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Old 07-05-2011
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Timing Belt Camshaft Indexing

I have a 1996 2.3L with 135k miles that I purchased new in CA. No repair work has ever been done on the truck (just hoses, plugs, fluids). I decided to change the timing belt. Before taking the belt off I turned the engine to TDC (via crankshaft). The crankshaft pully key was at 12:00 as I expected it to be. The camshaft sprocket detent (on the stamped metal located behind the sprocket that turns with the sprocket) was significantly retarded relative to the reference point. My guess is that it was 4 or 5 belt notches behind where it should have been to line up the sprocket detent with the pointer on the housing. The oil pump sprocket detent was 1/3 of a revolution from being lined up. Has anyone ever seen this?

I marked the factory locations and then put the new belt on. I lined up the camshaft and oil pump sprockets with the detents and pointers (i.e the way the repair manual said to). The engine runs fine at speed, but is difficult to start and idles rough. I plan to set the sprocket alignment back to the way it came from the factory, I just don't understand why with the factory settings the detents don't line up with the pointers. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks, Ken
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Old 07-05-2011
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were you on the compression stroke for cylinder 1? if not that may case the index marks to be off.....all the index marks should line up on the cam pulley, oil pump and the crank...
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Old 07-05-2011
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Yes, I believe that I was at TDC on the compression stroke. Through the spark plug hole I felt the piston come up to the top of the cylinder. This corresponded to TDC on the crankshaft pulley/timing belt cover marking. If I rotate the crank one revolution from this location (i.e. back to TDC), the detents are WAY off from the index marks(i.e. on the other side of the sprocket).
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Old 07-07-2011
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Check the oil and camshaft sprocket, on my 98 they are the same sprockets with two different marks.
One is a very small triangle and just match the shapes
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