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1996 Neon, How do I set timing for new belt.

04-09-2009, 11:09 AM
I have a 1996 Dodge Neon 2.0 SOHC that was over heating. I told my daughter not to drive it until I could work on it and find and fix the problem. Well, we all know how kids are. She continued to drive it and it eventually it broke down. Now here’s what I have done. I found that the water pump bearing went bad and that is why it was over heating. This also caused the timing belt to break. I replaced the water pump and put a timing belt on it. I only have compression in two cylinders and it won’t start. I followed the instructions for installing the timing belt from the book. I think they may be wrong. What I need to know is how exactly to set the crank and cam before I install the timing belt. Can someone give me step by step instructions on how to set the crank and cam and install the belt? Thank you in advance for any help!


Oldsmobile Doctor
04-09-2009, 11:28 AM
A Neon has a interference engine when the timing belt brakes it will bend valves.

04-09-2009, 11:42 AM
I was told by a dodge dealer last night that it is a non interference engine and that nothing touches the valves. They told me that the timing has to be off?????? Is it posable that the crank or cam is off by one turn?

04-09-2009, 12:14 PM
Time it by the Mark on the Belt and the Mark(s) on the Cam(s).
Before doing all this, make sure everything is TDC...

04-09-2009, 12:16 PM
And TDC means (Top Dead Center).

04-09-2009, 12:26 PM
Is this correct?

1. Turn crank pulley over until #1 cylinder is at TDC on the compression stroke.
2. Align the mark on the crank pulley with the mark on the housing behind it.
3. Align the cam pulley with the mark on the plastic housing.
4. Install the belt.

04-09-2009, 02:26 PM

04-09-2009, 02:32 PM
Do it for the Piston that is farthest from the Crankshaft...
TDC is for the Cam...
BDC (Bottom Dead Center) is the Crank...

04-09-2009, 03:01 PM
I'll give it a try and let you know. But I already know that we set #1 piston to TDC when we installed the belt. I am betting now that the crank pulley is off.

04-09-2009, 03:03 PM
How do you tell if the cam is at TDC? Do you just set it to the mark? Or is there a way to tell?

04-09-2009, 03:32 PM
And your saying to set the piston furtherest from the crank shaft to TDC? That would be the piston on the far right hand side looking in at the motor?

04-09-2009, 09:50 PM
Either First or Fourth...

04-09-2009, 09:51 PM
And set the mark right to the belt or plastic cover...

04-09-2009, 10:09 PM
I'm sorry but this newbie is going to mess you up. The one you set is the piston farthest from your transmission. Your number one cylinder. You may have just turned it to where that piston is up, but you may need to turn the crank one more complete turn till its up again, leaving the cam alone(maybe didn't have it on the right stroke).

04-09-2009, 10:31 PM

04-09-2009, 11:05 PM
Damn, where you get all this? LOL

04-09-2009, 11:43 PM
I hate to be the second one to break the bad news to you, but you do have an interference engine and sorry but the guy at the shop lied to you. I know this because I was just trying to find a guide for you specific to your engine to install the timing belt, and the instructions say that after you line up your crankshaft, to turn it back 3 notches, line up your camshaft, then line up your crankshaft back up. You would not have to do that for a non-interference engine, or free-wheeling as they call it(you would be able line up the crankshaft where it goes to start with and leave it).

You are going to have to get a head for the vehicle, and I would definitely take it out of your daughters allowance if I were you, or just make her ride the bus, lol.

Well, here is the link in case you want it anyway.

Oldsmobile Doctor
04-09-2009, 11:56 PM
You could also have the bent valves replaced last one I did bent the exhausts in one cylinder and the intakes in another I did it myself and hand lapped the others. Don't forget the cam seal plus Dodge makes a retainer that bolts over to keep it from popping out. The part number is P 05016733-AA


04-10-2009, 07:22 AM
Yes he is right just whichever way works best for you. I would think though, well at least around here it might be just as cheap to get a decent used head from a junkyard.

04-10-2009, 08:00 AM
Same Difference...

04-10-2009, 05:44 PM
Thanks for all the advice. You just confirmed what I found out today. I have another motor available and I think that I will just change motors. Does anyone have a good way to pull the damper off? I tried to pull it with a 3 arm puller on Sunday and it wouldn't budge. I want to put my new timing belt and water pump on before installation.

I almost stopped by the dodge dealer today to chew some butt but I thought better of it. It must have been quitting time and the guy just wanted to get rid of me. Oh well, I will never buy anything from them.

Thanks again, Todd

Oldsmobile Doctor
04-10-2009, 08:22 PM
Auto Zone has the tool part number is 27139 You purchase the tool use it than return it for your money back

04-10-2009, 10:46 PM
You might also want to spray some wd-40 on it too and let it be soaking it might make it a little easier when you get the puller.

04-11-2009, 09:45 AM
Yep. You guys are reading my mind. I was thinking the same thing as far as the tool from Auto Zone. I have rented tools from them before. I sprayed a ton of PB Blaster on it last Sunday, so it should come off with the right tool. Thanks again for all the advice. I'll let you know how things go.

Have a great day,

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