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Replacing the timing belt 2.4L (without a lift!) -Detail instructions

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Old 22 Nov 2009, 10:49 am
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Location: St Petersburg, Florida
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Default Replacing the timing belt 2.4L (without a lift!) -Detail instructions

I'm using the instructions from tampa racing as a template (these were taken from the shop manual anyways). All I'm going to do is explain these steps in a little more detail and add my experience.

SPECIAL TOOLS - I personally couldn't do it without these.
1. Damper pulley puller - search for "OTC 6667 GM / Chrysler / Mitsubishi Harmonic Damper Pulley Puller". I got mine off eBay for $50 + shipping. Generally I've seen them for $75-80. I tried forever with the autozone rentals and they don't work.
2. Cheap compressor and impact wrench - since you're saving money by doing this yourself, do yourself a favor and get one of these. Harbor Freight Tools can get you up and running for about $150 for a 90psi/5cfm 3 gallon compressor and impact wrench. It's not much, but it'll work. (don't forget the compressor oil)

1. Disconnect negative battery cable.

2. Jack up the right-front side with your jack and put a jack stand under it.

3. Remove right front wheel.

4. Remove the right splash shield. This is the plastic part that covers the bottom portion that looks into the engine bay. It wraps around the bottom a little. There are a couple of screws in the wheel well area and one (or two?) under the car by the bumper. The plastic piece will be kind of hard to remove with everything else in the way so you might have to bend it a little.

5. Remove accessory drive belts. HA! This is not that simple. After you have taken the splash shield off, you should see the small pulley that is in between the A/C compressor and power steering pump. You need to torque that pulley with a wrench and the belt around it will loosen enough for you to slip it off. Great! Now for the alternator. There are THREE bolts to loosen. Two are facing the right side of the car and one is facing the firewall. You need to loosen the two facing the right side (one is where the alternator will pivot and the other just loosens the sliding mechanism). Then start turning the bolt facing the firewall... as you do it, you'll notice the alternator start to slide forward (and thereby loosen the belt). Keep doing it until you can get the belt off. DONE!

6. Remove crankshaft damper. Oh boy. First the bolt in the center. If you've got an impact wrench, go for it. IF not, spray that bolt with some liquid wrench and let it sit for a bit. Then jam a screwdriver in the holes on the side of your brake disk so it will rest against the caliper and won't turn. Put your car in 1st gear for extra resistance. Now take a breaker bar and apply EVEN pressure and get that bolt off. Once the bolt is off, you'll need the special puller. Be warned that the puller will slip off the pulley once you start to tighten it. Another guy told me he put a strong zip tie around the whole puller to keep the arms in place. I just jammed 1/4" extensions behind the puller arms so they couldn't slip out of the pulley. Then start cranking. You may find that heating the pulley may help a little bit, but I didn't do that on my final (and successful) try.

7. Remove the lower torque strut. This is the piece of metal that's running from front to back you see in the wheel area. Not hard to remove.

8. Disconnect exhaust system from manifold. TRICKY!!! This was very hard for me. In order to do this, I removed the heat shield on the exhaust manifold (4 bolts) and loosened the heat shield under the exhaust connection from underneath the car. I'm not positive you actually have to remove these... I did it so I could see more. In any case, what needs to come off are the four nuts that connect the exhaust tubing to the bottom of the manifold. I could not get these off by going from the top. I did it by creating a VERY long extension (used a 10" 1/4 inch extension connected with adapters to a 3/8inch extension... it's good that it's very floppy). Use a 1/4inch socket (don't remember which size) to get to the nuts because you'll need a lot of wiggle room. Then park yourself under the car at about the catalytic converter. You should be able to see straight along the exhaust pipe that goes to the manifold. This is why you need the long extension (and the floppiness)... you can get to each of the nuts this way. One of them will be particularly hard but you can get it... it will fit through that jungle somehow. Then either crank or use your impact wrench (light setting) and you're done. The exhaust will almost fall off then.

9. Disconnect A/C pressure switch at rear of compressor housing. This is so you don't destroy the switch when you jack up the engine.

9.5 At this point, while not necessary, I would go ahead and remove the intake manifold at this point. You can avoid cracking the connectors on the back and it makes a little more room for you. There are several small bolts in front, one big one in the back, and two smaller bolts that attach a metal pipe in the back (don't remember what that's for). Believe me, this will help...

10. Lower vehicle and support engine with a jack. OK, basically, use the jack to get the car off the jack stand and just put the jack stand at its lowest setting. Then lower the car back down on it. Move your jack to underneath the engine. Get a bunch of small pieces of wood (at least 3" x 3" but not too big that they'll get in the way of everything else). Stack these as high as seems safe on the jack and position them under the oil pan. At first I was using wood to cushion the oil pan on the hard jack, but then I realized I'd need the extra height. Just get them in position at this point.

11. Discharge A/C system and disconnect A/C lines at coupling block. You can just discharge them by starting to remove one of the lines. The coupling block is the aluminum block that is pretty much in the middle on the passenger side of the car. Do this either outside or with the garage door wide open and stand back for a good 15 minutes while this stuff discharges.

12. Remove upper torque strut. This is that strut that attaches to the side of the engine. Get it completely off... not hard.

13. Remove screw attaching ground strap to strut bracket.
14. Remove torque strut bracket from strut tower.

15. Remove upper radiator support crossmember. Ok, first remove the four screws that are holding in the plastic grill in front. There are plastic tabs that you need to carefully pry out (they can break easily) in order to remove the plastic grill. Next there are three bolts on each side of the upper radiator support. You'll also have to remove the temperature sensor in the middle of the support. I left the hood latch on the support and just set the whole piece aside kind of hanging.

16. Remove power steering pump and bracket. Set pump aside. Do not disconnect lines from pump. OK, this is confusing... but I ended up JUST removing the three bolts whose heads are facing towards the driver's side of the car. (You'll see them if you look from the front of the car.) This will leave the bracket on the engine, but will let the pump slide loose. This was enough for me.


17. With engine properly supported, remove right engine mount through bolt.
Raise engine with jack until engine support bracket bolts are accessible.
Remove support bracket bolts.
Remove support bracket.
Remove upper timing belt cover fasteners and remove cover.
Remove lower timing belt cover fasteners and remove cover
CAUTION: When aligning crankshaft and camshaft timing marks always rotate engine from crankshaft. Camshaft should not be rotated after timing belt is removed. Damage to valve components may occur. Always align timing marks before removing timing belt.
Before the removal of the timing belt, rotate crankshaft until the TDC mark on oil pump housing aligns with the TDC mark on crankshaft sprocket (trailing edge of sprocket tooth)
NOTE: The crankshaft sprocket TDC mark is located on the trailing edge of the sprocket tooth. Failure to align trailing edge of sprocket tooth to TDC mark on oil pump housing will cause the camshaft timing marks to be misaligned.
Install 6 mm Allen wrench into belt tensioner. Before rotating the tensioner, insert the long end of a 1/8 or 3 mm Allen wrench into the pin hole on the front of the tensioner .
While rotating the tensioner counterclockwise, push in lightly on the 1/8 or 3 mm Allen wrench, until it slides into the locking hole.
Remove timing belt. CAUTION: If timing belt was damaged due to incorrect tracking (alignment), the belt tensioner assembly must be replaced
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Old 22 Nov 2009, 02:46 pm
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Location: Oregon Mountains USA
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Default Re: Replacing the timing belt 2.4L (without a lift!) -Detail instructions


I can hear my dad swearing from the grave "those gdamn engineers! they never work on anything they design!!"

What a PITA! No wonder Saturn went chain on their DOHC.

Thanx for the detailed write-up!

PS: with so many belts breaking right at 100k, and the owners manual maintenance schedule calling for changing at 102k, I'm going to do mine shortly after 75k.

2010 Classic in Deepwater Blue w/Grey Interior
2008 Bullitt Mustang #901

Last edited by cdynaco; 22 Nov 2009 at 02:49 pm.
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Old 22 Nov 2009, 05:01 pm
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Default Re: Replacing the timing belt 2.4L (without a lift!) -Detail instructions

I know my limits - I'm gonna have my mechaic do it - and have tranny flushed for a second time when the time comes...

Thanks for the write-up.
"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life,
nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov"

'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
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Old 22 Nov 2009, 09:02 pm
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Default Re: Replacing the timing belt 2.4L (without a lift!) -Detail instructions

Originally Posted by cdynaco View Post

What a PITA! No wonder Saturn went chain on their DOHC.
Thanx for the detailed write-up!

Saturn S series cars used chains for both the SOHC and DOHC cars. The chains would start to stretch badly at about 150K depending on usage. Some would go way, way longer. Later models of the S series engines had better tensioners. We had two of them, both 1993 SW2s and they were very nice. After the S series cars, Saturns had timing belts like most everybody else. (My wife--against my wishes--bought a 2003 Vue, after GM had reabsorbed Saturn as a GM division. That car redefined "lemon.")

All makes have their quirks. PTs have an accessibility quirk.
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1996 Dodge diesel 4X4, 2001 PT Cruiser Touring with rear disc brakes, [Now gone 2004 PT Cruiser Base 5 speed], 2007 Chrysler T&C Touring
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Old 22 Dec 2009, 12:37 am
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Default Blown head gasket and timing belt done!

Ok... thanks to this forum, I was able to complete this complex job. Actuality, it was quite easy after getting my hands into it. After reading all (I think) the threads on timing belts, I had a really good understanding on the task in front of me. This thread completed my research. There were three items that I wanted to touch on that I felt was important and delayed my project.

1. It is a "MUST" to us a good "OEM" Chrysler harmonic dampner remover. Do not try anything else! I posted a picture of the one I rented from my local auto shop. The cheap ones, as Makku stated, is junk.

2. The right engine support bracket (timing belt side) was a little confusing in all the threads. I posted two pictures of the support without the timing belt covers to show what is involved. Remember that there is a single bolt that is located in the wheel well that uses a torx (T-55). This is the mounting bolt that is connected to the engine support bracket that you do not see

3. Removing the exhaust manifold at the cat is a must. Makku explains it very well by using extensions. The bolts are not on very tight, so it it easy to remove.

Thats it! Lots of things to remove, but not that hard... really! Car runs great and now to the next job on my new 06, right wheel bearing.

Also, if you are removing your cylinder head, make sure you have it inspected and leak tested by a good cyl head shop. I had to have mine worked on and it turned out great.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tool.jpg (88.6 KB, 954 views)
File Type: jpg bracket1.jpg (94.1 KB, 972 views)
File Type: jpg bracket2.jpg (94.9 KB, 923 views)
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Last edited by 767skyking; 22 Dec 2009 at 02:03 pm. Reason: pictures
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Old 22 Dec 2009, 09:16 am
Hooligan's Avatar
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Default Re: Replacing the timing belt 2.4L (without a lift!) -Detail instructions

Thanks for the additional notes, someone will be able to use them when they do their timing belt.

2008 Silver Steel Metallic, Touring, NA, Sirius; Chromed door handles; lower grille; fog light surrounds; chrome front & rear bumpers strips; Airaid air filter; Bassani duals; Modesty Cover; Autolite AP5263 Platinum Plugs (.040); Crane Plug Wires; NAPA Ceramic pads; Blane hood struts; PTeazer Gas, Brake & Foot Rest Pedals, '05 Rear Step Pad, Stainless Door Sills, Llumar tint, "A" Piller chrome; APC Strut Bar
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Old 22 Dec 2009, 01:08 pm
Matt42's Avatar
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Default Re: Blown head gasket and timing belt done!

Originally Posted by 767skyking View Post
Also, if you are removing your head, make sure you have it inspected and leak tested
Without intending to be too flippant, but I can't resist . . . I think my wife would suggest that I do this.
wingman55 likes this.
1996 Dodge diesel 4X4, 2001 PT Cruiser Touring with rear disc brakes, [Now gone 2004 PT Cruiser Base 5 speed], 2007 Chrysler T&C Touring
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Old 11 Nov 2010, 11:59 am
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 88
Default Re: Replacing the timing belt 2.4L (without a lift!) -Detail instructions

hey guys I realize this thread is almost a year old but I had to ask my question before moving ahead with replacing my 2001 cylinder head gasket.

767skyking or anyone else, when removing the cylinder head from the vehicle what exactly did you do with the power steering reservoir, pipes and bracket to get enough clearance to remove the cylinder head?

Also i have removed the radiator and fan, but left the AC and transmission cooler in place on the vehicle, is it absolutely necessary to discharge the AC system to do this work?

Thanks in advance for the comments.
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Old 11 Nov 2010, 10:00 pm
767skyking's Avatar
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Default Re: Replacing the timing belt 2.4L (without a lift!) -Detail instructions

Just use a couple of bungee cords to keep them away. I pulled them toward the cruise control unit.
On your second question, it is not necessary to take the lines off, review one of the "sticky" threads. I put a couple of pictures showing that removing the right front headlight opens up the area and allows you to pull the upper strut mount through the hole.
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Old 12 Nov 2010, 11:37 am
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 88
Default Re: Replacing the timing belt 2.4L (without a lift!) -Detail instructions

thanks 767.. I bought the car as a repo as I have done many times before. So I have car stripped down pretty good, fenders off, lights out, radiator ect i have plenty of space to work through the headlight cavity I was just unsure if I needed to remove the pipes in order to get the top motor mount off. If appears after further investigation that the top mount is pretty straight forward.

thanks again for the fast reply.
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