1997 Honda Civic Change Timing Belt

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Replacing the timing belt to your 1997 Honda Civic before it breaks is imperative to its operation. Civic timing belts are advertised to last 70,000 miles but many mechanics recommend replacing early to stay on the safe side. If you have failed to maintain your Civic's timing belt, it could break at anytime without warning. The repairs for this type of incident are more costly than the value of a car this old. Below are the steps to replacing your 1997 Civic's timing belt. It is highly recommended to obtain an original manufacturer's belt for this replacement. It is also recommend to replace the water pump and seals while replacing the timing belt, but this article does not address that process.

Tools Used[edit]

Set of metric socket wrenches
Two floor jacks
New manufacturer's timing belt
Lug Wrench
Set of Wrenches

Change Timing Belt[edit]

  • Use a floor jack to lift the front side of your Civic. Remove the driver's side wheel with a lug wrench and then remove the splash shield.
  • Remove the accessory belts by loosening the accessory belt tensioners with a wrench. Take out the belts and remove the upper timing cover with the socket wrench.
  • Remove the spark plug wire securing bracket using the socket wrench. Remove the spark plug wires and place them in order so that when you replace them they are in the correct positions.
  • Slide the other floor jack under the oil pan and crank it until it is securely between the ground and the pan.
  • Use the socket wrench to remove all of the bolts around the valve cover. Take note of the arrow on the timing cover. Use the socket wrench to rotate the crankshaft counterclockwise until the mark on the crankshaft pulley is matched with the arrow on the timing cover. This arrow should be at the 12 o'clock position.
  • Take note of the "UP" marking on the camshaft sprocket and the two corresponding marks that are on the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions in relation to the "UP" marking. Perfectly align the "UP" marking so that it is precisely at 12 o'clock and the two opposing marking are aligned with the upper edge of the cylinder head. At this point, there should be a mark on the camshaft that is at 7 o'clock and is aligned with a marking on the cylinder head.
  • Use the socket wrench to remove the crankshaft pulley bolt. Remove the pulley and the lower ring cover.
  • Loosen the timing belt tensioner and push it inward. Re-tighten the tensioner and remove the old timing belt.
  • Install the new timing belt. It is important to install the belt correctly, starting on the left side, opposite of the tensioner. Make sure the belt is tightly wrapped around the left side of the crankshaft sprocket. Guide the belt to the camshaft sprocket. Make sure it is still tight. Guide the timing belt over the water pump and to the belt tensioner. Loosen the tensioner with a wrench and adjust it until there is enough tension for the belt to be tight and secure. Replace the crankshaft bolt and turn the crank shaft two times counterclockwise. Tighten the tensioner bolts.
  • Reinstall the accessory belt as well as the valve cover and spark plug wires. Replace the spark plug wire's valve cover clamp.
  • Replace the splash shield and wheel. Start the engine and let it run for 10 minutes. Test drive the Civic to make sure the car runs properly.