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Amedee, Former ASE Master Technician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 24101
Experience:  ASE certified tech advanced level specialist. Wisconsin certified emissions state inspector
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What are symptoms of broken timing belt?

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What are symptoms of broken timing belt?

You can just take off the oil cap ad see if the lifter or camshaft is moving when someone is cranking the engine over. If not, the timing belt has broke.

If you cannot see anything by removing the oil cap, then you can just pull off the front timing cover and take a look at the belt. Your only other option would be to check engine compression with a compression checker.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I can see the lifters moving, so my guess that the timing belt was the cause of the problem was apparently wrong. Any ideas about what else could have happened so suddenly to cause the repetitive "chirping" noise every few seconds during cranking and prevent the engine from running?
Do you know where this noise is coming from? THe belts, timing belt or starter motor?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The noise is not coming from the starter. It's hard to tell where the noise originates, but it appears to "blow" out of the carburetor together with a vapor cloud. I can't tell for sure, but the cloud seems to be smoke, rather than gasoline vapor.
Well, if there is air blowing out the intake when cranking the engine over, your valve timing is off. I guarantee it!

Even if the camshaft tis moving while cranking the engine over, your valve timing could still be off. Maybe your timing belt just jumped a few teeth instead of breaking altogether
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Sounds reasonable. Is there an easy way to confirm this?

The biggest hassle is that the car is dead in the parking garage at my place of work. If the timing belt is the problem, could it be fixed where the car is now, or is there at least some way to get it running? Or do I need to bite the bullet and have it towed?

Sorry for the delay!

Your best bet is going to be to start by checking compression. If the compression is low in all cylinders, then chances are the timing belt is the issue.

The timing belt can be done were it sits, but it would be kind of a hassle to do it there because of the amount of work involved in doing so.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Is there any way to confirm that the timing belt has slipped, other than checking compression? If not, what is low, anything below 10 kg/cm?

Is there any way to adjust the belt to get the engine running so I can get the car out of the parking garage? I don't think there is enough headroom for a tow truck.

The only way to confirm the timing belt did in fact jump is to pull the timing cover and take a look at the timing marks. The only other way would be with very expensive diagnostic equipment.

If the timing belt is broke or has jumped, there is no way to adjust it. It will just need to be replaced.

Here are the specs for your engine compression.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The timing belt is not the problem. I removed the cover and bumped the starter several times to visually inspect the whole length - absolutely no defects or signs of slippage.


The engine cranks but intermittentlly backfires (simultaneously making a loud chirping sound), blowing smoke out the carburetor inlet, but won't start or run. What could cause this sudden problem? How can I troubleshoot it?

So we have spark when crnaking over the engine??

Does it run on starting fluid?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Yes, on spark.


Haven't tried starting fluid, but the fuel pump failed some years ago and it didn't act at all the way it does now; when the fuel pump failed it would crank endlessly without any sign of ignition. The back firing now is what has me totally puzzled.

If you have spark and the valve timing is in fact good, then maybe your ignition timing is off. Maybe your distributor went bad, your ignition rotor is spinning fee on the distributor shaft or maybe you just have bad tune up parts.

See if it runs on starting fluid. If not, then chances are the ignition timing is off.