The Monte | The Avant | The Vibe | The Talon | How-To's | Dad's Cars | The Others   


Timing Belt
Alignment
Reverse Indiglo Gauges
Replacing Sheet Metal
Purchase and History

Since these cars have an "interference motor" (which means that the valves and piston occupy the same space and different times), they need preventative maintenance every 60k miles. Since I don't know the history of the car, I decided I might as well do this since doing it now might save me from destroying the motor later. I picked up the below parts at NAPA, and with my discount it was about 150. I got the timing belt, pulleys, water pump, and the other belts for the accesories. I still have to get a timing belt tensioner, which no one sells so I will have to get it from the dealership. They retial for 160 or so, but several guys have given me a contact that should be able to get it for me at cost. The tensior ended up being $95 after all was said and done.

   

I first removed all the plastic inner wheel well shrouding. The next step was to remove the belts on the car. In the picture below, you can see the tension on the air conditioning and power steering belt. I loosened it up and pushed it out of the way and removed the belt. The other belt is the alternator belt. There is a pivot bolt on the bottom and a bolt that goes in a slotted hole on the top. There is also a bolt on the side that controls how much tension the altenator puts on the belt. Loosen up the first two, and loosen the third until you can take the belt off. I also drained the radiator while doing this step.

Next, I had to remove the passenger side motor mount. I got a jack out with a 2x4 to support the oil pan. I removed the coolant bottle and the motor mount bolt. I then removed the two nuts and a bolt that held the extension on to the motor. I then removed the air conditioning compressor and pulled it out of the way. I also removed the upper radiator hose. I then pulled the air conditioning bracket off the motor mount. After doing this, I loosened the bolts holding the mount to the side of the motor. I was only able to remove one bolt; there wasn't enough clearance to remove the other two. After removing the balancer (detailed in the next paragraph), I then took the bolts off that held the timing belt cover on. I then raised the motor as high as possible (a little to high, the oil pan has a nice dent in it at the moment). I then pulled the cover and motor mount off all at once. It was a tight squeeze, but eventually it came out.

   

I then lowered the motor as far as possible since I had to get the harmonic balancer off. I actually got this tool for free from Auto-Zone as part of their free loan a tool service. It just pulls right off. I shoved a bolt down the hole and made sure it bottomed out and used that to push against.

   

Before removing the belt, I lined up the timing marks on the cams. The timing belt was then removed by removing the tensioner and pulling the pulley off to the side. I then removed the upper pulley from above and the lower pully from a hole in the wheel well. After that, I had to remove the water pump. Almost all of the bolts for the water pump are behind the rear cover. Since I didn't pull off the camshaft gears, I attempted just to pry the cover forward. I subsequently broke it. At the very least it made it easier to work on. I removed the old pump, greased the o-ring, and bolted the new one in place. I then replaced the rear cover, and bolted the pulleys and bracket back in.

   

I then set the timing as the instructions had stated. I started by making sure the cam timing marks were still aligned, and then set the crank shaft to TDC. After several attempts, this is what worked for me to set the timing correctly. I moved the crankshaft a full tooth before top TDC and then installed the belt. I then turned the crankshaft a half tooth to pick up slack in the belt. After doing this, I fit the tensioner in. Instead of putting torque on the pulley (since it always seemed to turn the crankshaft to much), I used a screwdriver to pry up on the bottom of the tensioner until the crank was back at TDC.

   

After doing so, you can remove the pin. If the tension is correct, you should be able to put the pin back in with no problems. If not, pull it apart, compress it in a vice, and put the pin back in and try again. The final step is to turn the motor over two revolutions and ensure that the timing marks are all still right - the crank at TDC and the crankshafts aligned. If not, try again. Once it's right, bolt everything back together and you should be good to go. This took me two weekend afternoons to do. Over all it wasn't to hard.

[ Back ]

Home | Bio | Contact