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1997 mitsubishi galant: timing belt..alignment..any compression

Customer Question

1997 mitsubishi galant 2.4 sohc timing belt mark alignment and why am i not getting any compression from any of the four pistons?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  RIP replied 9 years ago.

Hi, welcome to Just Answer.

This is an iterference engine and if the timing belt had broken off or was not aligned properly, there is a very good chance the valves are bent, even if the engine spins freely. Below are the procedures and the correct positions of the cam and crankshaft.

2.4L Engine

See Figures 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36

  1. If possible, position the engine so the No. 1 piston is at TDC.

  2. Disconnect the negative battery cable.

  3. Remove the splash shield under the engine.

  4. Safely support the weight of the engine and remove the engine mount and bracket assembly.

  5. Remove the drive belts and the timing belt covers.

If timing belts are going to be reused, mark the direction of rotation on the belt. This will ensure the belt is reinstalled in same direction, extending belt life.

  1. To loosen the timing (outer) belt tensioner, install special tool MD998738 or equivalent, to the slot and screw inward to move tensioner toward the water pump. Once the tension has been relieved, remove the outer timing belt.

  2. If tensioner replacement is required, align the pin hole in the tensioner rod to the hole in the tensioner cylinder. Insert a 0.055 inch (1.4 mm) wire in the hole and remove the special tool from the slot. With the cylinder tension relieved, remove the auto tensioner cylinder assembly two mounting bolts.

  3. Remove the outer crankshaft sprocket and flange.

  4. Loosen the silent shaft (inner) belt tensioner and remove the belt. If pulley replacement is required, remove the center adjusting bolt.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 32: Exploded view of the inner (B) timing belt and related components-2.4L engine


  1. Remove the crankshaft pulley retainer bolts and remove the pulley.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 33: You will probably have to use a special tool to remove the crankshaft pulley bolt-2.4L engine


  1. Remove the crankshaft sprocket retainer bolt and washer from the sprocket, if used, and remove sprocket. If sprocket is difficult to remove, the appropriate puller may be used. If no bolts are used on the sprocket, use the appropriate puller to remove.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 34: If you're having trouble removing the sprocket, you may have to use a suitable puller


  1. Hold the camshaft stationary using the hexagon cast between journals No. 2 and 3 and remove the retainer bolt. Remove the sprocket from the camshaft.

To install:

  1. Install the sprockets to their appropriate shafts. Install the retainer bolts and Tighten the camshaft sprocket bolt to 65 ft. lbs. (90 Nm)

Inspect the timing belts in detail for any flaw or wear. Check the sprockets and tensioner for wear. The sprocket teeth should be well defined, not rounded and the valleys between the teeth should be clean. Turn both tensioner pulleys and check for any signs of bearing wear. If sprockets or pulleys show any sign of wear, they must be replaced.


  1. Align the timing marks of the silent shaft sprockets and the crankshaft sprocket with the timing marks on the front case. Wrap the timing belt around the sprockets so there is no slack in the upper span of the belt and the timing marks are still aligned.

  2. Install the tensioner pulley and move the pulley by hand so the long side of the belt deflects about 1/4 inch.

  3. Hold the pulley tightly so the pulley cannot rotate when the bolt is tigthened. Tighten the bolt to 14 ft. lbs. (19 Nm) and recheck the deflection amount.

  4. Align the timing marks of the camshaft, crankshaft and oil pump sprockets with their corresponding marks on the front case or rear cover.

There is a possibility to align all timing marks and have the oil pump sprocket and silent shaft out of time, causing an engine vibration during operation. If the following step is not followed exactly, there is a 50 percent chance that the silent shaft alignment will be 180 degrees off.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 35: Proper timing component alignment points-2.4L engines


  1. Before installing the timing belt, ensure that the left side (rear) silent shaft (oil pump sprocket) is in the correct position as follows:

    1. Remove the plug from the rear side of the block and insert a tool with shaft diameter of 0.31 inches. (8mm) into the hole.

    2. With the timing marks still aligned, the shaft of the tool must be able to go in at least 2 1/2 inches. If the tool can only go in about 1 in., the shaft is not in the correct orientation and will cause a vibration during engine operation. Remove the tool from the hole and turn the oil pump sprocket 1 complete revolution. Realign the timing marks and insert the tool. The shaft of the tool must go in at least 2 1/4 inches.

    3. Recheck and realign the timing mark.

    4. Leave the tool in place to hold the silent shaft while continuing.

  2. If the camshaft belt tensioner was removed, use a vise to carefully push the auto tensioner rod in until the set hole in the rod aligned up with the hole in the cylinder. Place a wire into the hole to retain the rod. Mount the tensioner to the engine block and tighten the mounting bolt to 17 ft. lbs. (23 Nm).

  3. Install the belt to the crankshaft sprocket, oil pump sprocket, then camshaft sprocket, in that order. While doing so, make sure there is no slack between the sprocket except where the tensioner is installed.

  4. To adjust the timing (outer) belt perform the following steps:

    1. Turn the crankshaft 1/4 turn counterclockwise, then turn it clockwise to move No. 1 cylinder to TDC.

    2. Loosen the center bolt. Using tool MD998752 or equivalent and a torque wrench, apply a torque of 2.6 ft. lbs. (3.6 Nm). Tighten the center bolt.

    3. Screw the special tool into the engine left support bracket until its end makes contact with the tensioner arm. At this point, screw the special tool in some more and remove the set wire attached to the auto tensioner, if the wire was not previously removed. Then remove the special tool.

    4. Rotate the crankshaft two complete turns clockwise and let it sit for approximately 15 minutes. Then, measure the auto tensioner protrusion (the distance between the tensioner arm and auto tensioner body) to ensure that it is within 0.15-0.18 inch (3.8-4.5mm). If out of specification, repeat Step 1-4 until the specified value is obtained.

Do not manually overtigthen the belt or it will howl.

  1. Install the upper and lower timing belt covers. Tighten the bolts to the specifications shown in the accompanying figure.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 36: Timing belt cover retainer specifications-2.4L engine


  1. Install the drive belts and properly adjust.

  2. Reinstall the engine mount and bracket assembly and safely lower the engine.

  3. Install the splash shield.

  4. Connect the negative battery cable. Start the engine and let it idle.

  5. Run engine until thermostat opens. Check and adjust ignition timing.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I'm really sorry but I have all that same information and have done it all to a 't', I even had a mechanic friend scratching his head, it occasionally sounds like it has compression but then it never does when we test it.
Expert:  RIP replied 9 years ago.

Well we do know there is no compression due to either incorrect cam timing or bent valves. Why was the timing belt replaced? Was the engine running before the t-belt was replaced?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
We replaced the timing belt because we had to replace the silent (balance) shaft belt that had broke just after we replaced the crank position sensor. Initially upon obtaining the vehicle I scanned it for codes and the only one that came up was the Crank sensor, so we replaced took for a drive around the block and as we were stopped in a parking lot we had turned around in the car died thus the balance shaft belt broke throwing pieces into the sensor. So without chancing it we replaced the sensor again and the Balance shaft belt that had broke and the timing belt to boot, we then retimed and attempted to fire to ensure the timing is correct before we finished up final assembly of other motor components. And so here we are doing everything possible to get it to fire and no matter how it is timed (meaning we have attempted other marks, specified by many manuals and technician suggestions) it still will not run. We do have fuel, we do have spark, the intake isn't blocked and we cannot even get the smallest compression reading no matter the placement of valves or pistons, and we would really not like to have to pull the head, because well it worked before and should really work again. Maybe all rings and valves broke or bent and the exact time while the car was in running temp idle, it is by far the wierdest thing I have yet to run into..
Expert:  RIP replied 9 years ago.

Thanks for the detailed update, from the sound of may just have all bent intake or all bent exhaust valves. There is only one set of timing marks, using the set in the illlustration below, get the engine back to TDC #1, than you can take a leak down test. Most auto repair shops and tool suppliers will sell a leak down tester, it adds compressed air to the cylinder you set on TDC, and can show you the leakage percentile, you can further hear the air coming out of the exhaust or intake when this cylinder is on TDC which will entail a bent valve. The vaves need to bend very slightly to get no compression readings. This test will conclude the suspicion before having to pull the head. Also, when valves bend, they tend to bend all intake or all of the exhaust at the same time.

One other possibility may be that the sproket on the cam may have been installed backwards if it was removed. If this is the case, incorrect side of the sproket had a different set of marks.