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Timing Belt: In Over My Head?!?!

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by Elkoholic, Mar 23, 2009.

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    Elkoholic

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    Okay, so, I know there have been a lot of threads regarding changing the timing belt, and I've looked at the instructions online @ Pelican Parts, and in my Bentley...but I can't seem to find a uniform batch of instructions.

    My first, possibly biggest question: for those of you who have done it, have you removed the radiator? Or is that unnecessary?

    And from there, does that mean the aux fan (besides the primary fan, of course) and A/C condenser need to be yanked as well?

    I'm on spring break, my poor car is on jack stands in the garage (though still smiling because the top is down ;)), and after being drenched in two-and-a-half gallons of coolant, I feel like I'm getting into some deep you-know-what...even under the guidance of my "loves-to-dabble-in-the-automotive-arts" father.

    Tips? Pointers? Criticisms? Abuse?
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    Brian A

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    No worries bud. Situation Normal. You're in good shape.

    Pull the RAD!!! (One false move with something pointy and you're fixin more stuff.) (Plus only a professional belt changer can work in that wretched 1 1/2 inch space.)

    Remove fans as necessary. Take lots of pictures. Put all bolts/nuts in labeled baggies.
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

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    You rang?

    You don't have to pull the rad, but it is a fine time to do it and flush the cooling system. You don't ever want to pull the AC condenser unless you have AC equipment. You may wish to pull the hood to make it reasonably easy to do. I don't do either of these. In fact, I don't even open the cooling system, not even on an i. I can do this job in about 2 hours or less with a lift, 2.5-3 without. Any other questions? Ask away. I'll flame you after you are finished. :p
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    Elkoholic

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    Thanks guys, that makes me feel better. Yeah, seriously, when all that coolant came dumping down on me, I was afraid my car's water broke and a new Mini was gonna pop out...lol

    Okay, so, in the morning, radiator and primary fan are def coming out...any cautions there?

    Oh, one more quick thing...the Bentley says I need to remove the engine "splash guard" underneath the car to remove the radiator...is this for real? This aerodynamic and protective cowling seems like something I don't wanna touch, to avoid complications, unless it's imperative that I remove it...
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    Brian A

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    Pull the RAD!!!

    The big cowling on the bottom comes off pretty easy (and more importantly, goes back on pretty easily).
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    Elkoholic

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    Alrighty then, if you say so! I may go do that right now...that would have made coolant drainage more manageable, too...d'oh!

    Gonna try PULLING THE RAD ;) and fan and some other things, i.e. cap and rotor, and I'll take pix for documentation (to perhaps help out other poor souls who embark on this journey).

    Stay tuned, more updates in the morning...
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    az3579

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    Yes, please, so the rest of us unknowledgeable adventurous types can embark on it...

    *cough*

    (I will probably never have the guts to try that myself...)
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    mooseheadm5

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    Pull shield
    Pull hood if you want
    Pull fan
    Pull rad/hoses
    Pull coolant crossover pipe (88 and later)
    Pull water pump pulley
    Pull dist cap and rotor
    (this is the order, IIRC, but you may have to pull the last 3 in a different order.)
    etc. etc.
    • Member

    Elkoholic

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    Thanks, Paul--that's about as straightforward as I needed for it to be in the first place! Coolant crossover pipe N/A, will disregard...
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    MGarrison

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    You can get the hood further open by disconnecting it from the hood strut. If you put the strut back into a 'closed' position after disconnecting, it will snap back - keep your hands clear so you don't break a finger. The front of the hood will want to push against the kidney grill (which is easy to remove, two spring clips at the top, and it will come out by tilting forward, top first). I recall jamming a piece of 2"x4" about the same length as the grill is tall, maybe a bit longer where the kidney grill normally sits for the hood to lean against without going too far forward, or too far back where it would fall closed on you. Whatever - just support it so it won't go floppin' one way or another.

    Having the hood vertical makes it easier for access and radiator removal. And, uh, Chris... anytime you're dealing w/ automotive liquids.... wear safety glasses (gasoline in your eyes ain't nifty, fer instance) and make sure your mouth isn't wide open whenever you free/open/drain whatever you're dealing with.

    In the Bentley manual, I think removal step #10 should come after removal of the pulley and vibration damper. Remove the pulley first, then the vibration damper - as per Bentley, a little gentle prying may be needed to free them. Once the bolts are removed, nothing is holding them, it's just a tight fit. The vibration damper is located by a pin, but will come free after a little prying & wiggling.

    I always find removing/installing belts to be a bit of a hassle, particularly the A/C compressor belt, and getting them tensioned properly and the adjusting bolts re-tightened. Have Fun! ;)
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    Elkoholic

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    Yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh, luckily my $400 Pradas were on my face at the time...they saved me from a few splashes...relative safety in style...loves it...

    And thanks for the Bentley revision...definitely gonna try that!
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    Brian A

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    Elkoholic

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    Crap, I should have just brought a pair of lab goggles home from school...never thought of it...
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    az3579

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    Goggles are a bit much, but they work. We get free safety glasses at work; you want me to ship you one? :p
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    Elkoholic

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    Updates

    Haha, thanks Botond, but I think I've got it taken care of...

    Okay, so...here's what's yanked as of lunchtime:
    - front lower valence + front underbody splash guard
    - radiator & fan shroud
    - cap & rotor (which look really nasty...wish I had ordered some new equipment...that'll be next on the list)
    - working on the alternator bracket + timing belt cover right now...

    If you noticed, the fan itself isn't exactly "off"...and that's my main impediment right now...I don't have a 32-mm skinny wrench (FML), so is possible to just take the fan off the clutch and work with it that way? Or do I definitely need to yank the entire assembly?
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    mooseheadm5

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    You must get the fan clutch off with a 32mm wrench. There is no other way. Craftsman has 32mm wrenches, as to bicycle shops. It is left hand thread, remember, and if you have loosened the fan belt, retighten it. It is easier to remove with the belt on.
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    Elkoholic

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    Well then, looks like it's off to Sears in the Volvo...

    Oh, and, I also found a decapitated mouse stuck in the oil cooler radiator...poor bugger...lol
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    Elkoholic

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    UPDATE:
    I want to take it to the mechanic. Now. <sobs> I've never felt so inadequate...
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    az3579

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    Yeah... I found out I had to remove the radiator and I just said "screw this" and had the shop do it for me. :p


    If only we had the right equipment... oh wait, let me rephrase; if only we had the right, clean, easily found equipment that isn't already full of oil and coolant to drain the coolant into... and if only I could actually find a tool among the mess of tools just strewn about the garage with countless other crap...

    Don't worry Chris; when you have a nicely organized garage, you'll be a lot more keen to do your own work. :)
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    Elkoholic

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    UPDATE:
    Okay, finally got the fan off...that was the only impediment that was giving me second thoughts about starting this crap and going into mechanical engineering :p

    I figured I was too far along to call it quits, and with a little moral support from my father ("I knew it was going to be a pain in the [behind] before you even started--I would never do that myself"), we forged ahead.

    So, other things have come off, and my new water pump came today, so things may just fall into place...oh snap I don't wanna jinx it...

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