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03 Cruiser- timing belt replacement causes rough idle

 
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Old 25 Apr 2012, 11:29 am
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Default 03 Cruiser- timing belt replacement causes rough idle

A few weekends ago I replaced the water pump, timing belt, timing belt tensioner, timing belt idler, right motor mount, and both torque struts on my sister's 03 PT Cruiser. It is a 2.4, non-turbo, totally stock car. It has just over 75k miles on it. The water pump had had a slow leak so I had to take it all apart to replace it.

After putting it back together the motor ran much rougher than before at idle. I was surprised because the upper and lower torque struts had both failed and been replaced, so I was expecting a smoother engine than before. I previously did this same repair job on my brother's 03 PT Cruiser and it went smoothly with no problems.

I consulted the factory service manual and saw that there is a specific way of adjusting the motor to make sure the motor sits correctly in the motor mounts. I adjusted the position of the motor in the mounts this morning and it seemed to have helped the rough idle. However, there is still a slight surging and rough idling. The exhaust also smells different than it did before and there is a noticeable clicking noise coming from under the intake manifold that wasn't there before.

I am concerned that I might have gotten the timing belt installed one tooth off on the crank gear. What are the symptoms of a motor with the timing belt off one tooth on the crank?

I have also read that the motor should never be turned over by the camshafts when replacing the timing belt or valve train damage may occur. I am sad to say that I did use one of the cam gear to turn the motor over a few times. What sort of valve train damage can occur?

Will a new timing belt need to be worn in? The new belt in my brother's Cruiser had a distinct whine for a few days after we replaced it but the whine has diminished and is gone now. The belt in my sister's Cruiser also whined but is getting quieter the more she drives it. Is it possible that the teeth on the new belt are sticking in the the cam gear and not releasing correctly, leading to slight camshaft lag and rough running?

Anybody have any input about this? Thanks.
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Old 25 Apr 2012, 11:40 am
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Default Re: 03 Cruiser- timing belt replacement causes rough idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by glibbis View Post

I am concerned that I might have gotten the timing belt installed one tooth off on the crank gear. What are the symptoms of a motor with the timing belt off one tooth on the crank?
I can tell you that the main thing we tell someone with a ruff idle after a belt change is that it's probably off one tooth. Even experience mechanics with no PT experience under their belt, get it wrong.

I had mine done my a Chrysler mechanic who had done many PT's before mine and it ran perfect from the minute he was done.
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Old 25 Apr 2012, 11:46 am
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Default Re: 03 Cruiser- timing belt replacement causes rough idle

Crap. That isn't what I wanted to hear. So I basically need to take everything back off to move the belt one tooth on the crank? What a pisser. I did the belt on my brother's Cruiser no problem. Ugh.

Is there any kind of shortcut to moving the belt one tooth or does it absolutely require taking everything else apart? I suspect there isn't a shortcut, but I can always hope...
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Old 25 Apr 2012, 11:54 am
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Default Re: 03 Cruiser- timing belt replacement causes rough idle

First, I don't think there's a short cut with everything I've read and second, there just MIGHT be another reason for running rough so check everything else out first.
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Old 25 Apr 2012, 12:19 pm
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Default Re: 03 Cruiser- timing belt replacement causes rough idle

No, the car was running fine before I swapped the timing belt. Argh. I guess I need to schedule a weekend to tear it apart agin. Oh well. Live and learn, and practice makes perfect.
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Old 25 Apr 2012, 12:35 pm
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Default Re: 03 Cruiser- timing belt replacement causes rough idle

Take a good look through the HOW TO thread in this Tech & Performance section for about 4 different threads on How To change the timing belt. Many tips and tricks on how to get it perfect. I know I read through a couple of them before I decided to let an expert do it.
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Old 25 Apr 2012, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: 03 Cruiser- timing belt replacement causes rough idle

I have the factory service manual for the 03 Cruiser and use it. Replacing the timing belt is not a technically difficult thing to do. It is a pain just because space is so limited in the timing belt area. Like I said, I did the belt on my brother's 03 Cruiser no problem. I just didn't check the crank alignment carefully enough when I did it on my sister's 03 Cruiser. I am not intimidated by this project, I just hate having to go back redo something due to my own stupidity and spend the time correcting my own mistake.

I think any reasonably competent home mechanic can replace the timing belt on a PT Cruiser. It really isn't that hard to do, but you do have to go slow and make sure everything is lined up.
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