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Thread: 98 Timing Belt Alignment Problem

  1. #1
    scramslag is offline Banned
    Automobile(s): 1998 Catera
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    98 Timing Belt Alignment Problem

    I am reinstalling the timing belt and the marks on the belt do not line up with the cam sprocket and cover marks for camshafts 3 and 4. The marks on the belt are about 5 teeth beyond the marks on the sprocket and cover. I believe they may have been this way when I disassembled it. I'm inclined to ignore these marks since the double marks are aligned with the crank and housing and the cam alignment marks for cam 1 and 2 are spot on. Any thoughts? Anyone encounter this before? I know this is a replacement belt, but I do not know what manufacturer. The belt is not new. I am am reusing it because it is in good condition. The only way I could see to get the marks to align would be to leave a huge amount of slack between cam 2 and 3, but I don't even think I could take up the slack with the 1 and 2 idle pulley. Anybody know where these marks should be on the belt? How many teeth between the TDC marks and the cam marks?

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  3. #2
    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
    Automobile(s): 2001 Seville STS, 1990 Seville (RIP), 1972 Sedan Deville
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    East Boston MA.

    Re: 98 Timing Belt Alignment Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by scramslag View Post
    The belt is not new. I am am reusing it because it is in good condition.
    Timing belts tend to look quite good, right up until they snap and cause major engine damage. If it's already off, just replace it.

    I'd trust the marks on the engine before the marks on the belt.

  4. #3
    investor74 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
    Automobile(s): '97 Forest Green Catera
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Re: 98 Timing Belt Alignment Problem

    This all assumes nothing has moved since the belt has been off:

    The procedure I am reading says that you start at the crankshaft drive gear and line up the double dash (TDC) mark with the marks on the oil pump and on the belt drive gear. There is a tool to pinch the belt to prevent it from jumping as you install the rest.

    Then route the timing belt through the tensioner. Then you put it on gears 1 and 2 simultaneously, ensuring that the dash marks align with the marks on the gears. The you route the belt though idler pulley for camshaft 1 and 2. The route the belt through idler puller for camshafts 3 and 4. Then slip the timing belt through camshaft gears 3 and 4 simultaneously and the marks should line up.

    Measure the deflection between gear 4 and idler pully for camshafts 3 and 4 and the the deflection must be no more tha 1 cm (0.4 in).

    If things aren't lining up, I would double check that you have the proper belt for your car, or as MoistCabbage says it's all rather pointless to install a used belt.

    Edit: I wonder if the belt that you have has stretched over the years with use. Just no way to tell. Particularly hard on the belt are cold weather starts, I think there is even a counter which counts the cold weather starts. If it was my car, I just wouldn't take a chance. You have to be fearless. On one outcome, you can save the cost of a new belt. On the other outcome maybe you can get some salvage value from the remaining parts in the car.
    Last edited by investor74; 09-21-11 at 02:20 PM.


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