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Old 07-24-2009, 12:21 PM   #1
Veloman
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Default An easier way to change timing belt?

I'm a new member of your forum and thanks for all the great hints on Ranger maintenance. I'm an old guy that's done car stuff for probably 50 years. I have a '92 Miata and have done practically every maintenance task on it for 10 years including timing belt changes. My son recently picked up a 1991 Ranger 2.3 and started having problems starting it a week or so after buying it. We bought the Ford code reader and didn't pull a single code. After parking it in my garage it wouldn't start at all. Hooked up a new plug I had in my stock of motorcycle parts and tested the spark. It wasn't a sharp blue spark but it did appear to spark regularly. Then we listened for the fuel pump to run when switching on the ignition. It always ran for approx 3-4 seconds each time the switch was turned on. Haven't hooked up the fuel pressure gauge to the fuel rail yet so can't say about the pressure. It's bloody hot here in Phoenix so each session with the truck is about 15 minutes before I start cooking!
Thought I'd better look at the timing belt through the front cover hole and what I see looks like a flat belt riding on the cam pulley with no apparent teeth. I know the engine backfired a few times trying to start it before it became absolutely dead in the water. I know I should turn the engine with a wrench to see if the pulley actually turns. I'm anticipating it won't turn correctly.
My real question is, after reading through 98 pages of this forum I see lots of questions on timing the cam and a few references to people doing a belt change in 1-2 hours. Someone said he was thinking about cutting off the piece of the engine block which prevents removing the belt without removing the vibration dampener. Has anyone on the forum devised a way to change the belt without removing the dampener? I had to do that on the Miata and it was no fun at all, besides having to remove the radiator etc to get clearance for the wrenches etc. This engine looks about 10 times harder to work on than the Miata twin cam lump. If I had a garage which wasn't at 105 degrees I wouldn't be so leery of starting this job. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:44 PM   #2
Sprag-O
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I've never had an easier time doing a timing belt change then the one on my '96 with the 2.3...

I did have to put a bar in the frame rail, and bump the starter to break the bolt loose on the harmonic balancer... but that was easy and quick...

balancer comes right off if you propery use a puller... Some have holes in the balancer to put a real puller in, otherwise, a gear puller will work, just take your time...

Once the balancers off, its a 5 minute job getting the belt off, and the new one on and adjusted... I confidently say I can do mine in about 15-20 minutes :-p
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:01 PM   #3
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Good news. After my son dropped over I had him look at the timing belt. He said it looked good to him. We then tried to start the truck and it didn't want to start but finally did. I pulled the plug on the IAC and the idle dropped a lot and the engine started stumbling. I noticed that the plug just seemed to pull off very easy. The connector latch was broken off the valve half of the connection. I then looked at the contacts in the plug and one side looked like a very large gap. A little fiddling with a scribe and was able to bend the contact strip closed. Plugged it back on and repeatedly started the truck. Bingo, started each time and idled great. Also turned the A/C on and off a few times and each time the IAC kicked in and stabilized the idle speed. Cinched the plug with some ty-wraps and it should be good to go. I'm happy not to have to change the timing belt in this heat! Thanks for reading my post.
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Old 07-24-2009, 04:11 PM   #4
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Glad to hear that the old truck gave you a break, and got back in line. Welcome to TRS; hope that you stick around. There's a few of us old farts here, and just about everybody and everything else, too.
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobbieD View Post
Glad to hear that the old truck gave you a break, and got back in line. Welcome to TRS; hope that you stick around. There's a few of us old farts here, and just about everybody and everything else, too.
Thanks for the kind words. I'm sure I'll be around for a few years God willing!
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:48 PM   #6
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Robbie D that is cool you have had all those Ranger. I am curious on the 94 with the 365k on it. Hoe many engines trannys and clutches have you gone thru
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Old 11-17-2009, 05:39 PM   #7
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Yeah Robbie. My '94 2.3 4x4 has only 152,000 on it. I guess it's got a lot of life left.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:57 PM   #8
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with 350K on it, I'd assume about 3 timing belts, 2 or 3 clutches and nearly everything else stock... these things will go forever if you keep oil in them, eventually they'll need new rings and valve springs... then it's time for a rebuild
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