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Chrysler Repair/'95 3.5L Cam adjustment/timing belt


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QUESTION: Hello Roland,

I inherited my grand daughter car to finish the timing belt repair after her "boyfriend" said he was going to replace the timing belt. Well "boyfriend" is now EX. The belt is off and I towed to my place. From what I gathered the "EX" rotated all of the cams and cranks because he was the one that got caught cheating. I am pretty confident that I have the lower cam at TDC. (Pulled number one plug and felt pressure coming up when hand crankning engine)But I am not sure how to be sure the overheads are properly aligned. Tried turning them numerous times but still can not get the dots to line up with the 2 dots on the engine. Also the left hand cam has 2 dots on the sprocket ( not sure which one to use) also both sprockets have a yellow spot (one each) on them. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Have a great day


ANSWER: Hi Bryan,
I can describe what the manual suggests;
Begin with the tensioner removed and the belt removed. Then compress the tensioner and lock it in that position as described below*.
The crankshaft sprocket is to be aligned to the mark on the oil pump cover.
The cam shaft sprockets have a dot centered on a tooth and that dot should be midway between the marks on the rear covers.
Then install the timing belt beginning at the crankshaft sprocket and going counterclockwise. Once it is past the right cam sprocket keep tension on the belt until you go past the tensioner pulley.
*Before all this you should have removed the timing belt tensioner and using a vice then compress the tensioner to the point where you can insert a pin through the side of the tensioner into a hole to hold it in place when you remove it from the vice.
So now you install the tensioner while keeping the tensioner pulley against the belt and tighten the tensioner bolts to 20 foot-pounds. Then pull the pin.
Then rotate the engine by hand 2 full turns to verify that when the crank is aligned with its mark that the cams are still centered between there respective marks.
I hope this makes sense to what you have before you.
Please read the PS (below) and respond to it.

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QUESTION: Hello Roland,
thank you for your reply and I apologize for the delay in responding back, (computer crashed). I understand on how to get the belt back on but both of the upper cams I can not get lined up to the timing marks in order to install the belt. I have rotated both of the (belt off) but they will not line up properly in order for me to proceed. Thank you in advance.

Best Regards,

Hi Bryan,
This is a 'non-interference engine which means that the camshafts are free-wheeling so I assume you can set the timing mark for each as I described, as is the crankshaft. So I assume you haven't been able to put on the timing belt in such a way that the marks will all align when you have completed the install, correct? If the sprockets of the cams will not rotate freely then there has been some sort of damage to the valves.
If you have removed the tensioner then there should be good slack to allow put on of the belt exactly as I described, which is taken from the manual. If you follow those directions and then install the tensioner for the tensioning pulley (then pull the pin) it should end up in the correct alignments of the sprockets.
Let me know what you learn.
My DSL line became totally unreliable last week also, so I upgraded to 'high speed' and that is a relief. Interesting how dependent we become on being 'connected', isn't it?
Please read the PS (below) and respond to it.

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Roland Finston


Get a Free Fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2012 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top Expert" 2010-2015, here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars.

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

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"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

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