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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,
I have gained a lot of knowledge and saved a ton of time and money, thanks to this forum, so I thought I would try to give back whatever knowledge I could! I just finished changing the timing belt, tensioner, pulleys and water pump on my 95.5 rodeo (3.2 V6) and ran into a few issues that I am betting are pretty common so I thought I would share them. My hope is this post will save the next guy some at least some of the hassle!

I won't go into a step-by-step for how to do everything, as that is much better explained in the Haynes manual - which brings me to my first tip: Get the Haynes manual! if you don't have one, this is the best $20 you can spend!

What I will do is go back through my basic steps and point out any tips as well as issues I had and how I resolved them.

Step 1: Remove the fan shroud, fan, radiator hoses, etc.
tip - you will need box wrenches to get the fan off of the pulley. It is too tight for a socket wrench. A crescent wrench will work, but it will be a pain.

Step 2: Remove the fan belts
tip - before removing the 3 belts, take a picture or draw a diagram so you remember how they go back on! Trust me, you will be glad you did!

Step 3: Remove the crankshaft pulley
tip - this bolt is huge! I had to borrow a 1 inch socket from my neighbor. (I guess it is probably a 23mm or something like that, but it was bigger than whatever I had!)
tip - this thing was damn tight and I couldn't get enough leverage of the pulley to keep it from just spinning on me. The book says to use a strap wrench of large pliers with sandpaper for better holding friction. Well, the strap wrench didn't help and I don't have huge pliers, so I had to get serious and use the ol' breaker bar and starter trick. Basically, you put the socket wrench on the bolt and stick the breaker bar down through the bottom of the engine compartment so it is braced against the frame of the car. (I used a jack stand to hold the breaker bar up against the frame) You then turn the ignition and the starter turns the crankshaft, loosening the bolt! I was nervous as hell doing this, but it worked like a charm! NOTE: MAKE SURE IT DOES NOT ACTUALLY START! I turned the key just enough to engage the starter, then VERY quickly turned the key back to off! I am sure it is probably safer to disable the ignition, but I was so sick of yanking on that bolt I was ready to push the whole damn thing off a cliff at that point! One tiny crank of the starter and I was able to do the rest by hand!
tip - now, the pulley had to come off and didn't want to budge! The book says to use 2 screw drivers and wedge them behind it, but I couldn't really find anything that felt solid enough to pry against! I sprayed some PB blaster on it and it slid right off!

Step 4: Remove the fan belt pulley bracket and timing belt covers
tip - keep a good diagram or notes to make sure you remember exactly where each bolt goes back in! Most of them are the same, but there are 3 or 4 which are longer and have spacers on them.

Step 5: line up the marks on the cams and the crank shaft
tip - pull the spark plugs first!
tip - Turn the crankshaft clockwise until all 3 marks line up. The easiest way I found was to insert the bolt back into the crankshaft and use the wrench to turn the crank. Remember you will need to get the bolt back out again, so try not to crank too hard!
tip - the marks on the cams were pretty obvious, but the one of the crank was harder for me to find. The diagrams in the book and the instructions from the kit did not look anything like what I was looking at! The marks on the plate behind the cam pulleys are small raised dots. The mark on the engine case behind the crank however, is a raised horizontal line. I had to clean away the grease and dirt from the outer edges of the crankshaft as well as the case behind it to see the marks. For this particular engine, the mark on the crank should be at 3 o'clock; the mark on the drivers side cam should be around 4 o'clock and the passenger side cam should be around 10 o'clock.

Step 6: Remove the timing belt
I didn't have any issues here. Once you remove the pulleys and the tensioner, it comes right off.

Step 7: Replace the water pump
This is actually very easy to replace, but I did have a couple issues!
tip - Make note of which holes have non-standard bolts! On mine, the two at the top center were different than the others. The hole on the passenger side has an extended bolt which is also used to hold on the timing belt cover. The drivers side hole was open at this point. Make a note of this because you don't want to put a normal bolt in this hole - it is used by the long bolt from the bracket which holds the fan belt pulley.
tip - Be careful pulling the bolts from the water pump. Several of mine were pretty corroded and one of the heads twisted right off! This was the biggest pain in the *** of the entire procedure and could probably be a post of its own, but I eventually ended up drilling through the bolt and tapping it with a 1/4 - 20 sized bolt. I tried using vice grips, PB Blaster, EZ Outs (bolt extractor) and none of it worked at all! Once I decided to drill and tap it though, it went pretty quickly.

Step 8: Install new pulleys, belt and tensioner
The only hard part here is getting the belt marks all lined up.
tip - the belt marks for the cam line up with the same marks used to line up against the plate behind it; however, the belt mark on the crank is different than the mark used to line up the crank itself! Mine had a green mark painted on the edge of the crank sprocket for the belt mark.
tip - make sure the cam and crank marks are lined up perfectly
tip - there will be 3 marks on the belt, but mine did not note which mark was for which pulley! If you get the cam marks to line up while the belt is routed around the water pump, the mark on the crankshaft should be pretty close. Once you get the cam marks lined up, use large clips to hold the belt in place on the cams.
tip - When I now went to slip the belt onto the crankshaft, the mark was off by 1 tooth! A small mirror is helpful here since the mark will be at about the 7 or 8 o'clock position! The most important thing is that the marks on the cams and the crankshaft are lined up perfectly with the marks - when the belt us under tension! If the cam marks are still lined up and you are off by a tooth or two on the crankshaft, it is probably because of the slack on the idler pulley side. Just turn back the crank a tad so the belt mark lines up, then turn the crank back to take up the slack and if all 3 marks are line up perfectly, you are good.

Step 9: Replace timing belt covers and the fan belt pulley bracket
This was easy as long as you took care to make a good diagram. In my case, this was 2 weeks later so it came in handy!
tip - the only tricky part for me was the one long bolt from the fan belt pulley that wouldn't seem to go all the way in. This was because I had a bolt in the one of the water pump holes where it was trying to go! (see Step 7)

Step 10: Replace the crankshaft pulley
Nothing special here, but my trusty Haynes manual says the torque for this bolt is something like 128 ft-lbs! WTF?!? Again, I had no leverage to get this thing anywhere near that tight, so I got it as tight as I could! If there is a way to use a pin or something to keep the pulley from spinning, I couldn't find it!

Step 11: Replace the fan belts
Hopefully you took note of Step 2 and this should be easy.
tip - use several washers and a couple of the fan nuts to temporarily hold the fan pulley. Once you get all the belts on and tightened, it should hold it in place well enough for you to get the fan bolted back on. It will slacken a bit, but should be good once you bolt the fan back on tight.

Step: 12: Replace all the hoses and refill the coolant
tip - if you just top off the radiator at this point, it won't be enough (remember, a lot drained out of the engine when you pulled the water pump!). You need to start it and let it idle long enough for it to warm up so it pulls the coolant into the engine. Now let it cool down and you should be able to top off the radiator. Mine took about a full gallon to top it off.

Thats it! If it hadn't been for the super tight crankshaft bolt and the broken water pump bolt, this really would not have been very tough at all!

If anyone else has any comments/questions/suggestions/corrections, please feel free to add to this. If you have a specific question or something is unclear, you can PM me as well and I'd be happy to help if I can!

Good luck all, hope this helps somebody!

One other quick tip while I'm at it...I went ahead and changed the oil while I was at it and tried out the rislone - it seems to really help with the ticking!

454 Posts
Thanks for taking the time

Crankshaft pulley socket for 3.2l motor is 24mm - 6 point best for this job

You can take the worry out of the bump-the-starter trick to loosen crankshaft pulley bolt by purging the startup circuit of fuel BEFORE you start the tear down.

Fuse box near battery (at least on mine) - open - 2nd 15A fuse from front - fuel pump relay - pull it out - start vehicle - it will die in a second or two. Now you have no fuel pressure and with fuse out - car cannot start when you bump starter to loosen crankshaft pulley bolt.

Your situation may have been like the 2 t-belts I've changed in my Rodeo. Crankshaft pulley turned back CC some when I pulled the tensioner grenade pin. Reinstalled the pin and took another shoot at it - this time turning crankshaft a bit more clockwise(eye-ball math) so that when I pulled the grenade pin - the crankshaft mark and t-belt mark were aligned.
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