>Received Jay Kempf's belt tension tool from 928 Intl. on Friday (thanks guys) and got around to trying it out this afternoon.  What a great, easy to use and reasonably priced tool!  I do as much of my own work on my car as I can.  If any of you have been wondering about doing this very important piece of maintenance on your car, GO FOR IT.  I went reeeeaaaalll sloooooooow, and it took me about three hours.  Didn't want to screw anything up, hadn't done this before and wanted to clean a few things while I was at it.  Instructions were clear and easy to follow.
>Car seems to run better, although I know it's probably just me relieved to not see the belt light coming on anymore!  The tool is a good investment for all of us who are going to be working on and maintaining our cars. We're all going to have to either tension or replace the t-belt at sometime.  Should be able to do it easily in half the time next time, down to about 1.5 hours.  Not quite Ed time, but I'm working on it ;-).
>Rick Redpath


Hi Rick
i made this a page a couple of weeks ago.

Is it along the lines procedurally of what you did to check your belt???




I combined parts of your procedure, John Pirtle's and of course the instructions that came with Jay's tool. 

BTW, thank you and John for great write ups and especially the pictures. I studied all of it quite a bit before I went to work on my car and it really was encouraging to see what things look like before you dig into it. 

What I found different for my car (90GT) and things I did differently/noted were: 

No oil cooler line going into radiator to loosen/remove 

Did not have to loosen power steering reservoir 

Did not remove radiator hoses, enough room just pushing them out of the way 

Plenty of room for Jay's tool in comparison to the "factory" tool 

A 1/2" torque wrench worked great for turning the crank bolt/engine 27mm = 1 1/16" socket! 

Didn't have to go buy one! (2) revolutions on crank = (1) revolution on cam (for TDC on comp. stroke) 

Adjuster bolt/locking nut were 17mm, no problem with regular wrench 

Tony's engine is a lot cleaner than mine! 


So my procedure was easier than I thought: 

1. Remove passenger side air inlet tube Loosen hose from air pump at filter, move out of way 

2. Remove jump start post cover (for extra clearance) 

3. Remove (2) 10mm screws on fan shroud 

4. Gently lift out fan shroud, unclip wires and unplug (2) fan connectors 

5. Unplug #4 plug wire and coil wire from pass. side distributor cap 

6. Remove passenger side distributor cap (3 screws), move out of way 

7. Remove (2) allen head screws holding plug wires to cam belt cover 

8. Remove 10mm bolt at dipstick tube anchor bracket 

9. Remove (2) 10mm bolts holding cam belt cover to block 

10. Gently remove cam belt cover (push hoses out of way as req'd.) 

11. Adjust timing belt per instructions 

12. Reverse for putting back together 

Car runs great, no more timing belt light, revs are back! 

Rick Redpath


How difficult is it to check (and probably adjust) the timing belt tension on an S4? The procedures on the various web resources seem to be written about the complete belt change, where lots of other components are already being removed. For just the "check", what needs to come off? I know the distributor and belt cover for sure. Anything else? Can the coolant hose just be flexed aside, and held out of the way, or does it have to come off also?

Thanks much, Mark
Black 84 S in Atlanta


Howdy Mark,

Yup, if you have skinny arms and the right experience it can be done without removing the belly pans and without removing the upper fan shroud. The minimum removal is the right distributor (leaving wires on is ok), the bolt that holds the bottom half of the dip stick and the bolts the hold the belt cover on. Then if you are good you can get the belt cover up and out and you can do the tensioning job but it is tight in there and turning the crank over takes some muscle in a confined space.

Be carefully reefing on old radiator hoses. Assess first. Crack the coolant tank cap to release pressure. Use soft prybars like a 1x2 to help keep the hoses out of the way. Tie things back if working by yourself. A little planning ahead and it ain't all that bad. I have done
3 32v cars plus countless many 16v cars. 16v cars are about a 15 minute job once you know what you are doing. Budget an hour for an s4. More if you remove the upper fan shroud. I would recommend removing the upper fan shroud.

Jay K.


I've done mine and a couple of others this 1-hr way - as Jay said, remove the right (USA passenger) side distributor and cam cover. First I drive the car up on ramps so I can turn the crank from below (a tip is to crank around to 0 TDC and mark the bottom of a belt pulley with some white paint. That way you don't have to jump up and down trying to find 0). You want to check the belt tension at 0 TDC which will have the right distributor pointing at near the 3 o'clock position.

This works if you are checking with Jay's "aftermarket" tension tool.
I think the Porsche tool requires a lot more room.

If you have to change the tension, pull the engine around again to 0 TDC and check (that will be *two* rotations of the crank). It's a small workout unless you pull the plugs....

Stubby wrenches from underneath help with that tensioner.

So Mark, you got to an S4 now ??? :)

John Pirtle
87 a/t 158k