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I replaced the water pump and timing belts for the first time on 2.3 vtec engine. Before I start engine I want to be sure It won't damage internal parts. If I can rotate with ratchet is it safe to start the engine?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jessica Howe, Automotive Expert & Coach at


Thank you for writing in. There is reason to be cautious when testing your timing belt repairs. Timing issues can do serious damage to the engine and its many components controlled by the camshaft and crankshaft. Unfortunately, there is not a pre-test that you can do, and starting the engine is the only true test. The only thing you can do is verify your repair and double check your work before testing the vehicle. If something sounds wrong, be prepared to cut power to the engine immediately. Once the engine is running, you can check and adjust the timing with a timing light. Good luck!

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