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Thread: post 98 timing belt faq

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Gales Ferry, CT
    Blog Entries

    Default post 98 timing belt faq

    "originally posted by Cris'pus"

    Thanks Brapple for the hard work, but I thought that being you dealt mainly with pre-98 stuff (tensioner spring not a 98 thing etc), it can confuse some as to what to do.

    Let us know what YOU did different, that isn't harder, and is not very painful...

    1 Disconnect Battery.
    2 Unbolt power steering tube (metal tube parallel to belt, held at engine lift 'eye' and beside exhaust manifold)

    [IMG]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0ZQAAAAAg6Xj8VwHY9LjpvjjfLugfXSdzfFTOKgOJlsdhktL4F MpUAayPSS9tsOUroCOD8kSDhRz*!difB9fXf*cHVvVmiGhKslA vd2mtWXLcdJhHuCOrBXbL8xpcoRHo8PFmUa9!Tnn7KzKZblo5t g/timing%20belt%20howto%20002.jpg[/IMG]

    3 Remove right-hand {timing belt side} mount. (Use of support for engine, optional).
    4 Use an offset box-end 13MM to loosen-only 3 waterpump pulley bolts
    5 Remove valve cover including...
    -Complete airfilter assembly
    -Accelerator cable, held by a U-shaped clip...pull up
    -Remove crankcase breather hose (hose that goes from filter to v.cover)
    -Cruise cable (I couldn't, I think you have to break the plastic to do it) Didn't get in the way anyways.
    -Remove Spark Plugs and Wires
    -In stages, ½ or full turn increments, loosen v.cover bolts. Remove V.Cover.
    -Place rags in Plug Holes (if I didn't I'd have the other half of a mouse nest in my cylinder!)
    6 Remove Serp Belt
    -Support right-side of car
    -Remove the wheel and plastic covers in inner fender. If old belt to be re-used, mark the direction it went, so as to put it back on the right way.
    -With a 13MM socket, turn the tensioner AWAY or counter-clockwise. If it doens't move it's clockwise.

    [IMG]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0ZQDnAgEgMnn8VwHY9LjpvjjfLugfXSdzfFTOKgOJlseZEel7D Hgv4zsuRgdUESH6tRkGG7F2!ZkWix0*5qfNt07LK8k0Z*nv03x DZqExJGG!NGLYP5CNcnHVGdrdKw7CkNKMa0!w2w1cKCqtsvLDo w/timing%20belt%20howto%20003.jpg[/IMG]

    7 Rotate crank pulley until the 2nd pair of (very small) notches align with the edge of the oil pan mark, and you're at TDC when the "Ford Service Tool 21-162" or a hunk of metal 0.20 Inch thick by 8 inches long and over 1 inch wide slides in the grooves at the other end of the camshafts. If one cam is slighty out, you can use a 1" wrench on the cam (the areas not round) to get the metal strip to fit.
    - If the slots in the cams are way out rotate the crank 360 Degrees, should fit.

    8 Remove Waterpump (WP) pulley and drivebelt Idler Pulley

    [IMG]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0ZwAAAGIgJqf8VwHY9LjpvjjfLugfXSdzfFTOKgOJlsfe0qSyg w1565dfUuZy0NXKaCjaeYIl5BjhrbKCrkcmeq9h6eY*vHi5pg3 jj!MBiKq6FUvKqZMy9SlTcGr8CKsGgKmCcFb*PNU7SGJekOziG g/timing%20belt%20howto%20014.1.jpg[/IMG]

    9 Remove the Crankshaft Pulley. And don't think the metal holding the cams will suffice...
    As you can see, the dealer or previous owner didn't, and broke my cam, and didn't replace it

    [IMG]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0ZQAjYwMgxHn8VwHY9LjpvjjfLugfXSdzfFTOKgOJlsdRz5u7C qjaxdQ0CW9AoRQzLa4UKe!mj5BkgBEf41OIzhd!Q16!wwIphiV bGU!ERcYaIuPBm5Kz6wqt6*koXlZI7nrPgHcSVFPrYUpKkjMck w/timing%20belt%20howto%20005.jpg[/IMG]

    Here's how I got it off.
    -You need a metal tube to put over the socket (as a breaker bar)
    - A Large Flat Screwdriver
    - Maybe another person
    Haynes said to get an assistant to put it in 5th and lay on the Brakes....didn't do anything for my car. So I did this

    [IMG]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0ZQBmAwIgfnn8VwHY9LjpvjjfLugfXSdzfFTOKgOJlsdH3fzld oQ1SecDEjLEnCg09*m9YcjvNCnJkgfn49Jt8pqdepi8dPuQXjQ bNeiqJLC*140xw*raxaDSvNWXWuuNo7*puAqPCP3H53JI7wy9E w/timing%20belt%20howto%20031.jpg[/IMG]

    I've removed the flywheel dust cover. This is exactly where is rests against and hence allows you to do this job by yourself as I did. On Automatics, the only way that I know is remove the starter and wedge a screwdriver in the flywheel as I did.
    -While you're at it, buy an aftermarket Pulley (aka Underdriven, you can use the same ones foci and cougars use, just make sure they have the key-slot in the centre)
    10 Remove the other Timing Belt metal covers.
    11 Loosen the Timing Belt Tensioner with a 10MM socket. Then rotate it with an Allen Key inserted in it, clockwise, to the slackest point possible.
    12 Replace any worn or damages parts. Belt, Pulleys, Bolts, WP.
    13 Place Crank pulley back on and see if your cams are aligned with your marks on the crank pulley. Then remove.
    14 "Ford Service tool 15-030A" or a forked tool= steel strip 23.5 long and another 8 in with 3 bolts/nuts/washers with one bolt as the pivot point and the other 2 to rest inside the sprocket, if you need to loosen and retighten the camshaft pulleys (If the cams align but the sprocket doesn't and you need to move just the sprocket by unscrewing the nut holding the sprocket)

    [IMG]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0YADjAlcfTCI2oh*XZ1de7151pYhoopfLZNPEoNm*MRz5m!mP1 mD!M3iesH4HhzYCRIpOAhngurFODaUHerHMWsa7KczO6ETtpZc UKXO6M0F3NTXoGDQshALjWLAhR0FN7L0L2*RvYt3Xcl8CTW96a Q/sprocket%20hold%20tool.jpg[/IMG]

    15 Install Belt. Start at Crank, then goto tensioner (which is loose). Belt Should slip on, but it WILL be almost a 2 man job. Just put the belt on squarely, not too much on either side, otherwise it won't "slip" on.
    16 Tighten Tensioner Pulley with Allan Key and tighten the 10MM bolt.
    17 Remove Cam Hold Tool and place Crank pulley on and rotate 2 full turns (720 Degrees) and returning to TDC using the pulley marks. The Cam Hold Tool should slip into place
    -If only marginally off, use forked tool and adjust the position, with the tensioner taking up slack. Rotate the crank another 720 Deg. And check again.
    -If off a lot, use forked tool and loosen the cam bolt, making sure you don't lose the position of the belt and sprocket. Using that 1" open wrench, gently turn the cam till it Does fit the Cam Hold Tool. Tighten the Camshaft bolt, making sure you don't lose the position of the belt and sprocket. Remove Cam Hold Tool and rotate 720 Degrees. It better work now.
    18 Now all is well...
    -place cam hold tool back in and tighten the timing belt tensioner bolt to 18 Ft-Lbs
    -using forked tool to hold the position, checking the camshaft bolts torque Intake-50 Exhaust-88 Ft/Lbs(if necessary)
    -Remove Cam hold tool and rotate another 720 Degrees and install cam lock one more time!
    Now reassembly is in reverse.

    All TQ Specs Taken from the Haynes Manual (in Ft/Lbs unless stated)
    V.Cover Bolts- 62 In-Lbs
    Timing Belt Idler Pulley Bolts- 38
    Timing Belt Centre Metal Cover Bolts- 36
    Timing Belt Tensioner Bolt- 18
    Timing Belt Sprocket to Camshaft Bolts (step 17)
    1998- Intake 50 Exhaust 88
    1999/00- Intake 50 Exhaust 44 then 89
    Waterpump bolts- 89-124 In/Lbs (can't get a TQ wrench in there anyways)
    Serp Belt Idler Pulley
    1998- 35
    1999/00- 30
    Crankshaft Pulley Bolt- 81-89
    Right-Hand Mount
    -Bracket-to-engine and mount nuts- 61-66
    -Mount-to-body bolts- 82
    - 12 Focus SE
    - 95 Mystique LS <-sold
    - 99 Contour SE Sport <- traded in 2/13
    - 99 Contour SeVT <- 3L/NPG Turbo
    - 2k Contour SVT - #2137

  2. #2


    Just what i was looking for! Thanks

  3. #3


    does anyone know if there is these pictues around anymore????
    98 contour 2.0

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Ding dong.


    My compy crashed so I'll try to see if I backed them on discs before that happened

    1998 SE Sport 5 Spd ST200's
    1992 Ford Escort LX-E

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Plattsburgh, NY


    DO NOT USE THE HAYNES SPECS OF 62 FT-LBS FOR THE VALVE COVER BOLTS!!!! I did, and snapped a bolt right off. Remember it is in in-lbs, which would be a little over 5 ft-lbs. My Haynes manual definately lists 62 ft-lbs, not in-lbs.
    Last edited by Matt R; 02-25-2007 at 10:07 AM.

    2010 Subaru Forester

    '99 Tropic Green LX, Zetec, ATX

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Rhode Island


    Quote Originally Posted by Matt R View Post
    DO NOT USE THE HAYNES SPECS OF 62 FT-LBS FOR THE VALVE COVER BOLTS!!!! I did, and snapped a bolt right off. Remember it is in in-lbs, which would be a little over 5 ft-lbs. My Haynes manual definately lists 62 ft-lbs, not in-lbs.
    I was about to stop ya...
    98 Mercury Mystique LS 2.5L MTX 141k
    88 Katana 600cc 5200k

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    West Palm Beach, FL


    I have a question about the procedure.

    The VCT cam sprocket is spring loaded. When you pull the belt off the thing will spin freely until it reaches the internal stop. When you re-install the belt in this condition and turn the crank 720 degrees you can see that for the first several degrees (maybe 20) the sprocket turns to take up slack, but the cam doesn't move. Is the exhaust cam supposed to line up again? If it doesn't, can you loosen the sprocket & turn the cam to the proper position. If so, I haven't been able to adjust the exhaust cam. Is there a trick to it?

    Found the problem MAY BE the engine in my car. I think I have a pre-98 installed in my '99 Contour. Timing marks are different, cams and/or heads have been swapped & nothing is lining up. Through trial & error I got the cams timed and the cam alignment is useless in my case. Now hunting for a newer Focus engine.
    Last edited by TourDeForce; 06-28-2007 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Update
    2002 Lincoln LS V-6 - Slug-Bucket
    2012 Hyundai Sonata GLS - DD

  8. #8


    Installing the timing belt on a 98 Contour drove me nuts... everything was perfect, but it would not start. The Haynes manual is useless for this. What you want is Ford TSB 98-9-8. This TSB includes the exact procedure for installing the timing belt correctly. You DO NOT use the notches in the crank pulley to align TDC, you use the crankshaft keyway. When the crankshaft keyway is at 12:00 you're at (more or less) TDC. I followed the TSB and the engine started and runs beautiful. Of course, I was stupid for not verifying TDC through the plug hole, but I still couldn't believe there was nothing about this in the manual. Here's the site. http://www.fcsdchemicalsandlubricant...d/tsb/9898.pdf

  9. #9

    Default Would be nice a walkthru with actual pictures???

    I've been everywhere focus forum escort forum and now here (started here since my moms car is a mystique) at least here there aren't a million morons posting asking when is time to change the timing belt thank god!

    So does anyone know of a good place with actual pictures for timing belt replacement?

    Also a list of tools needed and how to make the extra tool or two needed

    Sorry for basically asking someone to hold my hand threw this whole thing but I'm trying to avoid being one of the million stories of walking belts after a month

    I'm currently downloading a couple of online ford manuals in hope of finding what I'm looking for... Did you guys find any new links for service manuals?

    BTW I have the next 2 days to do this timing belt so fast help is greatly appreciated... maybe post a new timing belt topic? lol

  10. #10


    I found timing belt info at AutoZone.com. complete instructions and illustrations. But my belt broke while driving. does anyone have experience with replacing belt after failure? Does this situation cause bent valves?

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