G2: DIY: Maintenance: Replace the timing belt and water pump

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This is the LegendWiki version of the DIY originally written by LegendLand for AcuraLegend.org.

Note: The maintenance schedule from Acura only requires inspection of the water pump, replacement is optional.

Required Materials & Tools

  • Timing belt (OEM recommended)
  • Water pump (OEM recommended)
  • Timing belt tensioner (optional, OEM recommended)
  • Coolant (Honda Type II recommended)
  • Bucket or reservoir for draining coolant
  • Torque wrench (8+ foot pounds)
  • Breaker bars
  • Crankshaft pulley holder (specialty part found at local part stores)
  • 1000-2000 grit sandpaper to sand down water pump gasket surface
  • Gasket sealer
  • Rubber mallet (small block of wood may also be helpful)
  • Jack and jack stands


G2 TBelt Step1a.jpg

Cover up the fenders with blankets so it they don't get damaged from falling tools.


G2 TBelt Step2a.jpg

Disconnect and remove the battery from the engine bay. This makes much more room to work in. (Note: If you have the stock radio, make sure you have the activation code.)


G2 TBelt Step3a.jpg

Remove the intake. It’s held on by 4 clips at the main air box, one hose going into the left valve cover, a couple hoses going into the end of it, one clamp holding it to the throttle body, and one screw holding it onto the radiator.


Remove the throttle cover (2 bolts). Once that is removed, loosen the throttle cables and remove them from position. Be sure to mark where the nuts holding it on originally were and label which cable goes on each side.
G2 TBelt Step4a.jpg G2 TBelt Step4b.jpg G2 TBelt Step4c.jpg


G2 TBelt Step5a.jpg

Drain the coolant from engine. I needed to remove the lower engine shield to get to this part. As illustrated, coolant plug is located underneath the radiator on the right. Be sure to open radiator cap while draining fluid so air can flow through and assist in the draining process. After draining the coolant from the radiator, unhook the differential coolant hose next to the oil filter to drain most of what is left in the engine block.


G2 TBelt Step6a.jpg
G2 TBelt Step6b.jpg

Now remove both cooling fans from the engine bay. Each fan is held on by two bolts on top and two on the bottom. To get to the bottom ones, the splash shield must be removed. Remove the top bolts and loosen the bottom bolts and the fans will lift out. Be sure to unplug the fans and move the harness out of the way.


G2 TBelt Step7a.jpg
G2 TBelt Step7b.jpg

Remove all coolant hoses from the front of the engine bay to open up the timing belt area. Most are held on by clips that can be removed with a pair of pliers. Be sure to have the coolant drain container under the area where you are working because the hoses tend to leak quite a bit.


G2 TBelt Step8a.jpg

At this time it would be a good idea to remove the lower throttle cable container piece. It's held on by two 10mm bolts on the left side and one 8mm on the bottom.


G2 TBelt Step9a.jpg

Remove these small hoses. These can just get pulled off by hand. Be sure to label which hose goes where.


G2 TBelt Step10a.jpg

Remove wire harness cover on the front of the engine. It is held on by a couple bolts and multiple clips that go around the wires. Attempt to move the harness out of the way without damaging any wires. Remove the grounding bolt on the front of the engine.


G2 TBelt Step11a.jpg

Now remove the alternator belt. Release the tension by loosening the two bolts on the top and bottom of the alternator as illustrated. Loosen the bolt on the tensioner as well and the alternator should move freely. The belt should slide right off. Be sure to note the tightness of the belt before you remove it.


G2 TBelt Step12a.jpg

Once the alternator belt is removed, completely remove the air conditioning tensioner to get the air conditioning drive belt off. It is held on only by two bolts on the right side.


Set it aside and make note of the part and where it goes. The belt will just slide off after this is done. Mark the belt so you know which one goes where.


G2 TBelt Step14a.jpg
G2 TBelt Step14b.jpg

To remove the power steering belt, loosen the bolts on the top and bottom of the power steering pump and the belt should just slide right off.


Remove both of the upper timing covers. They are held on by 3 bolts each. These just pull right off after. Be sure to readjust the seal if it comes out of the grooves.
G2 TBelt Step15a.jpg G2 TBelt Step15b.jpg


Now for the hard part, removing the crankshaft pulley. This is the most annoying and painful part of this project. The bolt that holds the crankshaft on is tightened at the factory with approximately 291(?) foot pounds. It's not easy to remove if you don't have the tools and the strength to do it.
To remove this crankshaft, install the pulley holder on the crankshaft and connect one breaker bar to it. Brace this whole part against the floor on the left side so holds well when you pull on it. To remove the bolt, use your other breaker bar and a 19mm or ¾ inch socket with a pole extension if needed.
After this is all set up, pull on it with all your weight and hope for the best. At this time, remove the bolt and the hub after the timing marks on the upper timing wheels match the marks on the rear timing covers. This is known as TDC. TDC in this case is when the #1 piston (passenger side, front) is at the top of its compression stroke. It's ok if any of the pulleys move a little after removing the timing belt, just make sure each one is in position before and after installing the new belt. If the timing gets off by accident, simply readjust the pulley to where it was originally. If you have to turn any of the pulleys counterclockwise, turn them slightly past TDC, and then clockwise to TDC.
An alternative method of removing the crankshaft is to use a chain wrench to hold the pulley and a 19mm socket on the bolt. Wrap something around the pulley to keep the chain wrench from gouging it. This way you don't need the holder tool and only need one breaker bar.
G2 TBelt Step16a.jpg G2 TBelt Step16b.jpg G2 TBelt Step16c.jpg G2 TBelt Step16d.jpg


G2 TBelt Step17a.jpg
G2 TBelt Step17b.jpg

Now the engine oil dipstick must be removed in order to get the lower timing cover off. It is just held on by one 10mm bolt and pulls right out. Find something to block the hole going into the engine oil so coolant doesn’t leak in there. I found that a wire nut works just fine to plug it.


G2 TBelt Step18a.jpg

Now remove the lower timing belt cover. It is held on by about 6 bolts. It just lifts off after all is removed. Be sure to readjust the seal if it comes out of the grooves.


Remove the lower timing belt guide and set it aside. It just slides off the pulley.


Check that the system is at Top Dead Center (TDC) and be sure that the marks on the upper timing wheels line up with the lines on the rear timing covers. With this done, the timing belt can now be removed.


G2 TBelt Step21a.jpg

To remove the Timing Belt, simply loosen the tensioner bolt with a 10mm ratchet and carefully remove the belt from the car. Note how the timing belt is installed so you can reinstall it the correct way. If you don’t remember, here is a picture of how the belt should be installed.


Now for the water pump. Remove the hoses that connect to the bottom of the water pump, some pumps will have two hoses, others will only have one. Make sure the coolant drain reservoir is underneath the water pump because it will spill.
With that done start removing the bolts around the entire water pump. There are two on the top of the pump and one hidden behind the right rear timing cover. These bolts are different sizes, to ensure that they don't get mixed up, it is a good idea to set each in the same place in the new water pump as you remove them.
This one will take a while to get off. Once all bolts are removed, tap the water pump with a mallet (or a regular hammer with a block of wood) to free it. Be absolutely sure that all the bolts are removed or you can damage the engine block. After this is done simply lift the pump from the car.
G2 TBelt Step22a.jpg G2 TBelt Step22b.jpg G2 TBelt Step22c.jpg


G2 TBelt Step23a.jpg

To ensure a proper seal when the new pump goes on, wet sand the entire gasket surface with 1000-2000 grit sandpaper to remove all excess gasket and restore the clean factory finish. You may also use a Dremel tool and polishing wheel to clean the surface.


G2 TBelt Step24a.jpg

Install the rubber gasket on the new water pump and tack it down in various places with automotive grade RTV gasket sealant so the gasket doesn't move when it is being installed.


G2 TBelt Step25a.jpg

Put the new water pump into the car and make sure it fits properly before putting bolts in. Double check the gasket behind the pump to be sure nothing moved. Start finger tightening the bolts on the pump.


G2 TBelt Step26a.jpg

Using your torque wrench, torque the bolts to 9 foot pounds on the 10mm bolts and 12 foot pounds on the 12mm bolts. Always start from the center and work your way out to be sure everything sets properly.


G2 TBelt Step27a.jpg

Re-connect the hoses to the bottom of the pump and install the clamps. Be sure the hoses sit properly on the pump so it doesn't leak.


Install the bolts on the rear timing cover on the right side so you can see whether or not the pulley moved at all. If it did, carefully readjust the pulley to TDC.


Now to install the timing belt. Make sure that the product numbers on the belt match so you can be sure that you are using the right part. If you are replacing the tensioner, do so first. The piece that the spring connects to is held on by a protrusion that sticks out of the block. Make sure that this piece is in place before proceeding. Stretch the tensioner spring from the tensioner to the protrusion on the water pump. Leave the mounting bolt on the tensioner loose so you can install the belt.
Make sure all pulleys are at TDC. Advance the passenger side cam pulley half of a tooth past TDC. This should make the belt fall into place at TDC once the tensioner is tightened. To install the timing belt, wrap it around the crankshaft timing belt pulley first, then the tensioner, drivers side cam pulley, water pump, passenger side cam pulley. Be sure to pull the belt tight before wrapping it around each pulley. Tighten the tensioner bolt. Turn the crankshaft at least 5 or 6 full rotations, then set it back to TDC. Re-check your timing marks on all three pulleys. If the timing marks do not line up, loosen the tensioner bolt, remove the belt, and start over.
G2 TBelt Step29a.jpg G2 TBelt Step29b.jpg G2 TBelt Step29c.jpg


Install the lower timing guide. This just slides over the hub.


G2 TBelt Step31a.jpg

Reinstall the lower timing cover.


G2 TBelt Step32a.jpg
G2 TBelt Step32b.jpg

Reinstall the crankshaft pulley by simply sliding it straight onto the car. Reinstall the bolt and tighten to 174 lb-ft, you will need to use the chain wrench or pulley holder tool here again. Now you need to adjust the timing belt tension. From TDC, rotate the crankshaft approximately 9 teeth of the camshaft pulley. This should line up the lower timing belt cover pointer with another mark on the opposite side of the crankshaft pulley's TDC mark. Loosen the timing belt tensioner bolt, and then re-tighten it to 31 lb-ft.


G2 TBelt Step33a.jpg

Reinstall the upper timing covers.


G2 TBelt Step34a.jpg
G2 TBelt Step34b.jpg

Install the power steering belt and readjust the tensioner bolts on the top and bottom of the pump. Make sure the belt isn't too tight. Loose is good, but too loose won't help you at all.


Reinstall the A/C belt then put the tensioner back on. Start with the upper bolt then go to the lower one. Adjust the tensioner as needed. Be sure the belt isn't too tight.


G2 TBelt Step36a.jpg

Put the alternator belt back on and lightly tap the 6mm tensioner to push the alternator to the right a bit to get more tightness. Then tighten the bolts on the top and bottom and adjust the tensioner as needed. Be sure the belt isn't too tight or too loose.


G2 TBelt Step37a.jpg
G2 TBelt Step37b.jpg

Reinstall the lower throttle cover with the bolt on the bottom and the 2 bolts on the left side. Install the throttle cables and tighten appropriately. Install the black cover as well.


Now install the cooling fans. Start with the one on the right. Be sure which one is which. Slide it into the lower bolts and plug it in. Install the relay box and tighten the top bolts. Then go underneath the car and tighten the lower bolts and reinstall any clips that you may have removed so the wires don't get caught in the fan.


Install the left cooling fan the same way. Plug it in, slide it into the lower bolts, tighten the upper bolts, then the lower bolts and make sure all wires are out of the way of the blades.


Reinstall all the coolant hoses in the car. While doing this, check for cracks. Replace any old or damage hose. Double check your work to be sure everything is in the right place.
G2 TBelt Step40a.jpg G2 TBelt Step40b.jpg G2 TBelt Step40c.jpg


G2 TBelt Step41a.jpg

Reinstall the intake. Connect the hose to the throttle body then go from there installing hoses and clipping it down. Don't forget to put the air filter back in.


Reinstall the battery. Now would be a good time to check for corrosion on the positive and negative sides of the battery and the ends. If there is any, use a wire brush to remove it.


Add the coolant to the radiator. (If necessary, flush the cooling system with a garden hose to remove all dirt, debris, and old coolant.) Remember that a 1:1 coolant/water ratio is needed (unless you use genuine Honda premixed coolant) so it will need mixing if you don't have the right mixture.


Reinstall the engine splash shield underneath the car and set the car down.


Double check all your work before you start the car. Check for tools and miscellaneous other things in the engine bay. Reset the time and radio inside the car.


Start the car and see how it runs. Leave it running and check for coolant leaks. If the car is overheating at all, coolant is leaking or your cooling fan sensor switch is bad. (This part can be purchased at a Honda dealer for about 8 bucks. It is located on the left side at the bottom of the radiator.) If the engine is running rough, turn off the engine and re-check your timing marks.


Take the car for a test drive and check the air conditioning and steering. Make sure everything is working properly.

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