How to Replace a Timing Belt in a 1991 Honda Civicby Don Bowman
Honda recommends replacing the timing belt at 60,000-mile intervals on the Civic. 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 Civic's engine is classified as an interference engine, which means that severe damage is most likely to occur if the timing belt fails.
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.
Things You'll Need
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- 1/4-inch drive ratchet
- Set of 1/4-inch drive sockets
- Set of wrenches
- Lug wrench
- If the belt is not replaced correctly, the valves will hit the pistons and severe damage will occur.
Don Bowman has been writing for various websites and several online magazines since 2008. He has owned an auto service facility since 1982 and has over 45 years of technical experience as a master ASE tech. Bowman has a business degree from Pennsylvania State University and was an officer in the U.S. Army (aircraft maintenance officer, pilot, six Air Medal awards, two tours Vietnam).