1997 Acura RL sprockets

Tiny
STEPHEN KARANJA
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 ACURA RL
  • 3.5L
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
I did a head gasket job on this vehicle. Took the heads for resurfacing to a machine shop.I had set up timing as required. Before I pulled the timing belt off. After getting the heads back from the machine shop, I noticed that the timing markings on sprockets are pointing at different spots than originally set. My question is can you turn the sprockets clockwise or unticlockwise to achieve the objective without damage to the engine. Hand turn only.
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Monday, August 25th, 2014 AT 2:14 PM

12 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sure, but to be safe, turn the crankshaft away from top dead center to insure no pistons are all the way up. Even if you leave it at top dead center, you aren't likely to bend any valves when you turn anything by hand unless you really get on it. If you feel the cam suddenly get hard to turn, don't force it. Move it back a little, then turn the crank. Set the camshaft, then bring the crank back to TDC.

Hopefully the head wasn't warped. Overhead cam cylinder heads can't be machined for warpage. Doing so leaves the camshaft journals out-of-line. In severe cases that can lead to the camshaft breaking.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, August 25th, 2014 AT 4:05 PM
Tiny
STEPHEN KARANJA
  • MEMBER
You guys are the best.I must have talked to 10 different people to get an answer like this. Which left me very confused I was about to start the whole thing over again. Keep up the good work.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, August 25th, 2014 AT 4:41 PM
Tiny
STEPHEN KARANJA
  • MEMBER
My question is about the same car 1997 acura rl.I did some head gasket work on it, and thanks to you guys helped me along the way. Im in my final stages of completing the work. Im setting the timing as required, but I want to find out if I did it the right way. After connecting all electrical components, and putting everything together besides the timing, covers and drive belts, can you start the car just to see if it fires up just for a minute?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 AT 9:11 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
What don't you have completed yet? I never trust myself until I see the engine run, and since I hate taking things apart a second time to fix my mistakes, I usually start the engine before I put the covers on. That way I can verify the cam timing is right and any tensioning devices are working and adjusted properly.

Timing belt covers and engine mounts aren't needed to run the engine. Be sure all the sensors are connected though. If one is not, that will immediately set a diagnostic fault code when you turn on the ignition switch. If you have a running problem later, you'll want to read those codes to know which circuit or system to diagnose. Codes set previously will confuse the issue.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 AT 9:50 PM
Tiny
STEPHEN KARANJA
  • MEMBER
Caradiodoc I wrote to you about my 1997 acura rl. Replacement of head gaskets and I was successful. Thanks to your help. But after having the car warming up for a while I noticed a coolant leak, on the floor.I have checked all the hoses and they look fine. My thermostat and water pump are not leaking either. The coolant leak seems to be coming from between the transaxle and left engine cylinderhead. This was not happening before I replaced the head gaskets. How do you explain this?The leak happens as soon as I put water in the radiator without the car running. Someone mentioned either a crack in the block. But do you remember I said I took the cylinders for resurfacing.I just read that freezer plugs on cylinder heads have to be removed and replaced during this process. The latter seems to make more sense. Whats your professional opinion as described. Like I said there was no external leak visible before I worked on vehicle. Are freezer plugs on cylinder head blocks.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, September 1st, 2014 AT 10:43 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
There are core plugs in the engine block, and sometimes in the head but those are smaller. They are called core plugs because those holes are used to knock out the sand after they make the casting, also called a core, but many people call them freeze plugs because if the coolant is too much water and it freezes, those plugs may get pushed out by the ice. That might save the block from cracking.

I doubt you have a cracked block since you didn't have this problem before. There's usually one or two plugs on the back of the engine block that are not visible when the transmission is bolted up to it. It is somewhat common for them to corrode and leak. The coolant will run out in front of the bottom of the transmission. Replacing those requires removing the transmission but you didn't cause that by removing the cylinder heads.

You might be able to find a sensor or access cover that you can remove so you can look down in there to see where the leak is. If you don't see any water at the back of that cylinder head, those rear core plugs become a good suspect.

I can't remember what your engine looks like, but if it's anything like the Mitsubishi 3.0L V-6 in my Grand Caravan, there's a metal pipe running under the intake plenum from the back of the water pump housing, and it exits above the transmission where the lower radiator hose attaches to it. If you have that same design, there's an o-ring on the water pump end of that pipe that could deteriorate, and that tube could have a hole in it. Water leaking from either of those places will run to the back of the engine and down in front of the transmission. Typically that tube can be removed rather easily without taking anything else apart.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, September 1st, 2014 AT 11:03 PM
Tiny
STEPHEN KARANJA
  • MEMBER
Thanks for your reply, I do have a van just like you own with a the 3.0 Mitsubishi engine.I will take a look at it and hopefully it will be a simple job.
But I believe the core plugs next to the transmission are the problem. Any ideas how to replace those without dropping the tranny.I just got spending two weeks working on the heads. The water runs out as soon as you fill the radiator.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 AT 12:11 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The right way to do this is to remove the transmission or the engine, but if it was mine, I would probably try removing the bolts, then prying them apart enough to get in there and at least see for sure what the cause of the leaking is. You'd have to support both the engine and transmission on blocks or with jacks, and I don't know if the engine mounts will give you enough movement to do that.

You'd probably need a gap of at least two inches to get tools in there. If a core plug is just corroded, you have to hit it on one side to turn it sideways so it can be grabbed and pulled out. The new plug needs to be tapped in to a fairly specific depth, and that might be hard to accomplish. There are rubber core plugs made for fast repairs and for inaccessible places. You simply push those in, then tighten a nut or wing nut to expand them.

If the old plug is corroded badly enough, you may be able to run a pry bar through it and pry it out that way. If you attempt this, you have to remove the bolts holding the flex plate to the torque converter, then be sure the torque converter doesn't slide out of the transmission. If it does, getting it back in can be a lesson in frustration. It's a real good idea too to wedge a couple of small blocks of wood under the converter between it and the housing to hold it up. The rubber seal in the front pump of the transmission often gets hardened from age and heat. Allowing the torque converter to droop lets it rest on that seal and can crack it. Then you WILL be removing the transmission.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 AT 8:59 PM
Tiny
STEPHEN KARANJA
  • MEMBER
Sounds like I will have to take it to a shop.I tried to save some cash doing it myself but it sounds beyond my capability. They should build engine blocks with easier access to those core plugs. Probably cost as much as doing a headgasket job. Thanks a lot for all your help and advice.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 AT 9:53 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Every block I recall looking at had those plugs on the back. They need that access to be sure they got all the casting sand out. It was real common for the left one to corrode on Chrysler's small block V-8s in the '70s. That happened on the 340 in my '72 Challenger. I ran it like that for three or four years with the radiator cap loose so no pressure would build up in the cooling system and push the coolant out. The leak was actually plugged by the sand that always accumulated there.

Had all of the plugs replaced when my students rebuilt the engine. Now if I could just get the body finished in my friend's body shop, I can put the car back together and go out and pass people when necessary!
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 AT 10:06 PM
Tiny
STEPHEN KARANJA
  • MEMBER
Im hoping you could help me. Its about the 1997 acura 3.5rl. Ive been looking around in auto parts stores and online, I have yet to find those core plugs or freeze plugs for that particular car. Someone told me that acuras do not have them. Im inclined to believe them because I have yet to locate one. Please let me know with certainty that this vehicle does have them. Because I have no other way to explain water leaking from between engine block and transmission other than a cracked block.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, September 4th, 2014 AT 1:33 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I can't say for sure either way, but I've never seen a block yet without them. There needs to be a way to get the casting sand out. The exception, I suppose, would be for a "wet sleeve" block where they slide the cylinders in after the rest of the block has been machined. Those engines aren't real common.

The definitive answer should come from those auto parts store guys. They have books that list the number and sizes of core plugs for every engine. If they say there aren't any, I guess there aren't any. Then I'd be looking for something related to the new head gaskets. If there are dowel pins that set the position of the heads, one of those could be sticking up too far. The new gasket could have been scratched if a corner of the cylinder head dropped onto it or was slid along it. Even a little piece of old gasket that got overlooked, including right around those dowel pins, could prevent the head from sitting all the way down on the gasket.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, September 4th, 2014 AT 9:05 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides