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8 Valve Timing Belt Tension

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Offline JCTracker

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8 Valve Timing Belt Tension
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2019, 02:22:32 PM »
I'm a little concerned at how difficult it is for me to put a new belt on. I've seen videos of people installing belts and they just slip right on or just need a little persuasion to slide over the gears before tensioning the belt.

In my case, with the tensioner pulley on (12mm bold installed but not tightened) I have to manage to get a lip of the belt around both gears and apply lots of pressure, pushing the belt to the rear as I roll the crank gear over several times. Once I get it on there's no adjustment available and the little spring serves no purpose because the belt is already super tight.

I've inspected the end of the crank. No signs of the key/keyway being worn out. I've confirmed both cam and crank gears are of the rounded cog type and all of the valve adjusters are loosened/turned all the way out (read no valve lash). The crank pulley, keyway and bolt, as well as the tensioner pulley/adjuster kit are new from Low Range Offroad. I've tried different brands of belts and they are all tight. Stock head and gasket.

So with everything in place the belt is just waaaaay too tight in my opinion. After looking at everything a while I wanted to see how things would be if I removed the 10mm bolt (the one with threads on both ends and the hex in the middle) that holds the adjuster/pivot arm to the block and the belt was a lot easier to put on but I'd never get the adjuster bolt/arm back in again which is making me think the slot in the adjuster/pivot arm is too short.

Considering that little spring can't be providing a terrible amount of tension on the adjuster, the pulley or the belt I'm leaning towards taking the adjuster/pivot arm out and applying what I think would be the appropriate amount of tension on the belt by hand and tightening the pulley down. My logic is that a.) I don't think it requires a lot of tension  b.) I doubt the belt is going to come flying off or throw off the valve timing if it is a little loose and (most importantly) c.) I'm more concerned about the possible damage to the belt and/or cam bearings of having what I'm sure is an overly tight belt.

So any thoughts on why the belt could be going on so hard with all new, properly installed components? Any opinions on taking the adjuster/pivot arm and spring out of the equation and just using my own judgement on how much tension to apply to the belt before tightening down the pulley?

Thanks in advance
1990 Geo Tracker
8V 1600
5 Speed
1990 Geo Tracker Tin Top, 4x4, 5spd (Mine)
1992 Geo Tracker Soft Top, 4x4, 5spd (Hers)
1995 Geo Tracker Soft Top, 2WD, Auto (Fixer up'er)
1995 Geo Tracker Soft Top, 2WD, Auto (Parts for above)