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Discussion Starter #1
I recently followed the excellent guide on the forums to change my timing belt on my 2.0 99 Focus. It went well, although I'm not totally happy with the result.

The timing kit I received from a motor factors had an extra small pulley and the idler was larger than the original. The thread here does mention a larger idler and says to use it. The idler included in my set was slightly too large which made the belt very tight and it wasn't possible to set the tension correctly as it was so tight. I went ahead anyway thinking it was correct. The engine ran but due to the larger circumference of the idler the timing was out very slightly and it was running lumpy. I've since corrected it with the TDC pin and cam locking bar and adjusted the cam pulleys to set the timing correctly. I should add that I had two other part suppliers order in a timing belt kit specially for my car (double checked with the VIN and registration plate) that had identical pulleys, they were adamant that it was the correct and only kit for my car, after seeing it they agreed it was wrong but couldn't suggest any other alternatives.

However, the larger pulley also was rubbing very slightly on the metal cover (that the Aux belt idler bolts on to). They pulley has worn slightly on the edge due to this, I've kept an eye on it for the 6 weeks or so since I changed the belt and there's no damage or wear to the belt as a result so I've left it like that.

Tonight the issues began. I heard some strange noises under the front right corner of the car when driving, I thought nothing of it at first. I then thought I heard something fall off and go under the wheel so I pulled over and had a look around, nothing obvious missing and nothing on the road that I could see (although it was dark). I was near home anyway so I kept going, then it started making this ungodly screeching noise, sounded very much like a slipping aux belt so I had another look, revved it up a bit under the hood, still couldn't make out where the noise was coming from or what was wrong so being only 30 seconds from home I kept going. When I got back there was an awful burning smell of rubber or plastic under the hood and an amount of smoke when I opened it up. Again, I still could not find the source of the smoke or see anything wrong. I noticed that the noise only occurs when travelling under 20mph, over this the noise completely goes away. It still drives well though and doesn't handle any differently despite whatever has happened. There is a slight oil leak around the cam/rocker cover so I'm going to give that a clean up and torque up the bolts correctly to sort that out, the gasket is in good condition and not broken or cracked anywhere so hopefully won't need to be replaced. I did think maybe that gear selection felt very light but I may be imagining it.

I've checked oil and coolant, both within acceptable levels. No sign of damage or any issues anywhere that I can see. I'm not happy to continue driving it as it is now. Can anyone suggest what the issue could be or what I can check?
 

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I would start by removing the serpentine belt, inspecting it for damage and see if the pulleys it drives spin freely. If that looks good, then inspect the timing belt and idler.
 

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I would start by removing the serpentine belt, inspecting it for damage and see if the pulleys it drives spin freely. If that looks good, then inspect the timing belt and idler.


This. Though I would like to add that when you take off the serp belt, start the car and see if the sound I there. If not, it has to do with your serp belt or a pulley. If its still there it sounds like a timing belt problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi

Thanks for the replies. I found the problem, the serp belt tensioner was completely mullered. Bearings had gone and the pulley had split down the middle, half had dropped out along the road, other half was stuck behind a panel and the bearing was melted solid with plastic from the pulley - never seen anything like it in my life.

Safe to say I grabbed another pulley along with a cam cover+gasket (the bolt holes were split and gasket leaking oil following previous cam belt change I noticed) for £10 total, bargain!

Bearing and remains of old pulley:

Old vs new:

Half a split pulley:


Got it all fitted in about an hour (that serp belt is a pain to get back round without an extra pair of hands!) and cam cover replaced. It really runs sweet as a nut now, purrs along and acceleration is finally responsive and snappy again instead of slow and spluttery. Must have been that bearing causing lack of power all along and not the timing as I had first suspected.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My bad..............
Hi amc49, I saw your response before you changed it, the dead tensioner was on the timing belt not the serp belt so the larger timing pulley wasn't the cause of the serp pulley failing.

I'm not happy with the larger timing pulley and would like to replace it with the correct one but I can't seem to source one for it as all local parts suppliers seem to have the same (incorrect) part listed for my car and all are too large so I'm not sure where to get one the same as the original. I could get one from a breakers yard but then I'd still be using a used part instead of a new one so I'm not sure which is the better option really, a new one that's too large or used one that could fail at any time.

Here's a picture of it. Although there is a slight mark on the outside edge of the belt it's not worn or chaffing at all and I'm keeping a good eye on it in case that changes. It's now worn the pulley as much as it's going to and seems to be ok now but I'd still like to replace it with the correct one if I ever get hold of one.
 

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Wow I don't think I've ever seen a tensioner pulley ever get that bad before. Unfortunately it's one of the common items that goes on the Focus. I replaced mine at 60k because it was making some rattling noises when I would accelerate at lower RPMs. New one has improved gas mileage as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow I don't think I've ever seen a tensioner pulley ever get that bad before. Unfortunately it's one of the common items that goes on the Focus. I replaced mine at 60k because it was making some rattling noises when I would accelerate at lower RPMs. New one has improved gas mileage as well.
The replacement I put on has considerably improved gas milage as well, assuming the MPG display on the dash is mostly accurate, I was getting an average 23MPG prior to replacement, now getting between 36-44 (average hasn't updated yet). Quite a difference and wow does it run well considering it's got 150k on the clock (I bought it at 110k nearly 2 years ago).

Next on my list is gear shifter cables that keep popping off now and then...
 

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And why I retracted it when I saw my error.

If you can get slack in the timing belt then everything OK but if the bigger pulley makes the belt go on too hard and not even adjusted tensioner yet then you WILL be failing that pulley again. Now if only you think becuase the pulley too big then take a new one and burn off most of the material on say a bench grinder to make a part that next time does not rub. Far better to get correct part though. I'd be looking at other year models if all the parts guys are doing is a narrow focus on your year model, sometimes you have to move to the next year or so to find correct part, the catalogs aren't perfect. Zetecs changed myriad parts all through the late '90s.

Anytime the pulley size changes the timing belt must readjust (loosen sprockets and use cam tools) too as the belt run length to accomplish correct timing has changed.
 

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Better than that, if I'm looking at post #6 correctly the pic shows at lower right of timing idler pulley the outer cover seeming to be rubbing right there. Yank that cover and grind some material off cover there for clearance.

If it keeps rubbing the wear there will make belt drop off to tear up, what they do when they run off the edge of pulley.

Or simply reloosen cover and move it around, they will move in the bolt hole slack a bit, it may be enough. I have a Contour which has a pulley low by the crank, when it DNFed way early (the plastic simply fell apart) I dropped it to be like a later Focus which has no pulley there at all. I DID have to slightly grind/radius smooth the area where belt comes up to enter the groove, the pulley kept it tucked aside, now it was slightly brushing the cover. A little work and the cover now clears with maybe 1/4" of clearance, been running like that now for a couple years. Hey, hey, pulley not there can't break eh?
 
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