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2003 Kia Rio
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been doing a lot of interstate driving with my 03 Rio lately, driving home for the holidays, and noticed that these little cars are geared pathetically low. Like, when I'm cruising along at 75mph my poor little car is running about 3750 RPM!! That seems crazy high. Also my drive is roughly 9.5 hours long and all but 2hrs of it is at interstate speeds 65-75. Is it safe/smart to run her that hard for that long?

Just for a little background it's a 2003 Rio with 121,xxx mi with a pretty good maintenance record. Except I don't think that the timing belt has been changed :/ I should get to that.
 

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Kia Ceed, MGTF, Various Jeeps new and old, FIAT 500
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268 Posts
That's about pretty typical for a small engined gasoline car. And you will cause more wear to your engine in the first 10 minutes from cold than in ten hours on the highway at those revs.

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Cerato S Hatch Auto
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1,236 Posts
3750 RPM (at 75 MPH) is not that high for a good engine. I had an Alfetta 2.0 that had about the same gearing. The original Mini-850 was doing close to 5000 RPM at its maximum speed of 72 MPH.
 

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2003 Kia Rio
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Discussion Starter #4
Oh thanks guys, I was kind of worried about that. I'm going back tomorrow so I really wanted to get things cleared up.
Oh one last question, kind of off topic but, how hard is it to replace a timing belt? I have only owned the car for a few thousand miles but, I don't know if the previous owner ever replaced it. It looks a bit hard to get at between the engine mount and all of the pulleys. :( Something a shop will have to take care of?
 

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Cerato S Hatch Auto
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The timing belt is a bit of a trouble area. It's often the reason that cars are put up for sale at about 100,000km. Without proper records, it's hard to tell if the belt has been changed, and an old belt will often look "as good as new" on a cursory inspection. If it fails, you can have a broken engine (bent valves etc.). Depends on engine design how serious a failure will be.

You can change it yourself if you are handy with tools and have the necessary instructions. A matter of disassembling bits to get to the belt, installing a new belt (and getting the valve timing right), and putting it back together. Replace any other belts etc. that are easy to get to while you're on the job.

We had an old car (KIA manufacture) with 100,000km on the clock. I had decided not to change the belt (although it was due) because the car was not worth much and only doing suburban tootling. Long story short, my son scored a job interstate, so the old car had to be readied for the highway. New timing belt, tune-up etc. cost about $400. Old belt looked "as good as new". Car performed well until sold for scrap; probably would have survived with the old belt, but best to have it changed "to be sure".
 

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2002 Kia Rio, 2011 Kia Sorento 2005 f 250 1996 geo metro 1992 f 150
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Get it changed for piece of mind if your going to keep the car money well spent. The procedure is at top on the sticky post or you could register at http://www.kiatechinfo.com/ free to usa resident's for the service materials schematics and more. Good luck. Reguard's Ronjohn
 

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2003 Kia Rio
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Ok now I found it! I looked at that post earlier and didn't realize that the first sentence was actually the link to the page. Wow!

But yeah I have heard that these were interference engines and would really rather spend a couple hundred to replace the belt than 1000+ to buy a used motor. Only one issue I've found though: how do you remove the pulleys from the generator and water pump? How do you keep them from spinning while you loosen the nuts? My dad an I attempted to replace the water pump earlier after a short overheating session but could never figure out how to keep them from spinning freely.
 
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