Timing Belt Replacement Resources

Do-It-Yourself Sites
I used the following sites to replace the timing belt on my 91 and 93 Civics.
  1. http://media.honda.co.uk/car/owner/media/manuals/CivicManual/pdf/6-21.pdf . See also http://media.honda.co.uk/car/owner/media/manuals/CivicManual/.
  2. www.autozone.com has a free Chilton's style manual that sometimes has better suggestions and photographs than the shop manual. You go to "Repair Info" at the top, at some point you put in the car you are trying to repair, then look for the link to "Repair Guides." Or try this: http://www.autozone.com/autozone/repairinfo/repairguide/repairGuideMain.jsp?leftNavPage=vehicleRepairGuides&ymmeId=1991/21/2/4&targetPage=vehicleRepairGuides
  3. http://www.crxsi.com/resources/repair/change_timing_belt/index.htm
  4. http://www.cadvision.com/blanchas/54pontiac/honda.html
I used a Helm shop manual and the autozone site to replace the timing belt on my 2003 Civic. A site at civicforums.com has a good description, also. However I think my computer picked up a serious malware problem from civicforums.com, so I am not linking the latter site here. Three tips for the 2001-05 Civics: (1) To get the alternator-A/C belt off, go ahead and follow the Helm manual steps and loosen the alternator. But remove the crankshaft pulley at some point, with the alternator belt still looped around it. Do the same thing when you go to put the alternator-A/C belt back on. The alternator cannot be removed without fully removing the alternator belt. (2) The spark plug tube seals took an hour or so of prying with a nail puller. The seals eventually popped out. I marred their seating surfaces some when removing them. (3) Contrary to what the shop manual says, feel free to unplug the CKP sensor. Overall I think the 2003 Civic was easier than my older Civics, because there is around an inch more space between the engine block and the car body to fit one's hands, ratchets, etc.



General Tips for all Honda Civics
These are from my handwritten notes. They are in order.

Crankshaft Pulley Bolt
A few weeks in advance of the actual job, take some time and figure out how you want to free the crankshaft pulley bolt. There are a few ways. See my site on crankshaftpulleyholdingtools. Some have had difficulty with my homemade tool for my 91 and 93 Civics; most do not. I think the difference is probably due to those with experience working with large torques versus those who cookbook their way through the job and so have greater potential to miss details and mess up.

Regardless of which pulley holding tool you use, try this technique for applying torque: With your arms on the end of a 5-foot pipe extension, apply torque in jerking motions. That is, while anticipating and protecting your body from the possibility of going flying or being hit by the pipe extension, push down hard and quickly on the wrench and then immediately let up. Repeat. This mimics the way an impact wrench works.

Some weekend go ahead and figure out what tool you will use to hold the pulley, free the pulley bolt, then torque it back to spec. Now you do not have to deal with this challenge during the actual timing belt replacement.

Cruise Control Actuator Partial Removal
  1. Disconnect cable from actuator bracket. Do not disconnect cable itself.
  2. Disconnect 4-pin connector. Push tab (closest to front, and without a tab opposite) outwards, then pull to disengage.
  3. All five bolts below should loosen by hand; neither a ratchet nor breaker bar should be necessary. Remove the two mount bolts.
  4. Remove the two cover bolts. For replacement: the lock ringed bolt goes near the cable.
  5. Under the cover, remove the third mount bolt.
  6. Move actuator way aside. Use compressed air and blow dust out at some point.
  7. Installation is the reverse of removal.

Power Steering Pump
The power steering pump does not have to have its fluid hoses disconnected. You only have to unbolt the housing and lay it out of the way. I have a few bungee cords handy to hold some things out of the way, like the p/s pump.

Preserving Timing While Doing the Replacement
From http://honda.lathi.net//faq.html: To make sure you preserve the timing between crank and cam shafts, consider the following approaches: Before removing the old belt, make a mark on the side of the old belt and on each sprocket with a dab of paint or even some typist's whiteout. Maybe use a Sharpie pen on the sprocket. Then after the old belt is off, lay it beside the new one and copy the marks exactly on the new one. Count teeth and triple check. Now you know for sure where things line up.  July 2007: I got the crank and cam completely unsynchronized, due to setting the tension incorrectly. I recovered either with a lot of luck, or because it is just not so hard to set the camshaft and crankshaft by (1) aligning the camshaft sprocket's embossed timing marks with the top of cylinder head; (2) using a screwdriver held flat on the cylinder head to help ensure it is lined up with the camshaft sprocket “up” marks; (3) using a rod in the #1 cylinder spark plug hole, and watching for the rod rising to its max height; and (4) making sure the crankshaft keyway is at 12 o’clock, a.k.a. TDC. Eric in an email implied that this really was not luck. He had never used the whiteout marking technique but rather always did what I did when he did timing belts for years at a Honda shop.

Cam and Crank Seals
The cam and crank seals should be replaced about every other TB change. Though they are cheap enough that changing them every TB change is worth considering. Have the new seal in hand so you know what you are looking for. The crankshaft seal appears at OEM parts sites under the "oil pump" section. Removing the old seal is best done with an ordinary wine bottle corkscrew. Screw the corkscrew into the rubber, twist and maybe pry a bit with a screwdriver. One may also use a screwdriver to prove and find the soft part near the journal. Tear out the inner circle of the old seal. Pry. Do not scratch the shaft. Do not drill, because the cylinder block is soft aluminum. [Paraphrasing from Eric] when replacing the seals take the following steps:
  1. First get a washer from the hardware store that has about the same or slightly smaller ID and OD of the new seal.
  2. Find sockets or scrap pipe that then can be used to tap on the washer to push the seal gently into place.
  3. Cut a piece of plastic from a plastic soda bottle. Cut it to fit as described below. Unrolled, it will be a rectangular piece of plastic with dimensions about 3 inches x 4 inches.
  4. Make a cylinder out of the plastic and insert it into the new seal. Use motor oil to pre-lubricate surfaces that come into contact in the next steps.
  5. Slide the plastic cylinder (with new seal) over the crankshaft end until the seal is about halfway into the bore. Be careful that the seal's lips yada do not fold over.
  6. Push and tap the new seal into place with a piece of pipe, sockets, washers or whatever fits over the crankshaft end and can push against the new seal evenly. Tap the seal into place until its outboard side is flush with the outer surface of the seal bore.
  7. Pull the plastic cylinder off.
Lube with motor oil as needed while you are doing this installation. Some folks use some Permatex Ultra Grey (or maybe Hondabond?) on the outer lip of the seal as it is being installed. Using the sleeve helps prevent the inner lip of the seal from hanging up and getting folded over. Page 2 of this site's drawings may help: http://media.honda.co.uk/car/owner/media/manuals/CivicManual/pdf/8-11.pdf . Note from 2010: I skipped the plastic sleeve steps above and all seems fine. The risk of the lip folding over as you are putting the seal in place seems small. New seals come with a vaseline-consistency grease on the inside.

Timing Belt Tensioner
I replace the tensioner every other TB change. Setting the tension is a little tricky. It is a good idea to take note of the tension on the old belt before removing the old belt. Otherwise follow the shop manual carefully, and see my site Timing Belt Tensioner.



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