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Old 03-14-2011, 06:06 PM   #1
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Default Timing belt question - bolt on the tensioner?

Hi.

I've recently done the timing belts, water pump, and seals on my 93 car. Car runs great and better than before. But my major concern is that the belt didn't seem very tight. The "tension side" of the belt was absolutely tight, but the slack side definitely seemed a bit slack. How slack? Well, I don't know what it was technically. It didn't seem tight to the touch.

Now, the confusing thing is on the timing belt tensioner, there was a 6 mm bolt with a 10 mm head holding everything in place, so on reinstalling I simply put that bolt back on -- whereas according to the manual and some members here, that bolt is supposed to be removed.

First thing, the bolt wasn't a borrowed timing cover bolt. It's not shanked the way the timing cover bolts are. More importantly, the bolt was already there when I disassembled everything.

My question is, do you think I'll run into problems down the line if I leave the belt as is? Or would it be a good idea to get in there again and remove that bolt that isn't (!?) supposed to be there? (Essentially, do you think I have to redo the timing belt job?)

I sought to do the timing belts myself to save some money and for some peace of mind considering that I had a slight oil leak coming from the seals, and considering the last time the belts were changed were about 90k miles before I did them. But on the contrary I've had no peace of mine since I've done the belts. At the same time, I'm sick of working on the car, and am looking for some solid advice from some folks here.

Information to focus on: 1) Tension side of the belt is tight-tight! 2) Bolt was on the tensioner before I did the job, and thus I merely put it back on, tensioner in a relatively "up" position so that the bolt screws close to the bottom of the groove (sorry if this is not clear). 3) Car runs better now than before.

Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Timing belt question - bolt on the tensioner?

That bolt is not supposed to be there. It's purpose is to hold the tensioner in the slack position while a new belt is installed.

If you set the tension on the belt correctly, and then re-installed the bolt it's not technically correct no.

Will it hurt anything? No, it won't. The tensioner is held in place with a bolt to begin with, so another one won't do any harm.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Timing belt question - bolt on the tensioner?

Thanks for the reply, chikin pickle!

Sorry for not being clearer. It's what I'm confused about: Is the belt properly tensioned? - Can the belt achieve proper tension with that bolt on, at all? Again, the tensioner ended up being in a relatively "up" position, the position of the bolt ended up being close to the low end of the groove of the tensioner retainer thingie.

The tension side of the belt is tight, but the slack slide not nearly as tight. My main concern is that the belt is not tight enough (most likely because that bolt is there).
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Timing belt question - bolt on the tensioner?

Here is how the tensioner is supposed to work. There is a spring on it, that pulls it tight. You put the belt on, release the tensioner and allow the spring to pull it tight. Then tighten the nut on the tensioners so that it doesn't go anywhere.

Your belt isn't going to have a deathgrip. You don't want it too tight or it will wear prematurely.

If you are that paranoid about it, take off the upper timing cover and try and push the belt off the cam gear. If it stays on, or requires finger busting to get off you are fine.

The tensioner is there to keep the belt from going slack on the side that is being "pushed" by the crank pulley. The front side gets pulled tight by the pulley anyways.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Timing belt question - bolt on the tensioner?

In doing this job, I had a killer time getting that adjusting nut off - in fact I rounded/stripped it out. So I'm going to have to replace that anyway, if anything for its own sake. I guess when I do that, I'll try to retension everything, take the covers off, and redo the valve adjustment that I did (and which could be better), and shine my flashlight in and see where the tensioner is relative to that 6mm bolt.

And I'll try your test to see if it's tight enough.

But for a visual of what I'm talking about, check out this guy's video:

[youtube]JPGf-B0biAo[/youtube]

The tension side of his belt is about as tight as the slack slide of my belt (though my belt is tighter than his even there).

(His tension obviously has some major, big-mother-fricking issues!)
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Timing belt question - bolt on the tensioner?

I finally got back in there and basically did the job again.

This time it took me slightly less than 4 hours to do. But I got that bolt off the tensioner, and the belts are adequately tight.

Also, I was able to replace the adjusting nut. Mine was stripped to hell.

If I ever decide to sell my car or something, the new owners will be able to tell that the timing belts were done by fact that adjusting nut is shiny new with the happy face drawn on the tip of it with a black marker.
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