the plastic splash gaurd that covers the bottom of the car and the passenger side. These are 10 mm bolts.


2. Remove the crank pulley. This can be done without an impact gun. Use an impact gun if you have one, but if you don’t, then follow this procedure. Use the correct socket for the crank bolt (I think it is 19 mm) with an extension and breaker bar. Put the breaker bar and socket on the bolt and brace the breaker bar against the lower control arm. I used another jackstand and a few small boxes. The idea is to have the bar snugly pressed against the control arm and proped up from underneath so it sits square with the crank bolt. Now, dis-connect the 3-wire connector at the ignition coil so the car won’t actually start. Make sure the car is not in gear and no one is standing near the breaker bar. Bump the key about a second in the start position. This should break the bolt loose and now you can go remove it.

3. With the crank pulley off you can now see the timing belt gear. Remove the splash shied cover that is behind the crank pulley. It is held by three 8 mm bolts I believe. Also remove the upper timing belt dust cover. These are 8 mm as well.

4. Remove the valve cover. Start by dis-connecting the VCT connector on top and remove the spark plug galley cover if you have one. These are 8 mm bolts. The valve cover is held on by 8 mm bolts as well. The one on the passenger-firewall side has a stud on it and will require the use of an 8 mm wrench or deep well socket. Do not let the gasket touch the ground. Soak the gasket in WD-40 so it will swell back to original shape and you can reuse it.

5. Now we set the cams at TDC. TDC is Top-Dead-Center. It is the higest point in the cylinder that the #1 piston reaches on the compression stroke. If you have the cam locking tool, it will only slide into the back of the cams (driver side) when they are set at TDC. You may have to rotate the exhaust cam several degrees to get the cam locking tool to slide into the exhaust cam. This is normal because of the nature of the VCT. If you need to rotate the cams to get the locking tool in, then put the crank bolt back in the hole and turn the entire crank with that bolt. After the locking tool is able to fit into the intake cam (firewall side) then use a large adjustable wrench to on the exhaust cam (there are flat spots near the belt for the wrench to fit onto) to rotate the exhaust cam.




If you are replacing a broken belt or a belt that has otherwise skipped time, then you will have to set the cams at TDC and the crank at TDC seperatly. If this is the case, then follow the instructions outlined in the blue text. If you do not have a broken belt (you are replacing a belt before it breaks or otherwise fails) then you do not have to set the crank at TDC, it will be set when you set the cams at TDC

5a. If you need to set the crank at TDC seperate from the cams then you can do so with a few methods. You can purchase and use the TDC bolt. There is a small bolt in the front (exhaust side) of the block behind the catalyst. You will have to remove the catalyst to see it. You can install the bolt and rotate the crank to stop against it to set TDC. You can also remove the spark plug from the #1 cylinder and insert and long screwdriver into the hole. Then you rotate the crank until the screwdriver is at its’ highest point. There will be a point where you can move the crank just slightly and the screwdriver will not go up or down. This is TDC for the crank. One final method that has worked for me is to just set the crank key (the small notch the crank pulley slides over) at the 12 o’clock position. Notice that the engine leans slighty forward. Since each tooth on the crank pulley is about 16* of timing, it would be hard to be off a tooth and not notice.



6. Now with everything set at TDC you can remove the old belt. If the belt has already removed itself (broken) then you still have to loosen the tensioner. Below the intake cam gear you will find the tensioner. It has a small notch on the front with a place to put an allen wrench and a 10 mm bolt sticking out. You have to loosen the 10 mm bolt. It is a small space and this is where a long 10 mm box-end wrench comes in handy. Loosen it about 3 turns and push that allen slot down (it rotates) and this will release tension from the belt. Slide the belt off.


7. Now we install the new belt. This can be a bit difficult because the new belt is not streched at all and will prove difficult. You may be tempted to try prying it on with a pry bar (or screwdriver), please resist the urge to do that. After you cuss alot and the belt slides on make sure it sits just inside the gears the entire length of the belt. Now you can apply tension. Tighten the tensioner 10 mm bolt up just a engough to keep the allen key from falling down under its’ own weight. Behind the tensioner is a backplate with a notch cut into it. You can see there is a line it is supposed to point to. Make sure it is pointing to it when you start to put tension on the belt with the allen slot. Now you need to hold that allen slot with the allen wrench in a 3 o’clock position while you tighten the tension bolt. It is a very small space to work in and it will make you mad, but it has to be done. Get the bolt good and snug. Don’t overtighten it, it might break off. After you get this done you need to check the belt deflection. Just push down in the center of the belt (between the cam gears) and see if it travels downward more then a 1/4 inch. If not, then the tension is set fine. If it won’t let you move it at all, then the tension is too much and may cause the belt to break.




8. Now you can put it back together. Remove the cam locking tool and the TDC bolt (if you used one). Rotate the crank with the crank bolt one full turn to make sure the belt isn’t going to bind on anything. If all is well then you put everything together the way it was removed with the following notes:
A. Install any parts you removed if you used the TDC bolt.
B. Re-connect your coil plug if you removed it, some people forget then get scared when the car doesn’t start.
C. When you install the valve cover, you need to wipe the head mating surface down to make sure it is clean. Here is the torque pattern and sequence.


Thanks to ZZZX2 for that picture.
D. This would be a great time to install a UDP
E. When you install the crank pulley, use some medium strength Loc-tite on the bolt to ensure it won’t come off. Just get it as tight as you can. The engine will move but that is fine. The Loc-tite will keep it from coming back out.

Torque Values & Part Numbers:
Torque Specs
Idler pullies: 35 ft-lbs

Part Numbers for pullies:

Timing Belt Tensioner

Pulley (Upper Timing Belt Pulley Pre 99.5)

Pulley (Lower Timing Belt Pulley)

Timing Belt (# 9)

While there get the crank gear too. I believe it has 6268 as the middle number

I did this from memory, so if you find that I missed anything, please let me know so I can correct it. As always, if you feel grateful enought to pay, my Pay Pal addy is: [email:37f3nsqf]bak_6965@yahoo.com[/email:37f3nsqf]

-Another quality how-to brought to you by ZX2Fast.
Brad K.

Very Nice! I have to do this in spring!