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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:51 pm 
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Location: Tacoma, WA
My 93 Metro 1.0 has 198k miles on the clock and after getting a transmission rebuild, it seems the timing belt is loose/worn out on the engine due to the symptoms and occassional engine noise and poor idle it's giving.

Is it typical to replace the tensioner at the same time, or is that just throwing money at something that doesn't generally need replacing?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:58 pm 
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198K. I would change it.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:10 pm 
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Location: Tacoma, WA
Thanks for the quick reply.

I have no history on the car and the lady claimed the timing belt was new. Maybe she meant the serpentine belt. Who knows?

She also said the non-existent A/C system would "blow up" if recharged. :roll:

I found the Gates set of the belt+tensioner (Part # TCK166) for $37.44 w/ tax and Prime shipping vs $17 just for the belt. I just placed the order and it'll be here Friday. If the weather is clear this weekend, maybe I can get it put on. :thumbsup:

I already made sure which crankshaft pulley I have, 4 bolt, so I should be good to go!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:15 pm 
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Location: columbus, ohio
i'm happy to hear that you opted for the tension idler, too.

the times that i haven't replaced the tension idler along with the timing belt always ended up with the damned thing locking up and throwing the belt through the plastic timing cover and my having to do the job over in 6 months. :blackeye:

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:40 pm 
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Location: Tacoma, WA
Yeah, I hate having to redo things. Once I realized it involves an idler with bearings I realized it would be best to replace.

Depending on the weather, I might just see what a nearby shop may charge. Trying to hurry in a parking lot on the weekend with possible rain stinks. But then again if I have to wait another week, it won't cost me $80 (around the price of an hour's labor) to ride the bus around town until the weather clears on a weekend.

(EDIT: The forecast predicts only 10% chance of rain. 8) )

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:30 pm 
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It took 3x-4x as long as normal to swap out, but i was taking my time and working without a lift, but the belt and pulley have been replaced, working in the parking lot here today.

I pulled the plugs to make the pulleys easier to turn and noticed that the #1 spark plug (nearest to timing belt) was fuel soaked. The other two weren't. The #3 plug (furthest from timing belt) was gapped less wide than the other two, so I corrected it. The plugs themselves didn't look fouled or worn at all, so they won't be replaced right now. They are gapped at 0.39".

(Edit note: The odd gapped plug could have been #2 or #3. I forgot to keep track when I pulled them so it's a 50/50 chance that the odd gapped wise was in either one. The gas soaked one was in #1 for sure.)

I fired it up and it started fine on the first try. I drove it about 3 miles with many stops and it seems much better now. It still feels like it idles a LITTLE rough sometimes but no where bad like it was right after the trans was replaced. The remaining roughness may just be the engine/transmission mounts, or the computer still re-learning since I had the battery disconnected about 6 hours. It also feels peppier again like it used to feel before the transmission rebuild.

Perhaps the old dying transmisison somehow put less strain on the engine which masked the bad timing belt and/or pulley. The timing belt looked new'ish and is also a Made in USA Gates 166 so it got a direct replacement.

The tensioner pulley I replaced looks old and worn. It isn't identical to the new one in the Gates belt+tensioner kit, so it may have been what was failing if it was original. The old one is Japan made so it's highly likely to be the original... or very old.

Prior to removal, it looked like the timing belt was off 1 to 3 teeth but then I may have been wrong since the "mark" I thought I saw for the crankshaft wasn't. In fact, I couldn't even FIND a mark on the oil pump like the factory manual specifies! There is a screw for the timing tensioner spring right in the spot where the mark is shown in the manual, and that screw is shown over to the side.

I took my best educated guess based on the oil pump mounting bolts shown in the factory manual vs reality, which placed the "line" right at the screw. It also looked to be directly "up" toward the marks at the camshaft. Looks like it was right.

Next I need to get the timing checked by a shop.. or buy a new xenon lamp for the nice solid metal USA made timing light gun I have that I got at a thrift store a year ago and learn how to use it... heh.

Oh and the timing cover has some scraping inside as if it had a belt broke once. The one I removed wasn't frayed any, so it's likely she did replace the belt but not the tensioner idler pulley.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:16 am 
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Fuel soaked plug may mean that plug wire is not delivering current.

The scraping on the inside of the belt cover is common as heat and time causes it to warp.

The tensioner bolt should be 'final' tightened with the just the spring pressure force , after hand rotating the engine a revolution to check that your timing marks are lining up. Over tension on the belt may cause early failure of belt and/or tensioner .


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:31 pm 
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Location: Tacoma, WA
suzukitom wrote:
Fuel soaked plug may mean that plug wire is not delivering current.

The scraping on the inside of the belt cover is common as heat and time causes it to warp.

The tensioner bolt should be 'final' tightened with the just the spring pressure force , after hand rotating the engine a revolution to check that your timing marks are lining up. Over tension on the belt may cause early failure of belt and/or tensioner .


My memory is so bad, I started wondering if I even tightened the tensioner pulley bolt, but i'm 99% sure I did. Reason I remember at all is that it took the 12mm socket and took the highest torque value of all, 19 ft lb. I think I recall counting it up to 19 from 10. Everything else was 10mm except the alternator adjustor bolt (12mm) for removing and installing the serpentine belt.

I tightened the tensioner bracket last as I recall so it should have been done properly.

I will check the #1 plug again sometime soon. Maybe it just had a poor connection or maybe the wire is bad. Perhaps that's why it's idling rough and that it wasn't the timing belt. *grumble* I undid the wires and put them back so maybe it "fixed" the wire for now.. maybe it got a poor connection somehow when they pulled and put back the transmission. Who knows?

I didn't check it again after I test drove it yesterday. It could be the wire is failing. I had two sets fail on a Corolla in a short amount of time and it idle and/or ran like crap with 1 cyl out on a 4cyl. I can only imagine how bad a 3cykl would be on 2. Maybe that was the problem... idling on 2cyl due to poor spark on #1. The engine felt like it wanted to jump out of the car at idle and the oil light flickered in sync with the rough idle from poor pressure.

The timing belt I removed looks so new and is identical in quality to the one I put on (not a cheapy one), I'll keep it as an emergency spare in the spare tire well.

Here are a couple pics of the old tensioner and belt I removed:

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