Poll: What do you think is the most "difficult" timing belt to service?

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I'll keep this short:

Out of curiosity, for those with experience replacing timing belts from a wide range of vehicles, name the top 2 or 3 most "annoying". The reason could be anything, as long as it's one of those "what were they thinking" type of jobs. I thought of 4 pretty quick:

The GM/Opel V6 used in mainly the Saturn L series, but also in the Cadillac CTS, Saab 9-3, and many others in Europe. Not one, not two, but THREE tensioning pulleys. WHY?

The 1.6 Aveo engine, AKA Daewoo. The timing belt is tensioned by the water pump of all things, it takes a special wrench to literally rotate the water pump in it's bore to adjust belt tension.

Any EJ25 DOHC engine. Just don't care for them, too fiddly.

The Mitsubishi 6G/Hyundai Sigma DOHC engines. Lining up the cams on those takes 6 hands, a dozen paper clips, and a prayer.

Opposing view: I vote the Toyota 2.2 as one of the easiest timing belt jobs, followed closely by the Honda J-series.
 
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EJ25 DOHC engine
Thanks for the warning. I haven't done a timing belt in a long time, the last one was on my 1MZ-FE and it was hard to see the timing marks on the rear head. Ulitmately, I was off a tooth and had to adjust it. Thankfully, I hadn't put it all together which saved me some time.
 
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The worst was the older 3.5 Hyundai engines in the Santa Fe. Cam pullies didn’t stay still without locks and getting locks in there wasn’t the easiest IIRC. Lots of disassembling to even gain access and it’s still very tight, especially when replacing water pump.

Most Hyundai/Kia 4 cylinder engines were cake. No water pump. Honda J series are the easiest I think.
 

UncleDave

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I did my friends 328 Ferrari we had the shop manual what a pos car !
Showed up at a 355 "belt job party" once. 2 guys working and 2 more watching 95% of the time enjoying cold ones while pointing and laughing at the absurdity of the gig. Apparently the engine out service was like 8K.

I've built complete 500 HP small blocks for 7500.
 
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Memory has faded and it's been over a decade so they may only have seemed difficult at the time, but Maserati Biturbo and Alfa Romeo 164 get pretty involved. Newer Volvos like C70 and S40 take some time too with little room to work. The Lotus Elan with the Isuzu engine was pretty miserable due to access. Honda/Saturn 3.5 V6 in the SUV's and trucks aren't exactly easy but still ok since there is more room to work. The easier ones to do were Chevette, a Sequoia despite it being a V8, and the easiest has to be the Volvo 240 series.
 

14Accent

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Funny that the J35 is universally considered one of the easier subjects... which brings up another question: which J35 equipped platform is easiest to service?

I vote the Saturn Vue. No power steering, more room to work than the existing 3.0, and no plastic engine covers to fight with.
 
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not a belt but how about the ford 4.0sohc.
They had timing tensioner issues(2002 era).. and there is one chain on front and one in back.....

BUT when they did the tsb to replace it with the updated parts they would only change the front one..... ..... ......
 
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The GM 60 degree 3.4L DOHC is pretty bad.

On the easy list:

Honda J35 (did it in an '04 Odyssey, pretty straightforward)
Nissan VG33ER (mounted longitudinally in a Frontier)
Nobody mentioned the Chrysler 3.5L/4.0L, probably the easiest transverse V6 I've ever done, but being SOHC helps immensely.
 
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What Vue has no power steering? And are dealing with plastic engine covers the parts you gauge the difficulty of a timing belt job by?
I think he means there's no traditional accessory driven hydraulic pump to get in the way. I'm not sure if all trims/models got the electric steering though.
 

14Accent

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I think he means there's no traditional accessory driven hydraulic pump to get in the way. I'm not sure if all trims/models got the electric steering though.

That's exactly what I meant. No Vue with the 3.5 came with traditional PS, only electric.

The GM 60 degree 3.4L DOHC is pretty bad.

On the easy list:

Honda J35 (did it in an '04 Odyssey, pretty straightforward)
Nissan VG33ER (mounted longitudinally in a Frontier)
Nobody mentioned the Chrysler 3.5L/4.0L, probably the easiest transverse V6 I've ever done, but being SOHC helps immensely.

Speaking of the Chrysler 3.5/4.0: it depends on the chassis. In an LH car? Easy as pie. In a Pacifica? No thanks.

By extension: how about the PT Cruiser? What a joke..
 
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91-94 Tercel very easy
Yep the old dinosaurs that had <100K change intervals tended to be quite easy. Most were non-interference so most folks just drove them till they broke, towed to a shop, then right back on the road.

Speaking of the Chrysler 3.5/4.0: it depends on the chassis. In an LH car? Easy as pie. In a Pacifica? No thanks.
I didn't find it particularly difficult, easier than the Honda J-series IMO. The usual fare-- pull plenum, accessories, crank pulley, metal timing covers, etc. but nothing presents a real challenge. Lots of working room and easy identifiable timing marks with no special tools required (not in my experience anyway).

If the LH platform/longitudinal engines are easier, that's just icing on the cake.
 

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Gm 3.0/3.2 are easy with the tool set. The 3 adjustments is to allow you to dial in the timing exactly with the cams locked with the holding tools. Not a bad timing belt to do. Hyundai 3.5 are simple if you lock the cams together before you take the old belt off. I use bolts and washers to hold them together. Volvos mentioned here are cake but ive done so many of them I can do them with my eyes closed just about. Im on my second set of Volvo cam locking tools and the second set is close to worn out.

PT Cruiser and Stratus/Cirrus timing belts are my least favorite. Why I dislike the PT cruiser so much is that there is nowhere to put a topside engine support while you have the engine mount out so you wind up supporting the engine with a floor jack which means you cant raise and lower the car til the engine mount goes back in.
 
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I don’t think I’ve done the timing belt on a VG30E quest my parents had. I’ve done a Subaru EJ25, Toyota 3MZ-FE/1UZ-FE/5S-FE. The Subaru one was slightly nerve wracking, but thankfully it was a SOHC version and not the DOHC one. I would have invested in the Company23 cam locks if it was and I planned on getting a Forester XT.

The 3MZ was a bit of pain to time the rear(left) cam.
 
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