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Author Topic: Timing Belt Tension  (Read 1659 times)

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Offline Brannick

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Timing Belt Tension
« on: July 24, 2015, 11:42:25 PM »
Could use a little input. Changing my timing belt and water pump. While I wait for a new bolt from Nissan (internal threaded bolt from water pump was broken, if anyone has a spare it would be awesome to finish this weekend) I want to be absolutely sure I've got the timing correct.

Firstly, I don't have a tension checker to get 22lbs on the belt per the spec requirements. How did you guys get the right tension? And the tension changes depending on where the engine is sitting. Tight, then has play. It trades off between different points of the belt.

Secondary question, both the crankshaft and passenger side sprocket (intake cam?) are both dead on with the markings. However, driver side (Exaust cam?) is half a tooth off. I counted the 40 teeth on the new belt between the two cams and 43 teeth down to the crankshaft which is correct. I'm pretty sure that will be fine but wanted to get some input from others who have done this on the xterra.

Any input would be helpful. I haven't had a timing belt be so finicky.

Offline Brannick

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Re: Timing Belt Tension
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2015, 07:00:13 PM »
Actually found a Gates Tension Guage online that could be overnighted for cheap. So I set everything up with the recommended 22lbs.

Everything is back together but it sounds like it is loose. Some noise coming from the timing cover. Has anyone had trouble with getting the proper tension?


Offline Conundrum

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Re: Timing Belt Tension
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2015, 01:06:21 PM »
I've done a few t-belts and one was a bit tight, but he went on to use nitrous with it so that probably benefited him.

I just made sure there was very little slack in it, compared to what I found when I took them apart. lol

Every one I've done, there was at least one tooth off and the belts were extremely loose.

I used marked OEM belts and aligned them to the marks on the Cam Gears and to the Crank gear. Note that if you look at the marks again they won't line up anymore after it is turned over so don't panic like I was. LOL The marks in the Cams and crank should line up though just not with the belt.

I hope you got it done ok. I did a write-up and posted it if you want to look for it.

Offline Brannick

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Re: Timing Belt Tension
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2015, 06:01:09 PM »
I got everything back together. Everything matches up except one cam being half a tooth off which I just assumed was okay.

I ended up getting a tension gauge and set it up and put everything together. But I think I'm gonna have to go back in and tighten it up. 22 lbs is super light and you can hear the belt flapping in the cover a bit.

Everything runs better and the timing seems great other than the flapping belt.

Thanks for the advice.

Offline Conundrum

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Re: Timing Belt Tension
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2015, 08:13:53 PM »
The half tooth may be just the way you're looking at it they don't line up perfectly with the dots.

Glad you got it together. Keepin' the First Gen's alive! LOL

Offline Conundrum

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Re: Timing Belt Tension
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2015, 07:15:45 AM »


This is how loose my belt was, there was no way it had any more than a pound or two of tension. I only had about 85K miles on it at this point but I replaced more due to age than mileage.

You can see on these two pictures how far off my marks were.



About 1 tooth off on the Passenger side cam shaft. It used to ping quite easily before replacing the belt. I'm sure this had some to do with it. Also I've never seen one of these engines have the correct timing set, so you might want to check on how to do that and verify yours is right. Just hooking up a light and looking at the marks doesn't work for these engines. There's a sort of an involved procedure to do it. Which is probably why they get set wrong to begin with.

« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 07:34:49 AM by Conundrum »