Author Topic: Timing Belt Stories  (Read 1305 times)

slackmax

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Timing Belt Stories
« on: August 02, 2017, 07:08:40 AM »
Hi,

I just inherited a 2009 Hyundai Elantra with 98,000 miles on it.  The timing belt has not ever been changed. Hyundai manual recommends replacement at 60,000 miles and again at 120,000 miles. They want $500 at the dealer. Maybe my local mechanic would be cheaper, haven't asked them yet. I'd hate to pay $500 (or even $400) for something that *might* or *might not* break.  I'd also hate to pay the $500 and have the new belt break 1 year later due to improper installation (it happens).

OK, I know I should just man up and get it done, but I want to ask here for any good timing belt stories. How many miles do have on your current belt? If it broke, how many miles were on your car, what type of car, on highway, at stop sign, etc.  Most cars have timing *chain* and the chains aren't a worry. Don't tell me about your chains, just your *belts*. 

I've already found a range of internet belt stories from "the belt that they took off at 100,000 miles looked brand new" to  "my belt broke at 50,000 miles and my engine was destroyed". 



Oh, by the way, if the belt does break, the chances are good that the car would be totaled due to engine damage!

I youtubed the job and it looks horrible. No space to work in and very awkward. That makes the $500 more palatable.   

I could just sell the car, but the plan is to give it away to a relative in a few months.
 
I'm especially interested in hearing from any Hyundai owners, but everyone feel free to chime in!!     

   

Thanks,

Elantra Inheritor

ketchup

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 08:54:27 AM »
This is not something to skip.  It's routine maintenance.  It's a wear item.  60,000 miles worth of oil changes might be $480 (hand-waved $40 every 5k miles), and you still do that don't you?

If the belt that's taken off doesn't look brand new, it probably means you waited way too long.  Also, often people don't realize that even if it looks brand new, if you compare it to an actually-new belt, it'll be slightly stretched (and slightly is all it takes).  You don't want the belt to break, but you don't want it to jump a tooth or two due to not enough tension either.

You mention engine damage if the belt breaks, which means you have an "interference" engine design.  If the belt breaks, your engine is very likely going to be toast.  Are you really considering risking that?

Just do it.  Either pay the $500 or DIY, but get it done.  Do the water pump too while you're in there (negligible marginal extra work/cost with everything already taken apart to that point).  Personally, if I was 28,000 miles over the change interval, I'd park it in my driveway right now and not move it until it was changed.  That's what I did with one car I bought when I didn't know the last time the timing belt had been changed.

It's much much more likely to break in a year from not being changed than from being changed improperly.

As far as DIYing the job goes, I haven't done a Hyundai, but what I have done ranges from a leisurely half hour job during your lunch break (three cylinder Geo Metro) to six hours of swearing and busted knuckles (five cylinder DOHC Volvo).  Yours is probably somewhere in the middle.

You said to not mention chains, but my dad's Nissan Sentra actually had its timing chain fail (about 9 years old and around 110k miles at the time I believe).  Very very luckily, it broke when he tried to start it.  He took a $1200 gamble on fixing it (the shop straight up told him that it might not work, and they wouldn't know until they were already inside the engine), and it paid off (no engine damage), but he was lucky.

Change it.

trammatic

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 09:09:29 AM »
Agree.  Replace it.  Blue book estimates the car worth about $4,000.  Paying 10% of the vehicle's value to keep it running for another 60k miles is a no-brainer.  You can save a little bit by buying a kit yourself from RockAuto and finding a local mechanic willing to simply install it.  Agree also with the recommendation to replace the water pump at the same time.

Bradfurd

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 10:02:15 AM »
2008 VW Passat...just had mine replaced at the dealer at 112K miles. Out of curiosity, I asked for the old belt after the job and received it. Local shops wouldn't touch the job (maybe because it was a VW)...and they recommended going to the dealer. I also had the water pump replaced.

I debated whether or not to do this for a couple of years before I actually did it for the same reasons you outlined. We finally deemed that the car was too important to us to risk not doing it.

Holyoak

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 11:11:53 AM »
Even if the belt looks perfect, and even if it is perfect, many times a bad water pump/ seized pulley/tensioner can destroy the T-belt too.  They can stretch, become oil contaminated...  I have done every T-belt change for every car I have owned, and while not difficult, it can get tricky, especially if you have little space to work with.  This is also a good time to change out seals that may be leaking, change idlers/tensioners, and even the oil pump housing seal.  I looked at your engine, and it seems pretty easy - Single cam pulley, water pump not driven by the T-belt, one tensioner, one idler...   

I have an aircraft mechanic friend who went over 200,000 miles on an 97 Accord T-belt, and everyday I came to work, I waited for him to tell me it broke.  He finally swapped it out.  My easiest T-belt change was for a 87 Mazda 323...  Could have the job done, and not hurry in 20 minutes...  God was it simple; easy access, easy to index, no mount removal, and the harmonic balancer was retained by four bolts - no need to remove the crank bolt.  Water pump on this engine was driven by a v-belt, so if it died/seized, no big deal.  Miss the hell out of that car.

slackmax

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 07:08:42 AM »
Thanks for the great replies!   I'm still on the fence.  I watched some different youtube videos and now it doesn't seem so horrible to do myself. But there were some guys who mentioned in the comments section of the youtube vid that they had high miles when they did the belt change, with no belt breakage.  121,000    211,000.   Most of them waited til around 100,000 to do it.  Nobody said their belt broke before they changed it. Yeah, I know it is recommended to change it!  Anyway, thanks again for the replies!   
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 07:13:24 AM by slackmax »

ketchup

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 07:16:09 AM »
Thanks for the great replies!   I'm still on the fence.  I watched some different youtube videos and now it doesn't seem so horrible to do myself. But there were some guys who mentioned in the comments section of the youtube vid that they had high miles when they did the belt change, with no belt breakage.  121,000    211,000.   Most of them waited til around 100,000 to do it.  Nobody said their belt broke before they changed it. Yeah, I know it is recommended to change it!  Anyway, thanks again for the replies!
Probably because the people who had their belt break don't have that car anymore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

bender

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 07:30:12 AM »
Most cars I've owned had timing chains instead of belts.  As far as I know chains never need maintenance.  I wonder why so many manufacturers still go with belts?  Is there a cost or performance benefit?

Salvo

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 07:57:41 AM »
I've done the timing belts on all my vehicles (4 now) and it is worth it to do yourself.  If you have a weekend where the vehicle can be down then do it to save the hundreds of dollars.  Rockauto has excellent prices for timing belt kits, look here http://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/hyundai,2009,elantra,2.0l+l4,1443939,engine,timing+belt+kit,5759 at the Gates TCK284A kit. 

The last car I did the belt on was a 2003 Lexus IS300 at 175k, and I felt it was never changed.  Belt had cracks beginning to form on the outside every so often, and the motor immediately had more pep and response.  I had to change it because the water pump was failing and leaking, so while it was all apart I cleaned it up and replaced it.  My other motors were in the 120-150k range when they were done, only replaced to ease my mind not because of drivability issues.

The cost can change if you don't have tools, and paying a shop has the advantage of a timely repair with some guarantee it is done correctly.  Timing jobs are not too difficult, just can be tricky like other users have said.  If you already have the tools, the $400+ you can save is worth it in my book.

As far as chains vs belts, chains run inside the motor and require oil to stay in good shape.  If you don't change your oil or keep it level, it can damage the chain.  Most don' t need maintenance unless it is making noise or damaged.  Belts on the outside have less of a chance of breaking I guess?  Or maybe it is a cost benefit to the manufacturer (and repair shops?)
I have one vehicle with a chain and 197k miles, and I never plan to replace it, mostly because of the rest of the vehicle condition and how much I paid for it.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 08:04:29 AM by Salvo »

Holyoak

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2017, 10:39:26 AM »
Most cars I've owned had timing chains instead of belts.  As far as I know chains never need maintenance.  I wonder why so many manufacturers still go with belts?  Is there a cost or performance benefit?

It has been refreshing to see a lot of Japanese makers go to single row (8mm) chains for high volume models, i.e. Camry/Accord/Civic/Corolla...  Chains in theory are life of the engine items, but they sure can and do go bad.  Hydraulic chain tensioners can go bad, as can the "slipper" that makes contact with the chain.  Clean oil that gets to these parts fast, really helps, but chains can stretch too, and are really noticeable when they do.  Older 22 series Toyota engines were famous for this; start would be a very definite chain noise until oil pressure was up (use the right oil filter), then the tensioner would take up the slack.  Problem was the loose chain would eat into the front of the engine, resulting in damage! 

Timing belts have less rotational mass, add less cost to engine build costs, are easier to swap out if needed vs a chain, and engine size can be reduced, because chains are internal as mentioned by Salvo.  Chain downside is if they break, you are really screwed, not to mention they usually are not as quiet as a belt.  I like and can service both, but prefer a chain nowadays. 

paddedhat

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2017, 05:43:52 AM »
2008 VW Passat...just had mine replaced at the dealer at 112K miles. Out of curiosity, I asked for the old belt after the job and received it. Local shops wouldn't touch the job (maybe because it was a VW)...

No maybe about it, they passed on a horrible job specifically because it's a VW product. A few years back, me and my son did the pump and belt on his '04 Passat. I've done a lot of DIY mechanical work, including engine and transmission replacements, but I have never seen such a frustrating mess in my life.  You essentially remove the front on the car and swing it out of the way to access the engine. The entire car is a monument to over engineering, needless complication, and the inevitable reliability issues that result.  I have a buddy who works in a shop with 6-7 other mechanics. Many of them simply refuse to do VW engine work, having learned that, unless it's something you do every day, you aren't going to make money on it. I grew up as an an air cooled VW nut, and owned over twenty of them. Now, after wrenching on their newer stuff, if somebody gave me a newer one, I would sell it  immediately.

davisgang90

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2017, 09:34:36 AM »
First car out of college was a used VW Scirocco.  Blew off getting the timing belt replaced.  It broke and I ended up having to get 8 of the 16 valves replaced on the engine.  Would have preferred to get the belt changed.
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HipGnosis

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2017, 10:50:04 AM »
When doing (or having done) the timing belt, replace the water pump too. 

I've heard of some people taking the fender off to do the timing belt.  I'd take off the inner fender and (try to ) work thru the wheel well first.

the_fella

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2017, 08:33:30 AM »
When you replace the timing belt, you'll want to replace the water pump, too. That's because it's there, and if you don't replace it, you'll just have to take out all of that stuff again to replace it. It's preventative maintenance.

You need to find out if your car has an interference or non-interference engine. If it is an interference engine and your timing belt breaks, the pistons and valves in your engine will smack into each other, resulting in severe engine damage. I'm fortunate in that my late 90s Camry has a non-interference engine. Regardless of which type you have, if the belt breaks while you're driving, the car will stop. It won't start again until the belt is replaced, and if it's an interference engine, you'll possibly be buying a new or rebuilt engine.

If you have the tools and think you can do this yourself, go for it. I'm fairly mechanically inclined, and I know it's not too horrible on my car, so I'd go for it. If it's a nightmare, like others have described, I'd just say "fuck it" and take it to a shop. In that event, I'd be paying for the luxury of not having to disassemble the entire front end of the car.

sokoloff

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2017, 08:48:06 AM »
You need to find out if your car has an interference or non-interference engine. If it is an interference engine and your timing belt breaks, the pistons and valves in your engine will smack into each other, resulting in severe engine damage.
All Hyundais are interference engines:
http://yourcarangel.com/2014/07/interference-engines-complete-list/

the_fella

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2017, 08:52:28 AM »
You need to find out if your car has an interference or non-interference engine. If it is an interference engine and your timing belt breaks, the pistons and valves in your engine will smack into each other, resulting in severe engine damage.
All Hyundais are interference engines:
http://yourcarangel.com/2014/07/interference-engines-complete-list/

Well damn.

slackmax

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2017, 09:23:15 AM »
OP here. 

Got an estimate from my trusty local mechanic shop. $575 !!  High, but it includes new water pump, new tensioner, new idler pulley, and new belt. 

The dealer "only"  wanted $500, but I think that may be belt only, didn't get that info yet.

I still can't believe these huge prices. 

ketchup

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2017, 10:52:17 AM »
OP here. 

Got an estimate from my trusty local mechanic shop. $575 !!  High, but it includes new water pump, new tensioner, new idler pulley, and new belt. 

The dealer "only"  wanted $500, but I think that may be belt only, didn't get that info yet.

I still can't believe these huge prices.
$575 with "all the fixings" sounds to me like a good price to farm it out if you don't want to DIY.  It's the most expensive all-at-once car preventative maintenance task, but it's really just part of the cost of driving.  And you'll be good for another 60k miles or whatever. 

I just checked my car and luckily I have a 105K change interval and I'm at 146k miles (and with proof that it was changed at 105K by the previous owner), so I won't have to worry about it until 210K.

paddedhat

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2017, 10:56:45 AM »
OP here. 

Got an estimate from my trusty local mechanic shop. $575 !!  High, but it includes new water pump, new tensioner, new idler pulley, and new belt. 

The dealer "only"  wanted $500, but I think that may be belt only, didn't get that info yet.

I still can't believe these huge prices.

I'm not seeing the "huge" in this deal.  A few hours of labor, a few hundred in parts, and a bill under $600?  Nope, huge doesn't apply. A reasonable price for difficult job, done properly, with a several parts that most places would skip while swapping the belt, but far from unreasonable.

MrSal

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2017, 11:05:43 AM »
OP here. 

Got an estimate from my trusty local mechanic shop. $575 !!  High, but it includes new water pump, new tensioner, new idler pulley, and new belt. 

The dealer "only"  wanted $500, but I think that may be belt only, didn't get that info yet.

I still can't believe these huge prices.
$575 with "all the fixings" sounds to me like a good price to farm it out if you don't want to DIY.  It's the most expensive all-at-once car preventative maintenance task, but it's really just part of the cost of driving.  And you'll be good for another 60k miles or whatever. 

I just checked my car and luckily I have a 105K change interval and I'm at 146k miles (and with proof that it was changed at 105K by the previous owner), so I won't have to worry about it until 210K.

which car would that be?

ketchup

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2017, 08:12:52 AM »
OP here. 

Got an estimate from my trusty local mechanic shop. $575 !!  High, but it includes new water pump, new tensioner, new idler pulley, and new belt. 

The dealer "only"  wanted $500, but I think that may be belt only, didn't get that info yet.

I still can't believe these huge prices.
$575 with "all the fixings" sounds to me like a good price to farm it out if you don't want to DIY.  It's the most expensive all-at-once car preventative maintenance task, but it's really just part of the cost of driving.  And you'll be good for another 60k miles or whatever. 

I just checked my car and luckily I have a 105K change interval and I'm at 146k miles (and with proof that it was changed at 105K by the previous owner), so I won't have to worry about it until 210K.

which car would that be?
It's a 2001 Volvo V70.  Good car, expensive parts.

zoro

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2017, 05:22:43 AM »
I change my timing belts at 100k if they are interference engines (your Hyundai 2009 is interference so I would change it)
For non interference engines I don't worry as much. if it goes it just involves a tow home without the accompanying engine damage. I change the non interference engines when I am at something else. e.g. I put a new cylinder head on my ford last year and put a new belt and water pump while I had everything off.

slackmax

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2017, 07:26:25 AM »
I called the dealer back and asked what exactly I would get for the $500, and she said I would get the timing belt, and also all the engine belts. She also said they don't replace the idler pulley or the tensioner or water pump, since 99%  of the time they are in good shape and don't need to be replaced.     

ketchup

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2017, 07:58:13 AM »
I called the dealer back and asked what exactly I would get for the $500, and she said I would get the timing belt, and also all the engine belts. She also said they don't replace the idler pulley or the tensioner or water pump, since 99%  of the time they are in good shape and don't need to be replaced.     
I'm calling bullshit on that.  Zero reason not to do those while you're in there.  I'd go with your $575 quote for everything.  And the other belts are significantly less invasive surgery, so those don't necessarily need to happen at the same time (but can).

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2017, 10:20:19 AM »
$575 is really not that expensive--most stories I've heard range from $700-1200.  I can't speak for your car, but for many cars, changing the timing belt requires the removal of quite a number of other parts, some in hard-to-reach locations.  On my Corolla, it was all the drive belts, alternator, passenger front wheel, valve cover, some of the wiring harness, water pump pulley, three parts of the timing belt cover, crankshaft bolt and pulley, an engine mount, and a few other things I'm sure I'm forgetting.

I've done the job on my '95 Corolla and '06 Odyssey, and it took 7-9 hours to do it single-handed, with no lift or air tools.  Parts were in the $100-200 range for the timing belt, tensioner, water pump, etc.  I'm mechanically-inclined, but not a full-time mechanic.

It's worth reiterating that this isn't an optional or "nice to have" job.  It's a very important piece of maintenance.

slackmax

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2017, 09:00:41 AM »
zolotiyeruki,


May I ask how you got the crank shaft bolt off each car? My Hyundai is an automatic trans, therefore I can't just put it in gear to hold the crankshaft steady. I've seen many methods on the internet of how to do this. Just wondering how you did it.   
And did you use a torque wrench to reapply the bolt, or just do it by feel? Just asking because I don't have a torque wrench.

In the youtube videos, the crank bolt and sometimes the crank pulley are the most difficult steps.


Thanks,
Slackmax 

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2017, 10:11:50 AM »
May I ask how you got the crank shaft bolt off each car? My Hyundai is an automatic trans, therefore I can't just put it in gear to hold the crankshaft steady. I've seen many methods on the internet of how to do this. Just wondering how you did it.   
And did you use a torque wrench to reapply the bolt, or just do it by feel? Just asking because I don't have a torque wrench.

In the youtube videos, the crank bolt and sometimes the crank pulley are the most difficult steps.
I used a socket with a breaker bar, turned the crankshaft until the breaker bar was braced against part of the frame, then turned the key in the ignition to let the starter motor do the work.  It worked on both cars.  This method *does* depend on the crankshaft turning clockwise as you look at it.

On both cars, it took very little effort to remove the crankshaft pulley--nothing more than a gentle tap with a hammer to jar it loose.  If that doesn't work, you can borrow a pulley puller from Autozone for free.

Optimiser

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2017, 10:22:12 AM »
Replace it.

Assuming you have an interference engine, it is not worth it to risk it on a car that should otherwise have a lot of life left.

I have done one myself, and it was not enjoyable. I also failed to replace a small $2 oil seal when I was doing it because I didn't know I was supposed to. The seal started leaking shortly after I did the timing belt. I ended up paying a dealership to replace the seal, and the cost of that plus the parts I had to buy to do the timing belt myself was about what it would have cost to just have the dealership do the whole thing the first time.

So, when my other car needed a timing belt I took it in and had it done. It cost $800, but that was worth it to me to not have to do it myself. I also waited about 8,000 longer than I should have, but it's a non-interference engine so worst case scenario it would have left me stranded, but not destroyed my engine.

slackmax

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2017, 07:21:52 AM »
[

I used a socket with a breaker bar, turned the crankshaft until the breaker bar was braced against part of the frame, then turned the key in the ignition to let the starter motor do the work.  It worked on both cars.  This method *does* depend on the crankshaft turning clockwise as you look at it.

On both cars, it took very little effort to remove the crankshaft pulley--nothing more than a gentle tap with a hammer to jar it loose.  If that doesn't work, you can borrow a pulley puller from Autozone for free.

Thanks. Did you disconnect the spark plugs or pull the ignition fuse to prevent the engine from firing. Or just very quick on the starter bump?

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2017, 09:36:07 AM »
[

I used a socket with a breaker bar, turned the crankshaft until the breaker bar was braced against part of the frame, then turned the key in the ignition to let the starter motor do the work.  It worked on both cars.  This method *does* depend on the crankshaft turning clockwise as you look at it.

On both cars, it took very little effort to remove the crankshaft pulley--nothing more than a gentle tap with a hammer to jar it loose.  If that doesn't work, you can borrow a pulley puller from Autozone for free.

Thanks. Did you disconnect the spark plugs or pull the ignition fuse to prevent the engine from firing. Or just very quick on the starter bump?
I *think* I pulled the EFI fuse (so fuel would be injected into the engine).

BussoV6

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2017, 07:37:51 AM »
I called the dealer back and asked what exactly I would get for the $500, and she said I would get the timing belt, and also all the engine belts. She also said they don't replace the idler pulley or the tensioner or water pump, since 99%  of the time they are in good shape and don't need to be replaced.     
I'm calling bullshit on that.  Zero reason not to do those while you're in there.  I'd go with your $575 quote for everything.  And the other belts are significantly less invasive surgery, so those don't necessarily need to happen at the same time (but can).

+1 on that. It is often a tensioner or pulley that jams and then damages the belt. No good reason not to change those while the belt is being replaced.

the1Cruben

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2017, 11:48:15 PM »
You can replace the timing belt and have a lifespan of 5 years left on your car easily with just routine maintenance from then on that wouldn't cost more than a few hundred dollars.

BiochemicalDJ

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2017, 07:38:16 AM »
Accidentally posted in the duplicate thread to this- didn't realize this was the active one, so hear we go.

I'm in the middle of doing my timing belt.

Side note- Ketchup, I *really* want to see a youtube video of you changing the timing belt in your Metro in 30 minutes- so far I'm 7 hours deep xD. Admittedly, I also drained and flushed coolant, replaced upper and lower rad hoses and T-stat, replaced water pump, etc., but you make me feel like a major slowpoke xD. This is also the 4 cylinder version- not sure how different that makes the job.

From a financial perspective, locally for me I'd believe the same job would run me around $1000-1400 CAD, so even as tough as it is I'm comfortable doing it myself. The other reason is that I literally got this car to be my education in automotive repair- Cheaper than a college course and you get to ride around in it sometimes.

Car: 1999 Chevrolet Metro (Suzuki engine, so all metric/japanese design.)
88000 kms (54658 miles).

Reason for changing: Service interval is 60,000 miles to check the belt, or replace after 8 years- It's been 18 years. Living on borrowed time, according to everyone.

Tools I had before I started: Full ratchet set (1/4, 3/8, 1/2 drive + sockets), box end wrench set, floor jack, 2 jackstands, compressor + impact wrench, 3/8 inch drive torque wrench (inch pounds), 1/2 inch torque wrench (foot pounds), bag o' rags.

Tools I used the most during the job: 3/8 and 1/4 ratchet, occasional use of shallow and deep sockets. 8, 10, 12, 14mm most common. 17mm to turn crankshaft. Used spark plug socket to loosen plugs to alleviate engine vacuum and make hand cranking easier. small torque wrench(1-30 N/M), Jack stands and jack absolutely required. Drain pan, funnels, extra containers for coolant.

Tools I bought mid-job: Blue loctite (medium duty), permatex gasket remover, permatex gasket sealant (stay-tack or something).

Research beforehand: Went to the library and got 2 textbooks out- Automotive Chassis Systems and Automotive Fundamentals, both year 2000-ish vintage. Taught me more than I ever thought I'd know about cars.

Used AllData (library has free subscription) and downloaded full illustrated steps with torque values for everything and pictures.

Watched about 3 youtube videos on it, including one that showed the handy tip about removing one engine mount and gently lowering the engine on my jack 1-3 inches as needed to pull pulleys off (Tip not covered by AllData.)

Work Log
It's going well so far; spent about 5 hours draining coolant, replacing upper and lower hoses, flushing the cooling system, replacing the thermostat (all covered by AllData info). Got down to removing the timing belt, tensioner, tensioner backing plate, and all the bolts for the water pump, but couldn't get the pump off with my hands. Had to stop for the night- had a date.

Next day, read more about the pump, reviewed the procedure, and gently pried the pump with a screwdriver being super careful not to mar the mating surfaces- I think I was prying from the pulley area anyway. It came free quickly, then could be peeled by hand. Cleaned gasket surfaces. Applied sealant to new gasket and new pump, then put pump in place and torqued to spec. VERY tight in there- was worried I might have lost track of my 'star' pattern while torquing bolts/nuts for the water pump to spec. Fit was tough, but doable. That took a total of 2 hours (lots of breaks for the gasket cleaner to work.)

Next night= another 2 hours. Timing belt was very tight to remove the day before, and was quite a challenge to slide on. The old one was hard to slide off, and looked gorgeous- but I believe it's OEM and 18 years old, so I'm not taking any risks. New one went on without incident; set tension according to manual and started replacing timing belt cover. Stripped one of the 8 bolt holes that holds the cover on by not being careful about angles of entry- it's an aluminum alloy engine, and the bolts are 130,000 psi steel- Guess which won :( Was super pissed about this, because I was using the torque wrench at the time- but it was mis-aligned threading that stripped it, not over-torquing. The area was so tight that I could almost not get my hand + a socket w/the bolt in there to hand-thread it, let alone a wrench- so I was too overjoyed when it seemed to 'bite' and take a wrench. Should have known better. I'm not freaking out too badly- and with that area so tight, it would be functionally impossible to get a heli-coil in there anyway. Best I could do would be an epoxy/steel re-thread repair, but screw that for now.

Plan for next work night: Finish getting the cover on (didn't remember which bolts held which little wiring brackets, so I put them in the wrong spots and now the wires won't route properly. Should have used nailpolish to mark the unique ones!), and get the generator/water pump belt on, tension set, and hopefully re-fill the cooling system and fire it up. Likely won't get to that until the weekend. Still have to get the coolant reservoir off and washed out, and the Alldata for that says I need to take the @#$@ing headlight off xD
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 07:42:26 AM by BiochemicalDJ »
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ketchup

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2017, 08:27:46 AM »
Sadly, my '99 Metro went to that lovely parking lot in the sky about a year ago (engine threw a rod on the highway), but if I still had it I would be interested in showcasing a "speedrun" of sorts.  I know there have been competitions to see who can rebuild the engine in an old air-cooled VW the fastest, though this would surely be much less interesting. :)

I do know a guy that literally changed his on his 30 minute lunch break, which was why I put it that way.  He'd also probably done it at least 20 times before that.

I was definitely referring to just doing the timing belt, tensioner, and water pump: all that extra stuff is great and it definitely sounds like it makes sense to do on your car, but of course it adds time.

Also, if that hasn't been taken apart in 18 years, it's going to be a lot harder (read: more time-intensive) than if someone was in there only a few years ago.  More rusted/stuck bolts, your water pump situation, etc.  I just played that game getting my damn electronic throttle module off my 2001 Volvo this past weekend.  It's from Texas so no rust, but that also meant all the wiring conduit is hilariously brittle, which was a fun one.

The most time-intensive part of the timing belt job on a Metro is getting the Stupid Timing Belt Cover(tm) off.  As I'm sure you noticed, you have to alternate working from above and below, and it's generally annoying when you'd love to just rip the damn thing off and get to the meat of the job.  I wouldn't worry about missing one bolt on there; as long as it's still snug, you're fine.

The most annoying part though for me was generally mucking around with the tensioner.  That takes a lot longer the first time you do it vs subsequent times.  The technique I ended up using if I remember correctly was to get the tensioner 90% in place, put the belt on, onto the camshafte as much as it would let me, then finalize the tensioner location and tighten it down.  Turning over the camshaft by hand once will then will "feed" the belt back onto it.  Double check timing marks afterwards.

I've never removed an engine mount while doing the timing belt.  I don't think I did anything special with the water pump gasket.  I also didn't loosen the spark plugs.  And I have only done the three cylinder; I don't think the G13BB is different on that side (mostly the differences on that engine as I remember it are the ignition and EFI systems but I've never messed with one).

I've done the job a total of three times (on different vehicles, but all G10 engines of various age), and with more experience on my side and more general car knowledge as I went, the second time took probably about 50% as long as the first, and the third probably took 70% as long as the second.  It will be a lot easier when you come back in 60,000 to do it all over again.

Car Jack

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2017, 09:16:51 AM »
Every car is different and each one can be a piece of cake or a nightmare.  A single overhead cam Honda is a piece of cake.  (you do have to remove the motor mount). but takes no time.  I don't know about 30 minutes because the valve cover has to come off too but an hour.

Subarus....especially dual overhead cam ones are the nightmare.  You need a special tool to hold one cam on each side in position (or make your own special tool) and the belt is about 90 miles long and snakes around following the map for tail of the dragon.  If you have one of these cars, it's a good winter project if you can be without the car all winter.

Remember that timing belts have miles and time replacement requirements.  I have NEVER seen a timing belt that doesn't look brand new.  I have seen timing belts that have broken and aside from that part that's not attached anymore, it still looks brand new.  They're not exposed to the elements so of course they look brand new.  Don't use the looks of the belt.

Something I found helpful, being scared the first time....was to put paint dabs on the belt and on the cam gear and on the crank.  Then transfer the paint dots to the new belt.  Count the teeth in between to be absolutely sure.  Then when putting the new belt on, you can not only match the factory marks, you can be doubly sure with matching paint marks.  Takes an extra 5 minutes but gives me peace of mind.

Tensioners and pullies can often be tested.  If they're not bad, don't replace them.  Water pumps often last for the life of the car.  Find the leading marque forum and see what people find.  I've read many stories from Subaru mechanics who all swear that water pumps on Subarus either go bad before the warranty runs out or they go well over 200k miles.

marielle

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2017, 09:20:10 AM »
Don't skip it. Go ahead and change your water pump while you're there too, it barely adds any cost. But I'll add my story just for anecdotal evidence. I got my car used and drove it a bit, later found out the timing belt hadn't been replaced ever. I had 135k miles! The timing belt literally had cracks and holes in it (doesn't help that the car was 13 years old too). I'm very lucky...and lesson learned to replace it immediately on my next used car.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 09:25:43 AM by marielle »

BiochemicalDJ

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2017, 11:38:54 AM »

Also, if that hasn't been taken apart in 18 years, it's going to be a lot harder (read: more time-intensive) than if someone was in there only a few years ago.  More rusted/stuck bolts, your water pump situation, etc.  I just played that game getting my damn electronic throttle module off my 2001 Volvo this past weekend.  It's from Texas so no rust, but that also meant all the wiring conduit is hilariously brittle, which was a fun one.

I got lucky with this one. The engine is in beautiful shape, as it's such a 'young' car (only 55,000 miles!) but years in the salt belt when it was driven absolutely destroyed parts of the chassis systems- brake lines rusted out completely (can't believe I made it a 6 hour drive home alive after buying it!). If some sales guy hadn't convinced the previous owner to get a full wax/oil undercoat, the thing would definitely be a write off.

The most time-intensive part of the timing belt job on a Metro is getting the Stupid Timing Belt Cover(tm) off.  As I'm sure you noticed, you have to alternate working from above and below, and it's generally annoying when you'd love to just rip the damn thing off and get to the meat of the job.  I wouldn't worry about missing one bolt on there; as long as it's still snug, you're fine.
This, this, a thousand times this. There were times when I was looking at the locations, and the fact that it's all in once piece, and the fact that it's so tight to the side... I was like "This is seriously the best they could do...?"

The most annoying part though for me was generally mucking around with the tensioner.  That takes a lot longer the first time you do it vs subsequent times.  The technique I ended up using if I remember correctly was to get the tensioner 90% in place, put the belt on, onto the camshaft as much as it would let me, then finalize the tensioner location and tighten it down.  Turning over the camshaft by hand once will then will "feed" the belt back onto it.  Double check timing marks afterwards.

Yeah, the tensioner threw me a bit for a loop. Especially that double spring at the top of the one end. I was like 'wait, how was this on there...?" I followed the maintenance manual spec, which said after the timing belt goes on (I think I went Camshaft ---> crankshaft --->tensioner), you leave the tensioner stud in only finger tight and then manually rotate the engine clockwise twice to feed the belt and take up the slack. I probably did it about 4 times, because I was trying to understand how the belt wouldn't just slip off over time (answer: Bigassed pulleys in the way of the bottom)

I've never removed an engine mount while doing the timing belt.  I don't think I did anything special with the water pump gasket.  I also didn't loosen the spark plugs.  And I have only done the three cylinder; I don't think the G13BB is different on that side (mostly the differences on that engine as I remember it are the ignition and EFI systems but I've never messed with one).

It's reassuring you didn't do anything special to the gasket. A youtube video I saw was just a guy complaining how it leaked like hell and he ended up having to use RTV; I went with stay tack sealant instead. Spark plug tip came from another forum for having to manually turn the engine over a few times- I also needed to change my spark plug boots, so I was in there anyway.

I misspoke; I unbolted the timing-side engine mount in order to lower the engine slightly- the mount stayed in the engine compartment and on the engine. I found it was impossible to remove the crankshaft accessory pulley without dropping it by just a few inches- it was seriously pressed flush against the side of the engine compartment. The only way I could have removed it otherwise would be to also remove the crankshaft bolt holding the crankshaft timing pulley on, which I did not. I'd have to watch some videos of people getting that pulley outta there, because it would have had to be voodoo.

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ketchup

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2017, 12:35:50 PM »
I got lucky with this one. The engine is in beautiful shape, as it's such a 'young' car (only 55,000 miles!) but years in the salt belt when it was driven absolutely destroyed parts of the chassis systems- brake lines rusted out completely (can't believe I made it a 6 hour drive home alive after buying it!). If some sales guy hadn't convinced the previous owner to get a full wax/oil undercoat, the thing would definitely be a write off.
That's great!  Finds like that are always lucky.  I found a 1988 Chevy Sprint (Metro predecessor and 90% the same car) with 46k on the clock in 2012.  The previous owner had won the car at Burger King back in the day and just kept it as an extra car all those years.  Unfortunately, a year later at 69k miles, I smashed it into the back of a Jeep.  Zero damage to the Jeep, Sprint was totaled.  More recently, I helped a friend track down a 2000 Suzuki Swift that had a new-old-stock engine dropped into it a year and 10,000 miles earlier.
The engines in these cars tend to outlast the bodies.  The engines are dead reliable, long-lasting, and easy/cheap maintenance.  Take every rust precaution you possibly can before your first winter, and maintain it from there.  The body will fall apart around the car if you're not careful.  The main problem area is the front control arm mounts.  You may have already read about this.  Look at them and if they are solid, make sure they stay that way.  If they're at all shaky, make friends with someone that knows their way around a welder.  If those fail, you're pretty much fucked (in the no-more-car sense but also possibly in the crash-burn-die sense).

I misspoke; I unbolted the timing-side engine mount in order to lower the engine slightly- the mount stayed in the engine compartment and on the engine. I found it was impossible to remove the crankshaft accessory pulley without dropping it by just a few inches- it was seriously pressed flush against the side of the engine compartment. The only way I could have removed it otherwise would be to also remove the crankshaft bolt holding the crankshaft timing pulley on, which I did not. I'd have to watch some videos of people getting that pulley outta there, because it would have had to be voodoo.
I think the way I did that one was to do one bolt at a time, turning the crankshaft to get better access as I went.  I don't remember for sure.  It was aggravating but doable.

EricEng

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Re: Timing Belt Stories
« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2017, 02:08:43 PM »
$500 is a steal.  Wife's Subaru dealer wanted $1,200 for this.  We bought an OEM timing belt kit with water pump for $140 and paid a shop $60/hour to replace.  Total cost was about $400.  Worth every penny.  DIY on this without lift or engine suspension equipment makes it even harder.

Never skip timing belt.  When it fails it will destroy the engine and that $500 fix becomes $5000.