Question about 1998 Ford Escort

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How to fix a timing belt - 1998 Ford Escort

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Replace the belts on cars that do not have interference motors. If your car does have this motor, consider other things that may have broken when the timing belt broke or stretched. Your car generally has an interference motor if it has more than two valves per cylinder or has double-overhead cams. On interference motors, the valves may be hitting the pistons and doing additional damage. You may have to replace the top end of the engine or the entire engine if you have internal damage. You can't tell whether you have bent a valve or if the motor has sustained other internal damage without replacing the timing belt.

To replace timing belts on most cars, unhook the positive battery cable and place it aside, away from the car. Remove all accessories, such as the alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump and other accessories that may hinder your access to the timing belt cover.

Remove the belt cover, which may be in one piece or two. Jack up the car to get to the bottom bolts. Once the timing cover is off, check if the engine is set at top dead center (see Resources below).

Jack up the engine and remove the motor mount. Using the tensioner, loosen and remove the belt. Check whether the problem was in the tensioner. Replace the belt and the tensioner, if needed. When you replace the belt, be sure that the marks on the cam (or both cams, if you have a double-overhead cam) and the crankshaft marks are in place. Check that the tension on the belt is on the side opposite the tensioner.

Replace the motor mount. Once the belt is on, using a large ratchet and socket, turn the engine over at least twice to be sure the valves are not hitting the pistons. This step must be performed by hand. Do not use an air ratchet and do not turn the car over by "bumping" the engine with the starter.

Posted on Oct 19, 2010

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