How to check and replace a timing belt on a Ford Focus

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Timing belts can stop working without warning. Checking and changing your belt regularly prevents breakage, serious engine damage and keeps your car from breaking down. Replacing the timing belt in your Ford Focus may not be inexpensive but it beats the alternatives. Here's how that's done in most Ford Focus cars with 2.0L engines.

Check your owner's manual for the recommended mileage for replacing your timing belt. Replacement for a Ford Focus is at 193,000 km (120,000 miles).

Locate the timing belt and examine it for breaks, damage, fraying, worn spots or looseness.

Inspect the belt for cracked or missing teeth caused by foreign material collecting between them.

Determine if there is damage on both sides of the timing belt. Single-side damage may be caused by the timing belt's guide.

Disengage the negative battery cable in all models.

Detach the passenger inner splash-shield and wheel cover, the accessory drive and timing belts, the tensioner and the crankshaft pulley.

Remove the spark plugs, catalytic converter and idler pulley in 2000 and older Ford Focuses. These models also require the crankshaft be turned to "Top Dead Centre," or TOC, and a crankshaft timing peg be inserted. Turn the shaft to the right against the timing peg.

Undo the retaining fasteners and lift the timing belt cover off the engine. Align the crank and camshaft timing marks. Older models call for undoing the water pump pulley and valve cover before locking the camshaft in place.

Release the tensioner's bolt. Turn the arm to the right 14 degrees and place a 3 mm (1/8 inch) drill bit in the opening. This secures the belt tensioner in place.

Take the timing belt off.

Replace the timing belt counterclockwise motion beginning at the crankshaft.

Unlock the tensioner. Recheck the timing marks by turning the crankshaft two rotations to the right.

Tauten the tensioner's pulley bolt to 20 to 30 Nm (15 to 22 foot pounds) in 2003 and younger models and to 22 to 28 Nm (17 to 20 foot pounds) in older Focuses. Remove the crankshaft timing peg. Reconnect the crankshaft pulley and secure to 110 to 130 Nm (81 to 96 foot pounds) and 110 to 120 Nm (81 to 89 foot pounds) respectively.

Replace the splash shield, front wheel, timing belt cover, accessory drive belt and tensioner and any other items that were disconnected.

Hook up the negative battery cable. Start the engine and check that the timing belt is functioning properly.

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