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Possible thrown piston?

1040 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  fcchief
2001 Ford Escort plane jane, 130,000 miles. While TDY in Japan wife said the Escort blew up. States mechanic friend looked at it and said it threw a piston. I just got back and took a quick look. #1 spark plug was hit by the piston, other plugs look fine. I also took a look down where the timing belt should be going up to the Camshaft thru the cover and did not see a timing belt!!! I didn't have the time to take the cover off. If the belt broke and one piston hit the spark plug I am wondering how much damage was done to the piston? I plan on doing a compression check just to double check this mechanics findings (he did not do one). Has anyone had this problem before since these are suppose to be non-interference engines. (This is my 3rd Escort) Thanks for any advice or comments
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if the spark plug is beat up its probably a valve seat issue, if the piston hit the plug, its not connected to the crankshaft anymore

its not an interference engine so the belt breaking cannot cause this
Is this a common fault with this engine, a valve seat issue or valve failing? I know on an 82 I owned I had problems but that was due to the timing belt breaking and bending a few valves. Thanks, guess I will be pulling the head off anyway as well as replacing timing belt, tensioner etc.... No fun with engine in car!!
yes its very common lol it happened to my 99 twice and my 95 once
It might be that the valve seat dropped, causing the spark plug damage and the timing belt broke due to the sudden stopping of the cam. With 130k on it, if that was the original timing belt, it was just a matter of time before the belt broke. Try rotating the crank with a ratchet and socket, if the engine will rotate around all the way and not get caught on anything, its probably the cylinder head that caused the problem. It is possible a piston may have been damaged by the valve seat dropping though.

These motors are actually not too bad to work on, I have not needed to pull a head though. I did the timing belt in mine with no trouble, had it done in about an hour and a half.
Ok thanks for all the advice. The timing belt was replaced at about 90,000 but I don't recall replacing the tensioner. The only problem with the timing belt is how little room between the engine and the fenderwall. Will be tearing into it tomorrow. I will try to turn the engine, and I take it do it with the spark plugs out. Just hope if it is a valve it did not damage the piston!!
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