Why Timing Belt Replacements Can Be Tricky

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Most cars and light duty trucks have timing belts. The transverse mounted engines, or known as front wheel drive, can be tricky with removing and replacing a timing belt.

There are three types of timing belts

  • Single overhead cam timing belt
  • Dual overhead cam timing belt
  • Dual overhead cam twin head timing belt

Single overhead cam timing belt

Single overhead cam timing belts can be a little tricky to replace. Some vehicles have brackets, pulleys, or cooling hoses in front of the timing cover. Keeping the camshaft and crankshaft in alignment are pretty simple on single overhead design when replacing a timing belt.

Dual overhead cam timing belt

Dual overhead cam timing belts can be tricky as well. Most vehicles today on the market have a cylinder head design that has the valve train enter the combustion chamber at an angle of forty to eighty degrees. This is critical when removing the timing belt due to the alignment of the valve train. When removing a timing belt on a dual overhead camshaft, the two camshafts are preloaded with springs. One camshaft may have a load on shaft resulting the camshaft staying put during the belt removal. However, the other camshaft will not have a load on it and the shaft will turn under spring pressure. This can cause a valve to make contact with a piston allowing the valve to bend.

To prevent a camshaft from rotating when the timing belt is removed a cam lock tool is to be used. a cam lock tool locks between both camshafts and keeps them together from rotating.

Dual overhead cam twin head timing belt

The most complex type of timing belt replacement that can be very tricky to perform is a dual overhead cam twin head timing belt. This type of belt is a single belt that is used on a v configured engine with dual overhead camshaft heads. Most v-6 engines with overhead timing may have this type of belt. When replacing this type of belt it is important to have two cam lock tools for there are two sets of cylinder heads on the engine.

On transverse engines, the timing belt can be tricky to remove for there is limited space to access the belt. Some vehicles it is easier to remove the belt from the top of the engine, but on most vehicles, the wheel and tire assembly must come off along with the inner fender, if it is a bolt on design, to access the lower bolts to the timing cover. Most timing covers are now one piece resulting in removing the harmonic balancer located on the crankshaft.

Some engines will have engine mounts in the way of removing the timing belt and making it difficult to extract the belt. In this case, supporting the engine and keeping it from moving will help aid in removal and installation of the engine mounts, commonly known as dog bones.

Timing belts are to be changed based on the manufacturer's recommendation time frame. It is ok to change a timing belt earlier than normal but not recommended.

  • Note: If a timing belt has broken off, be sure to check the engine to see if it is an interference or non interference engine. Plus, realign the timing, install a new belt, and perform a leak down test to ensure that the engine is indeed ok for normal operations. YourMechanic has services available to replace your timing belt.

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Recent Timing Belt Replacement reviews

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YourMechanic Timing Belt Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

1,114

Rating Summary
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Scott

20 years of experience
49 reviews
Scott
20 years of experience
Toyota Avalon - Timing Belt - Glendale, Arizona
Scott worked in the timeframe given plus, he was very professional in doing the job! Satisfied Consumer
Dodge Grand Caravan - Timing Belt Replacement - Phoenix, Arizona
Scott did a great job even in the 113 ' heat. He was courteous, conscientious, and knowledgeable. He went above and beyond to make sure my car was back to good running order.

Mohammed

7 years of experience
50 reviews
Mohammed
7 years of experience
Dodge Caravan - Timing Belt - Raleigh, North Carolina
Mohammed mechanic, very happy with his work. Came on time for timing belt service. He is very cautious and after having the work done, he double check the work , which hardly any mechanic dose. In my opinion he is AAA grade mechanic
Honda Odyssey - Timing Belt - Raleigh, North Carolina
Excellent service! Super nice guy! Was able to get it done quickly! He didn't even let some rain stop him. I'd have him as my personal mechanic from now on, if possible!

Theodore

14 years of experience
1075 reviews
Theodore
14 years of experience
Toyota Tacoma - Timing Belt - Woodinville, Washington
Five stars for another timing belt job - this time on my Tacoma. Theodore pointed out some other areas that might need attention, which was much appreciated. He is knowledgeable and honest - I will definitively use him again in the future.
Lexus GX470 - Timing Belt - Woodinville, Washington
Theodore replaced the timing belt, which pretty intimidating for most of us. Everything went smooth. Great job!

Fred

15 years of experience
334 reviews
Fred
15 years of experience
Lexus SC430 - Timing Belt - Spring, Texas
On time. Polite. Competent. Willing to answer questions. Did great work. What else can you ask for?

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