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Discussion Starter #1
I need some help here. Someone shaved the head on my 89 Sidekick, and as a result, the timing belt tensioner is NOT able to tighten the belt, leaving it too loose. The easy solution would be to find a 94 tooth curved timing belt. The original is 95 teeth, but going to a 94 curved tooth belt would take up the "slack" that is in the belt. OR...the tensioner pulley is 2 an 1/2 inches in width. A slightly larger one would do the trick.

The alternative is to remove the Head and put in a thicker gasket. That would be a pain. Anyone got any good ideas on this one?
 

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Just shaving the head would not remove enough to affect the timing belt, look for another cause..

Unless they shaved off 1/2".... now that would increase the compression and possibly cause piston/valve interference...
 

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I have to agree with Phil on this, taking a few/several thousandths of an inch off the head is not going to materially affect the required timing belt length to the point where the tensioner cannot take up the slack, so you're looking in the wrong place.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Possible the lower cam gear is incorrect? Any solutions that would involve a different tensioner or perhaps a different belt? Engine runs well, but timing is off. I do appreciate both of your responses.

Karl
 

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First question - what makes you think the timing is off, especially since you're saying the engine runs well?

Second question - what is your experience level as a mechanic?

The relationship between the timing belt gears is critical - the upper gear (the cam gear) has exactly twice the number of teeth as the lower gear (the crank gear) which is what I assume you're asking about - the gears also have to match the shafts to which they are fitted, the chances of either one being incorrect are slim to non-existent - most people count the number of teeth on the belt to determine the length, which works in most cases, but, only if the belt's "tooth profile" is the correct one - it is possible to have two belts with the same number of teeth, but different lengths.

Your problem I suspect is the tensioner arm or pulley, or simply an incorrect assembly - but - if the timing is out, then it will affect the way the engine runs - which doesn't match what you're telling us.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have been working on cars for quite a few years. The probably cause for the tensioner not having enough travel is that the head has been milled and the correct gasket to compensate for the difference in the deck height of the cylinder head has been reduced. The tensioner and belt are new. I was hoping for a belt change option that would compensate for the slop factor. Any additional comments are most welcome.
 

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Are you going to answer the question - what makes you think the timing is off?

It seems to me that you may have two different issues, the first being the timing, which I'm asking about and you're not answering, and the second, which you feel is a loose timing belt, and which you seem to think is the cause of the first, and you seem to think that the loose belt is caused by the head having been shaved at some point.

You say "someone" shaved the head - do you know for a fact that the head was shaved or are you assuming that because it seems to be the only explanation for what you are seeing? How much do you think would need to be removed from the head to require a belt shorter by a tooth (I estimate the tooth profile at roughly 3/8").

If the engine is running well, the timing is unlikely to be off by a significant amount, and if you're judging this based on the timing marks, a shorter belt will not solve the problem because the "slack" in the belt is on the trailing side - your options for correcting the timing without removing the head would be either an adjustable cam gear or a custom offset key on the crank gear.
 

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I have been working on cars for quite a few years. The probably cause for the tensioner not having enough travel is that the head has been milled and the correct gasket to compensate for the difference in the deck height of the cylinder head has been reduced. The tensioner and belt are new. I was hoping for a belt change option that would compensate for the slop factor. Any additional comments are most welcome.
if the correct thicker gasket has been fitted to compensate for the amount milled off the head then the overall cam to crank height will be the same. If they have milled that much off and fitted a gasket thats too thick how did the old belt fit? What you're saying makes no sense. Have you actually checked you have the correct belt by comparing it to the old one?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The belt is a 95 tooth curved tooth belt. Exactly what was on it when I changed it out. Same belt...same belt #. The reason the timing is out (in my opinion) is because the belt is loose to a point where it jumps the lower timing gear. There is a slop factor that occurs on both acceleration and deceleration. I have not done the work on the head, but it appears to be a stock head gasket.

I think you meant to say adjustable cam belt tensioner...not cam gear. It has the adjustable tensioner and in full tension, the belt is loose. That is the problem. What is a custom "offset" key on the crank?

Again, to set the timing at the dizzy, both cam marks upper and lower have to be lined up. One tooth off, either way does not give the dizzy enough room to navigate. A belt with "one less tooth" same iteration would solve the slack. Where do I find that?
if the correct thicker gasket has been fitted to compensate for the amount milled off the head then the overall cam to crank height will be the same. If they have milled that much off and fitted a gasket thats too thick how did the old belt fit? What you're saying makes no sense. Have you actually checked you have the correct belt by comparing it to the old one?
if the correct thicker gasket has been fitted to compensate for the amount milled off the head then the overall cam to crank height will be the same. If they have milled that much off and fitted a gasket thats too thick how did the old belt fit? What you're saying makes no sense. Have you actually checked you have the correct belt by comparing it to the old one?
 

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send us pics showing what you mean, if the belt is that loose either the belt is wrong or somethings not assembled correctly.
Some basic questions i know, but humor me.
Was the original belt this loose?
and do you have the correct belt for that model or did you use the existing belt part number when ordering the new one?
I have seen belts from the factory with the wrong part numbers on them before.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The belt is absolutely factory correct. The one I replace had the usual mileage stretch that you would expect. The 1.3 and the 1.6 use the same belt and tensioner and the same belt. Both belts have the same I.D. # from Gates. I wish it was that simple. Regarding assembly...the Cam Shaft is the factory Camshaft...as is the lower Cam gear. The tensioner and spring assembly are exactly the same ones I replaced with the new kit. The tensioner was loose when I went in there for the first time...and remained loose with new belt and parts. As I mentioned in previous posts...I have not removed or messed with the Cylinder head. I am only speculating that some headwork was done, and maybe the surfacing...without a thicker gasket might be why the belt does not tension.
 

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I am only speculating that some headwork was done, and maybe the surfacing...without a thicker gasket might be why the belt does not tension.
As we have intimated, to affect the belt tension as much as you report, there must have been a slice taken off, not just a skim....

Post a picture so we can see what you see..
 

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A couple of points...

First - there are TWO separate aspects of the timing that need to be considered, the cam timing and the ignition timing. The cam timing is established by the relationship between the cam gears, and is not normally adjustable - once the marks line up, it's correct - PERIOD. The ignition timing is adjustable and is set by rotating the distributor, which is driven off of the cam, so if the cam timing is incorrect, then the ignition timing will also be incorrect.

Second - the 1.3 G13a engine does NOT use the same belt as the 1.6 G16a engine - the 1.6 block is "taller" between the crank centerline and the head gasket surface to accommodate the longer stroke - the 1.3 takes #12761-82000 which is an 89 tooth belt, and the 1.6 takes 12761-60A00 which is a 95 tooth belt.

Third - since you are setting the timing at the dizzy, what you are looking at is the ignition timing, and for some, yet to be determined reason, you are attempting to change the cam timing.

Last - I did not make a mistake when I suggested you might need an adjustable cam gear - the tensioner adjustment has ZERO impact on the (cam) timing - it takes up belt slack on the "trailing" or slack side of the belt. As I said earlier, if the (cam) timing is out your options are an adjustable cam gear or an offset key.

You have told us that you can only set the (ignition) timing correctly if the (cam) timing marks line up - this is perfectly normal - it also tells us that you can get the marks to line up, so it would appear that you do NOT have a timing issue, your problem if there is one, would appear to be one of belt tension.

And now - a couple of questions...

From what you say, it would appear that you acquired the vehicle, apparently running well, apparently with the belt loose - I'm going to ask this question - AGAIN - what makes you think the timing is off? What makes you think the belt has jumped a tooth? Have you found the cam/crank marks not lining up correctly on removing the belt cover? If the engine was running well, why did you remove the belt cover?

Let me take these questions a little further ...

If as it appears the vehicle was running well with the belt loose, what make you think the belt is loose? Are you aware that the tensioner spring is only used to set the tension, after which the adjustment is tightened and the spring serves no purpose? If you use a finger to push the tensioner to the end of it's adjustment travel is the belt still loose?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
First...thanks for taking the time for your response. It is truly appreciated. The belt is a 95 tooth belt. With the tensioner all the way adjusted...it is still loose. The reason I changed the belt is because the Distributor would not bring the engine within the timing marks on the fully. I retarded the distributor to bring the idle down to approx. 1000 rpm....(should be around 800). It passed smog. I advanced the distributor closer to the timing marks...high idle, more power.

I checked the belt and found it to be loose. I replaced the belt and tensioner, and it is still loose, not reaching correct tension. Marks line up...but the possibility of the belt jumping on the lower gear is my concern. A belt with one less tooth (94) would return the tensioner to a position where it would function as it should. The function of the spring on the tensioner is obvious. The "travel" on the tensioner maxes out....and the belt is still not tight. What is an adjustable Cam Gear? That one is completely new to me. Again....many thanks
 

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Let's get a couple of things crystal clear...

The cam timing is set by lining up the marks on the cam & crank shaft pulleys when installing the belt - if the cam timing is incorrect, the ignition timing will be incorrect.
The ignition timing is set by rotating the distributor and requires a timing light and the mark(s) on the timing belt cover - if I remember correctly that engine has a scale on the cover - if it doesn't you need a light with a dial.

Your problem is apparently the idle speed, which, whilst it is affected by the ignition timing, is not set by adjusting the distributor - my suspicion is you do not in fact have a timing problem. Idle speed is controlled by the ECU and not "user adjustable" - if yours is higher than it should be, the correct approach is to determine what is causing it and fix that, changing the ignition timing is not the way to do it - you probably have a vacuum leak somewhere in the emission control system.

My recommendation is that you set both the cam & ignition timing as specified in the factory service manual and then troubleshoot the idle speed problem.

Now let me answer your questions...

An adjustable cam gear is one that allows the outer edge of the cam gear to be adjusted relative to the center - this allows the cam timing to be varied by several degrees, either advance or retard, on a single overhead cam engine, this is typically done to move the engine's power band up/down the rpm range, they are also used on double overhead cam engines to tweak the "overlap", which is the period when both intake & exhaust valves are open at the same time.

An offset key - there is a woodruff or "half moon" key that locates the crankshaft pulley on the crankshaft - an offset key is a key that changes the position of the crank gear relative to the crank shaft, altering it be a preset amount, it is not adjustable as with the adjustable cam gear - at least one of the G-series Suzuki engines has the cam timing retarded from it's optimal position to reduce emissions, and an offset key can be used to "correct" this.

Am I correct in assuming that in the time you have owned this vehicle you have not found the cam timing to be incorrect? How long have you owned the vehicle before discovering the "loose" timing belt?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have only owned the vehicle for 7 months. It shows only 105K on the Odometer. There is what appears to be what I would consider to be a Mass Air Flow sensor on the firewall with hoses that control the air flow on the Throttle Body. I wonder what the failure rate on those are? It has and OBD 1 and I do not have that connector. You can cross-wire the connector for codes...but that has not proven to work. Will set up the cam timing and Distributor on Spec and see where that goes. I have checked the multitude of little hoses and repaired and replaced as necessary. Intake manifold gasket has also been checked for leaks.

Again, timing belt was loose when I opened the cover, and remains loose with new belt and tensioner.
 

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First - the 89 doesn't have a MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor, it uses a speed density throttle body injection system and the sensor on the firewall connected to the throttle body is a MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor - you should have been able to recognize this from the location of the sensor and the size of the hose(s) leading to it - a MAF sensor will usually be situated between the air filter assembly and the throttle body and have large hoses since all the air used by the engine flows through it. A MAP sensor, if, as in this case, is not located directly on the intake, will have a much smaller hose, as the air flow involved is insignificant. You also need to recognize that a MAF sensor does not control air flow - it measures air flow - the air flow is controlled by the throttle plate.

Second - which connector don't you have, and what is it are you "cross-wiring"? What do you mean you don't have the connector? What do you mean "that has been proven not to work"?

The Suzuki OBD1 system use a J1962 connector which is the same physical connector as used on OBD2 systems, you'll find it under the dash - this is not the connector that needs to be jumpered to get the check engine codes, that one is under the hood - if you have jumpered the correct connector you should see the check engine light flash a code 12 - does the check engine light work? Does it come on when you first switch the ignition on and go off after the engine is started?

Third - I am not asking if the timing belt was loose when you opened the cover, I already know that - I am asking if when you opened it, you found the cam timing incorrectly set - do you have any evidence of the belt jumping teeth? If you've been driving the car for seven months and the belt has not slipped, then it is probably not loose enough to be cause for concern.
 

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I seem to remember something about plugging a fuse into the fuse box, on the '89 model, to get trouble codes. Check your fuse box cover, maybe there is information on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
There is no OBD connector under the dash, of any kind. I am talking about the little plug under the hood, battery side, white with a rubber boot cover. I have an OBD 2, which does not fit that little unit. The cross-wiring was done at that connector following Haynes Manual Instructions. The Check Engine light does work....on at ignition an off when the engine starts. I did not check the cam alignment prior to replacing the belt. I should have.

I am interested in what controls the idle speed. I know that leaking vacuum hoses need to be addressed. And, the idle adjustment screw does not lower RPM to the correct level. More information in this area would be appreciated.

Under the dash (steering column) there is a Check Engine reset button...I have found but have needed to reset. There is also a "fuse" slot on the fuse case where codes can apparently be read.

Again....you have done more than your share of helping with this. I don't want to waste your time or frustrate you with a lack of specific information. I am new to this engine, and the TBI which I have come to find is not easy to deal with.
 

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If the check engine light goes out when the engine starts there are no codes stored, if the check engine "reset" button is a slide switch, it'll be a SES or "service engine soon" reset, and not a check engine reset in that it won't clear fault codes - some models were fitted with this feature, which is essentially a reminder triggered from the odometer at approximately 50,000 mile intervals, to have the emission system serviced.

Do yourself a favor and get rid of the Haynes manual - you can get the original Suzuki manuals here - the one you want is 99500_60A10 - the Sidekick is the US name for what was known as a Vitara in the rest of the world.

There is a "throttle" opener on that engine that increases the idle speed under specific conditions (electrical loads, a/c, p/s) and may be causing your problem.
 
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