How to Replace the Timing Belt on a 1983 Dodge Ram

The 1983 Ram 50 uses a 2.0L or a 2.4L engine. Both engines use the same timing belt procedure, and both are interference engines. If the belt stretches past its useful life, the valves most likely will hit the pistons and cause extensive engine damage. It takes about two and a half hours to replace the timing belt. Dodge recommends changing the timing belt every 60,000 miles.

Tools Used: Set of wrenches, Set of sockets, Spark plug socket, Long screwdriver, Torque wrench

Replace Timing Belt

Disconnect the negative battery cable, and lay it aside, ensuring it does not touch metal. Remove the upper radiator cowl and cooling fan assembly using the appropriate sockets and wrenches. Loosen the accessory drive belt tensioners, then lift the belts off the pulleys.

Remove the tensioner pulley and its bracket, water pump pulley, power steering pump pulley and the crankshaft bolts using the appropriate sockets. Pull the crankshaft pulley off. Remove the upper and lower timing belt covers.

Number the spark plug wires so you know where they go when you put the pieces back together. The cylinders are numbered 1 through 4, with the No. 1 cylinder closest to the timing belt cover. The firing order is 1-4-3-2. Pull the wires off the spark plugs. Remove the spark plugs using the spark plug socket.

Stick the screwdriver in the No. 1 cylinder hole. Lightly hold the screwdriver and turn the crankshaft clockwise until you feel the screwdriver come up and stop. Check the timing marks. If the camshaft timing marks are not lined up, turn the crankshaft clockwise again until you feel the screwdriver come back up and stop again. The crankshaft timing mark at the 11 o'clock position and the camshaft timing mark at the 9 o'clock position should now be lined up.

Loosen the tensioner nut and bolt. Move the tensioner away from the belt. Tighten the bolt just enough to hold the tensioner out of the way. Lift the timing belt off the sprockets. Check that the timing marks still are lined up. The oil pump sprocket has a timing mark at the 11:30 position. This mark should also be lined up. Check the position of the oil pump sprocket by removing the plug and sticking a 0.3-inch pointed screwdriver into the hole. If the screwdriver slides in at least 2.4 inches, the sprocket is in the right place. If not, move the position of the sprocket until the screwdriver goes in far enough.

Install the timing belt, working counterclockwise, starting on the crankshaft sprocket. Route the belt around the outside of the oil pump sprocket and up over the top of the camshaft, keeping tension on the belt between the crankshaft, oil pump and camshaft sprockets. Work the timing belt behind the tensioner pulley.

Loosen the tensioner bolt. Turn the crankshaft slowly clockwise until two teeth on the camshaft sprocket pass the timing mark. Pull the belt toward the tensioner, making sure the timing belt teeth are seated completely in the camshaft sprocket. Tighten the tensioner bolt. Tighten the tensioner nut.

Measure from the back of the rear timing cover to the belt. If the deflection is not 0.55 inches when squeezing the timing belt, repeat the tensioning process in Step 7. Install the rest of the parts in reverse order of removal, then tighten the crankshaft pulley to 18 foot-pounds of torque.

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