Ford recommends that the timing belt on the Ford Ranger be replaced at 60,000-mile intervals. This has been determined after a comprehensive study of the vehicle service history. The manufacturer has also identified this engine as the freewheeling type, where a belt failure is unlikely to cause engine damage. Belt failure is generally not a material fatigue problem but a stretching problem. When the belt stretches beyond the ability of the tensioner to keep it tight, it will come off.
Remove the accessory drive belt at the front of the engine using a wrench to move the tensioner away from the belt during removal. Remove the radiator cooling fan using the wrench to remove the bolts. Remove the water pump pulley by unscrewing the four nuts with the wrench.
Pull the plastic plug out of the front upper part of the timing chain cover. Turn the crankshaft clockwise with a socket on the centre bolt until the timing marks on the crankshaft pulley align with the 0 mark on the timing plate on the front timing cover. Look through the hole once the plug is removed and make sure the camshaft sprocket timing mark aligns with the one on the block at the 5 o’clock position. If the mark on the camshaft is not visible, rotate the crankshaft one more time so the cam marks align.
Unscrew the crankshaft pulley bolt with a socket then remove the crankshaft pulley manually. Remove the timing belt cover using a 10mm socket. Remove the timing belt guide washer. Loosen the tensioner bolt with a wrench and use a screwdriver to move the tensioner to the left, away from the belt. Loosely tighten the bolt to hold it in position.
Remove the timing belt. Install the new belt starting on the right side, keeping the belt as tight as possible on the right side away from the tensioner. Make sure all the timing marks are aligned. Once the timing cover is off, check the intermediate shaft as well. The timing mark is on the sprocket and on the block at the 12 o’clock position. This is the sprocket that turns the distributor, so it must stay perfectly aligned.
Loosen the tensioner bolt with a wrench and allow it to apply tension to the belt. Check the timing marks on the crankshaft sprocket: the mark on the sprocket should line up with the mark on the block, and the key way (the piece of metal that locks the sprocket to the crank) should be at 12 o’clock. Check the intermediate shaft to make sure both marks are at 12 o’clock. Check the camshaft and make sure both marks are lined up at the 5 o’clock position.
Rotate the crankshaft two turns clockwise and recheck the timing marks. Tighten the bolt in the belt tensioner securely. Install the remaining parts in reverse order of removal.