My timing belt broke on my 1989 Accord SEI. I guess it's a two liter fuel
injected. I managed to get it apart and get the new belt on. I got lucky and
didn't have any bent valves. The problem is figuring out where TDC is, so as
to be able to synchronize the cam and crank shafts. I have three books and
none of them show what the actual marks look like. Looking through the
little peep hole at them, I can see on the advanced side about three hash
marks, one of them red. Then as you go to the retard side there is a (0)
with no hash mark at all and then farther over to the retard side is another
mark or so. Why in hell can't they just have TDC and a mark next to it? If
it wasn't a solo job I guess I could try the stick in the spark plug hole to
find TDC. I've never done that and am a little afraid of crunching it in the
Anywhoooo ... I got it running, set the timing and took it for a drive
around the block and thought it was OK. I let my son drive it 90 miles to
school and back this morning. He said that it didn't run right, so I tried
it out again. It runs like it's way under powered and has a bogging down
sound when you accelerate, as well as pinging. I guess I'm probably a tooth
off one way or the other. Any ideas or thoughts on this? Which way too far
and am I gonna burn the valves up. Thanks in advance, for any and all
Try page 78 ( = 6-16) of the following pdf site:
The stick in the spark plug hole of #1 cylinder should work
fine, too. Rotating only by hand should not damage anything,
assuming you do not force rotation too much. Remember the
front passenger side wheel has to be on the ground to get
the engine to rotate via turning the front driver's side
The red marks do not indicate TDC; they are for setting the
ignition timing. You should follow the procedure for
checking the ignition timing anytime after replacing the
Reports of being off a tooth are fairly common at this
newsgroup. Hang in there.
There's a good chance the belt is off a tooth.
It's too bad you didn't have the correct manual before installing the
timing belt. The TDC mark is WHITE and is all alone on the flywheel. You
needed to have the white mark lined up with the pointer, plus the cam
pulley marks in the right place, before installing the timing belt.
The red mark in the middle of the group of three is the mark that should
show up next to the pointer when the timing light is activated and the
timing is set correctly.
Also you need to disconnect and plug the vacuum lines to the vacuum advance
diaphragm when setting timing.
If I were you, I'd start all over again with that belt.
Thanks for the reply ... My problem is that there is no WHITE mark. I see
the red mark on the advance side and then when it moves over to the retard
side I get a large space and then a, what looks like a zero, another space
and then two hash marks. After that it drops off into the abyss. The whole
Your TDC is the "zero" mark on the retard side past the group of three. The
key here is that the TDC mark is all by itself on the flywheel, no matter
what it actually looks like.
You can confirm this with a bent coat hanger or long skinny screwdriver:
With the engine turned to be as close as possible to what you think is TDC,
remove the #1 spark plug, insert the coat hanger so it touches the piston
top, then turn the engine a few degrees either way with a ratchet and 19mm
socket. Watch the coat hanger carefully and make sure it doesn't shift on
the piston. TDC is the top of the bobbing motion.
By the way, the flywheel will not always be installed when the timing belt
is put on. For this reason there is usually a corresponding TDC mark on the
crank nose or crank timing belt pulley, so you may want to take off enough
parts to check for that. If you have the crank TDC mark, you don't need to
do the coat hanger thing.
Well, missed it again. I didn't have a white mark, so thought that one of
the marks on the retard side of the zero might have been white 18 years ago
and used that one. At least it's running better than it was when it was too
far the other way. The distributor would only go so far and ended up being
set a degree or so BTDC. I need a new lower timing belt cover and the local
Honda dealer has to order it. He said it would take a couple of days. I'll
go over there today and order it and hopefully the valves don't cook over
the next few days. I guess, since I have to tear it apart again, I ought to
replace the camshaft seal behind the sprocket. One silver lining, in a small
cloud, is that I replaced the leaking (O) ring on the distributor shaft. The
one on it was so cooked that it broke into small pieces that were more like
carbon than rubber. Thanks for the help.
If the red one is still red, the white one would have still been white.
When one goes the other disappears at the same time.
The paint normally disappears on cars where the marks are on the exposed
crank pulley, not the ones where the marks are on the relatively well-
Severely retarded timing will do more than cook your (expensive) exhaust
valves, it will destroy your (expensive) catalytic converter, maybe even
to the point of collapsing the (expensive) honeycomb inside and plugging
I would strongly advise parking this thing permanently until you get the
belt sorted out. Limit your damage and your expenditures.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.