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How to Change the Timing Belt on a 1999 Ford Escort

by Don Bowman

The Ford Escort 2.0 has an interference engine, where a timing belt failure with the engine running would cause major damage to the pistons and the valves because of the close tolerances used in its production. Timing belts generally stretch past their useful life, but can sometimes break. The service history on this type of engine shows that the 1999 Ford Escort timing belt should be changed every 60,000 miles.

Lift the car and support it on the jack stands. Remove the right front wheel and the inner splash guard. Remove the accessory belt and the tensioner. Remove the coolant reservoir and the power steering pump but leave the lines attached.

Support the engine with the floor jack and remove the right hand side motor mount and bracket. Raise the engine slightly and remove the timing belt cover and the crankshaft pulley bolt and the pulley. Turn the engine clockwise until the crankshaft timing marks are lined up. There is a triangular mark on the crankshaft and a plate with a mark at 12 o'clock on the block. The camshaft has a triangular mark on the sprocket and a dot on the block at 12 o'clock that must line up.

Loosen the tensioner bolt and use an Allen wrench and turn the tensioner counterclockwise to release tension on the belt. Place an 8mm drill bit in the hole to hold it in place. Remove the timing belt.

Make sure that the timing marks line up and install the new belt. Start on the right side and work counterclockwise, keeping the belt tight on the right side. Remove the 8mm drill bit and allow the tensioner to operate. Tighten the tensioner bolt to 22 foot pounds of torque.

Turn the crankshaft two turns clockwise and make sure the timing marks still align. Install all components in reverse order of removal and torque the crankshaft bolt to 96 foot pounds of torque.

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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