Finally got the car back together over the weekend.
The first thing that I recommend for anyone trying this at home is to make sure you have all the oddball tools for the job: T55 Torx socket for the head bolts, exhaust cam sprocket and blanking plug, inside torx sockets for the cam tower bolts, E18 inside torx socket for the Intake cam sprocket. I also needed either a T50 or T45 for one of the timing cover bolts that I didn't have as well. The E18 and the T55 usually have to be bought separately as they don't come in the typical sets. Also, you should have an adjustable wrench-a larger one to hold the cams as there is a fair bit of torque on the cams and it was not easy to get a non adjustable open end wrench to stay on the cam while breaking the torque on the cam bolts.
Other advice would be when setting the cam timing, make sure to check to make sure that the motor has not rotated off of TDC as I had to loosen everything up and try again as the motor rotated back a bit one time. The other piece of advice is to tighten up both cam sprocket bolts a bit before torquing either down. I wasn't thinking and torqued down the exhaust cam before tightening the intake sprocket and it came out of alignment.
I did get it set properly and was happy to see the cam tool slide into the slots after two engine rotations. Make sure to follow the Ford instructions as I've seen too many threads about throwing codes for the timing.
Other than that, I got rid of the exhaust heat shield as I could not find a way to keep it out of the way or remove it. I took the tin snips to it and got rid of it. With the header unbolted from the head, this is going to be your best chance for replacing the front O2 sensor without having to disassemble the rest of the exhaust to do it. it is a bit tight but can be done-I snipped the wiring clip off of the old sensor so that I could get a box-end wrench on the sensor to get it loose.
While I was waiting on parts, I ported the head-just because. I did most of my work on the exhaust bowls and both the intake and exhaust throats and some unshrouding in the combustion chamber.
I gave all the valves a fresh grind as some of the exhaust valves were pitted. I then did a leak test and everything was sealed. I elected not to change the valve seals, although it would have been cheap insurance and all the valve guides passed the wiggle test.
valve lash (or cam clearance) was right in the middle of the range on the intake side but the exhaust valves were all too tight and required some bucket swapping and some grinding on the valve stems. I had to take as much as 0.18mm off of two of the stems to get them in spec as the buckets I needed to get them in spec are not available in Canada.
My parts list:
4 exhaust valves
2 intake valves
valve cover gasket
Gates timing belt Kit
new serpentine belt
serpentine belt tensioner
ARP head studs-torqued to 30-45-60
new motorcraft plugs
Taylor 8.2 mm wires
motorcraft fuel filter
motorcraft front O2 sensor
The car runs much stronger than before-much to do with the regular tune-up parts as anything and a timing belt that isn't stretching but it felt good to feel it start on the first twist of the key and settle into a smooth idle. I'll have to finally get a tune for this thing!
For the Curves: 02 SVT Focus CD Silver
For the Straight Line: 09 Mustang GT Powerhouse 411 turbo
For the Family: 05 Explorer Limited-dropped on 22's