How to Replace a 1997 Geo Prizm Timing Belt

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The 1997 Geo Prizm came with two engines: the 1.6-liter and the 1.8-liter engine. Both use the same timing belt procedure, and both are interference engines, which means that the valve-to-piston clearance is so close that the timing belt must be installed with the engine perfectly in time, else the valves will hit the pistons. The belt, made with a highly saturated nitrile, is 936 mm long and has a round-tooth, flat tip profile.

Things You'll Need

  • Set of sockets
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Lug wrench
  • Crankshaft pulley holding tool no. J-8614-01
  • Crankshaft pulley puller tool no. J-1859-03
  • Torque wrench
  • Remove the accessory drive belts by loosening the bolt on the adjusting bracket. Push the accessory in toward the engine loosen tension, then lift the belts off the pulleys. Remove the windshield washer reservoir, using the appropriate socket. Unclip the engine wiring harness connector from the top of the timing belt cover and move it aside.

  • Break the lug nuts loose on the right wheel, using the lug wrench. Jack up the vehicle, using the floor jack, then support it with jack stands. Remove the right front wheel, using the lug wrench. Remove the right splash guard, using the appropriate socket.

  • Remove the engine mount nut and stud protectors, using the appropriate socket. Remove the rear trans-axle mount-to-main cross-member nuts and center trans-axle mount-to-center cross-member nuts, using the appropriate socket.

  • Hold the crankshaft pulley with the crankshaft pulley holding tool, then remove the crankshaft pulley bolt, using the appropriate socket. Remove the crankshaft pulley, using the crankshaft pulley puller. Support the engine with the floor jack. Remove the valve cover and timing belt upper cover, using the appropriate sockets.

  • Remove the right engine mount through-bolt and the water pump pulley, using the appropriate socket. Reinstall the crankshaft pulley. Turn the crankshaft clockwise until the timing mark on the crankshaft pulley lines up with the mark on the cover at the 1 o'clock position. If the timing mark on the camshaft is not lined up at the 12 o'clock position, turn the engine via the crankshaft pulley one more revolution, and it will line up.

  • Remove the crankshaft pulley. Remove the center and lower timing belt covers, and the belt guide washer, using the appropriate socket. Ensure that the timing marks are still lined up. Loosen the tensioner pulley bolt, then rotate the tensioner away from the belt. Retighten the bolt just enough to hold the tensioner in place. Lift the timing belt off the pulleys. Remove the tensioner pulley and spring, using the appropriate sockets. Check that the timing marks are still aligned.

  • Check the tensioner pulley by spinning it in your hand. If there is resistance or a grinding or squeaking noise, replace the tensioner pulley. Measure the length of the tensioner spring. If it is not 1.45 inches, replace it.

  • Install the tensioner pulley and spring. Push the tensioner pulley toward the left as far as it will go. Lightly tighten the bolt. Ensure that the timing marks are still lined up. Install the timing belt, starting with the crankshaft sprocket and working your way counterclockwise over the top of the camshaft and behind the tensioner pulley. Keep tension on belt between the crankshaft and camshaft sprockets.

  • Loosen the tensioner bolt and allow the tensioner to put tension on the belt. Turn the crankshaft clockwise two turns until the timing marks line up again. Tighten the tensioner bolt to 27 foot-pounds of torque. Press on the belt halfway between the crankshaft sprocket and camshaft sprocket with a force of 4.4 pounds. It should deflect 0.20 to 0.24 inch. If not, repeat the belt installation procedure.

  • Reinstall the rest of the components in reverse order of removal. Hold the crankshaft pulley with the crankshaft holding tool and tighten the crankshaft pulley bolt to 87 foot-pounds of torque.

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References

  • "Autodata Timing Belts: Domestic and Imported Cars, Vans and Light Trucks"; 1974 - 2000; 2001; Autodata Limited
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