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How to Change the Timing Belt on a 2000 Ford Escort

by Don Bowman

Ford Motors has indicated that the timing belt on the 2000 Ford Escort must be changed at, or before, 60,000 miles. This is due to the amount of travel in the belt tensioner. Belts don't normally fail due to fatigue, but through stretching more than the tensioner can correct for. When this happens, the belt is no longer tight on the sprockets and they spin on the belt. This engine is an interference engine, in which catastrophic damage is likely to occur in the event of a belt failure.

1

Lift the hood. Lift the front of the car with the floor jack and support the car with the jack stands. Remove the passenger-side tire and wheel assembly, using the lug wrench. Remove the inner splash shield, using a 10 mm socket. Loosen the serpentine belt tensioner with a wrench by pushing it away from the belt while you remove the belt.

2

Remove the coolant reservoir tank with a 10 mm socket, leaving the hoses attached and move it out of the way of the top engine mount. Remove the bolts securing the power steering pump, using a socket, leaving the hoses attached, and move it aside.

3

Place the floor jack under the engine oil pan and raise the jack just until it contacts the oil pan. Remove the upper passenger-side motor mount and bracket, using a socket. Raise the engine slightly with the floor jack.

4

Remove the timing belt cover, using a 10 mm socket. Turn the crankshaft clockwise with a socket and ratchet until the timing mark on the crankshaft pulley aligns with the mark on the 0 mark on the block at the 12 o'clock position. Check that the timing mark pointer on the camshaft sprocket is aligned with the mark on the cylinder head at 12 o'clock. If the mark on the camshaft sprocket does not line up, rotate the crankshaft one more time and they will align.

5

Remove the crankshaft bolt,using a socket and breaker bar. Remove the pulley. Loosen the timing belt tensioner bolt, using a wrench and inserting a 1/8-inch Allen wrench into the tensioner. Turn it counterclockwise a quarter-turn. Insert the 1/8-inch drill bit in the hole in the block next to the tensioner to keep it in place. Remove the timing belt.

6

Install the new timing belt starting on the right side, away from the tensioner. Keep the belt as tight as possible on the right side, so the slack in the belt will be on the tensioner side. Remove the drill bit from the belt tensioner and allow it to apply tension to the timing belt. Tighten the tensioner bolt with a wrench. Insure that both timing marks are perfect, because this is an interference engine.

7

Turn the crankshaft by temporarily installing the crankshaft bolt and using a socket and ratchet. Turn it clockwise two turns and re-check the timing marks. Install the timing cover, crank pulley and remaining parts in reverse order of removal.

Items you will need

About the Author

Don Bowman has been writing for various websites and several online magazines since 2008. He has owned an auto service facility since 1982 and has over 45 years of technical experience as a master ASE tech. Bowman has a business degree from Pennsylvania State University and was an officer in the U.S. Army (aircraft maintenance officer, pilot, six Air Medal awards, two tours Vietnam).

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