TEST 2: Removing the Top Timing Belt Cover

Remove Valve Cover to Check for a Broken Timing Belt (2001-2005 1.7L Honda)

This next test is a bit more involved since it requires that you remove the top timing belt cover to check the rotation of the camshaft gear (while your helper cranks the engine).

To remove your 1.7L Honda Civic's upper timing cover, you'll need to remove the valve cover.

Why go through all this trouble? Because visually checking that the timing belt is on the cam gear and that it's actually turning the camshaft gear (while your helper cranks the engine) is the most accurate way to check the timing belt's condition.

CAUTION: You'll be working around a cranking engine, so take all necessary safety precautions.

  1. 1

    Now, using the appropriate tools, remove the valve cover and then the top plastic timing belt cover.

    The timing belt cover is a two piece cover. No need to remove the bottom part, just the top one.

  2. 2

    Once the top plastic timing belt cover is removed and the Camshaft Gear is exposed, have your helper crank the Honda.

  3. 3

    As the engine is cranking, observe the camshaft gear (from a safe distance).

  4. 4

    You’ll see one of two things:

    1.) The camshaft gear will turn as the engine cranks or

    2.) The camshaft gear will NOT turn as the engine turns over.

OK, now that the testing part is done... let’s take a look at what your results mean:

CASE 1: The camshaft gear turned as the engine was cranking: This let’s you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your 1.7L Honda Civic's timing belt is not broken. No further testing is required.

CASE 2: The camshaft gear DID NOT turn as the engine was cranking and/or the timing belt is not on the cam gear: This result tells you that your 1.7L Honda Civic's timing belt is broken and needs to be replaced.

Replacing the timing belt is only the beginning of the repair due to the fact that your Civic's 1.7L engine is an interference engine. More specifically, there's a good chance that the you've got bent valves on your hands (that'll require removing the cylinder head to replace).

More 1.7L Honda Civic Tutorials

You can find a complete list of tutorials for you Honda 1.7L equipped car here: Honda 1.7L Index of Articles.

Here’s a small sample of the tutorials you’ll find in the index:

  1. How To Test The Crank Sensor (2001-2005 1.7L Honda Civic).
  2. Maintenance Required Light Reset (2001-05 1.7L Honda Civic).
  3. How To Do A Cylinder Balance Test (2001-2005 1.7L Honda).
  4. How To Test Trouble Code P0141 (2001-2005 Honda 1.7L).
  5. How To Test The TP Sensor (2001-2005 Honda 1.7L).
  6. How To Test Trouble Code P0135 (2001-2003 Honda 1.7L).