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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Everyone.

Im finally getting around to changing the timing belt in my '97 lx. While I have everything ripped apart, Im planning on changing my serpentine belt as well as the water pump.

My question to the board is; Do I need to change either of the idler/tensioner pulleys? I hadnt really thought much about it until I saw an ad in the parts store for it, and it got me thinking. I know from NAPA its quite expensive to buy a new timing tensioner, but is it worth it? Has anyone had these things go bad? (I have about 106k on the engine right now)

Also, from the same store I can buy a new or a reman water pump...they both have a limited lifetime warranty. The difference in cost is maybe 15 bucks.....should I save the money by buying reman, or just pony up for the new one?

Thanks in advance, sorry for the long post.

~Bug
 

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$15 difference between reman and new? Go for new! You'll want to shoot yourself when you saved $15 and have a failing water pump in a year. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had poor luck with reman parts. :x

As for the timing tensioner.. how much does NAPA charge? Normally I'd say it's worth the extra $$ to replace with new.. but you may be just fine after only 106k, especially if the price is prohibitive. Be sure to check it for smoothness when you replace the belt, and prefferably have another mode of transportation if you decide it does need replacement. You could always buy one ahead of time, and keep it boxed up, then return it if you don't need it. (I'm loads of help, I know :roll: ) :wink:

BTW: Who has the cheapest timing belts of decent quality?
 

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When I changed my timing belt and serpentine belt, that was it, just the belts. I can see the logic of changing all those other parts, but why bother with all the hassle, potential problems, and extra cost if you don't need to. :? If your water pump is working tickity boo, then let her be. Obviously I checked for any play on the pulley, but it was good and tight so why bother with all the extra work and hassle. I had no problems with leaking or overheating. Same with the idler pulleys for the timing and serpentine belts. If it's good and tight why replace it?

While your at it, you should make sure that all the pulleys along the serpentine system are tight. Check for play in the alternator, A/C compressor, P/S, and even the end bearings on the engine. If there's suffiecient play to warrent further investigation, then investigate. You may be able to spot a problem before it occurs.

It seems to me that everytime this timing belt question comes up, people are always suggesting change the water pump, change the pulleys. If they're broken, then ya. But if not, why?

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I'm sure at the rate were going people will be suggesting to change the alternator and the A/C compressor everytime they change a serpentine belt. :roll:

If it appears that I've gotten carried away, please disregard this rant :wink:

Matt 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well thanks for all the input guys, Im glad that the general consensus is just to leave it alone. Ill check them, and if it feels funky Ill replace it.

BeaverBoy: NAPA charges around 30 bucks for a new timing tensioner assembly. I do have a Ranger that I can use as alternate transportation, but right now it needs some exhaust work..... (meaning it has no exhaust left on it...boy does it sound tough) I paid about 30 dollars for the timing belt from NAPA, which I thought was a deal because when I looked online at places I saw them for 50 or so.

Matt: Thanks for the input of the "If its not broke...dont fix it". I was thinking this same way, but wanted someone else to say it too :D . The only reason I am changing the water pump is because its a 40 dollar insurance policy. Its not the easiest thing to get to, and if it goes somewhere on me where I am not the one who can change it, its going to cost me an arm and a leg. I would rather put a new one in now, and have it last me another 106k than have the current one die on me a few thousand miles down the road. Its only five or six more bolts and a gasket to deal with once the belt is all taken care of. And no, you didnt get carried away.. :)

Thanks everyone for the help.

~Bug
 

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Clarkbug said:
BeaverBoy: NAPA charges around 30 bucks for a new timing tensioner assembly. I do have a Ranger that I can use as alternate transportation, but right now it needs some exhaust work..... (meaning it has no exhaust left on it...boy does it sound tough) I paid about 30 dollars for the timing belt from NAPA, which I thought was a deal because when I looked online at places I saw them for 50 or so.
Yeah, I saw the same "deals" online. :roll:

$30 sounds perfectly reasonable, and I trust NAPA's parts to a reasonable extent. Thanks much, Clarkbug. :D
 

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I would change the idler pulley if it has quite a few miles on it. I had my timing belt changed awhile back just for percautionary measures and had to go back later on to change the idler pulley b/c it started to make a bad sqeaking noise. Which cost me another labor charge, belt plus the pulley. The belt wasn't expensive but just the idea of having it done over again for that damn pulley was bad enough. I would change it since you got everything there in your sights to work on. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Again.

Well, Im slated to try and get everything done tomorrow, hopefully I wont botch something easy up on this. Its going to be more a matter of finding enough room to fit my hand in there and work on all this stuff....

Ill let you guys know how it goes/if I need more help.

One more quick question, any idea what type of sealant I should use on the gasket? I have some Blue RTV at this point, but is this the right stuff??

~Bug
 

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By far the easiest way to change the belt is to put the passenger front side of the car up on a stand, remove the wheel, and remove the inner fender / plastic splash guard. Support the engine oil pan with a jack, and remove the passenger side engine mount. You WILL NOT be able to remove that black plastic cover without removing this mount (I've tried). With that inner fender off, it will also free up a ton of room to work on the water pump. Just do yourself a favor and don't strip the heas of any bolts 8O

RTV silicone Blue shold be just fine. Off of the top of my head, I belive it'll work just fine, but to be sure check the back of the label for compatibility with engine coolant.

Good luck,

Matt 8)
 

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Hey man, I did the timing, a/c, and alternator belts on the 1.8L recently. I tried to find the receipt for the timing belt just now, but couldn't find how much for sure. I went to Auto Zone for it though, and I think it was cheaper than NAPA. It was a Goodyear belt so not bad quality. As for the water pump itself, I hadn't seen anything real specific in a pump failure, but changed it anyway (I had only seen that at idle, the temp climbed unless I rev'd it). After changing it, it is staying cool much better. As for the tensioners, I also have about 106k on my escort, but the tensioners seemed just fine. For $30, you would probably be ok to not change them since you can do the work on your own. As fixitmattman put it, creating room will be your best aid in doing this project, though. On the lx, I don't think you have the 1.8, but getting the water pump out of the engine compartment was very difficult for me. Took me half a day to just keep trying to manuever the pump out (I was using a crowbar at one point). Good luck. Hope things work out ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good News, I guess

Hey Everyone.

So I ran into some good/bad news yesterday when I finally went to tear into everything. I drained all the coolant, and should have known something was up when it looked pretty clean. (I bought the car with 101k on it, Im now only up to 106k)

I pulled off the serpentine belt (still the original one) and started to work on the timing belt cover. After spending like 40 minutes trying to get the thing out, I pulled it off only to discover......a new timing belt. The previous owner probably had the belt changed at 100k. It was a NAPA belt, looked better than the new one I had in my hand. Same deal with the Water Pump.

So, I had to spend a ton of time just buttoning the thing back up, filling with new coolant (I put the old stuff in dirty bottles, bad idea) and struggling to put on a new serp belt.

I guess I should be pretty pumped, considering I saved myself a ton of time, and got a bunch of money back for parts. Im just sorta angry that I spent all the time to tear into everything only to not get to do much. But Im not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, and now I know the situation of my internals, which I wouldnt have known otherwise.

Just figured I would let you guys who have helped me know how things turned out.

For anyone that wants to know, a NAPA belt is the same as a Gates belt. (NAPA seems to do that with lots of things I notice. Their Gold Series filtiers are made by WIX, their Echlin parts are made by Dana, etc.)

Thanks again for all the help.

~Bug
 
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