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Old 08-12-2012, 11:45 PM   #1
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Timing belt issues

Hey Guys

I have read plenty of threads about the various issues that people have come across when changing their timing belt. I just have a couple of questions I couldn't find an answer to.

First off, I completed my timing belt replacement over the weekend. I used the camshaft and crank timing tools, and followed all the steps as per my Haynes manual. I have a 2003 Focus with a 2.0. zetec and mtx75.

So my questions:

1. When I installed the timing belt tensioner, if I set the tension using the window/gauge I found the belt was too tight and would walk forward and off the cam sprokets, as a result I have had to set the tensioner at a lower tension then what the window/gauge suggests is ideal. Is it common that people don't set the timing belt tensioner using the window/gauge?

2. I would set the camshafts with the timing bar to their TDC position. Then after tensioning the belt and doing up the cam gear bolts I would turn the engine over a few times and I would find the exhaust cam would move ever so slightly off the TDC position (after taking the timing bar out and letting the cam gears resume their "natural" position on the belt). No matter the number of turns the position would not worsen but I cannot readily slide the timing bar into the camshafts once the engine is returned to TDC using the timing pin inserted into the block. Is this an issue, and again is it common that people encounter this problem?

3. When the engine is turning over the gauge on the timing belt tensioner that is used to set the correct tension continuously wanders up and down, indicating that the belt has a different tension at different points throughout the engine rotation. From threads I have read, this possible indicates that there is a flat or tight spot in the timing belt. I used all Ford OEM parts. Does it seem likely that this is the cause or could it be another problem?

4. I have driven the car for 15-20km without issue. However, possibly stupidly, just to convince myself that everything was ok I got on the throttle a little bit. After doing this it appears the timing belt tensioner has loosened and is now making a ticking noise. I was concerned it was the valves hitting the pistons, however the noise is definetely coming from the tensioner. When I check the torque and likely retighten the bolt, will it matter if the gauge used for setting the tension is in its tighter or looser position (as mentioned above the tension constantly wanders as the engine turns over)?

Finally I will just add, the car appears to be running as per usual and I have no check engine light as a result of this install.

Thanks for any help,


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Old 08-13-2012, 03:06 AM   #2
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Ok as you followed the Haynes Manual I take it you did tighten the cam sprocket bolts up AFTER you had obtained correct tension.

As you keep losing the exact TDC position on the exhaust cam when turning engine over and trying to replace cam bar I would suspect your exhaust cam could be moving slightly when tightening bolt. It will need a bit of tweaking so that when you move the engine by hand the TDC (after a couple of rotations) always returns to a position where you can refit the bar.

I would also double check that you have the correct timing belt kit for your car.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:56 AM   #3
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1. The front serpentine belt pulley is a stop for the timing belt. If it doesn't walk fast, it will keep the timing belt on the pulleys. So I would have the tensioner in the window

2. That happened to me too. My alignment bar was slightly thinner than it should be, so I just tweaked the cam alignments so it would come out correct when the bolt was tightened.

3. That's fine, as it the force required to turn the engine over varies when you're at different points in the strokes of the pistons.

4. The ticking noise might be the tensioner hitting a stop because it's too loose.
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