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

wlk

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For me was my kids old Mazda Protege 5, had to do the water pump with it too. I used a Gates kit then the following year had to do the water pump again as it failed, just a pain. No real room and doing it twice soured my taste for it.
 
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Mitsubishi/PSI 2.4 in a Hyster H35 series and up forklift. Not complicated but difficult to access in such a small area. You can remove the hood but doesn’t gain you much. Easiest way is to remove the counterweight, radiator and exhaust assembly but it adds quite a bit of time. I lay a foam pad on the valve cover and work from the top.
 
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Mitsubishi 4D56 (2.5L diesel) is a pretty horrible one to do. Has one toothed belt for the balance shafts and another for the cams. Really hard to line everything up.

VW 1.6/2.0L diesels are fiddly as they have a lot of fine-tuning scope once the belt is on.

The modern Volvo 5cyls are easy, especially in the P3 cars which have heaps of room. Hard to get the water pump in and out in P1 cars due to the narrower chassis rail width, but still not a horrible job by any means.

Surprisingly, one of the easiest ones I’ve done was a 2.0L PSA diesel in a 2011 Focus I used to own. Didn’t even have to touch the engine mount or use any special tools.
 
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VW 1.6/2.0L diesels are fiddly as they have a lot of fine-tuning scope once the belt is on.

The modern Volvo 5cyls are easy, especially in the P3 cars which have heaps of room. Hard to get the water pump in and out in P1 cars due to the narrower chassis rail width, but still not a horrible job by any means.

Agreed on both of these... 1.6 VW diesel was the worst. I did NOT like doing the P1 Volvo because it was such a cramped area to work in.
 
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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.
I'd say 13-18 RDX. No P/S, lots of room.

But I think the new 22+ MDX might be the one to beat.
 
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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.
That Alfa 164... in its DOHC variant form. Originally, at least, it was a 30,000 mile recommended interval. Partways disassembly of RH front suspension to do it, apparently. Also, do it, then 10,000 miles into the 30,000 mile interval - partways do it again, to retention the belt once it was in service for a bit. By comparison the SOHC Alfa V6 in the 164 was easier... and decent if you upgraded the oil-fed DETENSIONER with a later DOHC non oil fed TENSIONER.

Not a common engine/car, but a sweet engine with some "sensitive" service needs.
 
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Couldn't say as I avoid timing belt cars. I only have one car with a belt and that was because it was given to me a decade ago and I had already had an 86. I can say the the 86-92 626 has got to be one of the easiest belts to ever have to change. Thirty minutes at most.
 
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My Subaru mechanic changed wife’s 2005 Legacy GT wagon with EJ25 turbo timing belt only for $300 in 2009. Guessing it was easy at least for him. 3hrs labor and cost of belt.
 
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I did my 2004 VW Passat 1.8T AWM engine belt 3x. Once due to a defective replacement waterpump after the first TB service. The actual work to do the TB wasn't bad, the hard part was all the annoying process to put the front end of the car into the "service position" Once again the process of getting into service position wasn't hard, just lots of little to-do's and you had to be careful with front bumper cover to avoid scratches or damage.
 
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My Subaru mechanic changed wife’s 2005 Legacy GT wagon with EJ25 turbo timing belt only for $300 in 2009. Guessing it was easy at least for him. 3hrs labor and cost of belt.
Sounds like your shop is one that only does the bare minimum in order to keep costs low.

But really, replacing the timing belt only sounds like a terrible practice. At the minimum, do the tensioner and drive belts.
 
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Sounds like your shop is one that only does the bare minimum in order to keep costs low.

But really, replacing the timing belt only sounds like a terrible practice. At the minimum, do the tensioner and drive belts.
Maybe however it was changed out at 195k again and some tensioners and drive belts done. We kept car 14yrs/240k miles and dumped because it was leaking oil out all the oil lines for the turbo plumbing.
 
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The newer Honda 3.5 t-belts I can swap in just over an hour. Don't even have to take the drive belt tensioner off most of them anymore.

The Ford 1.6 can be a bear, in my mind anyway
 
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Dec 4, 2021
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Sounds like your shop is one that only does the bare minimum in order to keep costs low.

But really, replacing the timing belt only sounds like a terrible practice. At the minimum, do the tensioner and drive belts.
We had one guy that did the Subarus. He could do it with the tensioners and belts in a morning, easy. With a Winston hanging off his lip.

On the easy side, Volvo 240 was the easiest I remember. Pulling the upper cover back to peek at the belt was just part of regular service lol. Always got a new crank seal too.

My experience with timing belts is exclusively with 1983-2005 Japanese and European though. I'm sure there's American stuff that's just as hard/easy.
 
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Toyota 3.0 V6 in my 91 p/u. My ASE mechanic buddy pulled up when I was doing it and said "I know Toyota technicians who pay people to change out their V6 timing belts"
 
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Worst I’ve seen was a tuned audi rs7 with only 40k miles. It kept throwing a cam code and it needed the timing chain and guides replaced. Only thing is you have to pull the engine out to do it. Ridiculous
 
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