S70 Timing Belt Replacement Update (Long)

Discussion in 'Volvo S70' started by Jeff W, Jan 21, 2004.

  1. Jeff W

    Jeff W Guest

    I changed the timing belt & associated other parts over the weekend on my '
    99 S70, and thought I'd share some observations I made during the process to
    help others contemplating "doing it yourself". :)

    (Many thanks to Tim C. for sending me the detailed instructions for the
    mechanical tensioner version!)

    First off, let me say that there is confusion here in the states regarding
    hydraulic vs mechanical tensioners on 1998-2000 S70's. Although I have seen
    info on the web that Volvo switched from hydraulic to mechanical tensioners
    sometime during the 1998 model year, specifically with engine # 1266128,
    both Volvo dealers here in San Diego state that this is not a certainty.
    They cite instances of servicing 1999 S70's with hydraulic tensioners.
    Anyway, mine has the mechanical, but I didn't end up buying the parts until
    I had the cover off, which meant I had to pay dealer prices.

    This car just turned 105K miles; which is the recommended service interval
    for the timing belt according to my manual. I wouldn't normally wait the
    full interval, but at my last plug change at 90K, the timing belt looked OK.
    (It still looks OK, with only very light cracking under sharp bend) Can't
    say the same for the serpentine belt; it should have been replaced a long
    time ago.

    Since I had it apart, I decided to replace all moving parts:

    - Serpentine belt

    - Timing belt

    - Tensioner

    - Idler pulley

    - Water pump

    Total bill for parts = $ 450. The water pump was the most expensive item.
    Total time = 5 hours. (if I had to replace just the timing belt on my S70
    again, I believe I could do it in under an hour; maybe as quick as a half

    Preparing for this work, I brushed up on the general procedure with the
    Volvospeed, Bay 13 info for an 850. Let me just say that the 850 procedure
    is really not relevant to the S70. I'm glad that Tim sent me the info, as it
    helped out dramatically.

    I have seen numerous references that the belt can be removed without
    removing the crank pulley. I investigated this first, which ate up a half
    hour of my 5 hours, and I believe that it is either not possible or a total,
    royal pain in the ass. The reason is that there is a fuel line that runs
    just under the lower belt cover that is not there on an 850. I investigated
    loosening the brackets for the line, but still it wouldn't move much. So I
    gave up and went the "remove pulley" route. (I only really spent the time to
    see if could easily be done)

    Let me just emphatically state that if you have an impact and a 6" puller,
    the "remove pulley" route is the ONLY way to go! Since I was timing
    everything, I noted the time when I started to remove the pulley. It took me
    exactly two minutes to remove it, which included marking the crank nut. It
    was far easier to remove than many other cars I have worked on. Note that I
    used the impact to remove the four bolts as well, which speeded things up.
    The pulley is only on with a very light interference fit.

    A comment on timing marks. The Volvo engineers really did a horrible job on
    the crank end. With the pictures on Volvospeed of the 850 with hydraulic
    tensioner, you can see the mark pretty readily. With the later mechanical
    tensioner, the belt angle obscures your vision, so you cannot see it
    straight on. Why didn't these dumbasses put the mark directly vertical, i.e.
    at 12 o'clock position? Then you could be assured of no parallax error.
    Anyway, with the mark aligned with belt off, the roll pin on the pulley is
    at 12 o'clock, so you can use this as a check after belt installation.

    The only tedious part of the job was the water pump. This took me the
    longest time of all. It has seven small screws with sealant material on the
    threads, which take a long time to remove. (I would have used the impact
    ratchet, but by this time it was late at night & didn't want to wake the
    wife & kids. I have a big 5HP industrial two stage compressor mounted in the
    loft of the garage, & it tends to shake the house a bit when it runs)
    Removing the pump naturally leaves part of the gasket on the block, which
    took forever to remove. Additionally, it takes a bit of fiddling to figure
    out how to get the pump out of the general area. Hint, move it to the right,
    then up to clear at an angle. Plus, even though I drained most of the
    coolant, I still ended up with a big puddle of coolant when the pump was

    Inspecting the water pump, tensioner, and idler, I determined that all were
    still serviceable, but wouldn't feel comfortable that any of them would make
    it another 50K miles, let alone another 105K. BTW, when I was at the Volvo
    parts counter, a mechanic came up to the counter for parts, noticed the
    tensioner in my hand, and said "you are replacing that when you replace the
    belt, right?) I stated I was, and he said, "good, there was a problem with
    them blowing up after 100K, so Volvo now recommends that the tensioner be
    replaced along with the belt." I told him that I was replacing the water
    pump and idler too, and he said "if it was my car I was working on, I would
    do the same thing"

    After fiddling with the belt for about 15 minutes, unsuccessfully trying to
    fit it, I came up with a trick that made the job far easier. (The problem
    was I couldn't apply any tension to the belt on the crank to intake cam side
    without the belt invariably slipping off the crank end a tooth.) I went to
    the wood scrap bin & pulled out a short piece of 1/4" thick hardwood, and
    wedged it between the lower belt cover and the belt (at 6 o'clock position
    on the crank pulley), which held the belt tight against the crank. Now I
    could apply tension to the belt, slip it on the intake cam pulley, then back
    down at the tensioner, then the water pump, finally the exhaust cam pulley.
    (note; I held the tensioner pointer to the right to give it more slack) With
    this trick I was able to fit the belt in about a minute with no hassle or

    Adjusting the tensioner is quite easy, using a 6 mm hex key rotating it
    against the stop, then back until the pointer reaches the middle slot
    (between the tabs). Then rotating the crank a couple of times thru & recheck
    that it hasn't moved.

    One cautionary note; I noticed as I was turning the crank in the final steps
    that the belt had picked up a small blob of oily mess from the seepage
    around the crank seal. While it was not large, any oil on the belt is not
    good, so I would recommend thoroughly cleaning around the lower crank area
    to prevent this from happening. Plus, if I was doing it again, I would
    replace the crank seal at the same time. (it is not leaking per se, but
    there is a bit of seeping going on.)

    Jeff W, Jan 21, 2004
  2. Jeff W


    Mar 13, 2011
    Likes Received:

    I used this post to help me change my timing belt, tensioner, idler; water pump and serpentine belt today.

    I have an electric impact wrench and it was more than adequate to get the crank pulley nut off. I can definitely see how much easier it is to remove the crank pulley than it would be to work around it. Between this post and the article on Bay13, there isn't much to add on how to do this project.

    About all I can think of is that you will need a deep well 10mm to get the bottom left water pump bolt off. The fender well gets in the way and you don't have enough room for the socket wrench if you use an extension and a regular socket. Without and extension and a regular socket and you don't have any room to turn it because the timing belt housing or the water pump pulley is in the way. A deep well socket is the ticket.

    The information above about the roll pin being at the 12 o'clock is a big help too.

    This took me about 4 hours to complete. That includes getting the tools out and put away and running up to the parts store for some gasket sealer and to get a loaner crankshaft pulley puller. If I had to do it again I can say it would probably take about 2 hours to do at a slow pace to make sure I'm doing it right.

    Half the battle is figuring out what you're doing and wondering if you're doing it right. The wrench turning part is easy.
    GregG, Mar 13, 2011
  3. Jeff W


    Jan 18, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Forest city PA
    Great Write up

    This was an excellent write up used it to do my 99s70 this past weekend and went smooth. thank you
    Stickbrick, Jan 18, 2012
  4. Jeff W


    Feb 11, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Hey guys,

    New to this forum, frequent MVS quite a bit.

    "Preparing for this work, I brushed up on the general procedure with the
    Volvospeed, Bay 13 info for an 850. Let me just say that the 850 procedure
    is really not relevant to the S70. I'm glad that Tim sent me the info, as it
    helped out dramatically."

    Could you post said info from "Tim" please.

    I'm also having trouble finding a timing belt tutorial that doesn't say its for 850 s/v 70's and then not even touching on the mechanical tensioner, or other things I'll specifically need or will run into.

    This is my first timing belt job (TB, rollers/tensioner, water pump) and I need the detailed specifics on the tricky parts.
    I can remove bolts, and put them back - Lol. I am worried a bit about marks, but also water pump leaks - I have blue RTV (if for nothing else to hold the gasket there while I get it on. do I rtv the both sides of the gasket with a very thin layer?), AND the mechanical tenioner. I can't find any detailed explanation of how it works and how to install the new one properly yet.

    Thanks for any help.
    lambose5, Feb 11, 2012
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