How to tell if timing belt is going bad?

Posted by dsm1103, Feb 17, 2012

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  1. dsm1103

    dsm1103 Proven Member

    Joined Jan 4, 2012
    medina, Ohio
    How can I tell if my timing belt is bad or going bad? Is there a way to visually check the belt? Will the belt become loose, have wear marks, cracks, etc? When i purchased the car the owner said it was changed about 25k miles ago but sometimes you cant believe everything.

    I know I should just change it if I'm concerned about it but its not the cheapest thing to do. Plan on changing it within the next couple months but would like to make sure it isn't going to snap next week if I can.

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  2. iugrad92turbo

    iugrad92turbo Proven Member

    Joined May 22, 2007
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    When you dont know the history change it asap, why take chances, you could wait you never know when it will snap and what wasnt changed, tensioner, pulleys etc.
    My DSM:
  3. MichaelSuch

    MichaelSuch Proven Member

    Joined Jun 30, 2008
    Pinckneyville, Illinois
    Mine always had cracks on the teeth of the belt. Kinda hard to see with the timing belt still on the car but if the belt were to be flipped over and the teeth pushed out the cracks could be clearly seen. Many timing belt failures are due to the tensioner actually going bad and causing the timing to jump. Right before this happens the tensioner starts with a clicking or tapping noise during cold start ups, but not always does this happen. It can happen randomly. Some of the timing belts strip teeth, due to the cracks next to the teeth. My advice is inspect the belt closely. But plan on doing a timing belt job ASAP with OEM Mitsubishi parts. Do not use a parts store hydraulic tensioner. Do not cheap out on the main parts that keep your engine running. Any failure in the timing components can be VERY costly.

    Edit: Just seen you have an N/T. The hydraulic tensioners on those don't seem to fail quite as often but there are a few people that swap over to a mechanical tensioner.
    My DSM:
    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD

    Street Build

    1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST

    54.120 @ 591.920 MPH
  4. DSM1G90

    DSM1G90 Supporting Member

    Joined Apr 6, 2008
    Nampa, Idaho
    ..could pull the inspection cover off of the belt cover to see what it looks inside. Roll the motor over by hand while you see the belt's condition.
  5. talonawd1991

    talonawd1991 Proven Member

    Joined Jan 3, 2010
    lake stevens, Washington
    Just be safe and change it. If it snaps it can potentially ruin the engine.

    visually If there is any oil on it you should change it too.
    My DSM:
    1990 Eagle Talon TSi AWD

    Street Build

    50trim   manual
  6. jamarh85

    jamarh85 Proven Member

    Joined Jun 2, 2011
    Powhatan, Virginia
    i agree with the above post, my friend and I rotated the engine and inspected the belt on his gst and it visually passed. Two weeks later it snapped on his way home from work crusing on the highway, bending valves. Another friend had teeth break off his belt that threw off his timing bending vaves. Like one of the guys on this forum a long time ago, a timing belt looks new until you get to the part snapped in two.

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