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Hello, I've searched the PT Cruiser forum for "timing belt" and didn't find a question quite like mine; so here goes..... I've recently bought a 2002 PT Cruiser, non-turbo, with 128K miles. It seems to be in pretty good shape, but I'm worried about whether the timing belt has been replaced. I can't unearth any maintenance info; the used car dealer can't identify the previous owner due to privacy issues, and the local Chrysler shop said there are no computer records unless the work was done at their shop. It came from a city about 75 miles from here. Anyway, I'm down to my own resources. My question is this: Is there any way to draw a pretty safe conclusion that the timing belt has been replaced without going through the work of a replacement? Thanks for any advice.
 

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Only thing you could do is look over all the external components, like the bolts and covers, check the lower harmonic balancer pulley, see if there are any marks on the backside of it to see if anything was disturbed. Otherwise, look around in the Penny saver fliers, there are places that will do the work for as little as $250-300 plus parts, a person that has done them regularly can do them in a couple hours. Better safe than sorry I say, they do tend to strand you when they break or shear the cogs off the belt.
 

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Thanks, Dana44. I'll take a really good look. I saw that someone in a forum suggested that a broken plastic cover on the connector to the computer might be an indication, and I have that. I was hoping that there might be a way to actually see the belt without too much dis-assembly, and that there might be a possibility of seeing a Gates or other manufacturer (than Mopar) on the belt. How's that for wishful thinking? Best Regards
 

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Witness marks of a socket on the bolt heads at the front (right side) of the engine is a fair way to tell. You will also want to see if maybe the water pump looks new and idler pulleys look new.
 

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The top cover comes off pretty easy without removing anything else, just a couple three bolts I think. Like I said, the harmonic balancer is on pretty tight, the pullers do leave marks on the backs, and that bolt will also have marks as noted.
 

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Thanks for the tips, dana44 and ImperialCrown. I hope to take a good look today, but we're getting rains here in central Florida due to tropical storm Beryl. I'll report back in with what I find. Maybe it will help someone else(too). Best Regards.
 

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Without doing too much work, the top engine support bracket needs to be removed in order to remove the top timing belt cover. I was able to remove the one visible screw in the center of the top timing belt cover and press it back, exposing a slit enough to see the top side of the belt. By rotating the engine a small increment at a time, I was able to see and read something on the outside of the belt: a mopar logo, the number 4621844, and Gates logo. All this was about 2 inches long, on the outside of the belt. This was followed by "DO NOT CRIMP". (This appears to be an OEM belt number). The outside of the belt appeared to be in good condition and clean, without any visible fraying, so the belt looked relatively new. I could not see the lugs on the inside of the belt. Bolts on the support bracket showed some evidence of rust on the edges, but this wasn't clear evidence of a change. The two bolt nuts on the air conditioner lines also showed what was probably evidence of them being removed.

Perhaps the most compelling evidence was a plastic bar code label on the top timing belt cover. It had two bar codes, with the following below the top bar code: TNXE6157200185, and P05047249AA below the bottom bar code, followed by 2.4L AA. (All 0s are numbers, they has a slash). Also on the label, in largest text, was "249". Since I've seen where the timing belt covers are sometimes part of the PT Cruiser timing belt cover kits, and I don't imagine that the bar code label was for the engine itself, I'm thinking it must be for the top timing belt cover itself, or maybe for a set of timing belt covers. I did a Google search using these numbers, but no hits. I couldn't find any corresponding OEM part numbers for the timing belt covers..... but they may be after market items???

All in all, the little bit I could see of the belt gave some confidence that it had been replaced.

Any comments? (please)
 

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I'd just change it. Timing belts are cheap insurance - $20 to $40.
 

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New here but I just finished replacing the belt on my '01 Cruiser. 98,000 miles.. Book says 100,000 miles OR 96 months I didn't believe the 96 months but that is apparently what caught me. Had the Gates kit in the garage already and was planning to do the work this summer .. Interesting failure.. Belt sheared off about 3/8" of the front edge and the wide part continued to drive and grind up pieces.. Then it got narrow enough to not be able to carry the cam loads and the teeth sheared at the crank end. went dead while idling .. cams stayed in time with each other since the top pert of the belt still had teeth I think I was lucky.. Changed belt, idler, tensioner, and water pump. Ran it yesterday for the first time .. seems OK.. Working air conditioning today. Picture shows old belt, strips sheared off.. and if ya look at the crank, you can see the teeth sheared off.
.. oops I can't figure out how to post a picture..??
The top cover of the cam belt case can be removed with everything in place but ya have to bend it a smidge where it goes behind the engine mount bracket.
 

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Hello again from the original poster.... I've come to a conclusion about the timing belt. I'm going to conclude that it has been changed around 80K miles, and that I should start considering replacement before 180K. Why? 1. The belt looks pretty new as evidenced from removing two bolts from the top timing belt cover and flexing it back far enough to see it.... even though I could only see the top side of the belt, and not the belt teeth, which are more important. 2. I got a small (about the size of a half dollar) inspection mirror and used it through the three openings in the harmonic balancer to see the back side of the balancer. There were a few scratch marks on the back side of the harmonic balancer that logically would have only been there as a result of using a puller to remove it. The scratch marks were very minor, but they were there. Seeing the scratch marks was aided by doing it at night and using a flashlight. 3. There were also definite indications that the head had been removed. 4. There are no indications (like noise or coolant leakage) that the idler pulleys or water pump are in trouble. 5. I'm looking for excuses to avoid what sounds like a pretty nasty job, or paying $600 to $1,000 for someone to do it. So, many thanks to the other posters, and I'll consider this post closed.
 
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