How to Replace the Timing Belt on a 1987 BMW 325

The BMW E30 was a series of compact executive cars manufactured from 1982 to 1994, including the 325. The most common engine in the 1987 325 was a six-cylinder 2.7-liter engine with a single overhead camshaft. The crankshaft in this model drives the camshaft with a timing belt, which makes less noise than a timing chain. BMW recommends replacement of the timing belt in a 1987 325 after no more than four years.

Tools Used: Socket wrench set, Torque wrench, Gear puller for the crankshaft hub, Coolant

Replace Timing Belt

Remove the cable from the negative battery terminal using a socket wrench. Disconnect the cap, rotor, inner cover and seal of the distributor. Remove the mounting bolts for the distributor guard plate and remove the guard plate.

Turn the crankshaft clockwise so that the arrow on the camshaft sprocket aligns with the timing mark on the cylinder head. Drain the radiator and disconnect it with a socket wrench.

Disconnect the splash guard below the engine. Detach the drive belts for the alternator, power steering motor and air conditioner. Remove the mounting bolt for the crankshaft pulley with a socket wrench and disconnect the crankshaft pulley. Remove the vibration damper.

Remove the bolt on the crankshaft hub with a socket wrench, detach the crankshaft hub with a gear puller. Disconnect the mounting bolt and adjusting bolt on the alternator bracket, and push the bracket out of your way. Detach the top dead center transmitter from the engine.

Disconnect the bolt on the lower timing belt cover with a socket wrench, and detach the cover. Remove the bolts for the roller of the timing belt and push the roller towards the timing belt to relieve the tension on the timing belt. Tighten the upper bolt for the roller of the timing belt tensioner to hold the roller in place. Disconnect the timing belt from its pulleys.

Turn the crankshaft to align the camshaft timing marks, if necessary. Install the new timing belt onto the crankshaft sprocket and proceed in a counterclockwise fashion.

Loosen the upper bolt for the roller of the timing belt tensioner to place tension on the timing belt. Turn the crankshaft one full turn clockwise and align the timing marks again. Tighten the upper roller bolt with a socket wrench, then tighten the lower roller bolt.

Replace the lower cover for the timing belt with a socket wrench. Install the top dead center transmitter and the alternator bracket. Connect the crankshaft hub and tighten its retaining nut to between 281 and 309 foot-pounds with a torque wrench. Replace the vibration damper and the crankshaft pulley. Tighten the bolts for the crankshaft pulley to 17 foot-pounds.

Connect the guard plate for the distributor with a socket wrench. Replace the seal, rotor and cap for the distributor. Attach the drive belts for the accessories and the splash shield below the engine. Connect the radiator and fill it with coolant.

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