Confused on Timing Belt, Cylinder Numbers, Distributor & Head Gasket - HiJet S85 CB42 Van (MPV)


Hi all, I'm getting confused on some points & hope someone can clear them up for me. I have a few pages from different service manuals & cannot find answers.

First - Timing Belt - Should it have 5mm play when fitted & should this play be on belt between Tensioner & Cambelt Pulley OR between Cambelt Pulley & Crankshaft Pulley?

Second - Is number 1 cylinder nearest to Timing Belt side of engine or gearbox end?

Third - When I get number 1 cylinder at TDC, where should Distributor Rotor be pointing? (eg just past number 1 lead or directly on it)

Last - I've just gotten hold of some pages from a service manual & in there it says that CB41 & CB42 head gaskets are identical apart from thickness (1.3mm & 1.1mm). It appears that I've fitted the thicker CB41 gasket onto my CB42 head. Do you think there will be any probs with this?

Thanks in advance. Paul.

Arrangement of these bits...

Hey Paul,

I take it you're working on a 1 litre EFI engine? I'm no mechanic, but if I can get the camera into my 1.3 EFI, would some photos of my engine bits be helpful as a guide? Sometimes helpful to see what others have. Need you to point me in the right direction though.

Looking through the manual here, and it appears most of the diagrams apply to the CB-42 engine and are in the 3 cyl petrol file of your disc. On page EM-10 is a picture with an arrow pointing to the point of deflection on the belt. Check it out and see if I'm right about this.


Hi-Jet Engine

Hi Paul.
1) The place to check the play in your timing belt, is always on it's longest run. In other words, between the camshaft and crankshaft pulleys. When fitting a new belt, you always make sure that this run is tight, with all the play to be taken up by the tensioner.

2) The front of an engine is usually where the fan belt is, therefore the cylinders will be numbered 1,2,3 from there. Can't swear to this 100% as I do not have a workshop manual, and some manufacturers ( e.g: Renault, Jaguar and some others ), call this the back of the engine, so the cylinders would be 3,2,1 from the fan belt. Confusing isn't it ??.

3) If your No/ 1 piston is on it's compression stroke, the rotor arm should be pointing to it's corresponding point in the distributor cap. Once the engine is running, you can fine tune this timing, but you will need a strobe light.

4) If you've fitted a thicker cylinder head gasket, it will reduce the cylinder compression slightly. This should'nt cause too much difference, but theoretically, the engine power may be slightly reduced, and it's possible it may be more difficult to start.You will have to wait and see if any problems manifest themselves, but I think you'll be o/k.

Hope this all helps !

Hi-Jet Engine

Hi onilleymcknown, thanks for the offer of some pics, but I'm already confused enough with looking at some Charade & HiJet 993 petrol / injection service pages Scratch one-s head Oh, and I don't really know where to tell you to look anyway! Page EM-10 that you mention is a picture of what I would call the 'fan-belt' which drives water pump & alternator. I'm after info on the timing belt, the one under the cover which drives the camshaft from the crank.

Hi jetex, on point 1, that's where I thought it should be checked but at the moment I can only get this 'play' on this side of the belt to about 10mm which seems too much, hence my plea.

2, again that's what I thought (number 1 at fan belt end) but I cannot find this mentioned in any of the service pages I've got.

3, thanks for that - just have to get number 1 at TDC

4, fingers crossed you are right. Maybe the head being skimmed will go towards getting the compression right - now wish I had asked the machine shop how much they skimmed off. Hopefully the performance with a new gasket will be so much improved I won't notice any lack of compression Biggrin

Thanks again both for your time & interest.

Hi-Jet Engine

Hi Paul,
Glad you're sorted. The timing belt always is a problem to get right, because when you line everything up, the belt is usually half a tooth out from being a tight fit. Regarding the head skimming, I used to do this professionally when I worked at an engine re-conditioners. You only take off just enough to get the surface flat. I don't think you'll notice any difference when you get the engine back together and started. Good luck with it.

Holly thread resurrection Batman!

I don't think this member is still on here to answer Sad you do realise you have found and replied to a thread close on 5 years ago? Smile LOL. But you never know someone may be able to confirm this Wink

'12' Plate Mazda MX-5 2.0 litre NC 3.5 Venture Roadster 160BHP
'15' Plate SEAT LEON 184 FR TDI. 240BHP/500nm Torque.
Past: '53' Plate Yellow YRV Turbo Approx. 150BHP


That is what i was hoping was for anyone to confirm this. Rather post in an old relevant thread than make a new one just to ask that question... Smile