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Thread: Engine Timing a Civic Without Timing Marks

  1. #1
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    Engine Timing a Civic Without Timing Marks

    Hi everyone!

    Yes, just like the title of this thread states, my Honda Civic has no timing marks. Therefore in this regard, what is the proper and practical way of timing the engine of a 1987 Honda Civic Hatchback DX with a 1500 c. c. carbureted engine having no timing marks on the engine and the pulley? I have a paranoid aftermarket service manual for this car that states timing instructions on this vehicle however I cannot use this on my Civic. The engine on this Civic is the original, not a reman nor a conversion. Also please advise how many degrees before top dead center (BTDC) must the pulley or the Number 1 Crank be, if applicable. Please advise.

    Thanks,

    Onthekeyboard

  2. #2
    I'm RICK JAMES, bitch! FourthGenHatch's Avatar
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    How odd. Are you sure the engine isn't really dirty and you can't see the marks or something?

    If it has no marks like you say I would probably take out the #1 spark plug and stick a dowell or something down into the cylinder, turn it until the dowell is as high as it can get I guess, that what you know its at Top Dead Center.
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    Yep, there is no dirt on that part of the engine and the pulley where the timing marks should be found. Any more advises, please?

    Onthe keyboard

  4. #4
    Rotorphile. Kai's Avatar
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    I ran into this problem on my '87 about a week ago when I installed my new timing belt. If you take off the crank pully and hold it under a light really close, you can see a few tiny indentations where the white TDC mark and the red timing marks used to be. Just slap some fresh paint on there and follow the instructions in the book.

    I used some red paint to make the TDC mark more visable. I'm not too concerned with timing my car, so I didn't redo the other marks... I just wanted the new belt on before the old one snapped.

    Unfortunately, these tiny marks are virtually impossible to see with the pully still on the car, it took me a minute to find them when it was already off and in my hands.
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    M0der@t0r Assassin 91_Hulk_Si's Avatar
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    Haynes repair manual says on older model civics that there are timimg marks on the other side of the pulley or a single hole on the outside. The dots should be made level with the blocks surface and that is top dead center or if one dot it should be at top.

    And if you still insist that there are no marks take the bolt and washer that retains the sprocket and you should see a notch that allows the sprocket to only fit on one way (Woodruff key). That should give you an idea of where TDC (top dead center) is.

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  6. #6
    Rotorphile. Kai's Avatar
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    He's talking about the crank pully. They are not as clearly marked as the cam gear, so by the time they get this old they have already lost the paint that made them visible at all.
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  7. #7
    M0der@t0r Assassin 91_Hulk_Si's Avatar
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    In that case...... cram a rag in the number one cylinder, and rotate the crank with a size 18 until the rag pops out.
    2000 Honda S2000 SP1
    1998 Honda CBR 600 F3 "Smokin Joe Special Edition" (SOLD)
    1993 Honda Shadow VLX 600 Chopper
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    1986 Jeep Comanche X, Chevy 350 SB all motor (SOLD)
    1983 Suzuki Tempter GS 650 (SOLD)

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    Originally posted by Kai
    I ran into this problem on my '87 about a week ago when I installed my new timing belt. If you take off the crank pully and hold it under a light really close, you can see a few tiny indentations where the white TDC mark and the red timing marks used to be. Just slap some fresh paint on there and follow the instructions in the book.

    I used some red paint to make the TDC mark more visable. I'm not too concerned with timing my car, so I didn't redo the other marks... I just wanted the new belt on before the old one snapped.

    Unfortunately, these tiny marks are virtually impossible to see with the pully still on the car, it took me a minute to find them when it was already off and in my hands.
    Therefore Kai, how could you practically and conveniently perform timing jobs on this engine if the white and red pulley marks are impossible to detect when the pulley is secured to the crankshaft? And where is the reference on the engine for these white and red pulley marks?

  9. #9
    GWAKS- Tech Geekifier
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    There is a cast web on the block right around the area where the timing belt cover 0 mark would be. It's monsoon weather here at the moment, but I can get you a picture tomorrow if necessary.

    As for the timing marks on the pulley, I believe there are three tiny little ticks, with the center being 0. You just have to look real close.
    -Harry
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  10. #10
    Rotorphile. Kai's Avatar
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    Originally posted by onthekeyboard
    Therefore Kai, how could you practically and conveniently perform timing jobs on this engine if the white and red pulley marks are impossible to detect when the pulley is secured to the crankshaft?
    Now that I know where they (the notches) are, if I felt so inspired as to time my car I would just paint them again. It's not that hard.
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    Originally posted by 1stGenCRXer
    There is a cast web on the block right around the area where the timing belt cover 0 mark would be. It's monsoon weather here at the moment, but I can get you a picture tomorrow if necessary.

    As for the timing marks on the pulley, I believe there are three tiny little ticks, with the center being 0. You just have to look real close.
    On what part of the pulley are these three tiny ticks located at, the side of the pulley facing the engine, on the rim adjacent to the belt, or on the outboard side of the pulley facing the engine compartment wall? If you will send that picture of the location of the timing belt cover 0 mark, thanks in advance.

  12. #12
    Automotive Enthusiast Gasoline Fumes's Avatar
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    .

    .
    Attached Images Attached Images
    • File Type: png 1.png (74.2 KB, 82 views)

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    I reviewed my Haynes Service Manual for the 1987 Honda Civic Hatchback DX and referred to the VECI Label on the Honda itself and discovered that they both do not indicate the location of the pointer on the timing belt cover and the locations of the four notches on the crankshaft pulley, nor do they describe the colors and the degree value of every color of these notches. I am only speculating about this however these informations might be available in a Helm Service Manual for this car that I suspect Gasoline Fumes used in his entry in this thread (or was that Honda Motor's huge engine illustration that he entered in here? Tsk, tsk, I could read his entry even when I'm in our back yard. Makes you think if he really wants to help in here).

    Onthekeyboard

  14. #14
    I'm RICK JAMES, bitch! FourthGenHatch's Avatar
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    Gasoline Fumes when you post a picture that big it just comes out all chunky and crap.

    But anyway here is what he posted but in a reasonable size...

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    Automotive Enthusiast Gasoline Fumes's Avatar
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    Sorry about the image size, I'm lazy.
    The timing pointer is molded into the plastic belt cover. The color of the marks on the pulley doesn't really matter, the paint won't be there any more. There are four marks, three are close together and the fourth is alone. You want the timing on the center of the three marks. The two outer marks are +/- 2 degrees. You might need to use a your fingernail to feel the marks.

  16. #16
    I'm RICK JAMES, bitch! FourthGenHatch's Avatar
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    Might it be not a bad idea to perhaps take off the crank pulley and notch the 3 marks back in with a dremel or something? Or is the balance of the pulley so exact that that would mess it up?
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  17. #17
    Automotive Enthusiast Gasoline Fumes's Avatar
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    I just clean them, put a drop of paint in the notch and wipe off any extra paint.

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    Originally posted by FourthGenHatch
    Might it be not a bad idea to perhaps take off the crank pulley and notch the 3 marks back in with a dremel or something? Or is the balance of the pulley so exact that that would mess it up?
    No, I do not believe that enlarging these three notches on the pulley will create rotational problems to it. In fact, that is what I intend to perform on my pulley however not at the present time but during the replacement of this engine's timing belt. In this way, I will not be performing the same work twice, that of removing the pulley for the notch enlargement and removing it again later for the timining belt replacement. Anyway, this Honda's old timing belt is due for replacement not a long time from now. I will only use a triangular file because I don't have a Dremel tool. If the file can't cut it, I might use a hacksaw with a fine-toothed blade for cutting steel.

    Onthekeyboard

  19. #19
    GWAKS- Tech Geekifier
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    Making the notches too deep can cause a mini saw-tooth edge that can wear on the v-belt.

    The only thing I do is add a touch of paint in there. I don't put a timing light on my engine all that often, so it's not a huge deal.
    -Harry
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  20. #20
    I'm RICK JAMES, bitch! FourthGenHatch's Avatar
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    Originally posted by onthekeyboard


    No, I do not believe that enlarging these three notches on the pulley will create rotational problems to it. In fact, that is what I intend to perform on my pulley however not at the present time but during the replacement of this engine's timing belt. In this way, I will not be performing the same work twice, that of removing the pulley for the notch enlargement and removing it again later for the timining belt replacement. Anyway, this Honda's old timing belt is due for replacement not a long time from now. I will only use a triangular file because I don't have a Dremel tool. If the file can't cut it, I might use a hacksaw with a fine-toothed blade for cutting steel.

    Onthekeyboard
    I'm not talking about enlarging them. I'm just saying instead of painted marks which will wear off just make tiny notches into the pulley no bigger than the painted marks so that you never have the problem of not being able to see the marks, since notches won't wear off like paint does.
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  21. #21
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    Originally posted by 1stGenCRXer
    Making the notches too deep can cause a mini saw-tooth edge that can wear on the v-belt.

    The only thing I do is add a touch of paint in there. I don't put a timing light on my engine all that often, so it's not a huge deal.
    That's a good advice. In that case, the notches will not be made that entirely large and deep. They will be made to be big (or small) enough to be seen under a timing light. And afterwards, the sharp and rough edges of these "enlarged" notches can be chamfered by an aluminum-oxide sandpaper or a flat steel file in order that the edges will not be in contact with the belt. Finally, I could choose to either colorize these notches or not.

    Onthekeyboard

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