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Timing Belt Front Cover
See Figures 1 and 2
Fig. 1: Exploded view of the timing belt front cover mounting-2.3L (VIN A) engine
Fig. 2: Exploded view of the timing belt front cover mounting-2.3L (VIN M) engine
Disconnect the negative battery cable for safety.
Drain the cooling system to a level below the upper radiator hose and the thermostat housing.
Remove the automatic accessory drive belt tensioner and the drive belt(s).
Remove the four water pump pulley bolts, then remove the pulley for access.
Remove the upper radiator hose.
Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt and pulley. If difficulty is encountered, you may need to obtain a flywheel holding tool to keep the crankshaft from turning while loosening the bolt. Another method is to presoak the area with penetrating lubricant and allow it to sit overnight. A bolt which has been pretreated in this fashion will usually break loose easier.
Remove the thermostat housing and gasket.
Remove the timing belt outer cover retaining bolt(s). The VIN A engine is usually equipped with 4 bolts, while the VIN M engine only uses 1. Release the cover interlocking tabs (eight tabs on the VIN M engine), if equipped, and remove the cover.
Position the timing belt front cover. If equipped, snap the interlocking tabs into place.
Install the timing belt outer cover retaining bolt(s) and tighten to 71-106 inch lbs. (8-12 Nm).
Install the automatic drive belt tensioner.
Install the thermostat housing and a new gasket.
Install the upper radiator hose.
Install the crankshaft pulley and retaining bolt. Tighten the bolt to 103-133 ft. lbs. (140-180 Nm) for the VIN A engine (1989-90) or to 114-151 ft. lbs. (155-205 Nm) for the VIN M engine (1991-93).
Install the water pump pulley and the 4 retaining bolts.
Install the accessory drive belt(s).
Connect the negative battery cable, then properly refill the engine cooling system.
Run the engine and check for leaks.
Timing Belt and Tensioner
See Figures 3, 4, 5 and 6
Fig. 3: Exploded view of the timing belt and sprocket assembly-2.3L (VIN A) engine
Fig. 4: Exploded view of the timing belt and front cover assembly-2.3L (VIN M) engine
Fig. 5: Timing belt tensioner adjustment and pivot bolts
Fig. 6: A special sensor positioning tool is used during timing sensor installation-2.3L (VIN M) engine
Remove the timing belt front cover.
Loosen the timing belt tensioner adjustment screw, position belt tensioner tool T74P-6254-A, or equivalent, on the tension spring roll pin and release the belt tensioner. Tighten the adjustment screw to hold the tensioner in the released position.
On 1991-93 vehicles (VIN M engine), remove the bolts holding the timing sensor in place and pull the sensor assembly free of the dowel pin.
Remove the crankshaft pulley, hub and belt guide. Remove the timing belt. If the belt is to be reused, mark the direction of rotation so it may be reinstalled in the same direction.
Position the crankshaft sprocket to align with the TDC mark and the camshaft sprocket to align with the camshaft timing pointer.
On 1989-90 vehicles, remove the distributor cap and set the rotor to the No. 1 firing position by turning the auxiliary shaft.
Install the timing belt over the crankshaft sprocket and then counterclockwise over the auxiliary and camshaft sprockets. Align the belt fore-and-aft on the sprockets.
Loosen the tensioner adjustment bolt to allow the tensioner to move against the belt. If the spring does not have enough tension to move the roller against the belt, it may be necessary to manually push the roller against the belt and tighten the bolt.
Remove a spark plug from each cylinder in order to relieve engine compression and to make sure the belt does not jump time during rotation in the next step.
Rotate the crankshaft two complete turns in the direction of normal rotation to remove the slack from the belt.
For 1992-93 (VIN M) engines, have an assistant hold the crankshaft pulley from turning (this can be done in a variety of ways including at the flywheel with a holding tool, or with a wrench and a prybar at the pulley bolts). Turn the camshaft sprocket counterclockwise using a torque wrench, until the torque setting reads 40 ft. lbs. (54 Nm), then while still holding both the camshaft and crankshaft from turning, tighten the tensioner adjustment and pivot bolts.
Tighten the tensioner adjustment bolt to 29-40 ft. lbs. (40-55 Nm) and pivot bolts to 14-22 ft. lbs. (20-30 Nm).
Recheck the alignment of the timing marks.
Install the crankshaft belt guide.
On 1989-90 vehicles, install the crankshaft pulley and tighten the retaining bolt to 103-133 ft. lbs. (140-180 Nm). On 1991-92 vehicles, proceed as follows:
Install the timing sensor onto the dowel pin and tighten the two longer bolts to 14-22 ft. lbs. (20-30 Nm).
Rotate the crankshaft 45 degrees counterclockwise, then install the crankshaft pulley and hub assembly. Tighten the bolt to 114-151 ft. lbs. (155-205 Nm).
Rotate the crankshaft 90 degrees clockwise so the vane of the crankshaft pulley engages with timing sensor positioner tool T89P-6316-A, or equivalent. Tighten the two shorter sensor bolts to 14-22 ft. lbs. (20-30 Nm).
Rotate the crankshaft 90 degrees counterclockwise, then remove the sensor positioner tool.
Rotate the crankshaft 90 degrees clockwise and measure the outer vane-to-sensor air gap. The gap must be 0.018-0.039 in. (0.458-0.996mm).
Install the spark plug which was removed from each cylinder.
Install the timing belt front cover.
Connect the negative battery cable.
For distributor equipped (VIN A) engines, check the ignition timing.