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98 Tracker Timing Belt
07-24-2017, 01:12 AM
Post: #1
98 Tracker Timing Belt
My first post. Did some searching and did not find any help.

Original owner of this vehicle. Has never needed any service except oil change and filters. Ran great, but time to replace timing belt(66,000 miles).
Always starts immediately.

After 5 hours, got to the timing belt. All pointers were aligned, so no slipage, and no keyway damage. Without turning engine or cam, installed new belt(Gates- with no direction arrow that I could see).

Here is where I initially, probably screwed up. I think the rotor was pointed at #4(can someone confirm that is where it should have been?). So, without thinking it through, I blindly followed the Chilton directions for resetting valve lash, as I loosened all adjusters to allow cam to more freely rotate for setting belt tension(wish I had not done this). Thinking the rotor was off by 180, I set lash ass backwards(as if I had rotated crank 360). This screwed up all of the valve lash adjustments. Started engine and it would only idle and not exactly smoothly. Took it all apart and found this site so spent some time studying the belt timing procedure here. Reset valve lash by the cam lobes being at the middle of the circle at .006". Tried to start and no fire at all.

If the timing for the belt is set for #4, should not the rotor point at #4? Mine is pointing at #1.
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07-24-2017, 03:59 AM (This post was last modified: 07-24-2017 04:04 AM by fixkick.)
Post: #2
RE: 98 Tracker Timing Belt
the top belts have no arrow, gates is a top belt, but never run one one way then decide to go opposite ,oops...
yes, all g16 time (sOHC) at #4 , or you will be 180 out.
the top cam cog pointer, on the E spoke means #4 firing at 12pm.
the 16v never needs to have the lash adjusters set, to loose ever. as 8v does, 16v never.
chiltion sux, as always, i use them as door stop... or grease rag. I use it for fire place fire starter, they mix facts in a toxic soup.. nasty.
and we have for free this book.
the 96 fsm is free to read 24/7

you timed the engine wrong, im sorry to say,

see this.
i even have the three sources there, the Gates belt has sheet in the box. the box only fits 16v so, is correct
my page and my pages links to 96, pages,

that is correct the belt is set to #4 firing, the rotor is at #4 and 12pm on the top cam cog back splash mark is $4 firing... always.

the best way to do a belt is park engine at # 4 firing. , then do the published tensioning step , lock it down.done.
it that simple, (my pages are only long due to the vast ways to do it wrong then undo the wrong.)

now the fix.
turn crank CW until rotor (i hope you didnt touch this DIZZY) it's at #4 wire. (ignore cam and crank ,just rotor)
now remove belt.
put the cam back to #4 , that is E spoke mark 12pm, mark.
not put the belt back.

go to phase II< step 10...

my photos show the E spoke
and where crank markes are.. clear in those photos.

the 96 book is here. (my annotated page)

Chilton dont know 8v is not 16v, sad no?
the 16v has a balanced cam BIAS, with 16 rockers/springs, the 8v does not, is a big difference there.
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07-24-2017, 04:16 AM
Post: #3
RE: 98 Tracker Timing Belt
Thanks Fixkick for the quick Sunday reply.

Turn the crank until dizzy(I did not remove, adjust, just put on a new rotor and cap) points to #4. Remove belt and turn cam with E at 12 o'clock. Reinstall belt. Crank pulley dot should be at top when dizzy points to #4.

I should have come here first, you are right, but "assumed" my door stop manual was correct. If I had left the valve lash alone, and then set them after I started it to make sure all was good I would not be here.

So, turning the cam with #4 at TDC will not harm valves or pistons?

Thanks again - great site here.

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07-24-2017, 05:32 AM
Post: #4
RE: 98 Tracker Timing Belt
its ok, you and vast others got that book and went down the prim rose path to h3ll ...
no shame, its a book, after all in many stores.
its free running and what a great question....!!
that is if the lash is ok, turn it by hand the cam cog and no bad happens. its bumpy as you turn it. lobs on cam doing that.
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07-24-2017, 08:48 AM (This post was last modified: 07-24-2017 09:14 AM by fetcher.)
Post: #5
RE: 98 Tracker Timing Belt
It's not too hard to do the lash. Just mark somewhere the ones that are done.
The real pain is to strip things down again. Chilton manual only good to start
Top radiator hose. Having a plug for the radiator ready keeps things clean
Loosen belt driven accessories a bit
Fan assembly and shroud
Pulley on crank, 5 of 8mm hex bolts
Timing belt cover
Induction assembly and vacuum tubes to it.
Throttle cable
You probably can swing the induction tube with the coolant lines out of the way without
having to break the connections
Induction mounting frame
PCV valve and the cover that says "16 valve"
You mark the timing belt for direction of rotation.
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07-24-2017, 10:19 AM
Post: #6
RE: 98 Tracker Timing Belt
Okay, removed belt and turned cam, but rotor only points in one direction with E at top. That direction is about 4 o'clock looking at the face of the rotor, which is where I have #1 wire. I took pictures but they are not displayed when I attach them from my computer. I labeled the old cap before removing the wires so "think" I have them correct on the new cap. I tried moving them all 180 and they don't fit the cap well that way.

Should have left everything alone except change the timing belt and start it, before replacing cap, rotor, plugs, etc.

Picture, if I could post also shows what appears to be a good key locating cam gear. Again, engine ran fine before starting this 60,000 miile maintenance project.


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07-24-2017, 11:53 AM
Post: #7
RE: 98 Tracker Timing Belt
You need to know if you are on top dead center on the compression stroke for
the back cylinder. And, if you temporarily put the distributor cap back on does the distributor
rotor line up with where the wire, if attached to the cap would feed the back cylinder from
the rotor and through the cap. You don't just line up the cog marks and then start up the engine. While the
idler/tensioner wheel is still free to move and controlled by the spring, you rotate the crank when now linked
to the cam by the belt a couple cycles in the proper direction with a 17mm socket on the crank bolt. Then you freeze the
idler/tensioner wheel tensioning motion. If your timing marks on the cogs are still right, you are good to put it
all back together.
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07-27-2017, 12:10 PM
Post: #8
RE: 98 Tracker Timing Belt
Found my problem. Did not have the crank cog lined up properly so was not at TDC. I misinterpreted something and lined up the locator for the pulley at the top instead of the little dot on the end of the cog. Found this by going back to basics and stuck a small, long wood dowel into the spark plug hole to find TDC. Reinstalled belt with E at top on cam cog and it now runs great. Should have painted the white dot like Fixkick said.

Thanks for all the help. Great site. I did order a 3 volume set of 98 Chevy Tracker manuals which should arrive tomorrow.
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07-27-2017, 01:14 PM (This post was last modified: 07-27-2017 01:33 PM by fetcher.)
Post: #9
RE: 98 Tracker Timing Belt
If you had lost the distributor alignment there would be a 50/50 chance
that you were right. If that was the case, you would have also needed
to know that you were on the compression stoke for the TDC.
When you are lost it's always good to go back to the basics.
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08-01-2017, 09:57 AM (This post was last modified: 08-01-2017 09:58 AM by fixkick.)
Post: #10
RE: 98 Tracker Timing Belt
the page called, sneak-a-peak
does this.

as does the acid test.

the acid test ends all ambiguity.

really as far as timing the cam, no need to even know what #4 is or at, nor where rotor is.
at all.
it times with marks and marks alone. front if engine, only, if you try to use the distrib you will fail. (if its set wrong, it lies to you and now both are wrong)

the marks just so happen to be #4 firing,
The distrib timing is another whole matter.

glad to hear it hummmmmmmmmms
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