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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 17 Jul 2007, 11:36 am
Elle
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Posts: n/a
Default Timing Belt Tension Problems

91 Civic, 197k miles

I replaced the timing belt and tensioner the other day. I
cookbooked my way through setting the tension, not knowing
how things worked, and am pretty sure the rat-a-tat-tat I
heard from the engine is the belt, somewhat loose, hitting
the upper timing belt cover, for one.I just re-did the
tensioning step, following especially Tegger's careful
advice at
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.a...763a5f85ca7e05
(post of Oct. 4, 2005), and the engine still makes the
rat-a-tat-tat noise. I can feel the vibrations in synch with
the rat-a-tat-tat on the when I put my hand on the upper
timing belt cover.

I watched for the TB's forward side (closest to the car's
front) going tense, while the aft side went somewhat slack.
In one attempt I did hear a little zing from the tensioner
spring. I checked and re-checked this as I tightened the
tensioner adjusting bolt. On my last attempt, I do not know
if the "zing" and so tightening of the spring occurred or
not.

I checked the timing with a timing light, and there are no
indications a tooth has jumped. I will continue to be very
aware that this could happen, especially when the tensioner
is loose or not set right.

On my third attempt, I want to

(1) loosen the tensioner screw more this time.
(2) make sure I hear the "zing" from the tensioner spring
(3) do as Jim Beam said in the above thread: (a) Turn the
engine over three times; (b) watch the tension in the belt;
and (c) watch that TDC on Cyl #1 aligns with the camshaft
sprocket being in the correct "up" orientation. I will take
the spark plugs out to make life easier this time.

Is it true for step (3) that the TB aft side should always
be pretty slack compared to the TB fwd side?

Any other clues on how to get this right?

Struggling here. Prompt responses are appreciated.



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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 17 Jul 2007, 12:00 pm
Tegger
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Timing Belt Tension Problems

"Elle" <honda.lioness@nospam.earthlink.net> wrote in
news:me6ni.7886$rR.6552@newsread2.news.pas.earthli nk.net:

> 91 Civic, 197k miles
>
> I replaced the timing belt and tensioner the other day. I
> cookbooked my way through setting the tension, not knowing
> how things worked, and am pretty sure the rat-a-tat-tat I
> heard from the engine is the belt, somewhat loose, hitting
> the upper timing belt cover, for one.I just re-did the
> tensioning step, following especially Tegger's careful
> advice at
> http://groups.google.com/group/alt.a...m/thread/cf31d

3
> 6fc1375d20/0f763a5f85ca7e05?lnk=st&q=teeth+pulley+(group%

3Aalt.autos.ho
> nda+OR+rec.autos.makers.honda)&rnum=8#0f763a5f85ca 7e05 (post of Oct.
> 4, 2005), and the engine still makes the rat-a-tat-tat noise. I can
> feel the vibrations in synch with the rat-a-tat-tat on the when I put
> my hand on the upper timing belt cover.
>
> I watched for the TB's forward side (closest to the car's
> front) going tense, while the aft side went somewhat slack.
> In one attempt I did hear a little zing from the tensioner
> spring. I checked and re-checked this as I tightened the
> tensioner adjusting bolt. On my last attempt, I do not know
> if the "zing" and so tightening of the spring occurred or
> not.
>
> I checked the timing with a timing light, and there are no
> indications a tooth has jumped. I will continue to be very
> aware that this could happen, especially when the tensioner
> is loose or not set right.
>
> On my third attempt, I want to
>
> (1) loosen the tensioner screw more this time.
> (2) make sure I hear the "zing" from the tensioner spring
> (3) do as Jim Beam said in the above thread: (a) Turn the
> engine over three times; (b) watch the tension in the belt;
> and (c) watch that TDC on Cyl #1 aligns with the camshaft
> sprocket being in the correct "up" orientation. I will take
> the spark plugs out to make life easier this time.
>
> Is it true for step (3) that the TB aft side should always
> be pretty slack compared to the TB fwd side?
>
> Any other clues on how to get this right?
>
> Struggling here. Prompt responses are appreciated.
>
>
>
>



(Posted and mailed)

I'm not sure where the "turn the engine over three times" came from.
Doesn't sound right.

When the belt was off, the tensioner should have been pushed in as far
as it would go against its spring, then bolted so it would stay there.

Once the belt is on again, you
1) rotate the engine counterclockwise so as to put all the slack on the
tensioner side, which should only be one or two teeth. 2) with a quick
motion, loosen the tensioner bolt, which at that point should ZING out
to take up the slack. 3) tighten the tensioner bolt BEFORE releasing the
wrench.

The important things are that the tensioner has to be pushed ALL the way
back, so it can take a good run at the belt when it's released, and that
the slack has to be entirely on the tensioner side of the belt.

If the belt seems a bit loose even after that, you can tap the bolt head
with your ratchet (while making sure the slack is in the right place).
This will shock the tensioner into pushing out just a bit more.

If you don't want to remove the covers again, you can loosen the
tensioner, turn the engine CLOCKwise THREE TEETH, then snug the
tensioner up again. This pulls the tensioner in a bit so you can try
retensioning the belt. The tensioner can't get a good run at the belt in
this case, so you may have to help it with taps from the ratchet.

Good luck and hope this helps.

--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
www.tegger.com/hondafaq/
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 17 Jul 2007, 12:12 pm
Elle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Timing Belt Tension Problems

"Tegger" <tegger@tegger.c0m> wrote
> I'm not sure where the "turn the engine over three times"
> came from.
> Doesn't sound right.


Jim noted that this was a good idea after the final
tightening of the tensioner took place.

> [***]When the belt was off, the tensioner should have been
> pushed in as far
> as it would go against its spring, then bolted so it would
> stay there.


Do you mean so that the spring is applying as little force
as possible to the main body of the tensioner?

> Once the belt is on again, you
> 1) rotate the engine counterclockwise so as to put all the
> slack on the
> tensioner side, which should only be one or two teeth. 2)
> with a quick
> motion, loosen the tensioner bolt, which at that point
> should ZING out
> to take up the slack. 3) tighten the tensioner bolt BEFORE
> releasing the
> wrench.


I was loosening the bolt prior to rotating the three teeth,
watching so that a tooth did not skip. I will try the above
instead, listening for the ZING.

> The important things are that the tensioner has to be
> pushed ALL the way
> back,


Is this the same as you describe at [***] above?

> so it can take a good run at the belt when it's released,
> and that
> the slack has to be entirely on the tensioner side of the
> belt.
>
> If the belt seems a bit loose even after that, you can tap
> the bolt head
> with your ratchet (while making sure the slack is in the
> right place).
> This will shock the tensioner into pushing out just a bit
> more.
>
> If you don't want to remove the covers again, you can
> loosen the
> tensioner, turn the engine CLOCKwise THREE TEETH, then
> snug the
> tensioner up again. This pulls the tensioner in a bit so
> you can try
> retensioning the belt. The tensioner can't get a good run
> at the belt in
> this case, so you may have to help it with taps from the
> ratchet.


I will try this first.

I bear in mind that the engine has to be cold during this
procedure.

Unfortunately I find it too much of a battle to torque the
tensioner bolt by going in with a socket from the top, so I
have been removing the PS belt and alternator belt, then the
crankshaft pulley, and going in from the bottom. I am
rotating the left front wheel hub yada to rotate the
crankshaft the necessary three teeth or so.

Thank you.


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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 17 Jul 2007, 12:33 pm
Tegger
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Timing Belt Tension Problems

"Elle" <honda.lioness@nospam.earthlink.net> wrote in news:UL6ni.8236
$tj6.7162@newsread4.news.pas.earthlink.net:

> "Tegger" <tegger@tegger.c0m> wrote
>> I'm not sure where the "turn the engine over three times"
>> came from.
>> Doesn't sound right.

>
> Jim noted that this was a good idea after the final
> tightening of the tensioner took place.
>
>> [***]When the belt was off, the tensioner should have been
>> pushed in as far
>> as it would go against its spring, then bolted so it would
>> stay there.

>
> Do you mean so that the spring is applying as little force
> as possible to the main body of the tensioner?




No, just the opposite. The spring is what pulls the tensioner against
the belt. You have to expand (stretch) the spring as much as possible


<snip>

>
> Unfortunately I find it too much of a battle to torque the
> tensioner bolt by going in with a socket from the top, so I
> have been removing the PS belt and alternator belt, then the
> crankshaft pulley, and going in from the bottom. I am
> rotating the left front wheel hub yada to rotate the
> crankshaft the necessary three teeth or so.




It would be so much better if you used a wrench on the crank pulley.
that's the authorized wy to do this, and you get a lot more control
("feel") using that method.



--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
www.tegger.com/hondafaq/
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 17 Jul 2007, 02:34 pm
Elle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Setting Timing "Blind" [was Re: Timing Belt Tension Problems]

1991 Civic, 197k miles here, manual transmission

"Elle" <honda.lioness@nospam.earthlink.net> wrote
Tegger wrote
>> If you don't want to remove the covers again, you can
>> loosen the
>> tensioner, turn the engine CLOCKwise THREE TEETH, then
>> snug the
>> tensioner up again. This pulls the tensioner in a bit so
>> you can try
>> retensioning the belt. The tensioner can't get a good run
>> at the belt in
>> this case, so you may have to help it with taps from the
>> ratchet.

>
> I will try this first.


Darn, the timing belt slipped, and the car would not start.
The engine is a bit flooded from three or so attempts. So
yes, the doomsday scenario has descended. Any insight for
the most efficient way to find the proper orientation of the
TB is welcome. Here is my approach so far:

1.
Set camshaft so sprocket indicates up, marks aligned with
the top of they cylinder head, per manual's direction to get
all valves set "right," namely, such that Cyl #1 is at TDC.
Immobilize camshaft.

2.
All spark plugs out. Stick rod down Cyl #1 spark plug hole,
rotate crankshaft, and watch rod rise and fall. Turn
crankshaft so that Piston #1 is at TDC. Immobilize
crankshaft.

3.
Install timing belt carefully. I am bound to be off a tooth
or two. (Or possibly 180 degrees plus or minus?).

4.
Reassemble, this time hopefully setting the tensioner
correctly.

5.
Attempt to run engine. If it starts, then I'm off at worst a
tooth or so. If not, then what?

6.
Check timing with timing light. If timing cannot be set
correctly, then I'm likely off a tooth or so.



So far I found I do not have to completely disconnect the PS
pump nor remove the side engine mount to do this much.

Thanks for the elaboration on the tensioner in the other
post, Tegger. This helps. Please comment on the above as it
is convenient.




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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 17 Jul 2007, 05:35 pm
Tegger
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Setting Timing "Blind" [was Re: Timing Belt Tension Problems]

"Elle" <honda.lioness@nospam.earthlink.net> wrote in
news:PQ8ni.8258$tj6.7865@newsread4.news.pas.earthl ink.net:

> 1991 Civic, 197k miles here, manual transmission
>
> "Elle" <honda.lioness@nospam.earthlink.net> wrote
> Tegger wrote
>>> If you don't want to remove the covers again, you can
>>> loosen the
>>> tensioner, turn the engine CLOCKwise THREE TEETH, then
>>> snug the
>>> tensioner up again. This pulls the tensioner in a bit so
>>> you can try
>>> retensioning the belt. The tensioner can't get a good run
>>> at the belt in
>>> this case, so you may have to help it with taps from the
>>> ratchet.

>>
>> I will try this first.

>
> Darn, the timing belt slipped, and the car would not start.
> The engine is a bit flooded from three or so attempts. So
> yes, the doomsday scenario has descended. Any insight for
> the most efficient way to find the proper orientation of the
> TB is welcome. Here is my approach so far:




Don't panic yet.

If I were you, though, I would not at this point try to set the pistons
to TDC. If the cam/crank alignment is off, you need to start from
scratch, being mindful of damage to the valves..

First: Get the pistons all to half-way.
Remove belt, remove spark plugs. Stick a rod down each cylinder until
you find the pair that is closest to the top. Now carefully find out
which way turning the crank *with a socket* results in those going DOWN.
Turn crank that way until the pistons are all at the same height. This
way they are out of range of the valves.

Second: Replace the crank bolt.
Buzz it down to approximately 50 ft lbs. Use washers if necessary to
mimic the spacing of the crank pulley.
LEAVE THE PULLEY AND TIMING COVER OFF!

Third: Turn the camshaft until the #1 cylinder's valves are all closed,
and so the marks on the cam pulley and head are matched perfectly.

Fourth: Turn the crank *with a socket* so the #1 piston climbs UP, until
it reaches TDC. At this point the TDC mark on the crankshaft should
perfectly match the mark on the block. At this point it does not matter
which way you turn the crank.

Fifth: Push the tensioner so the spring is stretched as far as you can
stretch it.

Sixth: Replace the timing belt.
Make ABSOLUTELY certain the cam, crank and head/block marks are aligned
PERFECTLY. It is distressingly easy to get it off by one tooth. You will
likely have to turn the cam pulley slightly to get the teeth to line up.
When the belt goes on, make sure all the slack is on the tensioner side.

Seventh: Double check the cam and crank alignment marks.

Eighth: With the wrench on the crank bolt (or your hand on the cam
pulley), make certain all the slack is on the tensioner side, then
loosen the tensioner bolt with a quick motion. It ought to ZING up then
stop. Still maintaining pressure on the crank bolt, tighten the
tensioner bolt.

Ninth: Triple check the marks and the tension. If OK, remove crank bolt,
reinstall timing cover, crank pulley, crank bolt, etc.





--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
www.tegger.com/hondafaq/
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 17 Jul 2007, 06:18 pm
Tegger
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Setting Timing "Blind" [was Re: Timing Belt Tension Problems]

Tegger <tegger@tegger.c0m> wrote in news:Xns9970BD0718AD6tegger@
207.14.116.130:


> Fourth: Turn the crank *with a socket* so the #1 piston climbs UP, until
> it reaches TDC. At this point the TDC mark on the crankshaft should
> perfectly match the mark on the block. At this point it does not matter
> which way you turn the crank.



So long as the #1 piston is moving UP when you turn!

If the #1 is moving DOWN, 2 and 3 are moving up, and their valves are OPEN!

--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
www.tegger.com/hondafaq/
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 17 Jul 2007, 08:08 pm
Elle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Setting Timing "Blind" [was Re: Timing Belt Tension Problems]

"Tegger" <tegger@tegger.c0m> wrote
> Don't panic yet.
>
> If I were you, though, I would not at this point try to
> set the pistons
> to TDC. If the cam/crank alignment is off, you need to
> start from
> scratch, being mindful of damage to the valves..
>
> First: Get the pistons all to half-way.
> Remove belt, remove spark plugs. Stick a rod down each
> cylinder until
> you find the pair that is closest to the top. Now
> carefully find out
> which way turning the crank *with a socket* results in
> those going DOWN.
> Turn crank that way until the pistons are all at the same
> height. This
> way they are out of range of the valves.
>
> Second: Replace the crank bolt.
> Buzz it down to approximately 50 ft lbs. Use washers if
> necessary to
> mimic the spacing of the crank pulley.
> LEAVE THE PULLEY AND TIMING COVER OFF!
>
> Third: Turn the camshaft until the #1 cylinder's valves
> are all closed,
> and so the marks on the cam pulley and head are matched
> perfectly.
>
> Fourth: Turn the crank *with a socket* so the #1 piston
> climbs UP, until
> it reaches TDC. At this point the TDC mark on the
> crankshaft should
> perfectly match the mark on the block. At this point it
> does not matter
> which way you turn the crank.
>
> Fifth: Push the tensioner so the spring is stretched as
> far as you can
> stretch it.
>
> Sixth: Replace the timing belt.
> Make ABSOLUTELY certain the cam, crank and head/block
> marks are aligned
> PERFECTLY. It is distressingly easy to get it off by one
> tooth. You will
> likely have to turn the cam pulley slightly to get the
> teeth to line up.
> When the belt goes on, make sure all the slack is on the
> tensioner side.
>
> Seventh: Double check the cam and crank alignment marks.
>
> Eighth: With the wrench on the crank bolt (or your hand on
> the cam
> pulley), make certain all the slack is on the tensioner
> side, then
> loosen the tensioner bolt with a quick motion. It ought to
> ZING up then
> stop. Still maintaining pressure on the crank bolt,
> tighten the
> tensioner bolt.
>
> Ninth: Triple check the marks and the tension. If OK,
> remove crank bolt,
> reinstall timing cover, crank pulley, crank bolt, etc.


Success! After thinking most of the afternoon this was going
to be the one maintenance job where I surrendered and had
the car towed to a shop, my Civic and I are sitting pretty.
No more rat-a-tat-tat; the timing is perfect (or is near as
a person can see with a timing light and those eye-straining
crankshaft pulley marks!).

I examined that tensioner on and off the car, read and
re-read your notes, Tegger, read and re-read a few other
descriptions for setting the tension, and somehow stumbled
into the right tension setting. I was halfway through when I
read your post a few hours ago, Tegger, and was happy to see
some corroboration for what I was doing. E.g., um,
discovering/remembering this is an interference engine, so
the cam shaft is going to be obstructed unless the pistons
are all about mid-way.

I checked and re-checked the alignment of cam and crank.
When I finally felt I had the tension set, I rotated all a
few revolutions by hand to see that (1) the belt was not
slipping or slapping (it was doing that earlier; now I know
this is a sign of the wrong tension, even though the belt
was holding while I drove it around the other day); and (2)
to re-check my piston #1 TDC with the camshaft's "up" marks.

As for getting the cam and crank aligned correctly, with
belt on, I can understand if no one believes me, because I
am still in shock, but I got it right on the first try. I
thought sure there would be two to five more tries.

I shorted the service check connector and checked the
timing. The distributor needed a tiny bit of rotation to put
the center red mark (on the crankshaft pulley) yada where it
is supposed to be.

I left the PS pump and cruise control actuator disconnected
and off to the side while I troubleshot all this.

Tegger, I still need to explore that tensioner's operation.
This might be worth a write-up, because the darn thing's
operation is still pretty confusing to me. Still, with your
comments and some experimenting with it installed and nearly
all the interference down near the crank removed, I made
progress. I still feel stupid, but less so.

In any event, I very much appreciate your prompt response.
It got me going down the right paths. I did indeed panic a
bit when the belt slipped with the car running.

I think I should go to the casino now, since I surely was
so lucky today. :-)


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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 17 Jul 2007, 08:52 pm
Tegger
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Setting Timing "Blind" [was Re: Timing Belt Tension Problems]

"Elle" <honda.lioness@nospam.earthlink.net> wrote in news:%Jdni.9286
$zA4.2669@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net:


>
> I think I should go to the casino now, since I surely was
> so lucky today. :-)
>
>
>



Two thumbs up! Glad you got it going.

The tensioner can be a bit of a puzzle. I did not mention it before because
I forgot, but it is easy to get the tensioner and spring assembled
incorrectly, in which case it will not zing up properly when asked to do
so.

I myself somehow got the tensioner and spring improperly assembled the
first time I did my belt (had replaced the tensioner). When it did not
respond correctly to my attempts at "zinging" it, I investigated further
and discovered my mistake.

My belt is not due to be replaced for a few years yet, and I did my wife's
just last year, so it may be a while before I manage to get some photos,
unless somebody has some to contribute.

--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
www.tegger.com/hondafaq/
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 17 Jul 2007, 10:39 pm
Elle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Setting Timing "Blind" [was Re: Timing Belt Tension Problems]

"Tegger" <tegger@tegger.c0m> wrote
> The tensioner can be a bit of a puzzle. I did not mention
> it before because
> I forgot, but it is easy to get the tensioner and spring
> assembled
> incorrectly, in which case it will not zing up properly
> when asked to do
> so.


I checked the orientation of the hooks at the end of the
spring on the old setup first, so I think I got those right.
I wish I'd made other observations, though. I think I will
go to my local "U-Pull-It" auto junkyard and see if I can
find some old tensioners still installed.

> My belt is not due to be replaced for a few years yet, and
> I did my wife's
> just last year, so it may be a while before I manage to
> get some photos,
> unless somebody has some to contribute.


I wish I understood how the tensioner works well enough to
write this experience up, with photos. I am holding onto the
old tensioner and spring for awhile to see if I become
"inspired."

OTOH, my 91's design is so old, I am not sure it will be of
much value for very long.


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