This is a tech article on how to check your timing on the 7 bolt 4G63. This will apply to the 6 bolt engine as well, but the timing marks on the crank are different between the two engines. Here we go.
Step 1: Put your car in neutral and apply the emergency brake.
Step 2: Take the left front (driver side front) wheel off. Be sure to use a jack stand for safety purposes.
Step 3: Pop out the plug over the crank pulley on the timing belt cover. (this will allow you to use a 1/2″ ratchet on the crank pulley)
Step 4: Remove the upper timing belt cover (plastic cover that covers the cam gears) if your engine has one.
Step 5: Remove the #1 spark plug (located on the driver side end of the engine, closest to the cam gears).
Step 6: Insert a very long screwdriver down into the hole that spark plug goes in. This will allow you to find TDC of piston #1.
Step 7: Using your 1/2″ ratchet, turn the crank pulley CLOCKWISE until the screwdriver reaches the highest point. You want to keep turning the crank until you see the screwdriver pause/stop. As soon as the screwdriver starts to come back down, stop turning the crank immediately. This is TDC.
Step 8: After you find TDC, look at the camshaft sprocket timing marks. If the timing marks are at 9 o’clock Exhaust / 3 o’clock Intake, continue to turn the crank sprocket another full revolution. This is because the cams turn 90* for each 180* crank rotation. After another complete revolution, watch your screwdriver and get cylinder #1 TDC again.
Step 8: Once you know you are at TDC on cylinder #1 and on the correct revolution, check the crankshaft timing mark located on the lower timing belt cover around the crank. The crankshaft sprocket timing mark should be aligned with the “T” on the lower timing cover’s ignition advance scale.
Step 9: Once your crank mark is lined up perfectly, check the camshaft sprocket timing marks. These should now be lined up perfectly as well. Take a look at the diagram below. There is one dowel pin on each cam (represented with the red line). These dowel pins should be at 12 o clock on both cam gears. If not, you need to remove the timing belt and install a new belt. If your marks are off 2 or more teeth, I would suggest inspecting the head for damage.
I do not have a picture of the lower timing belt cover yet, but I can share what the marks look like with the lower timing belt cover off.
The picture above is from my 7 bolt engine. The crank timing marks are different between the 7 bolt and 6 bolt. Same principle, just in different locations. The crank timing mark is represented in the red circle on the left. The red circle on the right in the oil pump timing mark (this mark does not have to line up if you have a balance shaft delete, but it is still good practice).
Hope this helps!