How to Change the Timing Belt on Honda Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

This recommendation was derived after studying the maintenance history on the car's engine. The timing belt becomes stretched and the tensioner pulley will run out of adjustment after this period. In addition, the Honda car engine is classified as an interference engine, which means that severe damage is most likely to occur if the timing belt fails.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Timing Belt on a 2001 Four-Cylinder Honda Accord

Disconnect the valve cover and upper covers for the timing belt with a socket wrench. Remove any additional components needed to access the crankshaft. Turn the crankshaft clockwise by hand to align the white mark on the crankshaft sprocket with the pointer on the lower cover of for the timing belt. The word "UP" on the camshaft sprocket must also be in the 12 o'clock position.

Remove the lower timing belt cover with a socket wrench. Fasten one of the mounting bolts for the lower timing cover to the adjuster arm of the timing belt tensioner. This will hold the timing belt adjuster in position.

Loosen the lock bolt and adjusting nut on the timing belt tensioner with a socket wrench, and push the tensioner away from the timing belt to relieve the tension on the timing belt. Tighten the adjuster nut on the timing belt, and pull the timing belt off its sprockets.

Turn the crankshaft clockwise by hand to align the pointer on the crankshaft sprocket with the pointer on the oil pump. The word "UP" on the camshaft sprocket must also be in the 12 o'clock position.

Mount the new timing belt to the crankshaft sprocket, timing belt tensioner sprocket, water pump sprocket and camshaft sprocket in that order. Loosen the adjusting nut on the timing belt tensioner with a socket wrench, then tighten it again to apply tension to the timing belt.

Install the lower timing belt cover with a socket wrench, and rotate the crankshaft sprocket five to six complete turns clockwise to seat the timing belt on the sprockets. Make sure the timing mark on the crankshaft sprocket aligns with the timing mark on the lower timing cover. The word "UP" on the camshaft sprocket must also be in the 12 o'clock position.

Turn the adjusting nut on the timing belt tensioner counterclockwise by one turn. Turn the crankshaft counterclockwise to move the camshaft sprocket back by three teeth, and tighten the adjusting nut on the timing belt. Turn the crankshaft clockwise to align the timing marks once again.

Install the upper timing belt cover with a socket wrench. Connect all additional components you removed to access the crankshaft. Replace the valve cover.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench set

 How to Change a Timing Belt on a Honda Civic

Remove the wheel on the front driver's side of the car.

Remove the black plastic protective shield under the car on that side.

Set the car on jack stands, one on each side of the car under the frame.

Mark the plugs and terminals to indicate the order, and remove the spark plug cover and spark plugs using the extension on the ratchet to reach them. Remove the valve cover after removing the plug wires.

Loosen the pivot bolt of the power-steering pump belt and then the pinch bolt, which is beneath the pivot bolt. Swing the pump out until the belt can be removed. Do the same steps with the alternator until the belt is removed.

Place a jack directly underneath the engine on the driver's side. Put a block of wood on top of the jack and then slowly raise it up until it is resting on the oil pan and holding the weight of the engine.

Remove the engine mount on that side so you can reach and remove the upper timing belt cover.

Turn the crank until the distributor rotor is aimed at the No. 1 you marked on the distributor cap. This means the first piston has reached Top Dead Center (TDC) and is aligned correctly to install the new timing belt.

Remove the starter and place a screwdriver between the flywheel and the bell housing so the crank doesn't move.

Unscrew the crank bolt using a ratchet and socket. Remove the crank pulley and Woodruff key. This is very small and should be placed in a safe container.

Remove the lower timing belt cover, loosen the timing belt tensioner and remove the timing belt.

Install the new timing belt, keeping the "up" mark on the camshaft sprocket at the top. The timing mark on the crank sprocket should remain pointed at the arrow on the oil pump.

Reverse the steps until everything is replaced exactly as it was.

Remove the jack stands and lower the car. Start the car to make sure the engine sounds right.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Block of wood

  • Ratchet/extension/socket set

  • Screwdriver

  • Tire iron

  • White marking pen

  • New timing belt

 How to Replace a Timing Belt in a 1991 Honda Civic

Raise the front of the vehicle and support it on jack stands. Remove the left wheel, using the lug wrench. Remove the inner fender well, using a 10-mm socket. Place the floor jack under the engine and raise the jack just enough to support the engine.

Remove the accessory drive belts, using a wrench to relax the tension. Remove the top engine mount, using a socket. Remove the timing belt upper cover, using a 10-mm socket. Remove the valve cover with a 10-mm socket.

Turn the crankshaft counterclockwise and line the mark on the crankshaft pulley with the tab on the timing cover. The tab is in the center of the cover just above the crankshaft pulley. To make sure that the number one cylinder is on top dead center, check the alignment marks on the camshaft pulley. The word “UP” should be at the 12 o’clock position on the sprocket, and the two timing marks at 3 o'clock and 9 o’clock should be aligned with the top edge of the cylinder head. If the marks are not in alignment, rotate the crankshaft one more time and they will line up.

Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt, using the appropriate size socket and ratchet. Remove the crankshaft pulley. Remove the lower timing belt cover, using a 10-mm socket. Loosen the tensioner with a wrench, push it away from the belt and tighten the tensioner bolt just enough to hold it in place. Remove the timing belt.

Install the new belt clockwise, starting at the crankshaft pulley, moving to the camshaft pulley, over the water pump and then the belt tensioner. Make sure that all the tension is on the left side, away from the tensioner.

Make sure the crankshaft sprocket is aligned with the mark on the block at the 2 o’clock position and the camshaft marks are still aligned as before. Loosen the belt tensioner and allow it to apply tension on the belt. Tighten the bolt.

Turn the crankshaft counterclockwise four times, aligning the timing marks again. Loosen the timing belt tensioner again and allow it to further tension the belt. Tighten the bolt to 31 foot-pounds. Install all the components in reverse order of removal.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • 1/4-inch drive ratchet

  • Set of 1/4-inch drive sockets

  • Set of wrenches

  • Lug wrench

 How to Replace a Timing Belt on a 1998 Honda Civic

Disconnect the battery by removing the negative cable using the appropriate size wrench. Move the cable out of the way, but do not let it touch metal. Jack the Civic up with the floor jack, then support it with jack stands. Remove the left front wheel and inner fender splash guard using the appropriate size sockets.

Set the block of wood on the floor jack. Push the jack under the oil pan to support the engine. Jack it up just enough to touch the bottom of the oil pan. Loosen tension on the accessory belt tensioner using a wrench. Remove the accessory belts by lifting them off the pulleys.

Unbolt and remove the power steering pump, but leave the power steering hoses attached to the pump. Lay the pump in the engine compartment so that it is out of your way. Remove the power steering pump bracket.

Remove the top engine mount using the appropriate wrench. If the dipstick and dipstick tube block the timing cover area, remove both, otherwise leave them in. Unbolt them and pull them out of their orifice if you have to remove them. Remove the upper timing belt cover and the cylinder head cover using a socket.

Turn the crankshaft counterclockwise, using the appropriate socket, until the timing marks on the crankshaft line up with the timing marks on the front of the lower timing cover. The mark on the camshaft should line up with the top of the cylinder head surface or with the pointer (some of the engines will not have the pointer). If the marks do not line up, turn the engine via the crankshaft one more full revolution and then the marks should line up.

Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt using the appropriate size socket. Remove the crankshaft pulley. Remove the lower timing cover using the appropriate size socket. Remove the crankshaft speed fluctuation sensor if your particular Civic has one, using the appropriate wrench or socket. The sensor is located behind the timing cover.

Loosen the timing belt tensioner bolt with the appropriate size socket. Slide the tensioner away from the belt. Tighten the bolt enough to hold the tensioner out of the way. Remove the timing belt.

Ensure the timing marks are still lined up. Starting at the crankshaft sprocket, route the timing belt around the sprockets, working counterclockwise. Keep tension on the timing belt on the side away from the tensioner. Hold the tension while loosening the timing belt tensioner. Allow the tensioner to put tension on the belt, then tighten the tensioner bolt.

Turn the crankshaft six turns counterclockwise. On the sixth turn, the timing marks on the camshaft and the crankshaft will line up. Loosen the tensioner bolt, then turn the crankshaft counterclockwise the distance of three teeth on the camshaft sprocket. Tighten the tensioner bolt to 33 foot-pounds of torque. Install the rest of the parts in reverse order of removal.

Tighten the crankshaft bolt to a total of 134 foot-pounds of torque by torquing to 95 foot-pounds of torque, then pushing the torque wrench 90 degrees. Torque the crankshaft bolt to 96 degrees plus 90 degrees. Continue until you reach 134 foot-pounds of torque. Lower the car off the jack stands.

Items you will need

  • Set of wrenches

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Set of sockets

  • 6-inch long 2-by-4-inch block of wood

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Timing Belt in a 1990-1993 Honda Accord

Disconnect the negative battery terminal. Using a ½-inch-drive ratchet and the 19 mm socket, turn the center bolt on the crankshaft so that number-one cylinder piston is at top dead center (TDC). You will know you ware at TDC when the mark on the crank is in alignment with the arrow on the timing cover.

Disconnect the cruise control connector and remove the cruise control actuator. Loosen the upper mounting bolt with the 14 mm socket. Use a 12 mm socket to loosen the lower nut then use a 10 mm socket to loosen the adjuster from the power steering pump and remove the belt.

Loosen the upper air conditioner mounting bolt using the 14 mm socket. Use the 12 mm socket to loosen the lower nut and adjusting bolt on the alternator and remove the alternator/AC belt. Remove the valve cover using a 10 mm socket.

Place the jack behind the left front wheel where the arrow is located indicating the jack location, and raise the vehicle. Put the jack stand under the subframe behind the jack, then lower the jack. Remove the left front wheel for easy access to the crank pulley. Using a block of wood atop the jack, place the jack under the oil pan and lift with slight pressure to hold the engine in place. Remove the side engine mount using a 17 mm deep socket.

Take off the dipstick, pipe tube and upper timing cover using a 10 mm socket. Then remove the timing belt adjuster rubber seal without loosening the adjuster nut. Take off the crankshaft pulley bolt. Use the chain wrench to hold the the crankshaft pulley while turning the crankshaft pulley bolt with a 19 mm socket. Use the 10 mm wrench and 10 mm socket to remove the bolts on the lower cover. Remove the lower cover and mark the location of the cam, crank and balancer shaft with Liquid Paper. Remove the balancer shaft belt and timing belt.

Install the timing belt and the balancer shaft belt in the reverse order of removing them. During Installation of the crank pulley, coat the threads of the crank pulley bolt with engine oil and tighten it to 159 foot-pounds. Finally, adjust the tension of the power steering and alternator belts as well.

Items you will need

  • Car jack

  • Jack stands

  • Torque wrench

  • Chain wrench

  • 3/8 inch drive ratchet

  • 1/2 inch drive ratchet

  • 10 mm wrench

  • 12 mm wrench

  • 10 mm socket (3/8 inch)

  • 14 mm socket (3/8 inch)

  • 17 mm socket (1/2 inch)

  • 19 mm socket (1/2 inch)

  • Timing belt

  • Balancer belt

  • Bottle of Liquid Paper

 How to Replace the Timing Belt on a 1997 Honda Accord

Remove the negative cable from the battery.

Line up the crankshaft to match up with the timing belt match marks, as well as with cylinder one at the top, center of the compression stroke.

Fasten the belt adjuster, using a bolt from the lower timing belt cover on the arm of the adjuster.

Loosen the timing belt and balance shaft nut. Push the balance belt tensioner away from the timing belt to reduce tension. Slip the balance belt from the pulleys; do not crease or bend it.

Disconnect the crankshaft balance belt drive.

Undo the timing belt adjuster lock-bolt, and loosen the nut. Push on the the adjuster, relieving tension on the timing belt. Slip the timing belt from the pulleys, and discard.

Align the crankshaft timing pointer with the camshaft pulley and the flywheel, so you can see the word "Up" at the top. The edge-marks should also line up with the head surface.

Put the belt over the tensioners and pulleys. Turn the crankshaft counterclockwise to make the cam pulley rotate through three teeth, and line up the timing belt marks.

Connect the crankshaft and balancer belt-drive sprocket. Align the front and rear balancer pullets with the body of the oil pump. Mount the balance belt.

All engine alignment marks must be accurate. Turn the crankshaft one complete cycle, and lock in place. Loosen the bolt that is locking the tensioner.

Replace the bottom timing belt cover. All the rubber seals must be in position. Put in a new seal to surround the adjusting nut.

Place the crankshaft key, and put in the pulley. Grease the bolt threads, and secure at 181 foot-pounds. Replace the top cover, and secure the bolt to 40 foot-pounds.

Reattach the negative battery.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

  • Socket set

  • Timing belt

  • Wrench

 How to Replace the Timing Belt on a 2002 Honda Accord V6

Disconnect the cable from the negative battery terminal. Place the vehicle in park and apply the parking brake. Block the rear wheels.

Remove the drive belts. Use a wrench on the tensioner pulley center bolt and turn the tensioner counter-clockwise to release the drive belt tension. Remove the belt.

Remove the power steering pump by removing the pump mounting bolts. Move the pump away from the area. Do not disconnect the power steering lines from the pump; position the assembly off to the side.

Remove the spark plugs, to make it easier to turn the crankshaft, by placing the spark plug socket over each plug and removing it from the engine by turning the plug counterclockwise.

Position the number one piston at Top Dead Center (TDC), which is the highest point in the cylinder that each piston reaches as it travels up-and-down during crankshaft rotation. To do so, turn the cranskshaft with a socket and ratchet attached to the bolt threaded into the front of the crankshaft. Turn until the TDC notch on the crankshaft pulley is aligned with the pointer on the timing belt lower cover.

Loosen the lug nuts on the right-front wheel. Raise the front of the vehicle and support it securely on jack stands. Remove the right-front wheel. Remove the right-front inner fender splash guard by removing the fasteners securing the inner fender splash guard in place.

Support the engine by placing a floor jack under the oil pan, with a block of wood on the jack to protect the pan. Remove the splash shield from under the radiator by removing the 10 mounting fasteners from the front area of the hood.

Remove the two bolts and wiring harness retainer holding the passenger-side engine mount to the block. Remove the trough-bolt and remove the mount. Remove the engine mount bracket and the engine oil dipstick tube.

Remove the upper timing belt covers from the rear cylinder bank. Mark the belt with the direction of rotation onto the timing belt if you intend to reuse the belt. Make sure the timing marks are properly aligned by aligning the marks on the sprocket with the mark on the rear cover. Also verify the camshaft sprocket timing marks are aligned with the rear cylinder bank.

Use a strap wrench to hold the crankshaft. Loosen and remove the crankshaft pulley bolt. Remove the lower timing belt cover bolts and remove the cover. Slip the timing belt guide off the crankshaft sprocket, noting the installation. Also note the alignment of the crankshaft sprocket timing marks.

Recheck the position of the timing marks. Install the timing belt in a clockwise direction, starting at the crankshaft sprocket and tensioner pulley, then the rear camshaft sprocket, water pump, front camshaft sprocket and idler pulley.

Install the outer timing belt guide over the camshaft sprocket with the chamfered edge facing away from the belt. The chamfered edge is the edge that has been machined to an acute angle (less than 90 degrees). Tighten the idler pulley bolt to 33 ft-lbs. Remove the battery hold-down bolt that was holding the tensioner pulley in position.

Turn the crankshaft slowly six revolutions clockwise, using a socket and breaker bar on the crankshaft pulley bolt to seat the belt, then return to TDC. Recheck the alignment of the cam and crank timing marks.

Install the lower timing belt cover. Install the crankshaft pulley, aligning the crankshaft key with the pulley keyway (the hole cut to fit the crankshaft key). Install the bolt and tighten it to 104 in-lbs.

Recheck the timing marks. Reinstall the remaining parts in the reverse order of removal. Reconnect the battery.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Clamp

  • Screwdriver

  • Socket wrench

  • Spark plug socket

  • Jack stands

  • Floor jack

  • Wood block

  • Oil pan

  • Strap wrench

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Timing Belt in a 2002 Honda Civic

Preparation

Disable the fuel system by disconnecting the glove box and removing the PGM-FI #2 relay from its mounting bracket then running the engine until it stalls. Disconnect the car's negative battery cable.

Raise the car's front end and support it on jack stands, then remove the left wheel and the splash shield underneath the engine.

Remove the drive belts by loosening the mounting bolt nut for each drive belt's main component, such as the alternator and power steering pump, with a wrench, turning the adjuster bolt to loosen the belt's tension then slipping the belt off the pulleys. The power steering belt will come off first.

Disconnect and remove the power steering pump by removing its adjuster bolt and mounting nuts/bolts with a wrench. Set the power steering pump aside without disconnecting its hoses.

Detach the alternator by disconnecting the output cable and electrical connector, removing the lock and adjusting bolts from the bracket between the alternator and compressor then removing the mounting bolts.

Remove the valve cover and its gasket by removing the ignition coils and the oil dipstick, then removing the valve cover bolts.

Raise a floor jack to support the engine, placing a block of wood on top of the jack to protect it.

Remove the spark plugs by pulling out their wires at the boot and unscrewing them with a wrench and spark plug socket.

Belt Removal

Remove the upper left and side engine mounting brackets by removing their fasteners with a wrench.

Position the engine's number one piston at the top dead center (TDC) position.

Disconnect the camshaft position sensor by unplugging its electrical connector and removing its bolts.

Remove the upper timing belt cover by loosening its bolts with a wrench.

Loosen the crankshaft pulley bolt with a breaker bar and socket while holding the pulley in place with a strap wrench, then slip the pulley off the crankshaft.

Unbolt and remove the lower timing belt cover.

Detach the crankshaft position sensor by disconnecting its electrical connector and mounting bolt.

Loosen the tensioner bolt for the timing belt with a ratchet or breaker bar, push on the tensioner to release the belt tension, retighten the bolt then slip it off the belt.

Installation

Align the holes on the tensioner pulley and base, then insert a 3 mm drill bit or pin into the holes.

Install the timing belt, inserting it tightly around the crankshaft sprocket, tensioner pulley, water pump pulley and the camshaft sprocket. Loosen the tensioner's mounting bolt by a half turn so the tensioner will slightly increase tension on the belt.

Turn the crankshaft counterclockwise by two turns, then check and make sure the timing marks and camshaft sprocket index marks are properly aligned.

Tighten the tensioner's mounting bolt to 33 foot-pounds and remove the pin.

Reinstall all of the other parts in the reverse order of removal--this includes the crankshaft pulley, timing belt covers, crankshaft and camshaft position sensors, engine mount brackets, valve cover, spark plugs, alternator, power steering pump, drive belts and battery cable.

Adjust the drive belts, as needed, by turning the adjuster bolts.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Lug wrench

  • Ratchet wrench

  • Wood block

  • Spark plug socket

  • Breaker bar

  • 3 mm drill bit or pin

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.