DIY : Adjust your timing belt tension: B-Series (really applies to all Honda engines)


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Disclaimer - vehicle shown is a swapped 92-95 civic that was once a track car and now a DD, the bay is dirty, rebuilt with leftover parts and used every day for a 40 mile commute.

Let's get started:

Supplies needed;
3/8 ratchet
10mm deep socket ( to remove VC nuts)
12mm socket ( to remove PS bolts)
14 mm socket ( to loosen tensioner bolt)
19 mm socket ( to spin the crank )
2" extension

Everyone has to tension their timing belt from time to time, as it ages, stretches, etc... And I see posts such as "is my t-belt loose" or "is my t-belt too tight" etc... you should have no more than 1" of play on the slack side ( firewall) and 90 degrees of twisted defleciton. If you are outside that spec your belt is loose. Also if you have all of your covers on and you have a loud flapping/ticking/slight knocking noise.. your belt may be loose and making contact with the covers. check it out.

Super simple and you don't even have to jack the car up:

1) Locate your engine and t-belt: Driver side belt on top of the engine ( please note my cam cover has been removed prior to this. you will need to remove your valve cover to get a visual on your cam gears)
Most of you will also have to remove your upper timing cover, 2 bolts, one to the front and rear of the cover 12mm to be removed and seperate the covers.

2) Bring the engine to Top Dead Center Piston #1 ( TDC) : Noted 2 ways; white hash mark on the harmonic balancer/ accessory pulley & cam marks even with the top of the head. ( please note I have aftermarket cam gears, but the step is the same, the odd symbol at the top of my gears is the "up" symbol and on stock gears it WILL say UP with an arrow) This is achieved using a 19mm socket/ratchet to rotate the crank bolt COUNTER CLOCKWISE ( or loose) The bolt is torqued to 130-180 ft/lb so if you break it loose turning the crank a) you found a looming issue and b) retorque to spec when complete ( put car in 5th and tighten clockwise)

3) Remove PS pump and move out of the way: Just enough to get a ratchet into the bay.

you may need a deep socket

4) located under your driver side engine mount ( i couldnt get a good picture) there is a rubber plug. Remove it by hand. inside will be a 14mm bolt head, this is for your tensioner pulley bolt. use a 14mm socket to loosen the bolt 180 degrees +- from it's original position ( or 4 turns from parallel to the ground to punching the lower PS bracket)

5) Use 19mm socket to rotate the crank COUNTER CLOCKWISE 3 TEETH on the cam ( keep a visual on your TDC mark and replace it with 3 blank teeth) if you go clockwise you will actually put more slack in the belt due to the tensioner pulling in the direction of rotation)

6) Use 14mm socket to tighten down the tensioner bolt to 33-40ft/lb.. to put that in perspective if you do not have a torque wrench, your oil filter is held on with 33 ft/lb.. it only needs to be that tight... seriously...

7) use the 19mm socket to rotate the crank COUNTER CLOCKWISE 5-6 Crank rotaitons, then reset to TDC ( see step 2)

8) test tension again with finger ( results):

tension side

cam side

slack side

note that I am using a fair amount of force to test. if your belt shows no change start at step 2 and try again ( loosen the tensioner bolt a little more) IF you repeat the steps multiple times with no change in slack and it is outside the limits REPLACE THE BELT!!!

9) replace PS pump/belt:

10) replace VC with 10 mm nuts, clean up / walk away OR go for a drive



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thanks for the move, was on the fence as to which section to post. engine or DIY