How to change a Hyundai Santa Fe 2.7L timing belt

Discussion in 'Hyundai Santa Fe' started by FooshJunkMail, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. The dealer will charge you $600 plus tax to change your timing belt.
    Is it worth 6 or 7 hours of your time to save $500? Well, the belt
    itself will cost you only $90 at the dealer (ask for a 10% discount on
    the part). (I don't recommend using an off-brand belt. Why skimp just
    to save $20, when you're putting in 6 hours of labor?) So if you'd
    gladly put in 6 hours of labor to "earn" $500, read on.

    I have a 2002 Santa Fe 2.7L 2WD, but any 2001-2006 2.7L Santa Fe
    engine should be pretty
    identical. Yesterday I replaced the timing belt. Took about 7 hours.
    One hour was figuring out how to get the crankshaft pulley off.
    It's not difficult - just a bit time-intensive to remove everything
    get to the belt. If you have access to Chilton manuals or AllData,
    then you can get some pics to go with what I describe below.

    Here's the basics for changing a Hyundai Santa Fe 2.7L timing belt:

    OVERALL: Everything is metric. You'll need a good metric socket set.
    In my opinion, the longer the socket wrench you have, the easier and
    quicker the job will go. You'll find most bolts are "stuck" and take
    good amount of force to initially break loose. But with a long socket
    wrench, you don't have to push that hard to apply this force. Once
    bolts initially break free, most of them can be unscrewed the rest of
    the way by hand. Seriously, having a long socket wrench will take an
    hour off the job. Also, a good air-driven impact wrench is a MUST for
    this job. You cannot complete the job without it (unless you have a
    special tool to hold the crankshaft pulley from rotating while
    unbolting it).

    1. Remove the plastic engine cover. 5 or 6 bolts.

    2. Remove the front passenger wheel. Put an extra jack stand
    underneath the car frame for safety. I actually dropped my vehicle on
    the rotor because the Hyundai Santa Fe's rear spare tire carrier bolt
    gets so rusty, it really shakes the car trying to unscrew it and get
    the spare tire out (and that's after two liberal dousings with WD-40)
    - the vibrations and shaking can cause the vehicle to fall off the
    wimpy car jack that comes with the vehicle.

    3. Remove the plastic wheel well panel behind the front passenger
    wheel. It's held on by 3 or 4 bolts along the top of the panel. To
    these bolts, you kinda have to get your head into the wheel well and
    look up at the top of the panel. Removing this panel gives you access
    to the front of the engine (which faces the passenger side of the

    4. Remove the serpentine accessory belt. Just take an extra-long
    socket wrench - the wrench's square fits in the end of the belt
    tensioner - and pull the tensioner clockwise to take tension off the
    belt, and then slip the belt off one of the pulleys. Easiest to do
    this coming through the wheel well, but could probably be done from
    above, too. The belt will not actually come completely off until you
    unbolt the tensioner.

    5. Unbolt the serpentine belt tensioner. There are two long bolts
    hold it on. Take the tensioner and serpentine belt off. You'll see
    that the tensioner covered a hole in the timing belt case, and
    that hole you should now see a portion of the cogged timing belt.

    6. Unbolt the power steering pump pulley. It's the top pulley in the
    middle. You'll need to stick something through one of the holes in
    pulley to keep the pulley from turning as you unbolt it. I used a
    smaller socket wrench with a long socket on it, holding on to the
    socket wrench and sticking the socket through the pulley's hole,
    jamming the socket against the body of the power steering pump behind
    the pulley. Remove the nut and the pulley.

    7. You may need to unbolt the cruise control module at this point in
    preparation for jacking the engine. I did as a precaution, but
    discovered that on the 2002 Santa Fe, I really didn't need to.
    However, I have read an internet post that pointed out that on their
    Santa Fe, failure to unbolt the cruise control module caused the
    to come uncrimped when the engine was jacked, and that caused the
    engine to race after everything was put back together. Unbolting the
    module prevents its cable from getting pulled too far when you jack
    the engine.

    8. Place a block of wood on a hydraulic jack underneath the engine
    pan, and jack it up to support the front of the engine. ("Jack it up"
    here means to raise up the jack, not "mess it all up".) The oil pan
    immediately below the front of the engine (just behind the pulleys).

    9. Unbolt the front engine bracket and take it off. This is done from
    the top. One bolt on the vehicle frame side (on top of the wheel
    and three bolts and/or nuts on the engine side.

    10. Remove the serpentine belt idler pulley. Easy to come off. No
    to hold pulley from turning, because the bolt goes through to the
    engine. Be careful once you get the bolt off - basically you have
    pulley sandwiched by two plates - make sure you don't lose the back
    plate and you know which way it goes back on the pulley.

    11. Remove the other half of the engine bracket still attached to the
    engine. First, you'll need to remove the small bolt on this bracket
    that faces the front of the vehicle. This bolt holds on the engine
    dipstick tube. Then, you'll find another small bolt facing the
    passenger side near the top of the bracket - this bolt is impossible
    to see, but you'll be able to feel for it. Access this bolt from
    the hood. Then return to the wheel well and remove three large bolts
    and the bracket will be free.

    Before you remove the crankshaft pulley, you'll need to make sure the
    timing belt is properly aligned. To do so, you must remove the top
    half of the timing belt cover next.

    12. Remove top half of the timing belt cover, by removing three bolts
    around rear sprocket, three bolts around front sprocket, and one long
    bolt at the bottom of this cover. This cover only goes halfway down
    the engine, so you can get to all these bolts from the engine
    compartment. I believe they require a 10mm socket.

    13. Once the top half of the cover is removed, you will want to
    the timing marks on the exposed sprockets. It's a little dot
    on the front of each sprocket. Best viewed looking under the hood
    the passenger side. The dots need to be aligned with the timing marks
    on the engine case. The timing mark on the engine case for the left
    sprocket (towards the rear of the vehicle) is a little notch located
    at about 11:00, and the timing mark for the right sprocket (towards
    the front of the vehicle) is at about 1:00.

    14. Once you've located the timing marks on the sprockets and the
    engine, put a long wrench on the crankshaft pulley center nut and
    rotate the pulley clockwise until you get the top sprocket timing
    marks in place. (The crankshaft pulley is the very bottom center
    pulley. You access it through the wheel well.) You'll notice that
    you get the top timing marks in place, the crankshaft pulley timing
    mark will be more or less aligned with a protrusion on the timing
    cover (at about the 1:00 position). If the bottom pulley is not
    perfectly aligned with one of the marks, don't worry about it. The
    important thing is to have the top timing marks for both sprockets
    perfectly aligned. Once you remove the crankshaft pulley and bottom
    half of the pulley cover, you'll see that the crankshaft sprocket
    tooth is properly aligned. You'll also notice that you have to turn
    the crankshaft pulley two entire revolutions to get the top sprockets
    to turn a single revolution. They are geared exactly 2:1.

    15. Soak the crankshaft pulley bolt with WD-40 where its shoulder
    meets the pulley. I found this to be important.

    16. Use an air impact wrench to remove the crankshaft pulley bolt
    (counterclockwise). I found that the air impact wrench on maximum
    setting was enough to loosen the bolt without actually turning the
    crankshaft. It may take about half a minute to loosen up. If it
    doesn't want to come off, try some more WD-40 and let it sit awhile.
    If you try to use a socket wrench, you'll just end up turning the
    engine backwards. AN AIR IMPACT WRENCH IS A MUST TO DO THIS, unless
    you have a special tool to hold the crankshaft pulley still while
    turning its bolt counterclockwise. The crankshaft pulley bolt will
    come off along with a thick spacer.

    17. Remove the crankshaft pulley. You'll probably need to wiggle it
    back and forth as you pull it straight off. The more you can wiggle
    it, the easier it is to come off. The pulley is "keyed" to the
    crankshaft with a pin (located now at about the 1:00 position). This
    pin will stay on the crankshaft, and will be what you use to make
    the crankshaft is aligned once you get the new timing belt on.

    18. Remove the lower timing belt cover. 10mm socket is used to remove
    the 4 or so bolts holding it on (best accessed through wheel well).

    19. Notice now that the crankshaft (where you pulled the crankshaft
    pulley off from) has its pin (the pin we mentioned in step 17)
    with a timing mark on the engine. Take note of this alignment! You'll
    see the teeth on the crankshaft that drive the timing belt. One of
    these teeth is aligned with the pin, and therefore aligned with the
    mark on the engine.

    NOTE: Take stock of how taut the timing belt is at this point. This
    what the belt feels like under tension. It's pretty tense, right?

    20. Remove the timing belt auto-tensioner. It is the cylinder-looking
    thing up and to the left of the crankshaft. Two bolts hold it on.
    Unbolt these bolts, and tension on the timing belt is released.

    21. After removing the timing belt auto-tensioner, use a large C-
    to slowly compress the pin in the auto-tensioner all the way, until
    you can slip a pin or smooth end of an old drill bit in through the
    little hole on the top of the auto-tensioner. This hole locks the
    tensioner's pin in the compressed position. Before you put the pin
    cover the pin with WD-40, and spray a little WD-40 in the little hole
    on the top of the auto-tensioner too (front and back). The pin should
    go all the way through from the front, through the center pin, and
    through the back. Enough of the pin (or old drill bit) should be
    sticking out the front so you can later grab it with a pair of pliers
    and pull it out).

    22. Enough tension should have been released from the timing belt so
    you can now gently pull it off.

    CAUTION: Be very careful not to rotate the belt at this point as you
    are taking it off, or as you are putting the new belt on. The reason
    is because the left top sprocket has its springs in the compressed
    position (at the top of the hill, so to speak). If you rotate this
    left top sprocket even one tooth, its compressed energy will cause it
    to rotate about 8 teeth, taking it out of timing with the crankshaft
    and the right top sprocket. This is the voice of experience talking.

    CHECK: Check the idler and tensioner pulleys that they are in good
    condition, and turn freely with little to no play. Replace if needed.

    23. Temporarily put the crankshaft pulley back on (no need to put its
    bolt in), and rotate the crankshaft pulley by hand back (counter
    clockwise) about 5 degrees. Shouldn't be too hard to do, because the
    crankshaft is not in a position where it takes much force to move at
    this point. Pull the pulley back off and check where you are at. Keep
    doing this until you have moved the crankshaft by one tooth. In other
    words, you need to rotate the crankshaft so that instead of the
    crankshaft pin being aligned with the mark on the engine, the tooth
    the right (clockwise) of that pin is aligned with the mark on the
    engine. WHY DO WE DO THIS? Because there will be a little bit of
    between the right top sprocket and the crankshaft sprocket when you
    install the new belt. You'll find that after taking up this slack,
    crankshaft will be properly aligned with the top sprockets. But don't
    worry. We'll be double-checking to make sure we got it right.

    NOTE: The timing belt tensioner pulley is towards the left (towards
    rear of vehicle), and the idler pulley is towards the right (front of

    24. Put on the new timing belt in this order: First, put it on the
    crankshaft sprocket at the bottom. Next, from under the hood pull the
    timing belt snug against the idler pulley (don't pull hard - just
    enough to remove most of the slack), and wrap the belt counter
    clockwise around the right top sprocket (the sprocket towards the
    front of the vehicle). With the teeth of the belt engaged on the
    top sprocket, pause to check the play in the belt between the
    and the crankshaft sprocket. Remember when you took stock of how taut
    the old belt was? The belt should not be this tight. But then, it
    shouldn't be so loose that it comes off the idler pulley. There
    be just a little bit of slack, which will be taken up when you later
    on replace the crankshaft pulley. Continue wrapping the new timing
    belt around the water pump pulley (smack dab in the middle of the
    engine, between all 3 sprockets, and then back up around the left top
    sprocket (toward the rear of the vehicle). Make sure that there is AS
    LITTLE PLAY in the belt between the two top sprockets as possible.
    belt should be nice and snug between these two. The belt should be
    pretty tight at this point. You should have just enough play left in
    the belt to muscle it over the tensioner pulley (which is currently
    not under tension). If that is so, you can be assured that your
    belt is probably properly installed.

    25. Now we check the timing belt installation. DO NOT CHECK THE
    tensioner pulley auto-tensioner back on (two bolts). In one quick
    movement, pull out the pin (or old drill bit) from the auto-tensioner
    with a pair of pliers.

    26. Temporarily put the crankshaft pulley back on, and screw in on
    with its center bolt.

    27. With a long wrench on the crankshaft pulley center bolt, rotate
    this pulley two entire revolutions until the two top sprocket timing
    marks have made one entire revolution and are lined up once again
    the timing marks on the engine. As you start to rotate the crankshaft
    pulley, you should see the auto-tensioner pin come out and return to
    its normal length. The entire timing belt should return to the
    you observed on the old belt before removing the auto-tensioner. If
    not, then you need to remove the auto-tensioner and check it.

    28. Remove the crankshaft pulley center bolt with the air impact
    wrench, and remove the pulley.

    ALIGNED TO THEIR TIMING MARKS. If even one timing mark is off, you'll
    need to pull the belt back off and reinstall. It is easy to see if a
    timing mark is off by one tooth. Just look at the belt and the
    sprockets and observe the distance from one tooth to the next. If any
    one of the three timing marks is off by this amount or more, your
    timing is maligned. But if the marks are off only a smidgen (a small
    fraction of the distance between two adjacent teeth), then your
    is aligned.

    it is easier to align the crankshaft individually than the top
    sprockets, so if the top sprockets are in sync with each other but
    of sync with the crankshaft, turn the crankshaft until the top
    sprockets are aligned with their timing marks, remove the belt, then
    temporarily put the crankshaft pulley back on and adjust it.

    NOTE: It is ok to turn the crankshaft back a few degrees if you need
    to. You may be able to do this by hand by just pushing the crankshaft
    pulley on the crankshaft (without its mounting bolt) and turning the
    pulley by hand. However, if you need to adjust the top sprockets,
    you'll probably need to turn the crankshaft in clockwise direction
    using a socket on its center bolt. However, if you need to go an
    entire revolution on one of the top sprockets, you'll need to do so
    with the timing belt installed, so the entire engine rotates more or
    less in sync.

    NOTE 2: After each time you rotate the timing belt via the crankshaft
    pulley's center mounting bolt, you'll need to remove the crankshaft
    pulley via the air impact wrench.

    31. IF YOUR TIMING BELT IS NOW ALIGNED (all three timing marks on the
    sprockets are lined up with the three timing marks on the engine) ,
    IT'S TIME TO PUT EVERYTHING BACK TOGETHER, in the reverse order of
    what you took it off.

    NOTES: When reinstalling the top half of the engine bracket (the one
    that attaches between engine and frame), you may need to jack the
    engine a little higher in order to get this bracket snug against the
    bottom half of the engine bracket.

    (But don't put the vehicle in drive until you work your way back past
    step 2.)
    FooshJunkMail, Oct 9, 2007
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  2. FooshJunkMail

    Mike Marlow Guest

    Good write up. I've thrown a few thoughts in throughout...
    Toss the WD40 - it's only good to take light surface rust off tablesay tops.
    Get some PB Blaster instead - much better stuff. A little harder to find,
    but very good is Breakfree.

    Samething here - PB Blaster to the rescue.
    Here's an age old trick that is far easier and better. Put your socket on
    the pully nut and rotate the wratchet until it locks against a solid
    component. Bump the starter a time or two and the nut will easily come
    free, like magic. It's much better than chattering an impact on the end of
    a crankshaft. Do this before removing any engine mounts.
    Mike Marlow, Oct 9, 2007
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  3. May I suggest to remove the Engine Control Unit fuse to make sure the
    engine will not start?
    Jean Castonguay, Oct 10, 2007
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