How to Replace a Ford Escort Timing Beltby Carl Pruit
The Ford Escort timing belts are designed to require replacement approximately every 60,000 to 70,000 miles. If the belt breaks before being replaced, it can create timing problems and cause the engine to seize up. You can replace the timing belt in about 6 to 8 hours and keep the engine running properly while saving yourself the time and expense of having to take your vehicle into the shop to have the work done.
Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery of the Ford Escort with an open-end wrench and move the cable out of the way.
Unfasten the spark plug wires from the spark plugs, using masking tape and a black marker to identify which wire goes to which plug.
Remove the spark plugs using a spark plug socket wrench and set the spark plugs in a safe place.
Turn the crankshaft by hand until the timing mark on the crankshaft pulley is at Top Dead Center (TDC) and insert a TDC timing peg into the hole in the pulley to hold the crankshaft in place.
Lift the front passenger side of the vehicle with a floor jack, sliding a jack stand under the front axle and lower the vehicle down until it is resting on the jack stand.
Locate the plastic splash shield underneath the vehicle in front of the engine near the bottom and remove the shield, using a socket wrench to unfasten the bolts holding the shield in place.
Find the water pump that sits on the front of the engine near the top and loosen the bolt with a socket wrench that holds the water pump pulley in place.
Locate the timing belt cover and valve covers and remove them from the engine block using a socket wrench.
Line up the camshafts with a camshaft alignment tool and mark the camshaft belt so you can put it back in place and remove the camshaft belt.
Find the tensioner pulley on the front of the engine near the center and loosen the pulley bolt with a socket wench, taking the tension off the timing belt.
Draw a diagram of how the timing belt winds around the sprockets on a piece of paper with a pencil so you can put the belt back on the motor the way it came off.
Remove the timing belt from the sprockets and place the new timing belt on the Ford Escort motor.
Tighten the tensioner pulley bolt until the timing belt is sitting on the sprockets with just a little bit of slack in the belt and put the camshaft belt on the pulleys, removing the camshaft alignment tool.
Attach the water pump pulley to the water pump, placing the timing belt around the pump pulley and tighten the tensioner bolt until the timing belt is tight around all the pulleys and sprockets.
Reattach the timing belt cover and valve cover gaskets with a socket wrench and attach the plastic shield to the front of the engine underneath the vehicle.
Raise the front of the vehicle up with a floor jack, removing the jack stand and lower the car back down to the ground.
Remove the TDC timing bolt and put the spark plugs back in the engine, reattaching the spark plug wires.
Attach the negative battery cable to the Ford Escort battery, then start the engine to verify the timing belt is working properly. Shut off the engine when you are satisfied.
- Since you have to remove the spark plugs before replacing the timing belt, it is a good time to replace your spark plugs and wires.
Things You'll Need
- Open end wrench
- Masking tape
- Black marker
- Spark plug socket
- Socket wrench set
- TDC timing peg
- Floor jack
- Jack stand
- Camshaft alignment tool
- Blank paper
- Before attempting to replace the timing belt on your Ford Escort, allow the engine to cool to avoid any burn injuries.
Carl Pruit has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in service journalism and travel. His work has appeared on various websites. Born and raised in California, Pruit attended Contra Costa Community College in San Pablo, Calif. and received an associate degree in the administration of justice.