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Timing belt help!

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I've also posted this in the third gen section as my car is a 2000 but the info should be the same for any 2000-09 SOHC 2.5. I'm posting here because there seems to be more traffic in this section


Alright everyone, saddle up this may get a little lengthy, I apologize in advance.

Ok, so yesterday I decided to investigate a slight knocking sound, I assumed this sound was coming from my timing belt tensioner but after removing the timing belt cover I found my belt was in absolutely horrible condition.

I had purchased a timing belt kit from eBay a couple of months ago with the intent to change it and decided now would be a great time to do so.

Everything was going swell, I lined up all the timing marks and removed the belt but there was no spring back after removing the belt. Is there supposed to be? Everything stayed lined up perfect, I replaced all but the lowermost smooth idler and attempted to install the belt. After about an hour of trying, I gave up for the night.

I watched a video from briansmobile1 in which he left both, the smooth, and the toothed pulley off the bottom, then installed the two. Sadly I was having no luck that way either, this belt was TIGHT!

I eventually decided to reinstall the toothed idler but STILL no avail. I fought with it for about an hour before, once again removing the toothed idler AGAIN.

Finally, I got the belt in position and just barely placed the toothed idler bolt in the hole, sadly I had to start the bolt with an air ratchet, and may have cross threaded it. Lastly, I installed the lower smooth pulley with a fair amount of ease and pulled the pin on the tensioner, however, the tensioner didn't seem to move at all, not that it really needed to, the belt was VERY tight.

After the belt was on I simply installed the harmonic balancer and serpentine belt to see if the car would run, I turned the key and it fired right up and sounded GREAT. No more ticking or knocking that I could hear. Since everything seemed fine, I removed the serpentine belt and harmonic balancer so I could install the covers and put everything back together. I ended up running into town to run a few errands and by the time I made it home there was a very apparent knocking sound coming from the engine.

The car is running fine and shows no signs of being out of time, it seems to have a little more power and even idles better than before.


Now let me clear up a few things, the eBay timing kit I purchased was a very cheap one. I paid $62 for the kit from a place called wonderulparts.. however, the exact same kit from the same seller, listed exactly identical is now listed for $460 not sure why but it is the same kit that is in my purchase history.



I said above that I think I cross threaded a bolt, as bad as it sounds I did nothing to fix it, I was tired and fed up with it already and didn't want to start over. It is tight and sits the way it's supposed to with the car running it didn't seem to wobble or anything. Every bolt had a dab of Loctite when installing and all idlers and the tensioner were torqued to 30 ft-lbs. I think I read somewhere that 29 ft-lbs was spec but I don't think my torque wrench is calibrated well.


I believe that it may be possible that the passenger side cam gear may have been off very slightly, It looked like it could have been off by about 1/16 of an inch but I had to look at it a certain angle to see it. Looking strait down it looked to be perfect.


Lastly the harmonic balancer has not been properly torqued yet, I don't know how to hold it in place well enough, it's pretty tight but probably not enough.


Would any of the mentioned reasons cause a very loud knocking sound? It sounds identical to a rod knock. I tried to catch a video but it stopped as soon as I started recording. When it was knocking it would only do it at below a certain RPM range.


Here is the timing belt before changing


This is just to show that it is routed correctly


Here is the briansmobile1 video mentioned in the post

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If you have a manual transmission you can put the car in 3rd gear and have a friend push on the brake while you tighten the bolt. If your torque wrench doesn't go high enough borrow one from AutoZone. If you think you might be off a tooth or more on your belt ... look at the service manual there is a page with how many teeth should be between the marks on the cam gears and crank.


As for your sound.... check your idler pulley for anything that sounds like a rollerskate wheel and replace it. If you can isolate it to a specific side of the engine you can remove the valve cover and check valve clearances with a feeler gauge, it could be that your valves may need an adjustment or valves could be sticking. Also if its time to change your oil you can see if there is anything bad in there.


Good luck

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I had a hard time getting my new gates belt on my car, it was tight, but i barely got it on.


The crank pulley bolt is a torque to yield bolt, it has to be tightened a certain way.



The knocking could be from the tensioner. When gates switch tensioner suppliers, people reported a knocking when they first installed them. Gates then released a bulletin or recommendation that said you have to compress the piston a few times before installing it or something like that.



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+1 for the tensioner causing a knocking sound. One way to test it is to pry down on the tensioner while the car is running, and if it goes away then you have found your problem.


It is definitely not easy to torque that crank pulley bolt to 130ftlbs by yourself. I had my grandpa put all his weight on a pry bar using two 2in extensions in the pulley while I tightened mine down to 120ft lbs. It's a little low, but I haven't had any problems with it. I would hate for that bolt to snap and have to tap it out.


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Thank you everyone for the suggestions, it sound like the valves are coming in contact with the pistons, I'm thinking it's slightly out of time. Do you think I could have caused any damage driving it like this?



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If the timing belt is off by 3 or more teeth, it very well may have damaged the engine. However if the valves came in contact with the pistons, most likely you would have a hole through the head/block and I doubt your engine would run. Definitely do not drive it until you fix the problem.


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