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Problem installing timing belt

01-04-2009, 12:13 PM
I am working on a 99 Dodge Neon 2.0L DOHC.
I am replacing the engine so replacing the timing belt and water pump on the new engine is a must. Well I followed the instructions for installing the new water pump.
1. Make sure timins marks on cams are aligned.
2. turn crank so timing mark is 1/2 tooth before TDC.
3. install belt: Crank, Water Pump, Guide, Cam, Caml Tensioner.
4. Turn crank to TDC to take up slack.
5. Rotate tensioner pulley and apply 23 ft-lbs. of torque.
6. install tensioner and press firmly against tensioner pulley bracket.
then tighten to 23 ft-lbs.
7. rotate engine 2 full turns and check timing marks.

well when I do this the timing marks on the cam gears are off by about 1/2 a tooth. Is this normal?

01-04-2009, 07:27 PM
Confirm the camshaft sprocket timing marks are aligned.
Initially align the TDC marks on the sprocket with the arrow on the oil pum housing
Back off CCW 3 notches BTDC.
Rotate crankshaft timing sprocket clockwise to 1/2 notch BTDC.
Belt goes on crankshaft sprocket, then around water pump sprocket, idler pulley and camshaft sprocket and then slip it over tensioner pulley, keeping tension on belt all of this time.
To take slack out of the belt, rotate the crankshaft timing sprocket clockwise to align the marks(TDC). Make sure the camshaft timing marks remain aligned.
Install the tensioner assembly but do not tighten bolts yet.Torque center bolt of tensioner pulley to 250 inch pounds. With torque applied, move the tensioner up against the tensioner pulley bracket and tighten the tensioer bolts to specs.
Release allen wrench or pin from the tensioner. Tension is correct when the pin can be easilly withdrawn and reinserted. Double check that the timing marks on both camshaft sprockets and crankshaft sprocket are still aligned at TDC.
Using the bolt in the center of the crankshaft sprocket, turn the crankshaft clockwise through two complete rotations( the camshaft and crankshaft sprocket marks will align every two revolutions of the crankshaft.

if this is what you are doing, it should all should be OK.

01-05-2009, 07:22 AM
Yea, everything except for "Back off CCW 3 notches BTDC" - thats not in my timing belt book.

01-05-2009, 08:12 AM
I took the 3 notches CCW from my Haynes manual. I have a '98 DOHC,MTX machine.

01-05-2009, 10:09 AM
Its been a while since I installed the timing belt on our 97 Neon, and the engine was on the bench when I did it - but the marks would either be 'on' and set up right, or they would be off by one entire tooth. If the marks are 'close', that is probably the right setting. Being off by one tooth should be pretty obvious.
And certainly you rotate the crankshaft pulley a couple of times - after all of the other steps have been done, (tensioner installed, belt installed, tensioned, tenionser bolt torqued down, etc.) before you conclude it is set correctly.
Turning the pulley CCW (or the cam pulley CW) a short distance should have made it easier to get the belt on correctly - since its hard to get the belt slid on otherwise. That is to say, when the belt is finally on correctly, the 'pulling' side is going to be in tension - and its hard to slide it on unless there is a little slack to work with.

01-08-2009, 07:14 AM
So you think the cam gear marks being off by about 1/2 tooth is OKAY?

01-08-2009, 11:51 PM
I think if it looks to be 'within one tooth' of being lined up correctly - it probably is lined up correctly. When the pulleys are made I think the notches for positioning them are a part of the casting process. While the result may not seem lined up with the precision of a machined groove, I dont know how it could be 'off' by any amount smaller than an entire tooth or multiples of teeth. And being that far off would hopefully be obvious.
There could be confusion if someone had added their own 'notch' with a file or cold-chisel, and had struck that mark slightly 'off'. I have found that kind of thing on the outside of the vibration damper on some older engines, where the original marks may be obscured by rust.

01-10-2009, 06:33 AM
Thats what i was thinking too, because everything I tried I came up with the same exact reading.


02-04-2009, 07:24 AM
Not sure what the problem was, i installed the old timing belt and everything lined right up, I then replaced it with the new one and again everthing lined right up - maybe I just needed a break from it.

02-06-2009, 06:43 PM
Thanks for the feedback; I appreciate it.

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