How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jeremy Your Own Question
Jeremy, Certified Diesel Technician/Electrician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 2716
Experience:  ASE, NATEF Engines and Electrical certified, EPA 608/609
Type Your Ford Question Here...
Jeremy is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Ford Focus Zetec (DOHC): I am changing the timing belt on a

This answer was rated:

I am changing the timing belt on a 2001 Ford Focus 2.0L Zetec (DOHC). Before removing the crankshaft pulley, it was in TDC and the camshafts aligned with the camshaft alignment bar. I had some problems untightening the crankshaft bolt. I did have a wrench on the intake camshaft to hold it (and rotated the intake camshaft with the wrench; the timing belt was on). Regardless, I removed the crankshaft bolt with an impact wrench, but now the timing is off. Spark plug 1 is at TDC (screwdriver in spark plug socket closest to the timing belt is at its peak position), but the camshafts no longer align with the camshaft alignment tool. Not sure what to do next. Any help is appreciated. Thanks


A few other notes:


The crankshaft pulley did align with the marks specified by Ford when I initially checked before removing the crankshaft pulley and disrupting the camshaft alignment.  Now it no longer matches even in TDC.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to assist you.


First, you may have messed up by using a impact wrench to remove the sprocket. That can throw the times off on the sprocket and the crank.


This is what Ford lists for the repair. Are you following these steps? This is from the workshop manual and they don't list anything else. Let me know if this helps or not.


Attachment: 2012-09-30_225424_timing-belt-in-vehicle-repair1.pdf

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Jeremy. Yes, I have those instructions and followed them, but ran into a problem not addressed in the instructions.


Initially, I was able to align the crankshaft pulley with the mark denoting TDC. When I did this, the special tool (cam alignment bar) fit into the two camshafts fine. However, I tried to remove the crankshaft pulley bolt with a ratchet while holding the camshaft with a wrench to prevent it from moving. It went out of timing sometime while doing this. The cams would no longer align with the cam alignment bar (the cutouts for the cam alignment bar are at different angles).


I checked TDC in spark plug #1 (closest to the timing belt) with a screwdriver (when piston pushes screwdriver to apex). Now this no longer aligns with the marks on crankshaft pulley and the camshafts are far from aligning with the camshaft alignment bar.


I don't know how to get it back in time to finish the job.

You should be able to align the camshafts until they are timed and then turn the crank until TDC is reached with a ratchet to align the time back up. As long as the belt is off, everything else can be adjusted independently.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Jeremy. I have a few follow-up questions:


1. To clarify, with the timing belt off, manually move each cam rods individually so that both fit the cam shaft alignment bar. Then, with the timing belt still off, turn the crankshaft so that the spark plug closest to the timing belt is at its highest point. Then install the new timing belt?


2. I determined TDC resting a screwdriver on piston in spark plug 1 and turned the crankshaft until the piston reached its highest point. However, the crankshaft pulley did not align with the marks (see installation step #2 in the instructions that you sent). It was considerably off (>90 degrees) Should this align? Would using the alignment pin (Special Tool 303-574) also signify TDC. I tried this also and the crankshaft pulley did not align with the marks either.


3. What I can't understand is that the alignment bar grooves on cam rods are at different angles, but it came out of time with the timing belt on. The timing belt was in good condition (no missing teeth). Not sure how the intake cam rod could have moved independent of the exhaust cam rod.


Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything.

1) Yes, that would be correct.


2) Does the crankshaft sprocket have a bolt holding it on? Some do, some don't... I hope it didn't spin on you. Make sure the #1 and #4 are at TDC. When they are, the mark should be at the bottom of the engine, the one that the arrow is pointing at in the picture for #2. Just verify that the #1 and #4 are at TDC, even if it is on backwards. Those sprockets are a pain to adjust if they have the keys in them. Otherwise, you can just pull it and reinstall it. Most of the time, it is a solid shaft.


3)What caused the time to possibly jump is a bad tensioner. If the tensioner gets hot and you are really getting on the engine, it will jump time from the slack. It happens often.

Jeremy and 3 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
,Jeremy- Things are going fairly well with the timing, but I have another question. The exhaust camshaft is aligned, but the intake camshaft is ~5 degrees off. How do I rotate the camshaft that ~5 degrees to align? It seems to snap back into set positions when I rotate it, so it is difficult to fine tune. I can align it and tighten the camshaft pulley, but I am concerned that it will jump back to its set position.

Hmmm... You might have something causing it to spring back when it shouldn't. What if you do a full rotation, will it free or is it still snapping back? It might be possible of a bad valve or spring causing the snap back. :(


Try using a bar to hold it in place and see if you can work then, that is if it is free and you just have the slight tension.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Jeremy. I successfully installed the timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump and alternator with your help. I enjoyed doing it and couldn't have done it without you

You're welcome and I am glad you were able to get it done!