Author Topic: Timing Belt STories  (Read 426 times)


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Timing Belt STories
« on: August 02, 2017, 06:52:59 AM »

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'm especially interested in hearing from any Hyundai owners, but everyone feel free to chime in!!     



Elantra Inheritor


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Re: Timing Belt STories
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2017, 02:35:57 PM »
I'm in the middle of doing my timing belt.

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 absolutely required (1-30 N/M). Jack stands and jack absolutely required.

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 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), 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.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 07:03:39 AM by BiochemicalDJ »
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