Slightly off topic but cam timing related so here goes!
Should appeal to you engineering types!!
I used to work at a place where saving as much time as possible but still charging the customer for all the hours (if not more) was the order of the day. So to save time on cambelts (always a good little earner!!) we would never (or very rarely) ever use any type of camshaft (or timing) holding tool. We used to slice along the cambelt along its length while still on the engine leaving a thin 3 or 4mm strip nearest the block. Then we would cut the the wider (outermost) section off leaving the thin strip on the pulleys that was strong enough (just) to hold everthing in the right place. Then we would slip the new belt on - counting teeth to make sure every thing was a spot on as could be(!). Usually we just needed to take a tiny bit of pressure off the tensioner to get the belt most of the way on. Then we would snip the remaining piece of old cambelt off. Jobs a goodun!!!
Useless if there was a noisey tensioner or pulleys but worked most of the time otherwise and you could always bill the customer for tensioners and pulleys anyway!
Could not be done on some engines due to the deeply recessed design of some bottom (crankshaft) pulleys but on lots it worked fine!
Amazingly we hardly had any comeback from this practice and it continued until the owner retired and closed down the business (you will no doubt be pleased to here!!!!!)
Top tips for all you "bodgers" out there (and probably more accurate then tipex!!!)
LEGAL NOTICE .I, in no way, condone this sort of practise!!! (You didnt see me - right)
Buy some camlocks!!
On single cam engines with no auto tensioner, I'm pretty sure most garages adopted the same approach, and probably still do. The "finger and thumb twist" technique to check the tension of the belt is actually mentioned in several HBOLs I've owned. I've changed the belt on several older cars in much the same way without problems. If the timing marks were aligned when you started, and aligned when you finished, it would be fine.
However, modern 16v engines with a pair of cams and a much longer belt run with a lot more pulleys and tensioners is a very different thing.
On this subject, I would say there are times when you need the right tool and times when you can get by without. For example, I've heard lots of people say that you need
a wind-back tool for the pistons in rear calipers but I've always done it with a pair of long-nosed pliers without any trouble. Similarly, if fitting a clutch, I'd use a long reach socket packed out with tape to fit the clutch plate rather than forking out for a tool for the job. I know people who remove and refit engines with a rope and a sturdy length of wood. However, for the sake of £30 for a hoist, is it really worth finding out that your back isn't really up to it after all as the engine hovers over the slam panel?
In this case, given the number of variables there are in a TS belt change, I think it would be daft to chance doing the job without the proper kit. You don't want to do the job twice or rebuild your engine so why chance it for the sake of £30.