2003 S40 Timing Questions

nieljorcnieljorc Member Posts: 1
edited August 2015 in Volvo
I'll explain my problem as clear as possible --

I bought a 2003 Volvo S40 with a blown head gasket. I purchased the special tool to lock the cams in place, removed the VVT gear and everything else. I have placed the new head gasket on, torqued the head and valve cover on, but now I'm having a difficult time making sure that I have the timing correct and that I replaced the VVT gear back on correctly. I decided to do the timing belt, water pump, idler pulley, and tension pulley at the same time. I have the new belt on, but I want to make sure that I'm where I need to be. I've lined up the two notches on the cams with their corresponding notches, I tried my best to make sure the crank was in the right position, but now I'm second guessing myself. When I rotate the crank 2x, my cams line up with the cover marks, but I'm thinking there's a possibility that I'm exactly 180 degrees off on my crank. I can't get the dust cover bolt off the block under the starter to align the piston, so I'm left to sticking a rod down the spark plug hole to see where the piston is.

Here are the two big questions I have. First, where should cylinder piston 1 (furthest to drivers side) be when cams are aligned with the cover marks?
Second, How do I know that I put the VVT gear back on correctly? (It free spins until torqued down).

Any information that can assist me in making sure that I have timing correct would be greatly appreciated. As far as I understand this is an interference motor, which means a mistake will be costly.

Oh, and that reminds me of another question - if I can turn the crank while connected to the cams and I can do so without significant resistance, does this mean my timing is correct, or is this a false positive?

Thanks in advance for the help!


  • eliaselias Member Posts: 2,209
    what a good question. i understand the question enough to know that you should ignore any possible answer i would dare to give, so i will discuss your question. your question about being 180 out of phase between the crank and the cams makes a lot of sense and i would worry too. having the cam & crank out of phase would be disastrous. and even if you can align/see the piston at the top of its stroke, how will you know which stroke it is on unless you can look at the valvetrain to see which valves are open vs. closed?
    As an electrical engineer the question reminds me of the method to sync a 3-phase generator to the power grid. We did it with 3 lightbulbs, each one would light whenever a one of the lines was out of phase. Maybe there is a similar tool/technique to align camshaft with crankshaft as you mention here.
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