• Protip: Profile posts are public! Use Conversations to message other members privately. Everyone can see the content of a profile post.

Urgent Timing Belt Alignment Question

Good question, I did not put in the other dowel pin as I had already put most of the car together by the time I realized it, and didn't want to drain the coolant again. One day I'll give myself more time to finish this stuff, but I was using an "appointment only" lift and don't like hog it with other people wanting to reserve it. I will replace the dowel the next time I take the belt off.

Basically, I stopped adjusting the belt tension after about 6 hours of trying everything I could think of (and ideas from this thread), and finally ended up with the rear marks aligning within 1-2mm after rotating the crank a few times. Again, not dead-nuts on like a Kaz job would be, but I could do no better by myself, and well within the tolerance of the crank gear/oil pump arrow positioning. The belt was properly tensioned according to the factory SM and Kaz's videos, and I had to call it a day.

I adjusted the valves again and dedicated more time to re-check the clearances after final torquing, which occasionally seemed to reduce the clearance too much when the adjustment screw stuck to the lock nut.

I'll post an update here if any issues develop, but so far I'm very happy with how smooth the car feels, good power, and much less valvetrain noise. Time will tell if the missing dowel will make any difference, but I doubt I will notice anything.
This is why taking my car to a mechanic (exception: Kaz and Larry) is just not an option.* Most any other shop would just kick the car out and if the engine blows up...well "30-year-old car, things break".

When it came time to do my timing belt: I found that it was off by a tooth on the rear and front cams. It ran just fine and compression was on spec per my PPI a decade earlier.

I spent a month, after work between family chores, with the new TB install. In fact, that is when Kaz made the tension video for me/us-- many thanks. I used a bunch of different mirrors, straight edges, zip ties, and clamps....and I took off and put on the belt at least a dozen times. I had an early engine with the off-center pin anchor.

Eventually, everything came out perfect. It was just demoralizing at the time, so I completely understand the frustration.

The idle sound was different with the properly indexed cams, but otherwise, the car drove and felt the same as before.

I'd say BMcLH is just fine.

*the PO also had documentation from the PM (previous mechanic) about fixing the Snap Ring. This fix apparently was by replacing the snap ring, which failed and I ended up doing it right a decade later with a new housing.