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Ok, got some questions on the timing belt. I know they should be replaced at 60k mile intervals, but I have no idea when mine was last done. See, I bought my car (90 DX) with 115k miles on it, and since then, I've put 46,000 miles on it in about 2 and a half years, bringing my total to 161k miles. I cracked open the belt cover, and inspected it, and it seems to *appear* to be in good shape, but I know the appearance of belts can be decieving. (it looks shiny, not glazed, no visible cracks or marks, etc etc)

What I can be sure of is that it was replaced at least once in its lifetime...twice I dont know. The dealer I got it from had no idea. I'm probably going to get it replaced this summer regardless, but given my info, how urgent is it?

And how bad is it when they uh, do uh, pass on? Would I be looking at major head damage or just the inconvenience of getting stranded?

My local mechanic wants about $120 to do it, so I want to know, how hard is it to replace yourself? I have a Haynes manual (which is great if you have a pre-1988 mazda) and they do have the procedure for setting it correctly on the 88-92 models. I have some wrench skill, but is it an easy job or am I just better off paying him to do it? Gotta know...
 

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Doing the timing belt was the first "big job" I ever did on my car. I replaced the water pump too at the same time. The belt will usually look pretty good even if it's old becuase, y'know, it is under that cover. You can try it yourself if you wanna adventure or pay a guy. $120 isn't a bad deal, but you should consider replacing the cam and crank seals at the same time. They should be done at least every 120,000.
 

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I agree with AntiSUV. I paid like near $400 for the cam seals, timing belt, waterpump (waterpump is what went out), tensioner, and springs and stuff. I would love to pay just $120 for the timing belt, hell, I'd get it done to the car I have right now!! I'm speaking of US dollars.
 

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I've been told that if you look at the smooth side of the timing belt and you can see markings where the "teeth" are on the opposite side, then it's probably time to replace. Remember, under acceleration these things do stretch quite a bit. I would do it given your info above especially for $120! I do not believe a busted timing belt will cause major valve or piston damage in these cars because the compression is so low but I could be wrong.
 
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