99 Honda Civic - I want my timing belt changed

Sorry if this question is asked thousands of times. I will make it as simple as possible. I have 99 Civic EX and it has done 95K. I purchased it from a lady who wasn't sure about timing belt was
changed .she said she got some belts changed. She didn't know much about the CAR and service. I got it checked before buying and the mechanic told me that he cannot check the state of TB. There is a lot of work involved. My questions:
1) Can I get it(TB) checked? If yes then how much it would cost me? I guess a lot. 2) What is the cost involved in changing of TB (without pumps and with pumps) and other things which usually go with TB change? 3) I am in east coast near DC. Any suggestions who should be the best for this job. I know dealers are good but the expenses at their shops are very high.
Your help will be highly appreciated.
Thanks.
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No, it's impossible to tell much by just looking at a timing belt.
For "normal driving," the timing belt for the 99 Civic is due for replacement at 105k miles or seven years, whichever comes first. Unless the former owner was a pushover, then it seems more likely that the belt has not yet been changed.
This interval is listed in the owner's manual linked via http://home.earthlink.net/~honda.lioness/id9.html .
Do you have an owner's manual? Start using the free online one linked above to identify what maintenance should be done on your car. Lurk here, too, to learn important details about maintenance! :-)
At what mileage did you buy this car?

Based on recent reports here, $500 to $700 seems to be the going rate, with independent shops generally charging less. This should include a new water pump and possibly also a balance shaft belt for your Civic. I recommend doing the water pump, too, for peace of mind. It's about $50 of the price, and the labor for the belt and pump overlap significantly.

An independent import shop might do just as good a job as the dealer, but it's more likely the dealer will do this job 100% correctly. For at TB replacement, you pay more at the dealer, but arguably you do get more.
You could ask the original owner if she ever had a bill upwards of say $350 or so for "belts." If so, this would most likely be a timing belt.
If you really can't be sure of whether the belt has been changed, then have it changed as soon as possible. Your Honda's engine can be seriously damaged if the belt fails, to the tune of a few thousand dollars or a total loss. We do get reports of timing belts failing here.
Other tips for keeping your Honda running optimally appear at:
http://home.earthlink.net/~honda.lioness/id9.html
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Elle has a lot of good points. I'm in the middle of a timing belt change on my daughter's 98 Civic Ex with 99,000 miles. The timing belt was 8 years old and still looked perfect. But, I guess it could have snapped at any moment. I would not let a generic repair shop touch and learn on my Honda. A dealer or someone who specializes in Honda / Acura would fit the bill if I was not doing it myself. My goal was to replace many parts that still had some life in them to help ensure no major problems in the next 100,000 miles. I plan on replacing the alternator or brushes at 150,000 miles. The crankshft pulley was the tightest I have ever seen. I had to purchase a new impact socket and boost the pressure to 150 psi on my Ingersoll Rand Impact wrench (600+ ft pounds of torque). I also had a major problem trying to remove the dipstick tube so I could remove the timing belt covers (it's posted 2 days ago under the Honda heading in this forum. I'm replacing the TB tensioner, water pump, fuel filter and Air Filter. I found the lower drivers side motor mount bad. Changing all belts, plugs (NGK), Distributor Cap and Rotor is what I'm doing. Don't go cheap on this and you will get a lot of additional miles out of your Honda. Changing the transmission fluid is also a must. Good luck.
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duckbill wrote:

what size air line are you using? they only reach that kind of torque with fat line as the skinny stuff has too much flow resistance - it tends to be a little elastic too and that drops pressure low in pulses, which of course you can't see on a gauge as it's too transient.
i use the proper pulley wheel holder, a 3/4" drive, breaker bar and body weight solution. bolt comes free at about 300 - 350 ft.lbs.

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Jim, I'm not replacing the cam and crankshaft oil seals this time around with regard to your advice on that subject. My air pressure line is an Air-TAC HW 300 PSI (2608) line with 3/8 fittings. It's a fairly fat line. It spread my original "cheap" 17mm impact socket. Spraying the crank bolt with PB Blaster, hitting the bolt with a drift and hammer, then using a new, heavy duty impact socket did the trick (150 psi), whew.
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wrote

$500-700 sounds too high. We had the timing belt changed on a Toyota Sienna with a V6 at the dealer for $175. parts included. The Civic looks on the surface to be a lot easier to access than the Sienna. I did not change the water pump or anything besides the belt
--
-WJB



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Toyota has somethings that distinguish it greatly from Honda, then.
You can check the archives and I doubt you'll see anything under $400 for a Honda TB job in the last year.

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Hi,
Thanks for all your replies.
I bought the car at 87K. the previous owner had all the bills except the belts' one. You guys are right, its better to get it changed now rather than seeing it dead later and pay a heavier price (much heavier).
I enquired at the local Honda Dealer with good reputation. They are charging 700 dollars for the stuff which includes water pump and couple of other things.
My car is fine except its milleage has gone down I guess. My driving is very less (60 miles a week) in normal city/town conditions. I think its giving me around 25-27 mpg.
I don't know what it is related to...may be oil filter?? I will get that done too.
Thanks.
Elle wrote:

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You mean Air Filter, right. And tell them you want a new (Oh) O ring on your lower dipstick tube. Cost $1.70. The Honda part number is: 91302-GEO-000. Some dealers try to use the old one when they remove the lower dipstick holder because no one will be the wiser. I really struggled with this item because it has to be removed to do the timing belt. A service writer will always say "we will change that" but make them show you they have one in stock and tell them you want the old one back. Also, I would always recommend asking for all your old parts back. I just finished with my daughter's 98 Civic EX with 99,000 miles and I did not cut any corners. The $350 for Honda parts from Manchester Honda (great discount)and $0 for labor may help her stay out of mechanical difficulity for a while; I Hope? Mechanics and some shops skip some of the little stuff because they don't get caught and they are focusing on the bigger, more expensive items and profit. Many mechanics get a cut on the parts they sell you and yes, some of them make as much or more from parts comissions as on their labor. Labor is your big expense here and while they have it apart putting on new fan belts should cost zero additional labor charge. Also, while doing the timing belt, you have to remove the AC tensioner and I found my AC tensioner pulley bearing was shot. Make sure they check it! Should not be an additional charge to check it either. Have the service writer put all of your comments and recommendations in writing on your service order. Have him put on there your not paying unless you get your old parts back so they know your serious. I had them tell me, oh we forgot and threw them away. Good Luck.
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Pankaj wrote:

find a different mechanic. they can't tell you the exact mileage, but it sure is easy to see the difference between a belt that's done 95k and one that's done 10k.

it'll cost you the price of a valve lash adjustment and rocker cover gasket - with the rocker cover off, the state of the belt can be easily seen. again, find a decent mechanic that will do this for you. or buy the book and tools and do it yourself.

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I think that's fair advice in this specific case; if the markings on the back of the timing belt are barely smudged the belt is nearly new. In most cases all we can see is that the belt isn't new, so we don't know what the age of the belt is and we have to change it. In any case, if there is any doubt it must be changed.
Mike
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I can see getting the accessory drive belts changed before the timing belt. Mine were looking very bad at 99,000 (many cracks). My timing belt looks perfect at 8 years and 99,000 miles on the outside. The question is are you willing to chance destroying your engine by what might be weak on the inside of the belt? My old belt still had just minor deflection on it when installed. I would love to seen some damage on my old belt but I can not see any. Remember, the belt is rubber and is operating in an oven and gets virtually no cooling. Sub zero temeratures don't help it either. Be safe rather than sorry, change it.
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