Originally Posted by amc49
Amen brother. Loosening sprockets is what causes all the trouble, once you do then you can have partial tooth errors all over the place. Not loosening sprockets means you can only have full tooth errors which are much easier to see. The Ford procedure sets up the mechanic to have much more trouble to me. Then VCT confuses the issue even more.
The entire idea of the camtool is to get you merely right back where you were before you loosened sprockets to begin with. Silly.
If the timing belt teeth spacing was truly off virtually at all the maker would be out of business overnight. Those teeth have to be CLOSE to run at all well.
Personally, I wouldn't ever replace a timing belt on a zetec WITHOUT loosening the gears. Its incredibly simple on the non-VCT setups to un-torque the gears, line up the cams with the bar, install the belt, set the tensioner, and torque the gears back down. Even on the SVT, the VCT is pretty simple once you start playing with the cams and gears to see how they behave.
You want to loosen the gears so the NEW belt can rest *exactly* where it wants to without being pre-tensioned in any direction. If you leave the cam gears torqued you can have un-sprung tension in the belt that will pull the timing out of perfect alignment when the car is running. Not only that, but it seems like every zetec came out of the factory with the cams lined up a little different, and often times, less than perfect. Loosening the gears gives you the chance to set the timing perfectly.