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1998 Camry 2.2: I can not get timing right

Old 10-29-2013, 03:18 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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Default 1998 Camry 2.2: I can not get timing right


I could really use some help. My mother broke her timing belt and I have since replaced it but for the life of me I can not get the car to start. It doesn't even cough a little. It sounds like a completely dry fire of the engine.

I have verified fuel is pumping and I am getting good spark. Plugs only have a few thousand miles on them.

I think my issue is timing.
For the cam gear I am aligning like so (using a mirror)

And for the crank, like so:

I am keeping tension on the belt between the crank/cam in the direction the crank will be pulling when lining everything up. Leaving all the slack at the tensioner and allowing it to take up the slack. But I have also found other posts that mention lining the cam gear up with a drill hole...or setting the crank to cyln 1 TDC...This is my first timing belt replacement and I am feeling like a total noob. I am fairly good working with a wrench but I think I am missing something really stupid here.

Old 10-29-2013, 08:32 PM
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Your photo's include reference to marks on the timing belt. Unless your belt has these marks, ignore reference to these.

You may or may have followed the procedure below, but it is one method.

If the engine is still together, remove the upper timing cover. Rotate crank pulley CW using the crank bolt until the hole in the cam pulley spoke is aligned (centered) with the notch on top of the front upper cam bearing cap. This is the TDC location for the camshafts and TDC for cylinder No 1.

If the lower timing cover is still on, the mark/line on the harmonic balancer should also line up with the 0 degree mark on the cover. If not there is problem.

The link below provides more info on the various marks.


If the harmonic balancer mark alignment is off, if possible remove the belt from the cam pulley. If the idler bolt is accessible, loosen this. Then rotate the harmonic balancer CW until the mark/line on the balancer is lined up at the 0 degree mark on the cover.

You should now have the cam at 0 deg, TDC No 1, and balancer at TDC No 1.

The crankshaft rotates 2 times for 1 time the cam pulley rotates.

If you need to take the lower cover off, keep the pulley in the 0 degree mark. Once the cover is off observe the location of any mark on the crank timing belt pulley. The crank keyway should also be oriented up.

If idler bolt is not loosened, do so.

Then install the belt on cam and crank pulleys and rotate the crank CW 2 times and recheck all marks, if they have changed repeat the alignment process and recheck after rotating crankshaft 2 times CW.

Once alignment is OK, tighten the idler bolt.

Note: It happens that the cam pulley can rotate slightly when the belt slack is taken out during rotation. The result is the timing is off. If this happens rotate the cam pulley one tooth in the opposite direction of rotation to compensate for this before installing the belt.

If wanting to start the engine, you can leave the upper cover and engine mount off in case there are still issues. This will save on work in not taking these parts back off.
Old 10-30-2013, 09:20 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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Thank you toyomoho.

Everything you have there is extremely well written and is where my timing settings were at. Through some act of God....I did a compression test and had all the plugs out. When I put them back in the car started. I have no real reason why... but I did not have to touch the timing again. It is now running extremely smooth even with the top vibration mount loose. I am happy.

I still appreciate your write up and I hope it helps others.
Thanks again
Old 10-30-2013, 07:23 PM
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Posts: 11,742

Strange things can happen on a belt change, glad things worked out.
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