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DIY: Replace Your Timing Belt

Replacing a timing belt is not as daunting a task as it seems. With a few hours and some common sense, you'll be able to replace your own timing belt.
» Part 1: Before You Start
» Part 2: Removal
» Part 3: Installation

What you will need:

  1. Combination Wrenches
  2. A Socket Set
  3. Torque Wrench
  4. A Harmonic Balancer Puller
  5. A Three-jaw Gear Puller
  6. Screwdrivers
  7. Timing Light
  8. Timing Belt Cover Gasket Set
  9. New Timing Belt
  10. Drain Pan
  11. Antifreeze
  12. Jack
  13. Jack stands
  14. (Some models may require special tools)

Before You Start:

  • Follow these instructions carefully. Read and be sure you understand them before you begin.
  • Gather together all of your tools and supplies before you begin.
  • Allow plenty of time to do the job so you don't have to hurry.
  • Remember that these are general instructions. For more detailed instructions pertaining to your specific vehicle, consult an appropriate repair manual.
  • Safety is important whenever you're working around machinery. Beware of hot objects, sharp instruments and hazardous materials.
  • Don't substitute tools unless you're sure you won't compromise either your safety or the performance of your vehicle.
  • Never work on a vehicle that is only supported by a jack. Use jack stands to support the vehicle while you work. Work on a solid, level surface. Never jack a car up on dirt or grass.

Why Replace Your Timing Belt?

The purpose of a timing belt is to provide a quiet, flexible connection between the camshaft and crankshaft to keep the valves opening and closing in phase with the movement of the pistons. A basic timing belt layout is shown in figure 1).

NOTE: Timing belts are used in two types of engines designated "interference" and "non-interference". If the timing belt breaks on a non-interference design, there is enough clearance between the pistons and valves to prevent damaging contact. An interference design does not have sufficient clearance between those parts and engine damage would result from a broken timing belt. This list notes whether engine damage would result if the belt should break. For vehicles not listed, I recommend replacement at 60,000-mile intervals. Breakage is not the only reason to replace your timing belt. Looseness and wear will allow the timing belt to slip and change valve timing resulting in very poor performance, a no-start condition, or engine damage.

» Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3
Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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