So .... your Mitsu DOHC / SOHC headed wheeled toy has just rolled over
to the 60k mile milestone since its last timing belt replacement. Or,
maybe you just got your car and have no idea when the last timing belt
replacement was done, so you wanna make sure you don't have one of those
nasty "timing belt events" you keep hearing about, and replacing the
hard parts seems like a good idea, right ?
But ..... the horror stories you keep hearin about what a royal PITA the
Mitsu timing belt replacement can be, so you're kinda stuck between a
rock and a hard place, huh ?
Well, hopefully the following directions will help demystify the process
for ya, and help you get the necessary work accomplished without having
to employ any of "satans henchmen" (aka Mitsu dealer mechs:>) to do it
for ya !
If after reading the following instructions, you feel confident in
undertaking the DOHC timing belt replacement operations and saving
yourself a buncha those hard earned dollars instead of lining some mechs
If however, after reading the instructions, you don't feel confident in
doing the job, try re-reading them again, and as many times as
necessary, until you either decide you can, or can not do the job
If after reading these instructions, you come to feel it's likely beyond
your personal realm of abilities, then this is a job best left to
someone else. The Mitsu DOHC timing belt replacement is a real MoFo and
is not a job to be taken lightly, and is DAMNED SURE totally unforgiving
and extremely costly to make the extra necessary repairs required if
If the timing belt parts are incorrectly installed, or the timing belt
tension is set less than perfectly, the resulting damage will consist of
bent valves and dinged pistons. This will require the head to be
removed, taken to an automotive machine shop where the valve guides and
valves themselves will need to be replaced for each valve that gets
bent. At this point, I'd also have the shop go ahead and recut all the
valve seats and install all new valve stem seals while they're in there.
Then you'll have to buy a top end gasket set and reinstall the head assy
and THEN do another timing belt installation, with another new timing
So again, read through these instructions and then take a hard look at
your own mechanical abilities in relation to the operations specified
and make an honest determination of whether this is really a job you
feel good about tackling.
Though it may sound as if I'm trying to scare you away from undertaking
this operation, I'm really not. What I'm trying to impress upon you is
that this is a serious job with dire consequences if it's done less than
So ..... you have been warned !
The Necessary Disclaimer :
Also be aware that I will accept NO RESPONSIBILTY for any damages that
may ocurr from anyone undertaking a DOHC or SOHC timing belt swap, under
any circumstances. While I will do the very best job I possibly can in
helping you by providing a guide to do this job, without being present
when the work is done, and overseeing every step of the operation, I can
not, nor will not accept any responsibility for the outcome of the work
anyone performs outside the confines of my own shop ..... PERIOD !
Ok, so now that we have all that crap outta the way, let's get down to
the tasks at hand :>)
Parts / Tools List :
Below is a list of the parts that will be required to do the swap.
While you may think you can save a few bucks by not replacing all the
parts mentioned, I assure you, to do otherwise will be false economy at
best, and disasterous at worst!
@ = Mitsu dealer
$ = aftermarket (parts house)
# = Hardware store, bolt company, Grainger, etc.
* = usually comes with the water pump
1. Timing Belt @, $
2. Timing Belt Tensioner Pulley @
3. Timing Belt Idler Pulley @
4. Timing Belt Hydraulic Tensioner @
5. Water Pump @, $
6. Water Pump Gasket @, $ *
7. Water Pump to Water Pipe O-Ring @, $ *
8. Front Balance Shaft Belt @, $
9. Front Balance Shaft Belt Tensioner Pulley @
10. Alternator Belt @, $
11. Power Steering Pump Belt @, $
12. A/C Compressor Belt @, $
13. Tube of silicone $
14. 1 gallon of antifreeze $
15. Can of brake cleaner $
16. Tube or 1lb tub of grease $
17. 8mm - 1.25 thread cutting die #
18. 8mm - 1.25 X 145mm bolt #
19. Penetrating oil $
Additional Parts That May Be Required
1. Crankshaft Harmonic Dampener Pulley @
2. Timing Belt / Front Motor Mount Attachment Bracket and Timing Belt
Tensioner / Idler Pullies Attachment Pivot Arm @
10mm, 12mm, 14mm & 22mm sockets, 1/4",3/8" & 1/2" ratchets, 1/4",
3/8" & 1/2" socket extensions of various lengths ; 10mm, 12mm,14mm and
2 - 17mm wrenches ; 8mm - 1.25 X 145mm bolt with a minimum of 65mm of
threaded area, special timing belt tensioner pulley tension adjuster
tool, 1/2" impact wrench, good razor blade scraper or gasket removal
tool, and a cuppla 6" zip ties.
1. If you're in a jam, a 7/8" can be substituted for the 22mm tools
2. An impact will be INVALUABLE in gettin the 22mm headed timing belt
drive sprocket retaining bolt loose!
3. 10mm ratcheting wrenches are "the shit" for getting the water pump
pulley attaching bolts loose in the close confines you'll be working in
for the 1G guys.
4. 12mm ratcheting wrenches are also the trick deal for tensioning the
alternator belt tensioning bolt.
5. I've yet to have found a bolt company that carries an 8mm bolt of the
dimensions described above :>( However, there are instructions in the
DSM VFAQs under timing belt replacement for a way to make one to get you
by for this job:>)
I made my own timing belt tensioning bolt / tool by taking the longest
8mm - 1.25 socket head cap screw (allen head bolt) I could find &
cutting off the head, then welding on another bolt to get it to the
length I needed. Then I took an 8mm - 1.25 die and cut the required
length of additional new threads onto the shank.
Since this is a tool I knew I'd need to use many times, I also took a
cut off wheel on a die grinder and cut 2 shallow slits (about 1/16"
deep) into the tip end of the bolt about 3/16" long up the shank of the
bolt 180 degrees apart, then tapered the very tip of the bolt just
slightly with a bench grinder, while having the thread cutting die
threaded back up the bolts shank. After finishing the tapering to the
tip of the bolt and making the cuts to the shank, I removed the die,
which then dressed up the treads after these operations so they are
cleaned of any slight burrs left from the grinding operations.
This slight taper on the end of the bolt will help the bolt start in the
hole in the bracket and the small slits in the shank will give any junk
inside the hole a place to go into as you thread the bolt into the hole
instead of binding against the bolts threads. When you begin to insert
the tool (later in the process), run it in about 5 or so threads and
remove it and you'll see the crap you've removed from the ID of the
threaded hole inside the slits in the bolt & then you'll see why these
operations to the bolt / tool are beneficial :>)
5a. If this is impractical for ya & you don't feel like buyin the 8mm
- 1.25 threading die mentioned above, you can also get a stick of 8mm -
1.25 allthread (threaded stock) & 2 8mm - 1.25 nuts from a bolt
company / Graingers to get the job done.
Run the 2 nuts up the stick of allthread and place one on each side of
where you need to make your cut on it. Take a hacksaw or cutoff tool &
diegrinder & cut the allthread. Next spin the nuts back away from
your cut a bit and dress / slightly taper the 2 cut ends of the
allthread on a bench grinder & make the small slits in the tip end of
your tool end of the allthread like mentioned above.
Then spin the nuts off the cut end of the allthread while working them
back and forth a bit as you near the end of the allthread. This will act
as a "poor mans" thread cutting die and clean the threads of any burrs
from the cutting / grinding operations as they come off the end of the
allthread :>) Then put the 2 nuts on the "head" end of the allthread
you'll be using as your new tool & jam them together with 2 wrenches
to effectively "make" a nut to turn the bolt / tool in with :>)
6. The special timing belt pulley tension adjusting tool can be
substituted with a pair of long nose bent tip needle nose pliers or a
set of bent tip snap ring pliers, but the right tool here will save TONS
of time and frustration. I got my tool from a guy on the 3SI list, or
Mitsu / Snap On / Matco are also sources for this specialty tool.
OK, let's get started ....
The Work !
I always like to go ahead and get the water pump gasket attached to the
new water pump at this point so the silicone will have plenty of time to
set up. This really helps the gasket stay in place when installing the
new pump onto the block later.
Take the new water pump and apply a thin film of silicone to the pumps
sealing surface, and to the mating surface of the new water pump
gasket. Then slip the new gasket onto the water pump and align the
holes in the gasket to the pump & press the gasket firmly against the
new pump. Once this is done, just set the pump aside til later.
One tip worth mentioning here is that when I said a "thin film" of
silicone above, that's exactly what's needed here and NO MORE !! Some
folks like to put on silicone as if they were making a damned jelly
sandwich & really gob that shit onto the parts !
Guys and gals, globbing on silicone is absolutely unnecessary, messy,
wasteful and can even be a potentially bad thing! I've seen silicone
mounded up on some things so badly when the parts were removed that it
actually had gotten into other nearby parts, blocked off holes in
assemblies, or even caused globs of the extra crap to come loose &
start floatin around inside the engine, which can potentially be a very
bad thing ! So please be judicious in your use of this stuff. Anything
more than a film of silicone is really not gonna help the parts seal any
better anyway !
OK, off the soapbox and back to work ...... so let's get with it !
Set the cars emergency brake, and take the car out of gear. Break loose
the lug nuts on the drivers side front wheel, but don't take 'em off
Jack up the cars front end and support it with a set of jackstands.
While this simple operation will be a real help in getting you
additional room to get the work done, it will also put you in the
abundant company of all the other DSM / Mitsu "jackstand queens" found
in all the best garages and driveways everywhere !:>)
Now take the lug nuts and drivers side wheel / tire off & set it
Now's a good time to get started draining the radiator, so put a bucket
under it and loosen the drain petcock on the drivers side end at the
bottom of the radiator & let the coolant drain slowly so it dudn make
a big mess & run all over the place !
As a sidenote here, remember most antifreeze is a deadly poison to any
of your four legged wrenchin buddies, so be sure they don't manage to
get into the stuff, either from the drain bucket or on the ground. They
tend to really enjoy the sweet tastin stuff, & will happily lap it up
like crazy ! So ... make sure they are not gettin into it, unless maybe
the ole lady / shack job / whatever has this damned dog that ya just
can't STAND .... just kiddin ....well, kinda :>)
Take a floor jack or hydraulic bottle jack and a wood block and put it
under the oil pan, with the wood block between the top of the jack and
the oil pan as a "jack pad" for your precious oil pan and raise the jack
until it just begins to apply pressure against the oil pan and STOP !
This will hold the motor in position for when you remove the front
engine mount later.
Take the 22mm socket, 1/2" ratchet and 3" x 1/2" socket extension and
rotate the crank until the crankshaft harmonic dampener pulley timing
mark (small line / nick on the outer edge of the pulley) lines up with
the "0" mark on the timing belt cover.
BTW, once you find this mark, and all the other timing marks (later on),
it's not a bad idea to clean the mark off with a shot of brake cleaner
& a rag & then dob a lil liquid paper or something similar on to make
it more easily visible later.
Remove the upper timing belt cover that covers the 2 cam pullies &
check to insure that the 2 cams are both sitting with the cam pulley
alignment dowel pins in the 12 o'clock position, and that the inner set
of marks on the outside edge of the 2 cam pullies are level with each
If the cam pulley dowel pins are in the 6 o'clock position, rotate the
crank another 360 degrees before proceeding, to get the dowel pins in
the correct position.
The cam pullies have 2 marks on the outside edges of the pullies 180
degrees apart from one another and what you're wanting here is for the 2
inside set of marks to be facing each other and level with one another.
If the cam pulley marks aren't quite level with each other, rotate the
crank pulley slightly until they are aligned with each other, and with
the bottom edge of the head itself.
Remove the front engine mount, front in this case being the one on the
pullies end of the engine !:>) Also remove the inner fender plastic
shield that sits behind the wheel assy and is held on by a cuppla bolts
along the frame rail at the top of the part and a cuppla those lovely
plastic screw POSs to another plastic shield piece in front of the wheel
Next break loose the 4 - 10mm headed bolts that hold the water pump /
power steering pump pullies to the front of the water pump. Doing so
now, before loosening the belts will make this much easier since the
pulley will be held in place by the belts tension. This is one
operation where that ratcheting 10mm wrench will become worth its weight
in gold to all you 1G guys, while there's plenty of room for you lucky
2G schmucks & ya'll can even get by with a 10mm socket on a 1/4" drive
Now take your ratcheting 12mm wrench & loosen the alternator belt
adjuster bolt block locking bolt and then loosen the alternator belt by
removing tension on the belt with the adjuster bolt.
Loosen the 2 bolts on the backside of the power steering pump, then
loosen the bolts on the front of the power steering pump that act as the
adjuster and front pivot bolt for the pump. These 2 bolts are accessed
through the holes in the front of the power steering pump pulley and
since the power steering pump belt should already be slightly loose at
this point, just spin the pulley until you can easily access these 2
bolts. This operation is most easily done by using a 3/8" ratchet with
a deep 14mm socket.
You should now be able to slip off the power steering pump and
alternator belts and chunk 'em in the trash! Yeeha!
Now you'll need to loosen the A/C compressor belt tension locking nut on
the adjuster bracket and then loosen the tension on the A/C belt with
the adjuster bolt. For this loosening operation I like to use a 3/8"
ratchet & a 12" extension with the 14mm socket to get well above the
motor & then have tons of room to spin the ratchet, I'm lazy like
Now you can remove the A/C compressor belt & chunk that puppy in the
trash too .... SCORE !
OK, so now you are ready to take off the crankshaft dampener pulley & I
really hope you have a good stout 1/2" impact, otherwise this job can be
a real PITA !
Remove the big 22mm headed timing belt drive sprocket retention bolt
(hopefully with your impact & socket). For all you guys and gals out
there who are unfortunate enough to be doing this without the luxury of
an air compressor and an impact wrench, the following will be of help.
You can utilize the "poor mans impact" method by taking your 1/2"
ratchet / socket & putting it snugly on the bolt & smacking the
outer end of the ratchet VERY hard with a 2lb or bigger hammer (I
personally prefer a 3lb ball peen I affectionately call "Baby" for such
things:>), while holding the ratchet against the bolt so it doesn't slip
and smear the head of the bolt, which will land you firmly up shit creek
without a paddle, and a hole in the boat, if you do so !
It may take a few sound hits to get the bolt broken loose, but it will
work, so don't be discouraged if it doesn't just pop loose on the first
hit. The real trick here is to hit it as hard as possible, so be sure
to position the ratchet to allow gettin a good swing at it, while still
holding the socket securely onto the bolts head. A trusting assistant
to hold the ratchet / socket in place here will be invaluable while you
smack the ratchet, so see if you can locate some available doofus for
this job (and make sure your homeowners insurance premiums are paid up
in case you have a bad aim & manage to smack this poor trusting soul
with the hammer) :>)
Then remove the 4 - 12mm headed bolts that attach the crankshaft
dampener pulley to the timing belt drive sprocket & make sure to hold
onto the dampener pulley as you take out the last attaching bolt to make
sure it doesn't drop to the ground & get bent or broken.
Most times the pulley will be slightly wedged between the crankshaft and
the frame section for the wheel well & won't just slip out at this
point. If this is the case then you'll need to lower the jack you have
under the oil pan slightly to allow the pulley to slide off the
crankshaft. Again be careful not to let the pulley fall to the ground
when it comes loose !
Now is when need to take a really good look at the thin rubber dampener
ring in the crankshaft dampener pulley. The ring separates the inner
and outer sections of the pulley and acts as a harmonic dampener for
crankshaft vibrations. Although this pulley looks as if it is just one
part, it's actually 3 parts : the cast iron inner pulley section, rubber
dampener ring, and the outer cast iron pulley section.
Look closely at the rubber and make sure it is intact all the way around
the circumference of the ring. If it has obvious tears or separations it
should be replaced while ya have it off. You'll notice I didn't include
this part in the required parts list above, but mentioned it separately
right ? That's because this part doesn't always need replacing when the
timing belt is changed, and at around $100 for the damned things, I
didn't wanna tellya to buy one just for fun !
As a kind of "rule of thumb", these pullies typically last between 80K -
100k on most turbo motors, so if yours is near these mileage figures, it
might be best to get a look at this part before starting the job at all,
just to be on the safe side. That way if you will be needing a new one,
you can have it at the ready before you start the timing belt swap.
Now then, it's a good time to take another look to make sure all your
timing belt alignment marks are all still in alignment before the next
step. Look to make sure the timing belt drive sprocket, oil pump
pulley, front balance shaft drive sprocket and cam pullies are aligned
and that their pointers are pointing at their marks.
If everything is still aligned it's time to take off the timing belt
itself. Here you can either remove it by taking off the timing belt
tensioner pulley or idler pulley, but that's pretty boring !:>)
I prefer to just take a knife & cut the belt between the 2 cam
pullies & be done with it !
Anyway, go ahead and remove the timing belt tensioner and idler pullies
& put 'em in the trash with all that other crap ! DO NOT be a tight
wad and try to reuse these parts !
At this point in the job it's time to remove that pesky lower timing
belt cover. The bolts for this cover are of varying lengths and they
will need to be replaced in exactly their same original positions.
A good way to insure they are replaced in their original position is to
take a piece of cardboard & sketch an outline of the timing belt cover
on it & take a screwdriver or punch & punch holes in it in the
locations where the bolts go & then insert them into the cardboard as
you remove them. Though this will only take a few minutes to do, but it
can save a lot more time and frustration later, so ......
Next remove the bolt that holds the pivoting timing belt tensioner /
idler pullies arm onto the timing belt pullies / front motor mount
bracket & slip the pivoting arm off the bracket.
Now you need to remove the timing belt tensioner pullies attachment
bracket from the face of the block. There are 2 - 14mm headed bolts and
1 - 14mm nut that hold the bracket to the block, so make sure you get
all of 'em & then remove the bracket.
When you get the bracket and timing belt tensioner / idler pulley
attachment / pivoting arm off the motor you need to closely inspect the
large machined pin that the pivoting arm pivots on. If there's obvious
damage to the surface of this machined pin, or the inside bushing of the
pullies attachment arm, you'll need a complete new assy. If you can
"rock" the pullies tensioner arm on this pin and see obvious deflection,
it's toast :>(
While this is an area that is often overlooked, it can lead to an early
failure of the timing belt if the pivot pin or the pullies retaining arm
bushing is worn out & allows the arm to be pulled out of alignment
once you apply tension to the new timing belt.
The most common symptom of wear of these parts is that the timing belt
will "walk" to either the inside or outside, though typically to the
inside & will cause wear to the belt itself as it begins to rub
against other components.
If your old timing belt showed any signs of abrasion on either the
inside or outside edges when you removed it, you can expect there's
likely gonna be a need to replace both the bracket and the pivoting
I've only seen wear on these parts on 2 engines where the wear was
severe enough to warrant replacement of these parts in all the timing
belt swaps I've done. However, I still feel as though this is certainly
enough of a threat for potential early timing belt failure, that it's
well worth taking a look at !
With the timing belt out of your way, now it's time to remove the front
balance shaft drive belt. You'll 1st need to slip the timing belt drive
sprocket and the thin sheet metal piece behind it off the nose of the
crankshaft. Though the sprocket will usually just slide easily off the
crankshaft, sometimes rust or accumulated grime can make this a bit
If the sprocket is being stubborn, try 1st spraying off as much junk
around it with your trusty brake cleaner solvent as possible & then
soak it down good with some penetrating oil & let it soak in for a
cuppla minutes, then try it again.
If it STILL doesn't wanna come off, try threading a cuppla 8mm bolts
into a set of opposing holes in the sprocket & use these to get a grip
on it to pull it off. Just be careful here since if you manage to
damage these threaded holes in the timing belt drive sprocket you'll
find yourself once more in that boat I was talkin about above !:>)
Now remove the front balance shaft belt by loosening and removing the
belts tensioner pulley by taking out the pulleys center retaining bolt.
Discard the belt and tensioner pulley as these don't get reused either!
With all this outta the way it's time to remove the water pump. Remove
the attaching bolts and then pull the pump off the face of the block. If
it's stubborn and doesn't just pop loose as most will do, gently tap it
with a hammer, wrench or whatever else is handy & it should come loose
Next you'll need to take a razor blade scraper & scrape away the
silicone and any rust built up on the face of the block where the new
pump will be going. Once you have scraped away as much as possible, I
like to take a scotch brite pad and give the metal a good thorough
cleaning to make sure I get everything, then blast it clean with a few
shots of brake cleaner !
Remember, if the blocks sealing surface for the water pump isn't
spotlessly clean with all traces of the old gasket and rust removed, and
the water pump leaks, you'll have to go through all the work you've just
done, just to get down TO the water pump to reseal it, so get it good
and clean NOW !
Now you'll need to install the new water pump O ring onto the water
pipe. If there's any rust on the snout of the water pipe, you can
remove any thick accumulations by gently using a screwdriver or
preferably a wire brush to dislodge it, then take some scotch brite and
buff the outside of the end of the water pipe before proceeding.
A dab of grease smeared onto the OD surface of the water pipe and the O
ring itself will both protect the O ring when installing it on the water
pipe while helping the O ring slip into the water pump when you install
it too. But ....... DO NOT put silicone on the O ring !
It's time to put one last film of silicone on the backside of the water
pump gasket before installing it onto the block. It's also a good idea
to smear a bit of silicone onto the threads of the water pump attaching
bolts before reinstalling them.
Take the pump & align it with the holes in the block while slipping it
onto the water pipe, then install the water pump retaining bolts &
tighten them down. If you have a good seal once it's tightened down
there should be a slight bead of silicone surrounding the complete
exterior of the pump on the face of the block, so be sure it's sealed
well before proceeding.
The next step will be to install the front balance shaft belt and
tensioner pulley. Before starting you'll need to make sure your
crankshaft timing belt drive sprocket and front balance shaft driven
sprocket are aligned with their timing marks on the oil pump cover.
Once you have the sprockets aligned, slip the new front balance shaft
drive belt onto them and install the new tensioner pulley. Before
inserting the balance shafts tensioner pulley retention bolt, put just a
dab of silicone onto the threads, then insert it through the center of
the tensioner pulley and into the block (this bolt actually goes
completely through the oil pump housing and into the block itself), but
just run it in until its snug, then loosen it back off about 1/8 - 1/4
of a turn so you can easily rotate it.
Now take your fingers and grab the tensioner pulley & rotate it until
you have taken all the slack out of the belt, then take a screwdriver
and gently pry on the back side of the belt, between the belt and the
oil pump housing to get it just a bit tighter, then lock it in place by
tightening the retaining bolt down. Be careful here, since too much
pressure in your prying motion can either cut the new belt or result in
breaking off part of the oil pump housing, and neither of these are
gonna be good !
This belt doesn't need to be "banjo string" tight, so there's no need to
make it so. All that's required is that all slack is out of the belt
and then just a bit more tension applied after that point.
Once it's tensioned, be sure to double check that your timing marks are
still aligned before proceeding further. If they're misaligned, repeat
the operation & reset their position.
After insuring everything is properly aligned go ahead and reinstall the
sheet metal timing plate and timing belt drive sprocket onto the nose of
the crankshaft, making sure you align them both with the key on the
crank as you slip them back on the crankshaft.
At this point, you're hittin the down hill side of this job, but the
trickiest part of the whole process lies just ahead ! If you need a
breather, this is a good time to take a lil break & relax a bit before
proceeding, since the most intense part of the job will be the next few
operations, and absolute mental acuity will be a good thing !:>)
Are ya back ? Feeling refreshed & ready to get back down to business
? Cool ..... let's do it !!!!!
Ok, go ahead & bolt the timing belt hydraulic tensioner onto the front
of the block making sure you use the 2 bolts that belong to it. These 2
bolts are the only such ones on your whole car, and as such only go
here! These 2 bolts can easily be identified by their larger diameter
shanks above the threaded portion of the bolt. This larger OD of the
bolts shanks are to hold a closer alignment on the hydraulic tensioner
once installed, so again, make damned sure you use the correct bolts
Now install the timing belt tensioner / idler pulley / front motor mount
bracket onto the face of the block & tighten it down. Take a bit of
grease and smear it on the OD of the machined pivot pin on the part and
also into the ID of the timing belt pullies pivot arm, being sure to
completely fill the cavity inside the pivot arms depressed inside area
with grease. Next slip the timing belt tensioner / idler pivot arm onto
the machined pin on the bracket.
Install the timing belt idler pulley onto the bracket & tighten it down.
Install the timing belt tensioner pulley onto the bracket & tighten it
til its just snug, then back the bolt back off 1/4-1/2 a turn, so the
pulley can be rotated easily by hand on the bracket.
Now is when that fancy timing belt tensioner tool / bolt finally gets to
be of use! Install the timing belt tensioner tool into the threaded
hole in the timing belt idler / tensioner pulley bracket & run it
in until it contacts the tensioner / idler pivot arm, which will be
resting on top of the hydraulic tensioners tensioner pin.
Run the tool / bolt in further until it begins to compress the pin
sticking out of the top of the hydraulic tensioner. You will hafta do
this slowly since the pin reacts slowly to the pressure being applied to
it, making it easy to apply too much tension against it before you know
I like to turn the tensioner tool / bolt in in 1/4 turn increments once
the tool / bolt begins to exert pressure against the pin and then wait
about 15 seconds before making the next 1/4 turn move, all the while
with my other hand gently twisting the grenade pin to test the pressure
being applied to the pin by the tool / bolts pressure.
What you're wanting at this point is to turn the tool / bolt in and
compress the tensioner pin in the hydraulic tensioner until the grenade
pin in the hydraulic tensioner becomes "slippy loose" as you twist it in
the hydraulic tensioner body. Be careful not to pull the grenade pin out
of the holes in the hydraulic tensioner body when testing the pressure
being applied to it as it may require removing the hydraulic tensioner
from the block if you do so & putting it in a vise to re-compress it
and reinsert the grenade pin, which kinda sucks :>(
Once the grenade pin in the hydraulic tensioner becomes "slippy loose",
Now it's time to move back up top and and begin finally installing the
timing belt ...... Hoooray!
Ok, when you relieved the tension on the timing belt before you removed
the old one, you may have noticed that the cams slightly shifted.
Before installing the new timing belt onto the cam pullies you'll need
to get a pair of 17mm wrenches (one on each cam pulley retention bolt)
and rotate both cam gears slightly to realign the cam gear timing marks
so that the inside pair of marks are level with one another and the
lower edge of the head.
Once you have the timing belt on the cam pullies & the pullies aligned,
it's a good idea to zip tie the timing belt to the cam pullies so they
hold their alignment to each other for you while you wrap the timing
belt around the rest of the pullies.
Carefully slip the timing belt around the timing belt idler pulley, then
the oil pump drive sprocket (make sure you leave NO slack in the timing
belt between the intake cam sprocket and the oil pump drive sprocket),
timing belt drive sprocket and lastly the timing belt tensioner pulley.
Once you have the belt on, with all your marks aligned, you'll need the
special tool that will be inserted into the 2 holes on the face of the
timing belt tensioner pulley to rotate the timing belt tensioner pulley
clockwise for a 1G motors or counterclockwise on the 2Gs, which will be
further compressing the grenade pin in the hydraulic tensioner, while it
also applies more pressure to the timing belt itself. You CAN use a set
of long handled bent tip needle nose pliers or a really good set of bent
tip snap ring pliers, if you're in a bind, but using the proper tool
will make this sooooooo much easier !:>)
What you're wanting here is to rotate the timing belt tensioner pulley
with the tool, which will be compressing the grenade pin in the
hydraulic tensioner body to the point where you feel a slight to medium
drag on the grenade pin from additional downward pressure being applied
from rotating the tensioner pulley.
While holding this tension on the timing belt tensioner pulley, lock
down the bolt on the timing belt tensioner pulley to maintain its
position. When you lock the bolt down it will typically rotate the
tensioner pulley a bit further clockwise which will tighten it down even
harder on the 1Gs and slightly loosen off tension on the 2G cars from
where you have it set, so take that into consideration when applying the
rotating tension before locking the timing belt tensioner pulley
retaining bolt down.
Now, double check that all your marks are still aligned. You may have
slightly rotated the timing belt during your tensioning of the belt and
if so, just slip the ole 22mm back on the crank pulley & rotate it to
realign everything into position so you can check the alignment properly
If all your marks are still in alignment, cool, if not, START OVER !
OK, let's assume that all our marks are aligned and you have a slightly
tight condition on the grenade pin in the hydraulic tensioner, so
everything is good to go ! Back the timing belt tensioning tool / bolt
off a few turns and then recheck the tension on the grenade pin in the
Now cut the zip ties you placed on the timing belt to hold it on the cam
pullies for ya & rotate the crank through (BY HAND ONLY!!!!!!!) 6
complete revolutions (or 3 complete revolutions at the cams).
Roll it around on its 6th revolution till you have the timing belt drive
sprocket, front balance shaft belt, oil pump drive sprocket & both
cams timing marks aligned.
If everything is aligned, cool, if not, START OVER !! BTW the grenade
pin in the hydraulic tensioner should still have a slight to moderate
amount of drag on it as you rotate it in its hole in the hydraulic
Assuming everything is in alignment & you're getting the tension on
the grenade pin as mentioned, it's time for a well deserved break ! So,
Go get a coke, play with the kids, pat Mama on the ass .... whatever,
but let the motor sit like this for 15 minutes before proceeding.
After waiting 15 minutes or so, check the tension on the grenade pin
again & if everything is cool there, rotate the motor through
another 6 revolutions (at the crank, or 3 at the cams) & double check
everything again, just to be double damned sure everything is still DEAD
NUTZ RIGHT ! If everything is still good, pull the grenade pin out of
the hydraulic tensioner body and completely remove the timing belt
tensioner tool / bolt & give yourself a well deserved pat on the
back for having just performed one of the most involved / complicated
double barreled bitches of a timing belt tensioning jobs in the world
.. you deserve it !:>)
>From here it's all down hill!
Reinstall the lower timing belt cover, water pump / power steering pump
pullies onto front of the water pump, then the crankshaft dampener
pulley, A/C compressor drive belt, alternator / water pump drive belt,
and power steering pump belt & tension the new belts, and the top
timing belt cover, and call it a day !:>)
OK, so everything's swell and your really proud of yourself for having
just made it through this PITA process, as you well should be, but ....
Keep a really good eye on how your car runs over the next week or so and
if you notice a sudden change in how it performs then it's gonna be a
good idea to take a look at your cam shaft and crankshaft marks again.
If you align your marks and find that they have slipped their alignment
: DO NOT DRIVE THE CAR AGAIN UNTIL YOU RE-TIME IT !
"Timing belt events" usually happen when a motor is either started, or
more commonly the belt will slip when you turn the motor off, so if the
marks are out of alignment you DO NOT want to start it again before
re-aligning the timing belt and all the timing marks and resetting the
timing belt tension !
If you need clarification on any of the above, you can contact me at:
For pics to help visualize what I've mentioned, a good shop manual is a
big help, or go to DSM.ORG & look up the Timing Belt Installation VFAQ