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Thread: ZETEC Timing Belt Replacement Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-17-2014 05:30 AM
fitzy89 Thanks @lhc_focus for the guide, it's very useful, I have successfully completed my first cambelt change!

One thing though. Hopefully you or someone else can advise on. You mention there were two idlers in your kit and you used the larger one, this was the same for me. However the larger pully is slightly too large, the belt was a pig to get on due to it (it's very tight all the way round so not because of the belt slipping during fitting). The idler rubs on the middle metal cover very slightly, not much but enough to leave a mark on the pully and has worn it down a fraction on the outer edge, I'm talking half a millimeter at most, you can't feel any inperfections but it is visible. But the main concern is that due to the larger idler, I think it's causing the timing to be slightly out, the car runs but is a bit stuttery on acceleration and I think the extra girth on the pully is causing it.

It also makes the belt very tight, it was very difficult to stretch it hard enough to get it on in the first place and I cannot tension it at all, I can't get the lines on the tensioner to align as the belt is too tight so I've left it on the slackest setting on the tensioner. The TDC pin and cam bar were inserted during fitting and everything remained in the right position so that can't be the problem.

I did try the smaller pully in the kit as well but that wouldn't tension either as there was too much slack in the belt.

I'll see if I can pick up the correct idler on ebay as all the local parts suppliers want to sell me the same kit I've already got which clearly isn't correct. In the meantime, how safe is it to drive as it is? I've poodled down to the village shop and back, acceleration is stuttery but speeds are normal once it gets up to speed. I don't want to risk damage but apart from the timing being slightly off it seems fine.
08-01-2014 04:02 PM
lhc_focus Glad to see this write up is still going strong. I'm at 301,000 miles and will be replacing the belt again next summer. Carry on.
07-14-2014 11:40 AM
DragonDads01 I would have made a TDC pin too, but I could not find a proper metric threaded bolt long enough with threads the whole length at any of my local home improvement stores. That us why i ended up using a screwdriver as an indicator.
07-14-2014 12:53 AM
amc49 There you go, I don't commonly loosen sprockets either, it's actually death to do so if cam has VCT, you lose the cam to sprocket phasing only to have fits getting it right back where it was to begin with.

I made a TDC pin as well as the Home Depot cam tool. Pin cost maybe $3 and five minutes on the bench grinder after hacksawing to rough length.
07-11-2014 05:16 PM
DragonDads01 Thanks so much for this tutorial! It made my event a couple weeks ago easier and less time consuming.

I knew the belt needed to be done, but I kept putting it off, and not buying the parts. Well, Friday the 13th on the way home from work at a stoplight the engine died and would not restart. I had 151k miles, and knew what had happened. Towed the car home on a dolly and set to work.

Here are some of my observations

1. The engine must be jacked WAY up for the upper bolts on the middle timing cover with serpentine idler pully to clear the frame. This part was the most difficult for me to remove. You have to loosten the pully first, then loosten the cover bolt, and have the engine jacked up enough for the whole thing to clear. Other parts and bolts require the engine to be lowered way down. I decided to replace all the easily replaceable pullys and parts while doing this, too much effort to much effort if something failed later.

2. The timing tools are helpful but not required (I did not have time to order them). A piece of 3/16 bar stock from Home depot and a few feeler gauges substitute for the cam bar, and TDC can be found with a long screwdriver in the spark plug hole of cyl 1. Just be sure you don't move the crank after locating it.

3, Loosening the cam sprockets is not required as long as they have not been moved from the factory setting. This is because there is a fixed distance between the crank and cam sprockets on the right side, and a fixed number of teeth fit in that distance. As long as there is no slack on the right side, the fixed number of teeth of the belt will cause the cams be be in perfect factory time with the crank. If you are a whole tooth off it will be obvious, and it is not possible to be "off by a whisker".

4. When you wrap the belt it just needs to be snug on the right side. If it seems like it is just a bit loose, check the position of the crank, it has moved a bit. You do not have to pull like crazy. You can't "stretch the belt" to get it to the next tooth if it is almost there. The crank needs to be adjusted slightly.

In total job took about 10-11hrs over a couple days. I could do it in half that now that I have done it.

Thanks FF
05-25-2014 12:35 AM
Zetec Belt Change - Custom Tool and Ancient Belt

Wrench I whipped up to hold the crank balancer by the holes that are in the balancer. I am so glad I changed this belt , it looks to be the original which would be 179,000 that is three times normal belt lifeAttachment 48714

Attachment 48722
05-25-2014 12:18 AM
Zetec Timing Belt Change - No Special Tools

No special tools except homemade balancer holder to help get the bolt loose. I just did my second Zetec engine timing belt change ( third actually ) without any of the special cam alignment tools or top center pin. After the first time I did one ( last year on a Contour ) I had to make a custom do-hicky wrench to hold the balancer by the holes drilled into it so I could put about 200 lbs of torque to it to get it loose. This time I made another wrench as I couldn't find the other but it only took about 40 lbs to get it. That is the hardest part of the job, you do that first as it is no use to take any more apart till you get that loose. Then you take the mount and all the covers off the front but not the valve cover. This last one I just did had no marks on the balancer or cam gears whatsoever so I used a long wire in the no. 1 spark plug hole ( use something that is definitely not going to break off ) to find top center. Make some kind of mark on the balancer that you can line up good again and then make some good marks in a line across the center line of the cam gears and put an extra mark on the ones in the center. Take the old belt and idler wheels off, put the new idler wheels on. Did I mention I did this three times? The second time was because we used the old wheels which didn't track and we had to get better idlers and do it again. Get new wheels. It may take a little time and a few cigarettes but you then carefully put the new belt on and get it in place with all the marks lining up. When you get the belt on the bottom pulley put the balancer on temporarily so you can line up the marks. The exhaust cam may give you a time but you can do it. When you think you have them to where they are all in the right place adjust the tensioner and tighten it. Then carefully turn the motor over by hand with a wrench and observe the marks every time you come around to top center. Go back and move things around if necessary and when you are confident all the marks are lining up the same as when you made them then recheck the tensioner and lock everything down. What you did was trade an old belt and wheels for a new belt and wheels and put everthing back like it was. You didn't have to take the valve cover off and you didn't need the custom alignment tools. Unless your stuff is really out of whack you shouldn't need any more than this.
05-20-2014 01:11 PM
Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
Wedge a breaker bar into the suspension/frame to hold bolt while you barely bump the starter, pull coil connector so motor does not start. Bolt comes loose instantly but make sure socket on it good or it'll take corners off bolt head.
Already done that, it just made the starter drag.
05-20-2014 12:46 PM
amc49 Wedge a breakover bar into the suspension/frame to hold bolt while you barely bump the starter, pull coil connector so motor does not start. Bolt comes loose instantly but make sure socket on it good or it'll take corners off bolt head.
05-20-2014 08:13 AM
X-Rated Apparently there was no problem removing the crank pulley bolt like I'm having ...My set up wasn't worn out but having 300K+ on this engine (lost the 1st engine to hydrostatic lock up ) I thought I would go ahead and change this while I had the car in the air doing complete front suspension and brakes. Alas, I am down to 1 last thing to try (before putting the motor mount back on & having it towed to the shop), my air impact gun doesn't have the torque to break the crank bolt loose and I jumped time by using a breaker bar with a 4 foot long cheater pipe so my last resort is the electric impact. They have more torque than my air does so I hope this works!

If not, maybe some of you out there have ideas I haven't thought of.....
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