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Honda Civic- loud noise after timing belt change


I have a 1997 Honda Civic. I just had the timing belt changed and immediately after I had a ticking noise from the engine. It was pretty quiet, but constant (tik, tik, tik). It got faster as the rpm’s went up. After driving it for about 30 miles the noise all of the sudden got very very loud. I thought my engine was going to die all together. It was the same dull tick, but really loud. This lasted about 10 miles and then the next day the noise disappeared on my way to work. The noise was gone entirely, but I lost acceleration in every gear. Now it is still quiet, but there is a delay in getting any power and then it will kick in and delay again when I shift gears. Since the noise is gone my mechanic says there’s no way he can diagnose the problem. Any idea what the problem might be and if it’s related to having the timing belt changed?



Pretty tough to nail down without hearing/driving it myself, but my first (and truthfully only) guess is that perhaps the belt was installed with the timing marks off by just a little bit, perhaps as little as one tooth. Tick noises can be from pre-ignition if the timing was too advances, which might happen with this.

So he can’t diagnose the noise because it’s gone; fine, then he should diagnose why it’s having trouble accelerating between gears. It wasn’t doing this before he worked on the car and unless you’ve tinkered with it, it’s a safe bet that something he did has caused this.

The timing belt may have been put on wrong; that is, out of time. If it was out of time enough, it could have bent some valves. A compression check, and a vacuum check, will reveal if any cylinder isn’t sealing well. The cause of poor sealing could be bent valves. Your mechanic owes you a job properly done; or repairs if the cause is from a bad job.

Maybe the timing belt was not installed correctly and the ticking noise is the sound of a valve lightly brushing against the top of the piston. After a few miles enough piston material could have been beaten away that the noise will disappear.

JMHO, but a competent mechanic will roll the engine through several times by hand and recheck the timing marks before buttoning everything up. They should also inspect the ignition timing on distributor equipped cars even if the distributor was not tampered with. The timing can be altered by changing the belt and never touching the distributor.

Does the car idle even faintly rough or is it near glass smooth?

Thanks for all your ideas. My mechanic took the car back to inspect it. Today he let me know that he must have overtightened it which then broke the camshaft. I’m not clear on all of the details yet. If this is what happened, should I make sure he checks on anything else - could it have affected anything else? Thanks!

not possible,

are you sure he said, camshaft?

hmm, maybe he just said a cam.


Nope. He just said he overtightened it and fractured a cam gear.

gear not the same as cam,camshaft,bump stick whatever you want to call it. you know alot about cams to be asking that question.


makes a person THINK.???

to fracture a cam gear means he had aHUGE BUTCHER BAR in place. and three friends.

as I stated impossible.

maybe the gears are some sort of plastic with a metal hub and he cracked the joint between the plastic part and the metal hub… sounds odd like you say.

Very easy to get a belt off a tooth, but that usually just results in rough or poor running, not ticking involved.

Do these engines have all sorts of valve advance/retard mechanisms, ie VVT, variable valve timing?.
Maybe something in that got damaged, if you have it.