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Discussion Starter #1
So I just installed a new timing belt, tensioner and idler pulleys on my brothers 01 ZX3. I followed the Chiltons manual pretty closely to get it right, but after setting the belt tension it still looked kind of slack, but there was no way to move things one more tooth to tighten it up on the non tensioner side. Turned the engine over by hand to feel it out, and just reconnected the stuff essential for starting. The car started immediately which was pretty encouraging, but the revs also climbed immediately as the belt flew off, so I shut her down again right away.

I didn't have any of the covers or even the crank pulley on the timing side of the engine, so there was nothing but the tensioner to keep the belt in place, but if the tension was right I don't think it would have come off.

I'm going to hit it again tomorrow, I knew the belt tension probably wasn't correct since I had my car to compare it to (no upper cover) but I'm not sure how I went wrong.

Anyone had a new timing belt fly off, what was the problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
129 on each. Well, 129 on the new one and probably 10 less on the old one, but 129 places where there should be teeth, and the belts are clearly the same length. I must have gotten the tension wrong but don't yet know how I could have done it differently.
 

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I've had to replace several timing belts in the past few years, some on DOHC, and one on a Mazda with the same engine as the Focus. The trick I like to use which has sped up the process significantly is to cut the timing belt in half.................along the length now, so it is half as wide. What you do is get a very sharp blade and stab it into the old belt, in between the two cam sprockets, then turn the engine by hand and cut the belt all the way around until you can remove the front half. Now you ease on the new belt and when you are sure you have it lined up properly, then you cut across the remaining half of the old belt, remove it, and slip the new belt on the rest of the way. This has significantly simplified the timing belt issue for me at least.

Anyone else?
 

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I've had to replace several timing belts in the past few years, some on DOHC, and one on a Mazda with the same engine as the Focus. The trick I like to use which has sped up the process significantly is to cut the timing belt in half.................along the length now, so it is half as wide. What you do is get a very sharp blade and stab it into the old belt, in between the two cam sprockets, then turn the engine by hand and cut the belt all the way around until you can remove the front half. Now you ease on the new belt and when you are sure you have it lined up properly, then you cut across the remaining half of the old belt, remove it, and slip the new belt on the rest of the way. This has significantly simplified the timing belt issue for me at least.

Anyone else?
Never thought of that...
 

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You didn't say what motor you have. But I will guess it's the 2.0 Dohc Belt throwing motor. Did you use a flat bar for the cams? and you need a guide for this motor. the crank pulley acts as a guide for it but it's on 1 end of the motor. I just fixed mine with the this alignment pulley that replaces the idler.
http://teamzx2.com/threads/31542-Have-you-seen-this-Idler-pully-quot-guide-quot-before
It is worth the money ask people on here about it this is where I found it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, I got the flat bar cam holder and timing pins from Massive and they worked great. And yes it's a 2.0 DOHC Zetec. When I try it again tomorrow morning I'm going to put the crank pulley back on with it. I have to believe I can get it to work if the belt tension is correct, since it sure as shit worked right before without that idler pulley/guide. I don't think this car is worth another $60 bucks. Might get that for my car though when I change my timing belt. There is some tool to hold the cam sprockets for tightening that I didn't have, might have made a difference but I kind of doubt it.

Opihi59, that's an interesting idea about how to replace timing belts. Sounds like it could be a good way to do it if you are positive the timing is correct to begin with. Wouldn't have worked in this case since the belt lost teeth and it jumped timing already, we had to start from scratch.

As an aside, I'm definitely leaving the upper cover off when I put this back together. Most of this hassle could have been avoided if the belt were visible and you could see what kind of shape it's in, it's worth the relatively small risk of something getting into the works from above.
 

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I've had to replace several timing belts in the past few years, some on DOHC, and one on a Mazda with the same engine as the Focus. The trick I like to use which has sped up the process significantly is to cut the timing belt in half.................along the length now, so it is half as wide. What you do is get a very sharp blade and stab it into the old belt, in between the two cam sprockets, then turn the engine by hand and cut the belt all the way around until you can remove the front half. Now you ease on the new belt and when you are sure you have it lined up properly, then you cut across the remaining half of the old belt, remove it, and slip the new belt on the rest of the way. This has significantly simplified the timing belt issue for me at least.

Anyone else?
that is an interesting idea! do you think by doing it this way you would be able to skip that step with the aligning tool for the 2 cams?
 

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Ya that's what he's getting around. As long as it didn't jump timing. intresting cheat idea though.

And my zetec never threw belts till I changed it. Then it was a belt throwing machiene like ninja style. That silly little idler pulley fixed everything. And at $60 that wouldn't cover sales tax on a new used vehicle. Or the price of the tow when if it throws it again and when my threw it would destroy the pullys too. with my shop discount it was $130 for the gates kits at carquest still more than the idler.

You don't need any special tool to tighten the cam pulleys.
 

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I have a new guided pulley (45.00 shipped) and tensioner (40.00 shipped) for sale, if interested let me know, can ship it tomorrow for you.
 

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Ya that's what he's getting around. As long as it didn't jump timing. intresting cheat idea though.

And my zetec never threw belts till I changed it. Then it was a belt throwing machiene like ninja style. That silly little idler pulley fixed everything. And at $60 that wouldn't cover sales tax on a new used vehicle. Or the price of the tow when if it throws it again and when my threw it would destroy the pullys too. with my shop discount it was $130 for the gates kits at carquest still more than the idler.

You don't need any special tool to tighten the cam pulleys.
thanks for the info. I think that cutting the timing belt sounds like a good idea but I guess you would not be changing the cam seals, etc. if you did the belt the way described by cutting it in half and still wanted to add that special pulley with the edges would you install the special pulley as the first step in changing the belt. I have never changed a timing belt before but I have done lots of other work on cars. I let to study the procedure before I need to do it......then I am prepared!!!!!!! when i look at the haynes manual they have this special tool to set the cam timing or something. how do you do that step without the tool, assuming you do it the old way by removing the whole belt first

* I just thought about it and I guess if you were going to change to that special pulley and want to do the cut in half technique it looks like you would want to change the belt and then install the new pulley so that the edges did not interfere with sliding the belt on and off
 

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that is an interesting idea! do you think by doing it this way you would be able to skip that step with the aligning tool for the 2 cams?
Yes, you can avoid the aligning tool--the remaining half of the old timing belt holds everything in position and you just slide on the new belt securely all the way around. It helps to turn the crank to make sure the new belt is completely slid on the front half all the way around before you cut the rest of the old belt away. It puts less tension on the old belt-half if you pull your plugs out. You may go thru more than one blade on an exacto knife or equivalent getting it thru that old belt all the way around and you can't get impatient and try to hurry it up too much.

And no, of course it won't "work" if you've either broken your belt (and still have an engine left........) or have jumped a few notches in the belt.

Worker smarter, not harder. I am sure there are tons of old timers that do it this way.
 

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anyone want to give me an idea how long they think it would take to swap the timing belt on my engine if I did the cutting in half technique. I have never changed a belt but have done lots of other work......I just bought this car from the OO 3 weeks ago for my daughter. I paid $750 I then spent another $1,100 to fix it up. that was mostly parts and tires. I did pay a shop $175 to install a new rack on it....the car is pretty nice now...............Grandma just called and decided to get a new car. She is going to give her mint 1998 Camry 110k to my daughter. so it looks like I will be selling my focus I have had for 3 weeks.....if the timing belt was not to many hours many I would swap a a new one on. Then the car would have all the maintenance done!!!
 

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I've had to replace several timing belts in the past few years, some on DOHC, and one on a Mazda with the same engine as the Focus. The trick I like to use which has sped up the process significantly is to cut the timing belt in half.................along the length now, so it is half as wide. What you do is get a very sharp blade and stab it into the old belt, in between the two cam sprockets, then turn the engine by hand and cut the belt all the way around until you can remove the front half. Now you ease on the new belt and when you are sure you have it lined up properly, then you cut across the remaining half of the old belt, remove it, and slip the new belt on the rest of the way. This has significantly simplified the timing belt issue for me at least.

Anyone else?
How long do you think it would take you to cahnge the belt and the waterpump on a zetec using your idea?

Thanks for the how to link!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Got the car started this morning. It turns out the crank pulley is essential, not only as a guide but it also seriously affects belt tension somehow. Now the fun part of putting everything else back together.
 

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How long do you think it would take you to cahnge the belt and the waterpump on a zetec using your idea?
Changing the belt and waterpump is still a PITA, no matter what the tricks used are. The Serp belt and front of the engine has to come off (various covers), and it is still a very limited working space in front of the motor, having to raise/lower the engine etc to get things in and out. I do believe the way I have done it may cut off about and hour to hour and a half in the process though, but don't get in a hurry to do this job. Sure it is just removing and re-installing parts, but there is room for mayhem. This works for me, not sure how it goes for other Focus owners.

I'm not smart, but I can lift heavy things.
 
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