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  • Timing belt tensioner spring

    Hey guys,
    I hope this isn't a topic that's been covered to death before -- I did a search and couldn't come up with much. I haven't posted in a while, but I'm working on changing the timing belt on my 96 Mystique 2.0L I4. I've pulled everything off and I'm in the process of reassembling everything. I was wondering about a spring that's supposed to attach to the timing belt tensioner. The Haynes manual says that if it's the first time the belt has been changed (this is the first time) that I need to get a tensioner spring and a pin to attach it to. However, the Gates kit I bought doesn't include the spring, and I cannot find it anywhere.

    Is this a pre-98 versus post-98 thing? Do I need this spring? If so, any advice on obtaining it?

    Thanks much!

    Sam

    PS Also, is there a good walkthrough somewhere for pre-98 Zetecs? I've noticed that the Haynes often confuses the different styles of the Zetec engine, and the walkthrough video I've been using, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTHscKUeopg , is clearly for a different style. For example, the motor mount is not part of the timing belt cover as shown in the video; I don't have the VCT as shown in the video; my tensioner does not have a tab, but rather a hole in a bracket that fits over the timing belt locator pin. The Haynes is equally confusing. I did find a good walkthrough by searching the forums here, but it's for post-98 Contours.

    PPS I have had trouble lining up the camshafts with the bar ("service tool") that gets inserted at the back (driver side) end of the camshafts. I do not have the hexagonal sections that accept a 1" wrench. What I ended up doing was, after removing the belt, moving the camshafts by moving the sprocket by hand until they lined up. However, after cranking the engine one turn, the bar does not fit in the slots in the camshafts. It's reeeeallly close, but not quite. Should I worry about this? (PPS I just realized I might have an alignment bar for a post-98 car, and it might not fit perfectly in my camshafts).

  • #2
    As I recall the spring and pin where Ford only parts.


    All said and done, you don't really need it.


    Just put good tension on the belt before tightening the tensioner down. Then check for movement of the belt between the cam gears.




    Also the cam bar is only used to get the belt on the car. After that, if its like the Duratec timing chains, it might need multiple crank rotations to bring the cam back into alignment for the flat bar.
    - 12 Focus SE
    - 99 Contour SeVT <- 3L/NPG Turbo
    - 2k Contour SVT - #2137

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    • #3
      Thanks

      Cool, thanks! I figured the spring couldn't do too terribly much, since the tensioner is getting bolted back down in place anyway preventing the spring from applying dynamic tension (at least that's how it looks in the diagrams).

      How much tension do I need in the belt between the camshafts? After turning the engine over a few times, I can lift the belt up about 1/4" between the cams, and it doesn't look like there's much risk of the teeth on the belt slipping out. This seems good enough to me! But this is also the first time I've changed a timing belt, and I don't want to screw it up.

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      • #4
        Its either an 1/8 inch or/to a 1/4 inch, but I don't recall. I think the last time I did one I just pulled the tensioner as tight as I could by hand and then tightened it down. I drove it another 6 to 8k before I sold it and last I heard it had at least another 25k on it.


        And yes, the spring does not stay installed after setting the tensioner. It is removed.
        - 12 Focus SE
        - 99 Contour SeVT <- 3L/NPG Turbo
        - 2k Contour SVT - #2137

        Comment


        • #5
          Heres the thing, zetec motors will walk the belt off end of pulleys when the tension is too HIGH, not low as one would think. They require like half the tension most belts want since there are no side guides except down at crank. Excess tension then gives belt enough friction to walk on pulleys. Gross check is turning by hand, if too tight belt will begin to wander then, if not then crank engine and watch it, if stays straight good to go but if goes to end of pulley shut down and loosen a bit. Too much is much worse than too little. Going to end of pulley but not going over is OK but if it goes over the edge in the slightest you will eventually eat the belt.

          You can look around at wrecking yards, might find the pin/spring on one sitting there, common to not remove it, just leave it on, many think spring is still doing something but not after tensioner is tightened.

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