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    If I was to replace a head gasket , the timing belt would have to come off, as I would be putting a new timing belt on would it be okay if I were to cut off t he old timing belt as it would be quicker.


    Personally, I'd align everything and secure what you can with locking pins. Next, mark each toothed gear with a dot of tipex and put another corresponding alignment mark on the closest casting. That way you know where everything should be pointing when you come to rebuild.
    At that point you can remove or slacken the tensioner and the belt will drop off.

    Making sure you can realign everything is pretty important. On a lot of diesel engines there's the added complication of the metering unit being driven off the timing belt so not only have you got to time the valve train you're also timing up your injection system too.
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