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Discussion Starter #1
**found my answer after extensive googling it is normal for it to move, according to various posts**

Hey guys, I'm working on a 2001 Mercury cougar with the zetec with VCT. I just got the new timing belt on and when I rotate the crank I noticed the pointer on the tensioner moves as compression builds but then as I pass that point it returns to centered on the line.

I have replaced this belt before on my focus but didn't notice this, I just want to be sure before I put it all back together.
 

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You basically average out the movement. It's a rubber belt, there is slight give and take as you move engine slowly. Look for it spending most of the time where you want it. Little jumps away from that are OK. The VCT bleeding down can make it worse too when the valvetrain stops the cam from rotating for a millisecond, the tensioner then moves because tension just changed because of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok thanks, I'm also having a problem tightening the intake cam sprocket bolt. I have a wrench on the cam and when I tighten the bolt the sprocket spin with the bolt which then bunches up the belt between the two sprockets.

I was able to put a pry bar through the sprocket and hold it in place but it still turns a little. Also had some luck wedges a rubber block between the two sprockets. Just wondering how everyone else is doing it without buying the cam sprocket lock tool.
 

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Dealer uses a fork tool that positively holds the sprocket by pins that go inside the sprocket hub holes so you are exerting force against the sprocket and not belt. It's picced in the Haynes manual. Can be made for like $15. At least what mine cost me to make.

http://www.toolsinstock.com/search?q=sealey+flywheel+holding+tool+for+ford+focus

Go down to item seven on that page...............easy to copy one, no need for the fancy pins sticking out, use common bolts instead, works like it was made to.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, I got the sprocket held, and I had it running, it idled ok, but when I tried revving it, it misfires. I checked to see if the cam tool would slide into the slots and the exhaust cam was just barely off a little.

I tried resetting the crank and cam using the screw driver in the cylinder method and then it wouldn't start, then I reset it again using the crankshaft pin tool and now it will fire a couple times but won't start.

Is there something special I have to do with the VCT hub? I read one guide online and he said to pull it off and reset some holes an a tab, pictures were gone. Is this in the Haynes focus manual? I haven't checked yet, will tomorrow.
 

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Just before you check the cam timing with the cam bar tool, make sure the exhaust cam is rotated up to hit the positive stop inside the VCT cylinder built into the exhaust sprocket, just bump it lightly, don't use major force. You can back off the VCT and come back again slightly to guarantee you are at that spot. You do all that by grabbing the CAM at the hex in the middle of it and rotating cam forward to front of car or clockwise as looking at pass end on motor. You bump the cam up against the VCT stop and THEN ONLY slide the cam bar tool in place. The exhaust cam SPROCKET will not be moving at all through all this. Every time you rotate engine the valvetrain friction will pull the VCT off the stop in varying amounts, you have to ensure it is pulled back up on the stop before your timing bar check or the check is worthless. A good VCT cylinder will lock in oil to not do that drift but as they get older they tend to leak down a bit and then the VCT will let cam fall back every time the engine is rotated and the timing check is then flawed unless that VCT is put back on the stop.

If the VCT cylinder has moved off the stop the exhaust cam is not lined up even if the bar tool goes in it. That engine is super sensitive to that setting and will spit VCT codes at the drop of a hat. Use the crankpin tool too, slight issues with TDC error are just as bad there as the VCT not being on the stop.

Short answer? Engine must be at TDC and cam bar tool goes in back of cams but ONLY AFTER making sure the VCT is on the stop. Ford calls that the 'zero end stop position', the PCM assumes the VCT is at zero there and bases all movement off that and why the errors crop up.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I appreciate your help so for amc, but I'm still having some trouble.

I'm confused by this zero end stop, when I turn the exhaust cam towards the front of the car, it should stop when it's rotated enough for the end stop in the VCT to hit? And then will it be locked in that position so I can bring the cam back towards the windshield to slide the cam tool in?

When I got home from work this am I tried that but the cam just kept going, but when I brought it back to a certain point it wouldn't rotate towards the windshield anymore, I assume this is the full retard position?

So then I wasn't sure so I was following the walk through on teamzx2.com and it was mentioned to remove the VCT and set the big hole to the 12 o clock position on the cam, I did that, then aligned the sprocket tab and slid it in, I could tell it went in ok when the sprocket was aligned with the intake sprocket. ( I spun it very slightly and it slipped in kind of like a torque converter.)

Then I just reassembled it, used the crank TDC pin, cam tool, wrench to hold cams, wedge between the cam sprockets, all seemed ok.

Started the car and it still has the stumble. There is no check engine light, I let it run for about 10 minutes, going from idle to 2,000 to see if maybe it needed oil circulating or does the computer need to learn it, idk. I'm lost, people I'm fixin this for are getting testy with me. I wish this was a non VCT lol.

Later today I'll take it back apart and see if the cam tool will slide in or not.
 

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'...when I turn the exhaust cam towards the front of the car, it should stop when it's rotated enough for the end stop in the VCT to hit?'

Yes, you'll feel the hit, don't force it hard.

'...And then will it be locked in that position so I can bring the cam back towards the windshield to slide the cam tool in?'

NO, there is NO locking going on there till engine starts up to pressurize the VCT. Any check you do with that not on the stop is wrong and every single time you rotate engine it can fall off the stop. The VCT MUST be on the stop before the cam check is right. Move cam toward windshield and you just moved it back off the stop and wrong.

'I brought it back to a certain point it wouldn't rotate towards the windshield anymore, I assume this is the full retard position?'

Yes. The end stop is full advance, the other way. Some 22+ degrees sweep in between. If the cam/sprocket is out of car you will find that the sprocket is spring loaded one way, toward advance and the stop. The spring assists the oil in bringing cam advanced, it is harder to advance because it goes against engine rotation friction. To retard, the oil pressure is enough by itself with no spring help, the engine rotation then helps that.

You'll know if VCT is out of oil, it makes a loud snapping noise at startup like a machine gun until it quiets up in a couple seconds to show it has filled up with oil.

'...so I can bring the cam back towards the windshield to slide the cam tool in?'

No, read again what I said in 'short answer', you backed away from the VCT stop, that will be wrong. You need to sneak up on the setting by not turning backwards at all, either cam or engine. Forward only. When cam gets close to slot lineup turn engine while holding wrench force forward on the exhaust cam to make it stay on the stop while cam advances to slot lineup.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
"When cam gets close to slot lineup turn engine while holding wrench force forward on the exhaust cam to make it stay on the stop while cam advances to slot lineup."

Ok so bring engine close to TDC, loosen Cam gears, hold exhaust cam forward on the VCT stop then turn the engine until the slot for the cam tool lines up, WITH the cam on the stop?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok, took it back apart again, made sure the tab in the VCT was in the big hole, put it all back together, spun the engine a couple times, intake cam was lined up at TDC no problem, exhaust was about 30 thousands away from fitting the tool. Which is normal. Here is a video of it running, it shakes a little revving off idle, but does ok after that. No check engine light.

https://vimeo.com/114961223
 

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Re: your post #11.....................none of what I told you works at all with sprocket loose on cam. If you would think instead of blindly following what can only be limited info since no one is leaning over your shoulder you'd guess that in five seconds. Why post #12 happened. The exhaust cam CANNOT stop, the sprocket is loose, duh............this work requires you to think or let others do the work. You're trying to combine two methods of setting cams and they both conflict hard with each other. Either loosen sprockets and set up belt or not, the two directions there.

Nothing personal intended at all, simply the reality of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I did it with cams tightened and still there Is no stop going forward, only backwards. I don't know why I put loosen cams, probably because I've read so much pointless shit about setting the timing and just got confused.

Some people say don't even worry about the VCT, some say to take the gear off and put the tab in the big hole. You say this thing is so sensitive it will throw a cel. I can't find your way of doing this on any other site or manual. So screw this I'm done with it. Thank for your time.
 

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Of course you can't find it, all the other methods accept the inability to think as tool #1 and why Ford came up with their procedure for their own people. It does not involve much thinking at all but also does not provide for mistake resolution either. You just get to repeat do it over and over until you luck out by God's will to get it right once. Sound familiar?

I assure you absolutely there are stops both ways or you have now broken something. Why I said don't force it.

The only true way to not have to worry about the VCT is to never loosen the sprocket there to begin with, that preserves exact running condition but then people don't know how to set up the belt without loosening as that is the only way Ford ever used to do the work.
 

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First step when you're unsure of how something works is to put the wrenches down & chill out. Then think about it, read what you can & figure out how it's supposed to work.

When you don't understand how it's supposed to function is when you can get into trouble, as you won't realize there's a misunderstanding of the procedure you are trying to follow.

I learned this early & fairly cheaply on a "simple" job, removing the wheels from an older Willys 4WD wagon (Jeep). Lugs were rusted & not easy to turn, when I got to the second side it didn't seem like they would come off at all. Large "X" wrench gave me the torque to remove one - by BREAKING the stud right off! Lack of knowledge, assumed they all turned the same way & that was WRONG for that vehicle as the right side was reverse thread. If I'd investigated when it didn't seem to work right I'd have saved the PITA of replacing the broken stud.

On this one you're probably lucky, if you'd turned the cam to a hard stop on a zetec in an SVT Focus you'd probably have bent a valve or two & the next step would be pulling the head for a rebuild. NOT finding a hard stop on your model is the saving grace. (no interference)

To set timing with a VCT gear include in the setup, the cam needs to be in the right position as well as the VCT gear. VCT gear outer turns relative to the inner part that attaches to the cam & it has a limit in each direction. To time it, it needs to be against one of those limits, and amc49 has been trying to describe how to ensure that it is. Spring loaded in one direction, it SHOULD go to the proper setting when loosened but this doesn't always occur - hence the instruction on making sure that it's where it belongs before tightening in position.

Review all the comments you've read here & elsewhere for a full understanding before trying to get it right & you can get it done properly with a minimum of difficulty.

Cheers
 

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EXACTLY, and as usual, put forward in a so much more diplomatic way..............

MANY of the people here onsite want the QUICK FIX, when they run into trouble the frustration begins..................if you TRULY want to learn how to fix these and other pieces of crap cars out there then rule #1 should be to view when you become lost as a beginning to learning experience, not the point at which you get pissed off and give up. The people who design this stuff are no smarter than any of you, when you give up you are saying they are and simply NOT TRUE. What you are really saying there is "I don't want to learn' and death lies for you there in today's modern society. This planet under those conditions will eat you alive.
 

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Good point there sailor about the bending valve thing, I saw which VCT we were talking about on this one but others might misapply that to wrong motor. Another reason why you must be able to actively think, death lies waiting for those who don't on some of this stuff. Cam timing is nowhere near as easy for the layman as it used to be. For the experts it means you have to think a bit more but thinking it IS. Can't get away from that.....
 

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Bud's BMW V8 with VANOS (their name for the VCT) is tougher in some ways. Besides locking cams & setting the VANOS pulleys right (two banks) it takes a special tool to set the sensor trigger plates on the ends of the cams in the correct position. Also a special tool to replace the chain tensioner for mechanical tension while servicing it.

Wacky setup with a "U" shaped slider to carry the chain down & up between cylinder banks (plain pin & link chain). One main hydraulic tensioner & two for the separate chains to the exh. cams from the VANOS pulleys. Chain sliders have oil feeds as well.

Four Banger with only one odd adjustment is much simpler.


P.S. - liquid cooled alternator is a bit different to see as well!
 
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