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My Timing Belt replacement-notes

Discussion in 'PT Cruiser' started by mr2tim, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. mr2tim

    mr2tim Member

    Dec 21, 2011
    My Timing Belt education.

    It’s our 2017 “winter” here in South Florida which means I’ve started that 200K belt replacement on the 01 PT out yonder in storage next to the garage. The belt longevity is stated by Chrysler pros at 120K, and I will wait till next winter to do the timing belt on my 05 which has 95K currently. BTW, It’s a noninterference NA engine so why hurry? (Of course I have 100 mile towing w AAA)

    My first procedure, and I suggest yours, is to either read up on the upcoming work or peruse U-tube (which appears to be the way of the future?) I viewed several and recommend/enjoyed Dave, a Mopar Tech from Detroit, who laid up a series of 7 back to back videos. Very informative, but remember he is a dealership mechanic and they will go for speed and it’s not necessarily how us DIY guys may approach the work. And, yes, I agree that while doing the Timing Belt a water pump replacement ($26) is a good thing for lots of reasons.
    In 2017 I used CarPartsWholesale.com which was cheaper than R/Auto. NOT fake news.

    I thoroughly suggest that any and all electrical connections, of any type, be pasted with di-electric grease. (I use this on battery connectors as well.) Use of penetrating oil before unbolting is recommended at EVERY stage on any older cars. This WILL save you $’s and mostly lotsa of lost time.

    Teardown- of the engine’s front was a 3 day part time adventure for me. I walked away several times when I lost patience dealing the near zero clearance between engine, engine motor slab/mount and fender mount insert. This work requires patience ( I have little) and slow step by step actions. Never attempt to force parts, take a break and rethink your approach. Do use baggies with notes for the nuts and bolts and where they come from, it’s much, much less confusing for assembly especially is you don’t do all the work in one day. Like me.

    In mentioning parts, I found a cracked upper frt mtor mount rubber insert which is cheaper just to replace ($13). My coolant tank was clogged (and the hose) and in the process of handling it I found the exhaust manifold had super cooked the bottom of this plastic tank ($23) and it crumbled. (It’s held on w 2 attaching fasteners only.) I suggest replacing the cam idler pulley ($12) as well. Trust me you DO NOT want to teardown after this for a $12 part.!!

    I want to note that my 01 had the tensioner type that requires a pin ($23) and not the type with the “arms” that come out from underneath. I suspect you cannot substitute types without changing the big plastic shield under the cam gears(?) Get the part in your hand first, if you have a 2001 car, then order the part. I read some have the arm type.

    My last engine teardown days were frustrated with the 3 ea #13mm nuts on the backside (only) of the exhaust manifold to downpipe connection (a must do!). I had to use “Blaster” penetrating oil for 2 days to deal with the rust and resistance situation. The bottom nut is especially difficult to get to since I refused to strip bolts on the manifold heat shield removal which is like (always?) the case on most cars. I will certainly add anti-seize compound to rebolt these and all nuts.

    It is imperative that the “push on” fuel supply line going to the fuel rail plastic connector (supplies gas to injectors) which is close to the coolant fill, be disconnected (it breaks SUPER easy!!). You could also disconnect this from the “L” connector on firewall wall in front of the glove box. It’s fuel filter too btw so that a good reason to replace.

    Important note: One item not addressed in any videos was that to get that iron Monstrosity (motor mount) off the front of the timing cover, you really want to pull loose the throttle from the intake manifold assembly before you smash it on the firewall/ecu. Since the engine has to come way, way up to get clearances for the removal of this Iron Engine motor mount. Another tip is not to bother with the Iron Monster “sister part” that bolts into the fender/ frame across from the front of the engine. Check rubber condition w mirror. however

    I wanted to point out that I could not loosen the #18mm bolt that is hidden at the front of the bracket that secures the upper motor mount (rear) mounts into. I did not want to cut the frame for access (and weaken it) so I cut the old timing belt off and removed the cam idler pulley instead to gain room. I will remove it, add lots of washers and anti-seize compound the bolt for a future removal if needed.

    I left the AC lines at the front/right of the engine intact. Working around it saved me $90+ from an AC shop bill to R&R the system and the mandatory replacement of the Dryer and new 134A. $$$.

    Some other tips:

    * is that the bottom front of the fender has 2 ea plastic fasteners as well as a stationary stud (facing down) w a nut that requires you lift the fender to remove it. Access thru the headlight “hole” is a recommended removal technique for this hidden area. BTW I removed the fender since this was my first engine adventure w the PT. It did make access easier as I pulled the PS pump loose.
    *the fuel line runs from a connector in front of the glovebox to the pass side of the fuel rail, this rail connector is plastic, 1/8” diameter and was designed to break at the slightest touch-“beware”! Replacing at this time is advised, as it’s a kind of a fuel filter at the firewall end.
    *you may want to degrease the inside of the throttle bore and it’s butterfly inside while it is off.
    * use anti seize on the battery floorplate bolts.

    Timing Gear-before the removal of the timing gear, measure the clearance between the gear and the engine block. (Mine was 0.813MM). This measurement must be replaced when you put the gear back on. (belt alignment) For me, removal of the gear at the crankshaft was done using 3 each M6-1.0 bolts at 3” long which thread into the front of the OEM gear. Harbor Freight has a “Y” type $14 puller kit that will remove this gear with these 3” M6 bolts. I had to use a breaker bar to get this started. Also note: this “Y” type bolt puller can be secured from moving by putting a bolt thru the puller’s bottom slot and into the cast “loop” which is found under the gear. Keep this crankshaft greased while stored/exposed and same with the pulley’s internal hole.

    I googled a Forum post from Obsessed Cruiser, titled Busted PT (1-6-2013) to get some of his tips in the removal/installation of the timing gear. His tips for us DIY’ers to avoid having to buy “special tools” gets him a thumbs up for worthwhile money saving hints, especially the re-installation

    Crankshaft Seal- was usual for me. Use tiny drill to penetrate the thin steel top, hook a tiny “L” shaped tool and pull, pull, pull. I used a 1 ¾” PVC pipe to push the new seal into place. Lightly oil the crankshaft tip, then use a sealant on the perimeter of the seal’s outer surface. Tip: Go easy with the hole in the seal, the idea is not to damage the crankshaft or the block hole.

    Water Pump-rather a straight forward replacement. 4 each 10MM and a 12MM with course threads. I use a non-softening gasket sealer to hold the gasket in place. Prep/cleaning of the block surface is import and try to use care not to gouge the surfaces. Altho I’m not OCD, but I do de-grease bolt threads and their threaded holes (Q-tips) to get even tightening hold.

    Camshaft Seals: clearances here are a problem. Altho the engine is way up, there is minimal room for tools and hands. I used a cheap small Chinese Dremel like electric drill ($9 @HF) to pierce the camshaft seals front wall. The small hook on a handle that H/Freight sells worked to easily pop the very warn seal out of it’s place. The 1 3/4” PVC I used to install the crankshaft seal worked here too. Oil the seals internal surfaces and use sealant on the new seals perimeter as with the crank seal. Btw these seals leak behind a plastic cover, you will not see this problem initially. SURPRISE!! :)


    If this is your first adventure with this procedure it’s kinda sorta “reverse of disassembly “ but here are some of my notable hurdles and your tips:

    >only install the intake manifold loosely-as the throttle lower section bolt and the metal EGR recycle tube require some major clearances to install.

    >the front motor mount slab on the engine side has small locating “ears” that rest on the bottom of the fender side of the motor mount inset. Be aware they tend to hang up as you lower the engine into place, a large lever was needed in my case to push the engine into position, it was a very tight, very tight fit.

    >use anti-seize lube on the exhaust manifold bolts to reassemble the exhaust pipe. (everywhere really) note: you’ll need several long sockets extensions if your going to install the 3 bolts for the exhaust pipe-to-manifold from the bottom. TIP: Try stuffing paper between the nut and the socket tip to hold the nut.

    >fitting fan to radiator is easier than assembling in-place for me-use di-electric grease at connector.


    Please feel free to respond in this thread with any tips you may have stumbled upon. There may be others looking for advice that you may have and they need.

    Best regards from South Florida,

    Tim (Mister2 Tim)
    SupercharZed ToyZ RacZing
  2. chuzz

    chuzz Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2004
    That's a great write up, man. IF I ever get another PT Cruiser (which I seriously doubt), I know where to look if it needs a timing belt. Between what you've posted and what I find on ptcruiserlinks, I've no doubt that I could do this job. It would just probably take me a week or so!

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