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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was lucky enough to get a 99 wagon with only 73,000 miles from its original owner. It's been meticulously maintained but I worry about the timing belt.

I know I'm not at the mileage yet but I wonder about the belt deteriorating since it is 10 years old. I talked to the Ford dealership and an independent mechanic that I trust, and both said I should change it because of age.

However, I feel like they have a vested interest in telling me it should be changed. As I understand, this is a non-interference engine, so the engine wouldn't be totally hosed if the belt snaps. I still don't want to go through that experience. I'd rather spend the $350 now if it will avoid getting stranded.

What's the consensus? Change now? If not now, when? THANKS!
 

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I'd go ahead and change the belt. A broken belt won't damage the engine, but it will be an inconvenience when it does break.

Casey
 

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$350 its lot of money for a timing belt replacement, but I agree for that amount of time on the belt it needs replacing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys. The $350 is what my mechanic quoted (including the water pump). The Ford dealership wanted $580!!

I'm somewhat of a do-it-yourselfer but not for something as involved as a timing belt.

You think I should keep asking around for prices? I thought the $350 sounded about right but I'll defer to the experts here.
 

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I've got a '97 with about 26K miles. It still has the original. I can do my own work changing it, but I'm not going to change mine in the near future. I feel confident it will last a long time yet. If I thought at all it would possibly break on the road I'd change it, especially since 98% of the time when I drive that car it's going on a trip of 500-1100 miles.
 

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so I guess it should be ok. I just worry as it's 10 years old that it has rotted or cracked..but then again wouldn't the rest of the cars rubber be corroding.. This is hard lol!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks again for everyone's advice. I just took the car on a 250-mile trip today and I was impressed. I had my foot in it - hard - going about 75-85 the whole time with the a/c on and I got 29mpg. Better than the Protege5 it replaced! The a/c is unusually cold. I had to turn the heat on a little so I didn't freeze.
 

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If it were me, I'd throw caution to the wind. Wait till 150,000 miles then change the belt, tensioner and water pump. That is if I was not going to do the work myself. My belt lasted 180,000 on my 98. Didn't break, but started loosing teeth. Gave me enough warning to get home, on a Friday afternoon no less, so I had all weekend to mess with it. I now have over 200,000 with the original water pump, which felt fine when I changed the belt last year.
 
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