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How to Install a Timing Belt

Omkar Phatak
Here are the guidelines on installing a new timing belt in a car.
The automobile engine is the heart of every car and there is an intricate mechanism that controls its working. Just as the human heart's functioning is controlled by an elaborate timing mechanism, the car engine also has an arrangement that controls every engine cycle and maintains the rhythm. An integral part of this mechanism is the timing belt.
Installing one, can in no way be classified as an easy job. It should be undertaken, only if you are quite adept at fixing car problems. It connects the crankshaft and camshaft of an engine. It controls the timing of the intake, as well as exhaust valve function, during every engine cycle.
If the belt snaps, the engine cycle's timing messes up and extensive damage follows. The signs of a bad belt are often made apparent through excessive exhaust gas emission, starting problems of the car, and chronic noise from the engine. It is good practice to replace a timing belt, after 60,000 miles of running.

Installing the Belt

It is not possible to go into details of the installation procedure, as the instructions will differ for every car model. So, here are the generic features of the procedure for your perusal. It will enable you to gauge the complexity of the job at hand.
Be ready with a set of wrenches, sockets, and screwdrivers, while keeping the car manual close by, for reference. First thing to do is disconnect the car battery and set the camshaft position to 'Top Dead Center' position.
You need to ensure that the crankshaft pulley is set to the zero position on timing scale. You can set it by removing the distributor cap and referring to the camshaft position sensor, while letting the engine rotate. Details of the procedure will be found in your car repair manual.
The next part is an extensive removal of all the parts that get in way of accessing the belt cover. Generally, this includes the air intake assembly, power steering pump, and parts associated with the water pump.
For details, you must refer to your car manual and detach everything that obstructs your access to the timing belt. Then, remove the cover if any. Next, loosen the tensioner, as well as timing bolts that you'll see in front of you. After you remove the tensioner away, tighten the mounting bolts back again.
This will enable you to slide out the old timing bolt from its place, after you have loosened the tensioner. Make sure that the camshaft or the crankshaft don't move. Then, put the new belt in place and make sure that it is taut and has the right amount of tension. You may have to refer a car manual to exactly torque the tensioner bolts.
With that done, the installation is complete. The rest of the procedure is putting back everything the way it was. That is, you must replace all the car parts you removed back in reverse order.
If you carry out the job on your own, you will reduce the cost involved and save some money in the process. If you want specific instructions on installing the timing belt in your car model, buy the appropriate Hayne's car repair manual.
The benefit of knowing belt installation in your car and being prepared for such jobs, is the self-reliance you gain in the process, which comes in handy, in times of emergency.