1996 escort.. timing belt?

Yup... another question on an escort! I would appreciate anyone's help (ok... anyone who has the correct answers would be best! heh)
1.9l 4cyl, has about 115k miles, timing belt was replaced at a ford dealership
a few years ago (my best guess is around 50-60k miles ago).
A few days ago was driving around, came home for 15-20mins, got back in to start it and it turned over but made all kinds of nasty "clinking" noises and wouldn't start. I didn't let it turn over for long, maybe 5 seconds. Is this a "common symptom" of a bad/broken timing belt?
If it is only the timing belt, I will get it replaced. However, I don't want to take it somewhere and have it be 'this and that, and we need to replace blah...". If it's going to be a high-dollar fix, I'd rather spend all the money on a new car!
Anyone have any suggestions? I'm not a mechanic by any means, but I can swing a wrench as good as a 5yr old, and maybe my swinging and the haynes manual can help me fix (or atleast diagnose) it.
Thanks guys!
OH... let me add. While driving around before it "wouldn't start" I thought I smelled radiator fluid in the car. It might have been something else I smelled (I thought I took a shower!), but just somethng I thought I'd add incase it helps. I checked the fluid levels and they're all fine.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
damn word wrap! sorry about the bad formatting folks

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
take off the oil cap and see if u can see the camshaft turning. bad belt usually makes motor turn over real fast cause there is no compression rusto

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks, will try that.
If the belt just jumpped a tooth, it will act like "normal", correct?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The 1.9 is a clearance engine, so there should be no damage if the belt has broken: Mine broke at 120 k/hr without engine damage.Remove the oil filler cap and have somebody crank the engine.If the belt is broken the camshaft will not rotate.
Steve wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I tried that this morning and I could see the rocker arms and valve springs moving.
I'm guessing that IF the timing belt jumped a tooth (or more) the only way to check it at this point is to take off the timing belt cover and visually inspect it, correct?
Are there any other "sure fire ways" to tell if the timing belt jumped a tooth or if it is indeed something else wrong with the engine?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The cover is a pig to remove.You will have to remove the alternator belt and the spring loaded tensioner.You also have to support the engine and remove the right engine support.You may also have to remove the crankshaft pulley( auxiliary) to see the timing mark on the timing belt pulley.Try using a small mirror first though. The timing belt drives the water pump which also has the belt tensioner mounted on it. Check the condition of the water pump and tensioner pulley bearings by rotating them....You will have to release the belt tension first. Mine had a bad tensioner pulley bearing.This could be the source of the clinking sounds.Have you checked for a spark?. Steve wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Did not check for spark. the "clinking" sounds bad, not like a bearing. The car (for the most part) ran fine before this. Went to start and thats when the sound happened and it didnt start.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hello Steve,
If you haven't already figured out what caused your problems, sounds to me like your water pump might have siezed up and took the timing belt with it. I know this from experience on my '90 GT. That is exactly what happened to mine, nasty grinding/metal/clunking noises and dead stop. Took it to the Ford dealer since I did not have the time to fix it and that was their report. I was at about 90K miles with a new belt at 70K, but the water pump gave out, so I had to get a new pump and a belt. Been running fine ever since to 154K miles.
Actually, this was the second escort I was riding in/driving that had this happen, the other was a 86 escort wagon that had the same problem. If you are mechanical you should be able to replace the pump/belts yourself if you have some jackstands and a floor jack. Having an air wrench handy and installing a new crank oil seal would be a good idea too (if it looks to be leaky).
Good luck, Matt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.