How to Change Your Honda Civic Timing Belt



When it’s time to get your timing belt or water pump replaced on your 1996-2000 Honda Civic, it’s always important to have a firm grasp on what you are doing and what parts you will be replacing. For any CX, DX, LX or EX the D16Y motor the timing belt job is fairly straightforward and can be performed in a single day by an experienced shadetree mechanic. The 1996-2000 Honda Civic ( Excluding 99-00 SI ) are equipped with the SOHC Honda D Series motor.

All non vtec models, from the CX, DX, LX are equipped with a D16y7 non-VTEC motor, and today’s install will be performed on a 1997 Honda Civic EX with the D16Y8 VTEC engine.  For a writeup on the previous generation of Honda Civic engine, check out ourD16z timing belt writeup here.

We take a look at how to service your timing belt on your D series / SOHC motor, again the car we are working on is a 1997 Honda Civic EX ( D16y8 VTEC engine )

The parts we’ll be replacing today are :



First get the car onto a flat surface and disconnect the negative terminal to your battery to prevent any electrical accidents. If you own a factory equipped Honda radio, now is the time to check for your radio code before disconnecting your battery.

Loosen the driver side front lug nuts on your car and raise the vehicle up, secure the vehicle with jackstands if you do not have a accessible lift. Drain your radiator by undoing your radiator cap and opening the radiator petcock located under your radiator.



With the vehicle raised, now remove the front left wheel and undo the push clips to the splash guard to the side and under the engine. This guard will have to be removed so that you have access to the front half of your engine.

Support the engine with a floor jack by using a piece of wood, or some sort of plate that will evenly disperse the weight of the engine without crushing your oil pan, or oil pickup tube.



Now unclip the cruise control unit and undo the groundstrap on the front of the engine leading to your radiator support, undo the 10mm bolts holding the upper timing cover and slide the cruise control out along with the top half of the timing cover.



Swing the cruise control away from your work area, now get to work on undoing the mount using a long 14mm socket and drive. Use care not to remove the entire stud in the mount, but the nut itself.




Remove the mount and upper timing cover, and after you remove the lower engine mount, you should now be ready to move the engine up and down freely to access any part of the front half ( timing assembly ) of the motor.

**TIP – UNDO the 10mm bolt holding your Air Conditioning Pressure Hose in place, REMEMBER to undo this bolt, as it will prevent your A/C pressure hose from being kinked or possibly damaged. This is an important step in our D16Y8 SOHC Timing Belt change How To.



Now is a good time to pop off each one of your spark plug wires and unscrew your spark plugs, you may opt to bypass this step if you feel extra strong and want the spark plugs to provide compression while you rotate your motor. If not, remove the spark plugs to make your life a lot easier.



Next undo the power steering bracket, the belt tensioner and the alternator tensioner bracket to allow for removal of all drive belts.

This vehicle is unfortunately an automatic, which means you will have to deal with the unfortunate dipstick tube and funnel, which happen to cover the frontmost 10mm bolts that secure the lower timing cover in place. If the vehicle you are working on is an automatic, you must jack up the car and remove the metal bracket that clips the dipstick in place.


Now with this pesky clip removed, you can clear this area and remove the dipstick to give you access to the front most bolts on your lower engine cover.



Now rotate your engine and position the number 1 piston ( closest to the timing belt ) to the Top Dead Center (TDC ) position, making sure you are rotating the crank and timing belt counterclockwise. Remember to always rotate in this direction, failure to do so may result in improper timing belt sequencing.

Remove the lower engine mount that holds the air conditioning bracket to the engine and the underbelly of your frame
20130918_172150As you can see here, this lower mount is dead and often times it will be given it’s location and how it’s designed. Make sure to replace this unit if yours is as damaged as ours is. Now you are good to raise the engine higher and lower to set your timing belt.

Undo the 10mm bolts that hold your water pump onto the block, pop off the old water pump and discard. Allow for any excessive coolant to leak out and drain.



Now get your new water pump ready for install, make sure to use a pressurized high temp gasket maker or something similar like Hondabond.



Now using a chain wrench or the handy Moroso Honda wrench part number 61805 to undo the crank pulley and access the 10mm bolts that hold the front cover on.

Now remove the upper and lower timing covers by undoing the 10mm bolts that secure them to the front of the engine. With the lower timing belt cover removed, loosen the 14mm bolt that holds the idler pulley and bracket in place and slide off the old timing belt



Make sure you slip the pulley off the crankshaft carefully as to not lose the crank Woodruff key (keyway), set the bolt and keyway to the side safely.

Need to change your D16Y8 SOHC Timing Belt? Pro Street Timing Belt Kits

Now slide off your belt tensioner and install your new piece. Push the tensioner onward to set a soft tension and snug up the bolt so that it stays in place.  While some people may inspect and re-use the old tensioner, we always recommend replacing your old unit with a new one.

Now set your camshaft sprocket to the “UP” position, while aligning the marks on either side of the motor. Make sure your camshaft sprocket is properly aligned by raising or lowering the motor as needed.



Install the timing belt by tightly winding it around the front half of the crankshaft sprocket, align the crankshaft sprocket with the mark on your oil pump.



Now wind the timing belt around the tensioner pulley, the water pump pulley and finally over the back side of your camshaft sprocket, while keeping the sprocket aligned



Now loosen the belt tensioner bolt ( 14mm ) and allow the tensioner to set the tension automatically by setting your timing belt tensioner spring in place. Then re-tighten your 14mm timing belt tensioner bolt.

Now check your work by rotating your crankshaft counterclockwise six revolutions and recheck your timing marks on the crankshaft sprocket as well as the camshaft gear. If the crankshaft binds or seems like something is holding it back, do not force it to rotate ( so long as you have the spark plugs removed ) as your valves may be hitting your pistons.

Double and triple check your work and timing marks, and when you are done, have a friend double and triple check over your work.

Loosen the tensioner bolt 1/2 turn (180-degrees) and then rotate the crankshaft counterclockwise until the camshaft pulley is three teeth past TDC and tighten the tensioner bolt to the torque specified.
Reverse the sequence of installed parts, and your D16Y8 SOHC Timing Belt job is complete! Congratulations!
Happy Driving!