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Old 04-09-2012, 04:31 PM   #1
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SVT Timing Belt Change...The Stuff You Never Seem to Hear About!

After spending big chunks of three days on my first SVTF timing belt (have a real life, so had to do it as time allowed; plus, I'm slow), I thought a couple of 'rookie' observations might be helpful to the other timing belt virgins out there:

1. It's not as easy as everyone likes to tell you. Yes, it's doable, but you're not going enjoy much of it.
2. You probably want to do it 'by the book' the first time. That way, if you do screw something up, it's easier to 'retrace' your steps and figure it out.
3. When you jack up the engine to release pressure off the passenger side engine mount, be sure you get it up enough. I'm not certain how you determine that exactly, but I got a pretty good 'sproing' out of my mount when it let lose because I was probably an inch too low.
4. Expect to raise and lower the engine a couple of times as you work your away around bolts and pieces that either need to come out above or below the inner fender areas.
5. When you loosen the cam gears, be prepared to find a strange combination of star (torqs) bolts to deal with on the end of each one.
6. You have to hold the cam in place with the correct open end wrench or large vice grips to get those bolts out. It requires about 85 ft.lbs. of force to do this. That's A LOT with your left hand while you're trying to hold the damn thing in place with your right hand!!! (You will see the cam 'hold' area between the first and second cam lobes.) Do yourself a favor, get a buddy to hold the cam in place for you while you use both hands, and your back, to break the bolts free.
7. When it's time to tighten those bolts back to spec, I suggest the same thing...a buddy to hold the wrench or vice grips on the cam with both hands while you snug the cam bolts down.
8. In spite of what the manual says, I would REMOVE the timing bar from the end of the cams while you tighten the cam gear bolts. This is where the cam ends get chipped off, which is what happened to mine. It is IMPOSSIBLE to hold those cams in place with one hand while you tighten with the other.
The cam WILL move slightly enough to break a chunk off the end of the cam. If your 'assistant' is holding that cam in place with both hands while you tighten it, it will not move enough to make a difference. Once both are tightened, you will remove the crank pin and manually rotate the crank
several times to ensure good belt alignment. Once #1 is back at TDC (screwdriver at top of stroke and/or crank key at 12 o'clock position), the timing bar should slip back into the back of your (still) unbroken cams. If not, you did something wrong; repeat the belt install steps.
9. Do not try to install the serpentine belt by yourself. It's a total waste of time and knuckles. After a wasted half hour of trying, my son showed up to provide an assist. While I was under the car pushing up on the tensioner (with the belt ON the tensioner), he 'rolled' the belt over the PS pulley.
It took less than 5 mintues total with that approach!
10. Get the easy stuff done right: After all of that, one coil pack did not seat fully and I thought my dead miss vibration was a total screw up of the timing belt job!

Good luck....first timers, don't expect to do this in 3-4 hours by yourself.


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Old 04-09-2012, 05:19 PM   #2
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Why take the Cam gears loose at all ?

Tom
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1turbofocus View Post
Why take the Cam gears loose at all ?

Tom
Item #2, Tom...do it 'by the book' first time. Having done it once now, I'd probably try to swap belts without loosening those damn things, just to see how that approach compares.
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1turbofocus View Post
Why take the Cam gears loose at all ?

Tom
Ya know, Tom, the more I think about Ford's process on this, the less I understand it. If the car is running good when you remove the old belt, why would they even suggest you loosen the cam gears???? Once the crank is at TDC, the belt is removed and the timing bar is slipped into the cams, everything is as good as it's going to get, right? So at that point you just index the cam gears to each other with a Sharpie and a straight edge, remove the timing bar and tension the new belt on. As long as the cam gear marks stay dead on, it's all good, right? What am I missing?
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03#1965 View Post
Ya know, Tom, the more I think about Ford's process on this, the less I understand it. If the car is running good when you remove the old belt, why would they even suggest you loosen the cam gears???? Once the crank is at TDC, the belt is removed and the timing bar is slipped into the cams, everything is as good as it's going to get, right? So at that point you just index the cam gears to each other with a Sharpie and a straight edge, remove the timing bar and tension the new belt on. As long as the cam gear marks stay dead on, it's all good, right? What am I missing?
Here's my 2 cents. I think Fords process plays it safe and covers the cars that get out of tolerance. When I did the belt I had two mechanic friends with me, one which was the previous owner. We indexed the cam gears with a marker but when the timing bar was slipped on the marks were off... so if we didn't loosen the gears there was a trade off, either the crank would be off TDC or the timing bar wouldn't slip on. I think that was my understanding of it, it's been so long since I did it. Anyway after the belt was done the car ran great and had more power than I had ever known.
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniper Focus View Post
Here's my 2 cents. I think Fords process plays it safe and covers the cars that get out of tolerance. When I did the belt I had two mechanic friends with me, one which was the previous owner. We indexed the cam gears with a marker but when the timing bar was slipped on the marks were off... so if we didn't loosen the gears there was a trade off, either the crank would be off TDC or the timing bar wouldn't slip on. I think that was my understanding of it, it's been so long since I did it. Anyway after the belt was done the car ran great and had more power than I had ever known.
I guess to clarify my point, you really can't index the cams to each other until AFTER the belt is off and the timing bar is in the cams (#1 @ TDC, crank pin in). But at that point you should be able to do it and--really--if the cam gears are never loosened (and your belt doesn't break) those marks should always be a really good timing reference point. If that's not logical, I'm sure someone else will chime in.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:35 PM   #7
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I guess to clarify my point, you really can't index the cams to each other until AFTER the belt is off and the timing bar is in the cams (#1 @ TDC, crank pin in). But at that point you should be able to do it and--really--if the cam gears are never loosened (and your belt doesn't break) those marks should always be a really good timing reference point. If that's not logical, I'm sure someone else will chime in.
I had a 1381 code two weeks before the scheduled change, it fixed itself overnight, but something was out of phase in the timing. We were doing the belt job by the book all along, but we made marks on the gears anyway. It came to the point where the marks we made weren't any good and they got ignored, itís a useless step. In a simplistic way you want to have... 1.) the cam bar slide in with no interference. 2.) the crank on the pin. 3.) and the belt to slip on the teeth smoothly. Without loosening the gears I would've only met 2 of the 3 criteria.
---
I agree with everything rgonyer said, worked like a charm and I got "extra" torque out of it.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:41 PM   #8
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Timing belts are a bitch and a half. I did mine with the engine out of the car since i was doing a plain old svt to svt swap. Congrats tho man...
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:51 PM   #9
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Dont ever take the cam gears loose. Its pointless and thats how most people throw p1381 or p1383 codes. Its a lot of un-needed work and headache. I just did another members timing belt last weekend in about 2.5 hours (sitting around a BSing was involved)
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:01 PM   #10
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Dont ever take the cam gears loose. Its pointless and thats how most people throw p1381 or p1383 codes. Its a lot of un-needed work and headache. I just did another members timing belt last weekend in about 2.5 hours (sitting around a BSing was involved)
While it's possible Ford puts steps in their manuals just to screw us all over, I suspect this is supposed offer the best shot at feeding the belt onto the cam gears WITHOUT changing cam position. And for what it's worth, I ran a few 7K RPM shifts tonight on a 15-mile cruise with no CELs.
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