timing belt age as a sole replacement indicator

Mike Arman Armanmik at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 23 12:21:47 PDT 2014

Timing belt on an I-5 is a pretty easy and fast job. The quote of $950 evidently is because the 
mechanic's yacht payment is due.

I used to do them in about 2.5 hours from open hood to wash hands. I'd cheerfully do three a day at 
$950 each, where do I sign on? (Lets see, $950 times 3 times 5 days times 50 weeks is $712,500 a 
year . . . so I'll hire someone to do it, pay them $20 an hour and keep the difference!)

Old timing belts make me nervous, and old timing belts that haven't been run make me even more so. 
Rubber can take a "set" as well as harden over time, and if you start that up, the belt is quite 
likely to break or at least loose some teeth. Timing belts are cheap, engines are not - if in doubt, 
change the belt!

You'll need the lock tool. I've heard of people getting the crank bolt out without the tool, they 
lock the crank with the end of a pry bar (that's also a good way to get hurt when it slips), but you 
really can't get it back on tight enough without the tool. A couple of lengths of pipe are a great 
help, and you'll want a big torque wrench on reassembly.

Make sure the water pump gasket face is smooth and not pitted, otherwise it will probably leak. 
Believe it or not, JB weld can often be used to fill any pits, and you file it smooth after it hardens.

The V8 is a "tad" tougher . . . a bunch of special tools needed, hundreds of dollars in rollers, 
tensioners, the water pump, various seals and other bits, and the first one I did took me almost 13 
hours (spread out over three days of sweating and cussing in the middle of August in Florida).

Best Regards,

Mike Arman
90V8Q (still for sale)

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