'97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement - Honda Civic Forum



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Old 10-13-2009   #1
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'97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

I have a '97 Civic LX with only 65,000 miles that has never had the timing belt replaced. I am thinking that I better replace it due to its age. I just checked two local Honda dealers in the Toledo, Oh, area, and they want $525-$550 for the job. I have done a lot of work on my vehicles over the years, but have never changed a timing belt. I am wondering if anyone has experience doing this and can offer any suggestions. Due to the cost, it sounds like it might be a major job. Is this something I should tackle or should I just bite the bullet and let the dealer do it?
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Old 10-13-2009   #2
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

for that much, what are they gonna be replacing?

at any mech shop, for 400-500 you can get replaced:

timing belt
power steering belt
AC compressor belt
gaskets/seals
tension-er + tension-er spring
water pump + waterpump seal
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Old 10-13-2009   #3
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

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Originally Posted by mharnisch View Post
I have a '97 Civic LX with only 65,000 miles that has never had the timing belt replaced. I am thinking that I better replace it due to its age. I just checked two local Honda dealers in the Toledo, Oh, area, and they want $525-$550 for the job. I have done a lot of work on my vehicles over the years, but have never changed a timing belt. I am wondering if anyone has experience doing this and can offer any suggestions. Due to the cost, it sounds like it might be a major job. Is this something I should tackle or should I just bite the bullet and let the dealer do it?
You don't replace a timing belt at 65k unless you really really like to replace timing belts or you like giving money to honda for no reason.

But assuming you were replacing it, you can follow my DIY in my sig. Except you don't need to take the bumper off. Leave the bumper on, take two 1/2 inch extentions for the 24" breaker bar, rest the breaker on a jack stand for support. I need to update my DIY because it's overly complicated. I will post a pic if you're interest.

Again, you don't need to replace it. It's due at 105k under severe conditions. You're wasting your time/money.
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Old 10-13-2009   #4
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

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You don't replace a timing belt at 65k unless you really really like to replace timing belts or you like giving money to honda for no reason.

But assuming you were replacing it, you can follow my DIY in my sig. Except you don't need to take the bumper off. Leave the bumper on, take two 1/2 inch extentions for the 24" breaker bar, rest the breaker on a jack stand for support. I need to update my DIY because it's overly complicated. I will post a pic if you're interest.

Again, you don't need to replace it. It's due at 105k under severe conditions. You're wasting your time/money.

The reason I want to replace it (or have it replaced) is because of age, not mileage. The manual says to replace it at 105,000 miles or 84 months, and I am well beyond that. I expect the belt deteriorates over time just like tires and radiator hoses, whether you put a lot of miles on them or not.
Yes, I would be interested in any pics you could provide. Thanks.
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Old 10-13-2009   #5
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

Alright, I updated the DIY, so go take a look.
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Old 10-14-2009   #6
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

I charge right at 450.00. Thats replacing the timming belt, water pump, cam and crank seals, and valve cover gasket. But yes they are right you realy dont need to change it. I tell all my customers 90k on a belt change.
Its pretty easy to do. only problem i see anyone having at home is getting the crank bolt to break loose. It can be a pain with out an impact and some of them wont do the trick.

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Old 10-14-2009   #7
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

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I charge right at 450.00. Thats replacing the timming belt, water pump, cam and crank seals, and valve cover gasket. But yes they are right you realy dont need to change it. I tell all my customers 90k on a belt change.
Its pretty easy to do. only problem i see anyone having at home is getting the crank bolt to break loose. It can be a pain with out an impact and some of them wont do the trick.

Jay
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24" breaker bar + pipe over it is cake.
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Old 10-14-2009   #8
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

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24" breaker bar + pipe over it is cake.

That will do it or a matco 1/2" impact and 150psi of air pressure will do it to. lol
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Old 10-16-2009   #9
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

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Alright, I updated the DIY, so go take a look.

Thanks much for the info. I'll need to take some time to look this over and then I am sure I will have questions.
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Old 10-16-2009   #10
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

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Thanks much for the info. I'll need to take some time to look this over and then I am sure I will have questions.
It's straight forward once you get going. Feel free to ask questions.
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Old 10-29-2009   #11
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

Hey, remember having a big breaker bar isnt going to stop the engine from turning over. also remember to never turn it backwards. a half inch impact is your best bet, but with either tool, remember not to OVERTIGHTEN the crank bolt when you put it back on. i broke on once on a chevy aveo. my heart hit the floor. new crank time-and guess what's more cost effective than that-a new engine. so be careful. they can break.

LUCKY the bolt was soft enough that with a brand new set of snap on chisels we were able to make a line in the broken off bolt and turn it out. saved my job for sure. turns out the replacement bolt was only $1.55, and the local GM dealer had several, even though it's a korean car. that answers a couple questions right there lol.

if you've never done a timing belt before, as you've stated, you should hear several tips.

1. once you get the timing to top dead center, the timing marks are lined up, and you are in a position to take the belt off, use a white out brush to put a little dab on each of the timed components where they meet the seal or timing cover or something immediately next to it. this way you have a second, easy to read point of reference when checking timing.

2. disconnect the negative battery cable. to make sure it's absolutely not possible for the motor to turn over. both for your safety, and to make sure the pistons dont come slamming into the valves if the timing belt isnt together.

3. the crank to cam idler or cam(s) side of the belt should be the taught side of the belt. all slack should be on the tensioner stretch of the belt back to the crank. this is to ensure proper timing, and to make sure when you apply the tensioner it doesnt turn the cam(s) or crank back, out of time.

4. After applying the tensioner, confirming timing marks are still correct, turn the crank over 2 full times back to the timing mark and then confirm the cams are still lined up with their timing marks. do NOT just put it back together once the tensioner is applied without doing this.

5. if the timing belt has any timing lines or marks on it make sure they align correctly. if it has arrows on it, they should be facing out. I am about to do my first civic timing belt (i know everyone in the world has done them but me) so i dont know if they have either of these things, but i did a 96 camry v-6 today that had both lines and arrows. so just take a quick look.
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Old 10-29-2009   #12
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

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Originally Posted by camarostylin View Post
Hey, remember having a big breaker bar isnt going to stop the engine from turning over. also remember to never turn it backwards. a half inch impact is your best bet, but with either tool, remember not to OVERTIGHTEN the crank bolt when you put it back on. i broke on once on a chevy aveo. my heart hit the floor. new crank time-and guess what's more cost effective than that-a new engine. so be careful. they can break.

LUCKY the bolt was soft enough that with a brand new set of snap on chisels we were able to make a line in the broken off bolt and turn it out. saved my job for sure. turns out the replacement bolt was only $1.55, and the local GM dealer had several, even though it's a korean car. that answers a couple questions right there lol.

if you've never done a timing belt before, as you've stated, you should hear several tips.

1. once you get the timing to top dead center, the timing marks are lined up, and you are in a position to take the belt off, use a white out brush to put a little dab on each of the timed components where they meet the seal or timing cover or something immediately next to it. this way you have a second, easy to read point of reference when checking timing.

2. disconnect the negative battery cable. to make sure it's absolutely not possible for the motor to turn over. both for your safety, and to make sure the pistons dont come slamming into the valves if the timing belt isnt together.

3. the crank to cam idler or cam(s) side of the belt should be the taught side of the belt. all slack should be on the tensioner stretch of the belt back to the crank. this is to ensure proper timing, and to make sure when you apply the tensioner it doesnt turn the cam(s) or crank back, out of time.

4. After applying the tensioner, confirming timing marks are still correct, turn the crank over 2 full times back to the timing mark and then confirm the cams are still lined up with their timing marks. do NOT just put it back together once the tensioner is applied without doing this.

5. if the timing belt has any timing lines or marks on it make sure they align correctly. if it has arrows on it, they should be facing out. I am about to do my first civic timing belt (i know everyone in the world has done them but me) so i dont know if they have either of these things, but i did a 96 camry v-6 today that had both lines and arrows. so just take a quick look.

Well, this sure sounds like it might be too much of a job for me to tackle. If I opt to not change the belt, what is the worst that can happen if the belt breaks? Will it cause any damage to the engine, or just leave me stranded at the side of the road?
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Old 08-31-2011   #13
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

I know this thread is 2 years old, but this question needs to be answered. Your Honda uses an Interference Engine. This means that when the belt breaks, your engine will at the very least *bend a bunch of valves* and it could be a lot worse.


Age does wear out rubber, if you are (anyone reading this is) worried about deterioration because of age, it may be a valid concern. Better safe than sorry on this kind of thing.

Last edited by ChronKyrios; 08-31-2011 at 10:25 PM. Reason: I had missed info in replies which covered some of my message
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Old 09-01-2011   #14
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

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I know this thread is 2 years old, but this question needs to be answered. Your Honda uses an Interference Engine. This means that when the belt breaks, your engine will at the very least *bend a bunch of valves* and it could be a lot worse.


Age does wear out rubber, if you are (anyone reading this is) worried about deterioration because of age, it may be a valid concern. Better safe than sorry on this kind of thing.

I did go ahead and have the timing belt replaced by Honda because I agree that time takes it's toll on rubber as well as mileage does. They also replaced the water pump, valve cover gasket, as well as the other two belts. Cost came to just over $600. I feel safer for doing it.
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Old 12-16-2011   #15
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

I just bought a nice 1998 Civic LX sedan with 121,356 miles. I am feeling like I should replace timing belt. Only one owner before me but I just cant tell if the belt was ever replaced.....can I?? I am a newbe to Honda's. So please excuse me if this is a stupid question.
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Old 12-17-2011   #16
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

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I just bought a nice 1998 Civic LX sedan with 121,356 miles. I am feeling like I should replace timing belt. Only one owner before me but I just cant tell if the belt was ever replaced.....can I?? I am a newbe to Honda's. So please excuse me if this is a stupid question.
Unless you know who the previous owner is and can ask them you will be in the dark. Did you buy it from a dealer? If so, the dealer might have service records to show that the work was done. Of course, the work could have been done elsewhere or by the owner. You probably won't find out. So, you have to decide whether you want to take a chance on the belt breaking and possibly destroy the engine or play it safe and have it changed as I did. Being a Honda it should last for many, many more miles if taken care of.
Good luck.
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Old 10-30-2012   #17
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Re: '97 Civic LX Timing Belt Replacement

If you want to replace the timing belt the hardest part is removing the crank pulley bolt as others have said. Here's the easiest way I've found. First, buy a Vise Grip brand chain tensioning tool. It looks like a set of vise grip pliers with a length of bicycle chain instead of jaws.

Cut a piece of belt that fits the crank pulley grooves. Ex. the AC belt. It's worth it to sacrifice the old belt. You have to remove it anyway. Cut a piece that just wraps around the small diameter end of the crank pulley. Tape the ends to hold it on the pulley.

Using the Vise Grip tool, wrap the chain around the pulley, over the piece of belt that you put on. Clamp it on as tight as you can get it. At this point the handles of the Vise Grip tool will be pointed downwards since you'll be working under the car. Now turn the crank pulley with the Vise Grip tool until the handle contacts the axle. That will lock it in place so you can break the bolt loose without the engine turning.

Now you'll need a 17mm socket and the longest breaker bar or ratchet you can find. If you can, slide a piece of pipe over the bar or ratchet for added leverage (cheater bar).

The easiest way I've found to get the bolt loose is to move around to the front of the car. Put a strap or rope through the drivers side tow loop to give you something to hold onto. Sit on the ground, hold the strap and use your foot to push the breaker bar. This gives you much more power than using your arms.

If you don't have the crank pulley clamped tight enough with the Vise Grip tool, the pulley will spin instead of the bolt coming off.

I've tried to remove this bolt even with a 3/4 drive impact gun and it just doesn't work unless you keep the pulley from turning.
The rest of the procedure is pretty straight forward using a Haynes manual. Read through the entire section before you start.

Last edited by Rootie; 10-30-2012 at 11:45 AM. Reason: added sentence
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