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How to Replace a Timing Belt on a 2001 Ford Focus ZX3

by Lee Sallings

The 2001 Ford Focus ZX3 came equipped with a 2.0-liter dual-overhead cam engine. Cam timing is controlled by a variable cam-sprocket located on the exhaust camshaft. During engine operation, the on-board computer can control the exhaust cam timing by opening and closing an oil-activated solenoid built into the cam sprocket to improve fuel economy and power. Replacement of the timing belt in this engine can be completed in an afternoon by an experienced home mechanic.

Step 1

Disconnect the negative battery cable using a 10-millimeter wrench. Raise the passenger-side front wheel off the ground using a floor jack. Support the weight of the Focus with a jack stand under the front sub-frame. Remove the wheel and inner splash shield in the front fenderwell.

Step 2

Loosen the water-pump pulley bolts and then remove the serpentine belt and idler pulley. Remove the water-pump pulley bolts and slide the pulley out through the bottom of the engine compartment. Remove the spark plug wires and valve cover.

Step 3

Rotate the engine to top dead center by aligning the large notch on the crank pulley with the pointer on the engine block. On the Focus, the pointer is located at the 5 o'clock position. Insert the 1/8-inch drill bit through the small hole in the crankshaft pulley and into the engine block. Remove the crank pulley and timing covers.

Step 4

Insert the camshaft alignment tool into the slots in the back of the camshafts. Loosen the timing belt tensioner bolt and rotate the tensioner counterclockwise. Tighten the bolt to hold the tensioner off the belt. Slip the belt off the timing gears.

Step 5

Install the new belt onto the crankshaft gear and then the remaining gears, working in a counter-clockwise direction. Loosen the timing belt tensioner bolt and allow the tensioner to tighten the belt. Tighten the tensioner bolt. Rotate the engine two full turns and line the crankshaft at top dead center. Check the camshaft alignment. Loosen and then retighten the tensioner bolt to take any remaining slack out of the belt.

Reinstall the timing cover, valve cover (using a new gasket), all pulleys that were removed, and the serpentine belt. Reinstall the inner splash shield and passenger-front wheel. Lower the car to the ground and start the engine. Test drive to verify that the engine performs properly.

Items you will need

  • Wheel chocks
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Socket set
  • Wrench set
  • Allen wrench set
  • Screwdriver set
  • Camshaft alignment tool
  • 1/8-inch drill bit

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