I'm changing the timing belt on my 2011 Honda Odyssey. Step 1 in the manual I'm using (Chilton's online) says:

"Turn the crankshaft pulley so its white mark on the crankshaft pulley lines up with the pointer."

and then

"Check that the No. 1 piston top dead center (TDC) mark on the front camshaft pulley and the pointer on the front upper cover are aligned."

My problem is that these two are not lining up at the same time.

When the 1 is aligned on the camshaft pulley: enter image description here

The mark on the crankshaft pulley is misaligned: enter image description here

How should I proceed? It has been running well except for a loud noise for the first few minutes when the engine is cold. I believe this is a bad timing belt tensioner. (Which is why I'm doing this job)

  • Is this after fitting a new belt?
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 16:51
  • I think you are looking in the wrong spot to align your cam. Take a look at this image. It is part of an article I wrote for the J35 engine, which can be found here. I'll take a look when I get home to delve into your issue better when I get home from work. Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 17:14
  • @HandyHowie, no I haven't removed the old one yet. Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 22:02
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 This is before removing the covers. (The Chiltons manual had this alignment as the first step.) However, I don't think I've seen anyone do this at the beginning in any of the YouTube videos I've watched. It's just making me nervous, as I don't have a lot of experience with timing belts, and I know the damage that can result from a mistake. Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 22:05
  • You can remove the top plastic covers before you start taking anything else apart to line up your cams. Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 0:10

1 Answer 1


Some engines can tolerate some amount of misalignment between the camshaft and the crankshaft, others cannot. In your case I don't know and there could be damage that you just don't know about. Sometimes the damage is slight and you can get away with it. Perhaps this is the case.

When replacing your timing belt, however, you want to ensure that the camshaft and crankshaft are aligned as instructed in the service manual. You will also want to ensure that the belt tensioner is working properly and adjusted.

It's quite possible that your belt is worn and your tensioner is bad and the belt skipped a tooth. You will have the best results if you get this back to it's correct alignment.

  • I got the covers off, and was able to see that the crankshaft pulley is about half a tooth off. Could this be caused by the belt stretching? Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 22:07
  • That would be a LOT of stretch. Again, I think it's more likely that it skipped a tooth.
    – jwh20
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 1:19

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