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Old 2nd August 2011, 09:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
Clive S-P is RB26 deficient
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How to do a Cam belt service

Part 1: What you need

So, you want to change your cam belt and service your car. My advice, having just done this is… don’t!

Pay the man and have an easy life.

If however you’re not good at taking advice, then hopefully you will find this write up useful. I have tried to include lots of photo’s to make things as clear as possible. I will also try to steer you away from mistakes I made, which should speed the process up a bit too. This is not a technically difficult job as long as you are reasonably handy with a spanner and have a reasonable toolkit. The only tools you may need to acquire before you start is a 30mm socket for the notorious crank pulley bolt and a puller to remove the equally notorious crank pulley. I made my own puller which worked very well, only let down by not having high tensile bolts, but it did the job.

If there are any glaring mistakes then let me know and I will amend it.

I decided this was a good opportunity to replace the water pump, thermostat, auxiliary belts as well as the cam belt and tensioners. Thought I may as well do the plugs and oil as well so this is a super service.
This is what I started with.









Home made puller




I did use the workshop manual, but I have to say it tells you to do a job, but gives no clue as to how to do it, however it is still invaluable for torque settings etc.
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Old 2nd August 2011, 10:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Part 2: Taking it to bits

So, lets begin

First job is to get the front of the car off the round and remove any splitters and undertrays. You will be on your back under the car a fair bit, so you need some room to get underneath.







Then drain the coolant from the radiator. There is a black plastic bung that unscrews to do this and an old washing up bowl to collect the coolant in.



Then remove the radiator hoses top and bottom. The manual says undo the radiator brackets at the top and remove the radiator and then remove the fan. I faffed about for a while with this, but decided the only way was to remove the fan first, then the radiator.





I would remove the hose that goes to the intake plenum at this point. This will give you access to the tensioner for the alternator. Slacken off the belt, then undo the four nuts that hold the viscous fan to the pulley wheel. Not easy to do, but ratchet spanners (and small hands) make it easier. Then remove the fan (I found easing it out on the plenum side the best). Then you can remove the radiator.





Next slacken off the tensioner for the power steering which is on the twin turbo pipe side and the aircon pump belt which is accessed from under the car. Undo the nut on the pulley wheel itself as well as the tenioner. The auxiliary belts are different lengths, so it is wise to label them before removal to make sure you know which is which, even if you are using new ones, it will help to avoid mistakes.



Don't undo this bolt, it's a bitch to get back in!





Next is the crank angle sensor. Witness mark the sensor and the cam belt cover to make sure it is put back in exactly the same position. Carefully remove and put somewhere safe.







Undo each end of the pipe that runs across the cam belt cover, then undo and remove the cam belt cover itself.







Line up the timing marks on the cam wheels and the crank pulley with the marks on the crank cover and the backing plate behind the cam wheels.
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Old 2nd August 2011, 11:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Part 3: Taking the Crank Pulley off!

Now the fun begins!!!

Undoing the crank pulley bolt:
Two techniques are widely recommended; first one is to put your car into 5th (or 6th) gear, use a breaker bar on a 30mm socket and give it a damn hard pull towards the plenum side of the engine. This worked for me and was much easier to undo than I expected.
The second technique involves the breaker bar being lent on a piece of wood against the chassis rail, again on the plenum side. Disconnect the electrics to the spark plugs, place car in neutral and give a quick ¼ second flick of the ignition key. It’s said the sudden movement will undo the bolt. I know RIPS New Zealand, use this technique.

(Edit: I have been advised that with R32/33 you should use 4th gear, but preferably a ring gear stopper. Don't blame me if you break stuff!)







Removing the crank pulley… ha ha bloody ha
Took about 4 hours and resulted in me making my own puller. I have read about people using pry bars, hammers, prayer and Hopi candles to get this bloody thing off. It is a pig! I can’t see how you can hit anything or try to prise it off without the risk of serious damage to something like the oil pump… and that would be bad!
Here is the gadget I made, it’s very simple. 130mm length of square section tube, 2 M6 bolts about 40mm long and an M10 bolt with a nut which should ideally be welded onto the tube. I didn’t weld mine and I didn’t have high tensile bolts, so I broke a couple before I managed to get the crank pulley off.



Undo the crank pulley bolt, but don’t remove it, the 2 M6 bolts hold the puller onto the pulley, the M10 bolt goes through the middle of the puller and pushes against the crank bolt to ease the crank pulley off the crank. I used a spanner to lock the nut as I couldn’t be bothered to weld it onto the puller.



Once the crank pulley is finally off, make sure you rescue the Woodruff key (little ½ moon shaped piece of metal that locks the crank pulley into place on the crank itself), more on these little bastards later.




Remove the lower cam belt cover and mark the cam belt pulley and the backing plate to make sure everything stays lined up correctly.

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Old 3rd August 2011, 09:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Part 4: The cam belt bit

Loosen the tension pulley (left one), use an Allen key into the little hole to hold it then undo the nut, turn the Allen key to release the tension on the cam belt. Tighten the nut again to hold the tensioner out of the way.

Remove the belt from each pulley (point of no return!). Remove the tenioner pulley making sure you check how the spring attaches. Remove the idler pulley and install new one. Fit the new tensioner pulley too and using the Allen key again set it out of position to enable fitting of the cam belt. Make sure you have all the torque settings to hand when putting it all back together and the manual too, don’t just rely on my ramblings please.





My cam belt was on the wrong way round and has been for the last 4 years, although it looked in good condition.

I had already decided that at the same time as doing the cam belt I would also fit a new water pump and thermostat as I have no idea if they have ever been done before and I wouldn’t be very pleased if they broke a month after doing all this!
Undo all the bolts on the water pump, there is an order to follow to avoid warping anything. Once they are all out give it a little love tap with a rubber mallet and the pump will come off.





The thermostat is just under the plenum. It is of course not easy to get at. A long extension bar with a knuckle joint is handy for at least one of the nuts. Remove the old thermostat and fit the new one
Make sure the mating surfaces are totally clean and dry for both the thermostat housing and the water pump and then using your very expensive Nissan sealant (£38 a tube) put a 2mm bead all round the pump housing and refit again being sure to follow the tightening order and correct torque. Same again for the thermostat housing.



To put the new cam belt on, start at the bottom with the crank timing pulley, then round the idler pulley (make sure there is no slack in the belt), then over the exhaust cam, the inlet cam and back down to the tensioner pulley.

Most timing belts are marked with timing marks to help line it all up and they also have a right and wrong way round, so make sure you check, don’t rush and then check again. Once the belt is in place and you are confident you haven’t missed any teeth on any of the pulleys and there is no slack on the exhaust side then undo the lock nut on the tensioner pulley and use the Allen key again to tension the belt and tighten the lock nut again to torque.



The belt should be tight enough that you can’t twist it 90 degrees. Once you happy with the tension then temporarily refit the crank pulley bolt and turn the engine over 6 times to make sure the pistons and valves are not getting friendly with each other. Then line up the timing marks again.
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Old 3rd August 2011, 09:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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nice pictures mate although i have never needed to remove the radiator or pipes when doing a timing belt on any skyline and i have a way with removing the lower pully without a puller.

good writeup
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Old 3rd August 2011, 09:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Part 5: Putting it back together

The manual now glibly states ‘install the crank pulley’ lol. This is just as much fun as getting it off.

For me it involved much swearing, lobbing of tools into the bushes and spending several hours on my hands and knees looking for the previously mentioned Woodruff Key.







I never did find it and think when it fell off it bounced off the oil cooler pipes and into a hole in the chassis rail, never to be seen again. Then more time wasted trying to find a part number and ordering new ones from Nissan. They did get them for me next day though. I managed to lose another one in exactly the same way.




I used some wet and dry to clean the crank and inside the pulley, then a bit of copper grease to help it back on. Once you finally manage to get the pulley on, with the woodruff key correctly in place then use the crank bolt to drag the pulley into place. Put the car into 5th gear and tighten the bolt to torque (which is as tight as you can possibly can without doing yourself an injury).
Things get easier from now on!



Refit the lower cambelt cover.
Refit the auxiliary belts, making sure you use the right ones as they are different lengths and tension them.
Refit the upper cam belt cover he crank angle sensor, being careful to line up the marks you made on removal and both ends of the coolant pipe that runs across it the cam belt cover.
Refit the intercooler pipes on both sides.

Refit the radiator, hoses and then refit the fan. Before refilling the radiator, remove the bleed screw above the plenum. Refill with coolant slowly until it runs out of the bleed screw hole. Refit bleed screw! Top up radiator some more.





I decided to do plugs and oil too which is quite straight forward except the oil filter which is a bitch to get at.
Cross your fingers, say a little prayer and start the engine to make sure it all works.
Retrieve tools from around the garden that you have thrown during your temper tantrums.
Job done… do a little jig and then go and get yourself a beer!!!
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Old 3rd August 2011, 09:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great job man..you are a brave man!

Might give it a go with my peugeot 106, rather mess that one out rather than a skyline
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Old 4th August 2011, 04:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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nice pictures mate although i have never needed to remove the radiator or pipes when doing a timing belt on any skyline and i have a way with removing the lower pully without a puller.

good writeup

How do you remove the crank pulley??
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Old 4th August 2011, 04:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Clive, you are a credit to this sub-section. kudos dude, kudas
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Old 4th August 2011, 06:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Really good write up that mate, I've always looked for a "how to" on cam belts
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Old 5th August 2011, 09:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Well done
Good effort.
It would have taken ages to write up too.
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Old 5th August 2011, 11:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks for the positive comments guys, much appreciated.
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Old 11th August 2011, 09:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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nice pictures mate although i have never needed to remove the radiator or pipes when doing a timing belt on any skyline and i have a way with removing the lower pully without a puller.

good writeup

For the sake of a extra 2 mins to remove and 2 mins putting back in it must make the job a lot easier ? (radiator that is)

Anyway, tell us more on removing the crank pulley !
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Old 11th August 2011, 09:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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great write up by the way clive
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Old 14th August 2011, 07:40 PM   #15 (permalink)
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one tip for this job - be carefule the spring on the tensioner pully does not get stuck between the pulley and the block. the tensioner will sit cockeyed and the timing belt will walk in or out. not good!
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Old 17th August 2011, 06:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thx for this post. Really good how to
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Old 11th June 2012, 09:27 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Hi there just like to say thumbs up on this thread mate, very useful and knowledgable top job looks like might be having a go myself lol
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Old 11th June 2012, 09:43 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I did changed my timing belt with a friend (actually my friend did most of the job) and this how to was very usefull. I will post some pictures of the job.
One thing I would add : put the car in 5th or 6th gear is definitely not recommanded according to my friend.
Better to block the flywheel this way : on the gear box remove the rubber cap (passenger side) to get access to the fly wheel.
This is a small access but large enough to insert a screwdriver. Then ask your friend to turn the pulley while you're watching the fly wheel for a hole. Insert a strong screwdriver in the hole to block the fly wheel. Then you can undo the crank pulley bolt.
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Old 11th June 2012, 04:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yep mate a very important point there when we do the timing belts on the gtrs thats exactly what i do, just simply lock the flywheel so crank is then fixed
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Old 11th June 2012, 05:36 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Good writeup, I would like to add something though.

After putting the new belt on and turning the crank, I like to line up the marks and recheck the tension as you can sometimes find the belt is more slack than intended once its been round.

Might be worth adding in the torque wrench settings too, if the bottom pulley or belt tensioner come loose it can be quite bad. I was just looking at the figures but I think I have bad data as the difference between the RB25 and RB26 crank bolts is wildly different.

P.S. The Skyline is one of the easier timing belts to do, I can think of a lot of cars that are far worse but not many that are easier.
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