Pretty sure cam is aligned to crankshaft properely and all connectors/hoses connected.
When car is warm, timing at idle changes from +18BTD to about more than 40BTD. This cause idle speed to vary from 700rpm to 2100 or more rpm. Disconnecting vacuum line to MAP keeps idle steady and timing at 18BTD, but idle is rough. Shorting timing connector has no effect.
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Hi, I have a way to test for a blown head gasket. Since you have good compression, yours would have to be small. Recommend you park on an incline, remove the radiator cap, set the heater on high, start the car and let it warm up until there is flow in the radiator. Fill the radiator and keep it full while the engine continues to run. Look for any bleed ports the system may have either in the hoses or at the attach point housings. Crack any bleeders open to allow any air out. Top off the radiator all the way to the neck and make sure there are no bubbles coming up. Bubbles coming out the radiator are an indication of a blown head gasket. Please let me know if you have questions, and thanks for using FixYa.
I have pasted the instructions from autozone.com below, but I never recommend this chore for a novice. If the valve timing is not right, it can ruin your engine. If you have not done this before, I recommend you at least have a mechanic look at the belt before you close up the timing cover.
Removal & Installation
Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the precautions in the beginning of this section.
Note the radio security code and the radio presets. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
Rotate the crankshaft to set the engine at Top Dead Center (TDC) on the compression stroke for the No. 1 piston. The white mark on the crankshaft pulley should align with the pointers on the timing cover. Once the engine is in this position, it must not be disturbed.
Raise and support the vehicle safely. Remove the front tires. Remove the splash shield. Lower the vehicle.
Remove the power steering pump and position it to the side without disconnecting the hoses. Remove the alternator.
Remove the ignition coil cover. Remove the four ignition coils. Remove the throttle cable clamps and harness holder mounting bolts. Remove the cylinder head cover. Remove the crankshaft pulley.
Properly support the engine using a block of wood under the oil pan. Remove the upper bracket.
Remove the grommet from the upper cover. Disconnect the camshaft position (CMP) top dead center (TDC) sensor connector.
Remove the side engine mount bracket.
Remove the crankshaft position (CKP) sensor from the oil pump, without disconnecting the connector.
Apply slight force to the timing belt at the midpoint between the camshaft pulley and the water pump pulley and check that the auto tensioner moves smoothly, if not replace it.
Move the auto tensioner to remove tension from the timing belt. Remove the timing belt.
To install: Fig. TDC alignment mark locations for the crankshaft sprocket-1.7L engine
Fig. Timing belt sprocket TDC mark positioning for timing belt installation-1.7L engine
Set the crankshaft to TDC. Align the TDC mark on the timing belt drive pulley with the pointer on the oil pump.
Set the camshaft to TDC. The UP mark on the camshaft pulley should be at the top. Align the TDC marks on the camshaft pulley with the top edge of the cylinder head.
Install the timing belt in a counterclockwise sequence, starting with the drive pulley.
As required, replace the auto tensioner assembly.
Continue the installation in the reverse order of the removal procedure.
Reprogram the ECM/PCM engine idle characteristics. Be sure all electrical items are OFF.
Start the engine. Hold the idle speed at 3000 RPM-s in park or neutral until the radiator fan comes on or the temperature reached 194 degrees.
Let the engine idle for about five minutes with the throttle fully closed.
If the radiator fan comes on during the five minutes, do not count this toward the five minute programming time.
On the cam shaft gear there are two "-" marks on either side of the gear along with the word "Up" stamped on the gear. Turn the crankshaft so that the word "up" is on top and line the "-" marks up with the cylender head. On the pulley of the drive shaft there are two seets of marks one set of three that looks like "lll" and one set about an inch to the right of these that looks like "l l" the "l l" needs to be lined up with the timing marks on the lower timing belt cover.
Thermostat is located where the lower hose connects to the motor. Not the upper. Just follow the lower hose back to the engine, remove spring clamp, three 10 mil. nuts, and housing, therm has no gasket but o-ring seal instead.
Thats my guess, one hose leak, two head gasket, three, crack in head somewhere. Of course make sure the thermastat is working. If it is seized thats a problem to. If you get the head off make sure it is resurfaced before you install the head gasket. Good luck
Belts are replaced by mileage, why do you need to check it? Her is how you check to make surer belt is installed correctly:
Pull the spark plugs and feel the press in #1 cylinder, when you feel the piston pushing air out stop and hand rotate the engine to TDC timing mark on the crankshaft pulley, then check to make sure the camshaft is timed correctly by seeing if the cam pulley notch or index mark is lined up to the cylinder head index mark, since the location of these marks vary fom year to year, refer to a repair manual, your public library is a good source for a a manual.