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Discussion Starter #1
I recently had a no start situation that turned out to be an electrical issue (fixed) but many suggested a failed cam or timing belt. I was told there is no way to visually check if the belt was broken without a removal of all the covers, a very lengthy and involved job to be sure.

I wanted to let folks here know, there is a simple way to visually see if the belt is intact and working. Lift the intake plentum a bit, remove the cam sensor and while someone cranks the engine simply look in the sensor mounting hole. If the indexing ring (what the sensor looks at) is rotating then the belt is fine and doing it's job. If it is not rotating, time to tear the engine down to replace it. A ten minute check that can save you a day's worth of work.

Hope this helps someone in the future.
 

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Yeah, this is wrong. Just because the belt is rotating on the sprockets, does not mean it is good. Belts can stretch and have damaged teeth, which cannot be seen through a small hole at a weird angle. Belts can jump causing the timing to be off. Do NOT inspect a timing belt this way.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No it is not wrong. I did NOT say this was a method for an inspection, I said you can determine if the belt is broken. Further, if the belt jumps teeth is will be out of sync with the crank sensor and will throw an error to tell you about it.

If the index wheel is turning, the belt is NOT broken...
 

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A simpler way to do what you accomplished is to remove the top bolt (or the top 3 bolts - I forget which) from the passenger-side front timing cover. Then you can pull that part of the cover forward enough to peak inside at the belt and passenger-side cam sprocket. It has enough flex that you can pull it forward enough to see in without putting a permanent warp or kink in the cover. Plus, I avoid lifting the plenum only partially (vs. complete removal) due to risk of it not sealing due to dirt falling onto the gasket or whatever. Plus less bolts and things to deal with. YMMV.
 
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