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todadqa

Interested in DIY timing belt change

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I have seen around several DIY cam-belt projects from non car mechanics and my 80k+ baby is coming up to a cam-belt change so I am interested in what people have to say basically.

You could say that I am as far from a car mechanic as you get but this being my first car, Im really interested in doing the job myself in the summer. I have some reference posts for guidance on how to do things but otherwise I was wondering if some people could give me a general starting point on constructing this plan. 

From a little reading, I see that one of the largest tasks is removing the crankbolt! Considering I have, quite literally, no tools or experience in using a wrench, I would be interested to see what people think of me taking on such a task.

Im happy to put in the time reading as I procrastinate enough o be quite honest...

Most importantly, one of the main reasons I want to undertake this project is my distrust of mechanics... The idea of leaving my car with someone I don't know for a day chills me to the bone! 

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A decent toolset is the most important thing for this sort of job. There's nothing worse than having to nip to the shop 4 times during a job to keep getting tools. You'll at least need a socket set, breaker bar, torque wrench, locking tools, trolley jack (and axle stands), hammer (every Mechanical person needs them). Things like pry bars/ big flat head screwdrivers also come in handy along with some hose plyers for getting the water pump hoses off. A nut runner would make light work of the crankshaft pulley, but you can do it with a breaker bar it's just a little harder.

Basically most of the stuff is just common hand tools (apart from the timing locking tools) but if you literally don't own a single spanner then it might be an expensive job. Obviously that investment pays off If you continue to service your car.

Perhaps start with something a bit smaller like an oil change/ full service or brake change etc. to get your confidence up and work up to a cam belt change.

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1 hour ago, iantt said:

some mechanics are trustworthy. 

Sadly not many these days though...  I'm still struggling to find a trustworthy and reasonably priced MOT garage locally, best I can find so far is part of a major chain and 20 mins drive away, but there's no way I'd trust them to fit major engine components.  If you were closer you'd obviously get all of my business lol! :tongue: 

 

Cambelt change is definitely something that can be done at home, but I really wouldn't suggest it's the first job you try...  I got in a panic just trying to undo a sump plug the first time I picked up a ratchet... Then promptly gained an arm full of oil and a floor cleaning job... :laugh: 

Do you have a mate that could help/guide you?  I guided a mate with no prior mechanical experience through a headgasket and cambelt change a couple of years ago, he learnt a lot from it and didn't have any disasters. :smile: 

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I would be scared to do a job like this as one mistake and engine is a gonna and then its a lot of money to put right.

Good luck.

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I wish you the best of luck, I really do!

TF is right, in that this is really not a beginners job. I also agree with iantt.

Luke also makes a good point, that the job will probably cost you more than paying a mechanic to do it, unless you re-use the tools for further jobs.

The job imho has to be a labour of love, not of financial saving.

I'm very impressed with your keenness but it's Patience (with a capital P) you'll need here :wink:

If you go ahead with the project, here's some early tips:

You'll need a Metric socket set. DO NOT use open ended spanners!

MAKE SURE YOU DISCONNECT THE battery!

Again, MAKE SURE YOU DISCONNECT THE battery!!

YOU'LL NEED AN AXLE STAND. DO NOT REACH UNDER THE CAR WHILST IT IS SUPPORTED ONLY WITH THE JACK FROM UNDER THE SPARE WHEEL!

Again, YOU'LL NEED AN AXLE STAND. DO NOT REACH UNDER THE CAR WHILST IT IS SUPPORTED ONLY WITH THE JACK FROM UNDER THE SPARE WHEEL!!

DO NOT DISREGARD THE LAST FOUR POINTS OF ADVICE!!! YOUR LIFE IS WORTH MORE THAN YOUR CAR!!!

You'll need to support the engine when you release the offside engine mount. I/we used a scissor jack.

Do lots of research (procedure/parts/tools).

Allow lots (I mean LOTS) of time. You're not going to do job this in one afternoon! Have you got alternative transport whist your car is off road?

Take photo's along the way.  They'll be useful if/when you hit problems.

Get 'MJNewton' and 'stef123' on board.  They're excellent advisors!

Best wishes,

H..

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I have done the timing belt on a few cars but never done one on one of those zetec twin cam engines. I would be put off because the pulleys are not keyed to the shafts so you have to get the position right and then make sure it does not move when doing the bolts up tight, the crankshaft one being the biggest worry.

I could not recommend it to a beginner.  It's much more risky than a single cam engine with a woodruff key positioning the pulley on the crankshaft.

if you go slightly wrong you could bend 16 valves as the pistons hit them.

 

with regard to undoing crank bolt, this is how I have done it on a few cars.

disconnect ignition system so the engine won't fire up.

put a big ring spanner on crank bolt. Position it at about 4 o'clock position. Put bricks or blocks of wood under end of spanner so it can not turn clockwise.

Car in neutral

Turn the ignition key monentarily . the engine will turn and spanner should loosen the bolt.

HOWEVER, I can not really say this is a safe way. The spanner might slip off and cause damage. The strain on the starter cog might damage the teeth or something else on the starter motor if the bolt is very tight . IF IT IS AN ENGINE WHERE THE PULLEY IS NOT KEYED TO THE CRANKSHAFT YOU MIGHT BEND THE VALVES.  But is all else fails and someone is desperate then maybe. It has always worked for me. But I have never tried one where the pulley is not keyed to crankshaft.      ***SO BE WARNED*****

 

 

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the best advice is simply find a decent local independent garage that has good feedback from customers -  you can get that from a simple google search that comes with reviews - and put aside your apprehensions in using the services of a professional mechanic.

i use a small mot garage a mile from home and hes as good as gold whereas the dealership right across the road are incompetent crooks

i've also used halfords auto centre a few times and theyve been great also.

just dont trash your engine attempting , by your own admission , something you may not have the skills for.

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