2003 Kia Spectra Change Timing Belt

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The 2003 Kia Spectra 1.8-liter DOHC engine has excellent power and fuel economy and is exceptionally smooth running. The engine, because of the four valves per cylinder, has very close tolerances. Because of this, the engine will not tolerate a belt failure, which will cause major internal damage. Timing belts rarely fail, but they all stretch. The belt on the Spectra must be changed at 60,000-mile intervals to preclude this possibility. This has been determined by examining the past service history.

Tools Used[edit]

Floor jack
Jack stands
Set of wrenches
White marker
Spark plug socket
Socket set
Short extension
Torque wrench


  • Raise the front of the vehicle and place jack stands under the subframe to the rear of the front wheels. Lower the vehicle onto the stands. Disconnect the negative battery cable using a wrench. Mark the spark plug wires using the white marker for reference when reinstalling them.
  • Pull the wires off the plugs by pulling and twisting the boot. Do not pull on the wires, as you could damage them. Remove the spark plugs using a spark plug socket, short extension and ratchet. Break the water pump pulley bolts loose using a socket, but do not remove them. They are easier to break loose while the belts are still on the vehicle.
  • Rotate the engine until the hole in the power steering pump pulley lines up with the bolt at the 9 o’clock position. Loosen the bolt with a socket. Do not remove the bolt. Loosen, but do not remove, the nuts at 5 o’clock and 8 o’clock, located just under the power steering pump pulley. Loosen the adjusting bolt for the power steering pulley bolt adjuster by turning it counterclockwise to relieve the tension. Remove the drive belt from the power steering pump and the air compressor pulley.
  • Check the radiator support or under the hood for the accessory belt diagram. If none exists, sketch a diagram of the belts. Loosen the alternator mounting bolt and turn the adjusting bolt counterclockwise to relieve the tension. Lift the alternator belt off the pulleys. Remove the water pump pulley bolts using a socket. Remove the crankshaft pulley bolts using a socket. Slide the crankshaft pulley off the crankshaft snout. Slide the guide washer off the crankshaft snout. Remove the upper and lower timing belt covers using a socket.
  • Turn the crankshaft clockwise until the timing mark on the crankshaft sprocket lines up with the timing mark on the block at the 12 o’clock position. Check the timing marks on the camshaft pulleys. The left sprocket, as you are facing the front of the engine, is the intake camshaft. It has a “I” on the camshaft sprocket. The right sprocket is marked with the letter “E.” The timing marks are lined up when the letters on both camshaft sprockets are lined up with the timing marks at 12 o’clock. The marks are notches in the top of the head. If the marks are not lined up, turn the crankshaft clockwise one full revolution. All three timing marks will line up.
  • Remove the tensioner bolt using a socket and ratchet. Remove the tensioner pulley, the tensioner spring and the timing belt. Make sure the timing marks are still lined up. Check the tensioner pulley to ensure it operates smoothly by spinning it. You should not hear any grinding noises and it should spin freely. If not, replace it. Measure the tensioner spring. If the measurement of the free length of the spring is not 1.40 inches, replace it.


  • Reinstall the tensioner pulley and the spring. Install the tensioner bolt. Rotate the tensioner pulley clockwise so it faces away from the guide pulley. Tighten the tensioner pulley bolt enough so it does not move.
  • Install the timing belt starting at the crankshaft sprocket. Work the belt counterclockwise behind the idler pulley, then over the top of the camshafts. Keep tension on the belt between the crankshaft pulley and the right camshaft pulley with one hand. With the other hand, route the timing belt behind the tensioner. Hold the tension on the non-tensioned side and loosen the tensioner bolt at the same time. Allow the tensioner to put tension on the belt.
  • Tighten the tensioner bolt to 28 to 38 foot-pounds of torque. Turn the crankshaft clockwise slowly two turns. All three marks will line up on the second turn. Apply a load of 22 pounds between the two camshaft pulleys. The belt should deflect 0.36 to 0.45 inches. If not, repeat the tensioning procedure.
  • Reinstall the timing belt covers. Tighten the bolts to 6 to 7 foot-pounds of torque. Slide the guide washer onto the crankshaft snout. Slide the crankshaft pulley onto the crankshaft snout. Install the crankshaft pulley bolts and tighten them to 9 to 12.6 foot-pounds of torque. Reinstall the water pump pulley. Tighten the bolts to 9 to 13 foot-pounds of torque.
  • Install the alternator belt. Tighten the mounting bolt to 27 to 38 foot-pounds of torque. Tighten the adjusting bolt to 14 to 18 foot-pounds of torque. Install the air compressor/power steering pump belt. Rotate the power steering pulley until the hole in the pulley exposes the bolt. Tighten the bolt to 27 to 39 foot-pounds of torque. Tighten the nut at the 5 o’clock position to 14 to 19 foot-pounds of torque. Tighten the nut at 8 o’clock to 24 to 34 foot-pounds of torque. Tighten the tensioner until the belt turns no more than 90 degrees when twisted between the pulleys.
  • Install the spark plugs and torque them 18 to 22 foot-pounds. Install the spark plug wires using the marks made earlier to identify them. Lift the vehicle and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle. Reattach the negative battery cable.