Timing belt on 1998 Honda Accord


#1

Hey there…I was talking to my dad about the timing belt on MR2 and that brought up the issue of the timing belt on his 98 Honda Accord V6. We know that this will fry the engine if it breaks, and our question is how difficult is it to change this belt? The car has 170,000 miles on it.


#2

It’s never been changed in 170,000 miles? Better do it soon. Thinking of doing it yourself? It’s possible but you’re going to need a good manual and maybe some tools you don’t have. I’m no pro but I did this in my Honda Odyssey V6. I used the starter to get the crank bolt loose. I was told getting the crank bolt off was the hardest part but it came loose easy for me.


#3

I would imagine that the belt has been changed at least once but I’m not sure when so I want to change it before it breaks


#4

For an interference engine (most Hondas), the failure of a timing belt is likely to result in catastrophic engine damage. Most have guidelines to replace after every 80k miles or so, some longer and a few sooner. If I’m coming up on 60k miles since I actually know the timing belt has been changed, I replace the timing belt and most of the front end (depending on car, might be water pump, air pump, possibly other accessories) since the part cost is small and the labor cost of getting that far is the largest percentage.


#5

The difficulty depends on how mechanically inclined you are.
“Fry” is an incorrect term. What will happen if it breaks is that it will bend the intake valves in the cylinder head, ding the pistons, and in the right fluky circumstances could break pistons and/or damage rod bearings.

If it’s never been changed then your dad should be playing Lotto all of the time.

The belt tensioners and water pump should also be replaced. This is also a job that can go horribly, horribly wrong if it’s not done correctly.
Many novices have made errors during the installation, hit the ignition key without considering any consequences, and after a couple of sickening seconds of a whirring rattle are now left with a damaged engine that was fine until they changed the belt.

Make sure you’re up to this job or farm it out to a shop if you’re unsure.


#6

The problem I had when doing my wifes Accord belt…was room. There’s so little room to work with. There are places where I couldn’t even get my forearm through to loosen a bolt. Wifes car had the 4 cylinder. Not sure of the access with the V6.


#7

Get the crankshaft pulley bolt removal tool.

http://www.denlorstools.com/home/dt1/page_7256/crankshaft_pulley_holding_tool_for_honda_and_acura.html?rid=base&source=googleps

It will make your life a LOT easier and significantly reduce the chances of snapping the belt and spinning the crank while trying to remove the bolt.


#8

Thank you shadowfox. I need one of these, the belt is due on our 97 Accord. I just ordered it.

As for the OP, I don’t know what the crank pulley bolt torque spec is on the v6, but on the 4 cylinder it is 187 ft/lbs. You will need a 1/2" torque wrench that goes to 250 or a 3/4" torque wrench plus this tool if the v6 is as high.


#9

I’ll echo Mike on this one . . . space is the biggest problem. If you take your time and read through the manual (Haynes or whatever) you should be OK. Just be careful . . . like OK said above, if you make any errors during this job, the results can be pretty bad. Good luck! Rocketman


#10

If you have an interference engine be sure you READ, TAKE YOUR TIME, and most of all UNDERSTAND THE INSTRUCTIONS before attempting to do this on your own. Interference engines have no room for mistakes!!!


#11

Have you done this type of job? I’ve done one, have mechanics do them now.


#12

I guess I’ve been lucky then because I have had two different cars which needed to have the timing belts replaced. In both cases, the car either wouldn’t stop, or just stop running, like it was out of gas…sort of sputtered and then died. In either case, there was no damage to the engine.

In any event, my advice is to have a repair shop do the work. My understanding of the work involved means removing the radiator and associated hoses as well as any other wiring or ancillary equipment that is attached to the engine via fan belts or attached to the front of the engine. Unless you are a mechanic and have all the proper tools, it is a job best performed by a mechanic. It is a full-day job, at least, usually a two-day repair.


#13

Timing belts are NOT the $100 tool set from Kragen’s and let’s git 'er done kind of repair.
My '04 Civic 1.7l, with my 4 certificate ASE Tech son doing most of the wrenching, taxed our garage capabilities highly.
As previously posted, the list of ways to go wrong is long, and the consequence of errors is high.


#14

“Timing belts are NOT the $100 tool set from Kragen’s and let’s git 'er done kind of repair.”

Depends on the car…

I replaced the timing belt on my Chevy Vega with two screw drivers and a 3/8" ratchet set.

Actually the timing belt on my pathfinders was very easy and really didn’t require a lot of tools…The only specialty tool I needed to pull the belt pulley off the crank…Everything else required a screw driver…3/8" ratchet with a 12mm and 14mm sockets…


#15

I guess I’ve been lucky then because I have had two different cars which needed to have the timing belts replaced. In both cases, the car either wouldn’t stop, or just stop running, like it was out of gas…sort of sputtered and then died. In either case, there was no damage to the engine.

Some cars have non-interference engines, which do not break when the timing belt breaks. The OP’s car is not one of those.


#16

I’ve also had a couple timing belts break on one of my cars (Ford Escort), but it’s a non interference engine so all I had to do was line up the timing marks and put on a new belt, but as I said in my previous post if you have an interference engine KNOW FOR SURE WHAT YOU ARE DOING otherwise your engine will likely end up an over sized paper weight. It’s a job that a shade tree mechanic can do as long as they pay attention and are careful. I’m just a shade tree mechanic (30+ years experience) and do all my own timing belt/water pump changes. Be sure you have the timing right before trying to start the car, if it’s wrong you’ll probably end up with a MINIMUM damage of bent valves.