How to Install a Timing Belt in a 1997 Ford Ranger


The 1997 Ford Ranger, with the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, is equipped with a timing belt instead of the timing chain or gear-drive system found in other Ford engines. Over time the belt can stretch, much like the stretching that occurs in a timing chain, and cause small changes in camshaft timing and ignition timing. This results in a loss of performance and fuel mileage. Replacing the timing belt in your 1997 Ford Ranger will restore lost performance and fuel mileage as well as prevent breakdowns caused by a broken timing belt.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench set
  • Socket set
  • Pry bar
  • Screwdriver set
  • Drain pan
  • Rotate the serpentine-belt tensioner and slip the serpentine belt off the pulleys and out of the engine compartment. Rotate the engine clockwise until the timing pointer on the front of the timing belt cover is aligned with the 0-degrees mark on the crankshaft pulley. Remove the crankshaft-pulley bolt using a 19 mm socket and breaker bar. Recheck the timing mark to make sure it has not moved. Realign the mark with the pointer if needed. Slide the pulley from the engine compartment. Remove the four 10 mm bolts that attach the water-pump pulley to the water pump.

  • Remove the front timing-cover bolts and slip the timing cover off the front of the engine. Loosen the tensioner pivot bolt, which passes through the timing-belt tensioner spring, one half turn. Loosen the tensioner hold-down bolt one-half turn. Rotate the tensioner clockwise, to release the tension on the timing belt, and tighten the tensioner hold-down bolt. Slide the belt off the timing gears.

  • Align the timing mark on the camshaft gear with the pointer protruding from the inner timing cover near the bottom of the gear. Slip the new belt over the camshaft sprocket, the auxiliary sprocket, and the crankshaft sprocket. Make sure all of the slack of the new belt is on the tensioner side of the belt and slip the belt onto the tensioner. Release the tensioner hold-down bolt, to allow the tensioner to make contact with the belt, and re-tighten the bolt securely. Tighten the tensioner pivot bolt. Check the timing marks and ensure that the belt didn't slip when tension was applied. Repeat the procedure if needed to align the marks perfectly.

  • Reinstall the timing cover, crankshaft pulley, and water-pump pulley. Reinstall the serpentine belt, and tighten all of the pulley bolts securely. Start the engine and test drive to verify the repair.

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  • "Chilton's Truck and Van Manual1992-1997"; Chilton Book Company; 1995
  • Photo Credit Images
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