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· Super Moderator
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To make it easier to line up the marks, I like to push back the tensioner as far as I can, using a length of wood to lever it back, or a screwdriver pushed into the slot where the tensioner slides, then camp the tensioner there. Then I position the cam gear exactly as shown in the photo, but have the crankshaft rotated about half a tooth counter-clockwise. This makes it easier to slide the belt onto the pulleys, doing it partway on all three sprockets, (the crankshaft sprocket, the cam sprocket, and the water pump sprocket, until I can push the belt fully into place, Then I release the tensioner pulley. When it slides forward it pulls the long front part of the belt taut - and having the timing marks on the crankshaft sprocket lined up with the little notch on the casting above the crankshaft sprocket.
At that point I tighten the tensioner, and putting the bolt into the crankshaft, turn the engine over two or more times - well actually an even number of turns, so the 'arrow' on the cam sprocket is lined up with the dimple on the engine head and the pointer on the crankshaft sprocket is lined up with the notch in the casting above it. Then I release the tensioner again to see if it wants to creep forward another tiny bit.
And yes, you have to have the crankshaft pulley removed to be able to do this. To make it easier to snug up that bolt in the crankshaft properly, I make a match-mark on the head of the bolt, and on the inside recess of the crankshaft pulley. That way I can use my Ingersoll-rand electric impact wrench to bring the matchmarks back into alignment. If you have already removed the bolt (its a19mm socket), then tightening up the bolt takes more care. I made up a lever, using a piece of 2' long by 3/16" by 1-3/4" scrap bar steel, grinding a notch near the end - so the end of the bar will fit sideways between two of the teeth on the crankshaft pulley and the lip of the block where it meets the oil pan pulley. So far I have used that method on eight escorts where I replaced the timing belt, and never broke off one of the teeth. .....Though I do have a new spare crankshaft pulley on the shelf.....
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