94 Escort 1.9 L Timing / Serpentine Belt

I thought I would run this by you all, it could happen to you.
I have a 94 Escort LX wagon with 70 K + on it. It belongs to my elderly mother, and I'm not around much to do the maintainence. I've been
worried about the timing belt, but the manual lists no replacement mileage, so I breezed past 60 K thinking I was all right. It's a Florida car, but what happened was I was up north with it, and it got very cold very quickly overnight, and the serpentine belt shredded into three parts, with lots of banging. So I pulled over and removed most of the obvious pieces of the belt. I shut down all the electrics and started it again, and a another piece of that belt whipped around and snaked up into a gap between the timing belt cover and the block, and snapped the timing belt. If I had been more attentive, I could have crawled under the car and removed most if not all of the remaining shredded pieces before I tried starting it. Be forewarned.
When I tore it down, the timing belt was in very good shape (except for being catastrophically snapped). This is the first time I've done this job, so the questions I have are : the gears are quite a bit larger than the width of the belt, does it matter where exactly the timing belt should be centered on the gears? The old belt was slightly off center towards the block, but if it is off center one way or the other too much, could that cause premature or excessive wear on the new belt? I'm out in the boonies and I don't have proper access to my tools here, so how important is exact torque on the tensioner and pulley bolts? Can I estimate these things, or should I just go out a buy a cheap torque wrench?
Stupid questions I know, but I can't afford to have this happen again with my disabled mother in the car, when it's freezing cold out there, or on the wide open highway.
Just trying to dot my i and cross my t.
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Its fine if it runs a little off center. If its way off center something is probably wrong like the idler and or tensionor pulley bearing bad. Check it/them for roughness and looseness. Doesn't at least one of the pulleys have a shoulder to keep the belt on track? Just tighten the bolts but don't strip them, if you don't know what I mean borrow or buy a torque wrench Good luck.
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The serpentine belt is not the timing belt. If the timing belt (or chain) broke you would have bigger problems. If you have a tensioner then you can just turn it with a wrench to back it off and then slip the pully on. If its similar to my 1.9l 94 saturn! Fred

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I think that's his point

It's self centering, idlers and all else being up to snuff.
IIRC - If the Timing belt tensioner is spring loaded, you're supposed to snug down the holding bolt, crank the engine through for several revs.. then loosen the holding bolt and let tensioner take up any additional slack. I applied a little 'extra' hand pressure on the tensioner as I tightened bolt to 'very snug'
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Fred V. wrote:

The accessory belt *shredded* longitudinally, with many long whip like ends, with one section still turning the accessories. It made a horrible noise, I thought I had run over a gnarly branch of a tree. I knew I was in trouble, coasted to a stop, shut the engine down, turned off the electrics, popped the hood, etc. After I cleaned it up, I started the car, it started fine, but one piece of the belt still remained, I could hear it banging, but before I could get the engine shut off, that thing somehow got between the timing belt cover and the block and broke the timing belt! Then I was in real trouble.
I was stunned at the amount of clearance and the size of the gaps between the cover and the block. You would think that a mission critical piece of hardware would be better protected, especially on older interference engines. Anything could get in there.
I thought I would bring this up here, because it could happen to anyone. Lesson : check your serpentine belt often. Replace it, it's much easier than a timing belt.
Anyways, thanks for all your responses, I'm going to try to finish this up morning. I'll check back with the result, and to see how the discussion is going, but it is just too darn cold out there for me to do the water pump too, and now that I have done this procedure once, (probably twice before I get through) it wasn't all that bad, better if I had all the proper tools.
The money that I save with this (if there is any), I'm investing in tools for this location.
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snipped-for-privacy@atlantic.net wrote:

On the 1.9 "Escort" motor it is always a good idea to replace the water pump when doing the timing belt. The belt also drives the pump, so a water pump failure will take out the timing belt. That's a very common failure. I believe the 94 had the tensioner assembly as part of it the pump.
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Tom Adkins wrote:

I'm aware of that, but this is a learning experience with me, it's freezing cold, I'm outdoor in the boonies, without the proper tools. I just can't bite off more that I can chew, at any one time. Now that I am familiar with the procedure, I should be able to repeat it indefinitely, and I have two of these vehicles. So I finally got it going, with only some minor issues, spark plug #1 clearance, the usual belt nightmares, no 17 mm long for the engine mount.
Autolite stock plugs, are they crap? I just got some, so I had some. the original platinum plugs have a HUGE gap, but the engine runs good and gets good mileage (35 highway - 350 miles per tank).
Main pulley backup for 100 ft-lbs torque, is that a special tool? I see some small holes in the pulley, is that for balancing, or does some special backup tool fit in there? Anyways, all I could do was tighten it with the biggest ratchet I had, and then hit it with the impact wrench for good measure. I see a rubber port in the mud flap to get at it, though.
Now onto the water pump, thermostat, temperature sensors, O2 sensor, hoses, vacuum lines, valves, etc, on and on and on, it's a 10 year old Ford, right?
Is the valve seat failure problem for the 1.9 SEFI are real issue? Or is that just the primary catastrophic failure mode? I know, question, questions, questions, now I'm paranoid, see?
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snipped-for-privacy@atlantic.net wrote:

Yep, working outside in winter sucks for sure.

Autolite or Motorcraft platinum are the preferred plugs. IIRC the gap should be around .045".

Most folks just use the impact (air powered). There may be a holding tool but I've never seen one. The pulley should slop right off after the bolt is out.

Not necessarily, the 1,9 is pretty dependable. The Timing belt should be changed every 40-50K miles along with the water pump. Every couple of years for the thermostat as it's a maintenence item. Not many vacuum lines. Check the PCV hose for softness and inspect the large hose from the air box to the throttle body for cracking.

Not sure on the 94, never saw one fail. I've seen quite a few on 96 and newer though. Failure is often preceeded by noise similar to a lifter tapping, sometimes intermittant. If you start to hear "lifter Noise" have it looked at yesterday. A lady friend had a 96 and complained of occasional "knocking" When I would look at the car, it was quiet. I was in my driveway when she brought it for a brake job one day, quiet as a mouse and running good. I started it later and it was running on 2 cylinders. Dropped a valve seat on #1 cylinder. To this day she thinks I broke her car to try and rip her off. That's the only 1.9 I've seen just before a seat failure.
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Tom Adkins wrote: "Most folks just use the impact (air powered). There may be a holding tool but I've never seen one. The pulley should slop right off after the bolt is out.
That should have been "....should SLIP or slide right off....." If it slops off, you've got problems :)
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Tom Adkins wrote:

I hear ya. It's always something. Live and learn.
Actually, it was fairly tight, I had to put a little cheapo aluminum pulley puller on it, but then it did come right off with the slightest leverage. When I got the bolt and washer off, and saw that key, and then when it *didn't* slip right off by hand, that put the fear of God in me for a minute.
I do a lot of improvising out in the bush, without adaquate tools, all the time. That's how I end up mucking things up a lot. The thought of jamming big daddy screwdrivers and crowbars into unknown (Ford) soft metal hardware, and then banging on it all with a big hammer, gives me the shivers, and I'm cold enough already. I've created more junk that way.
Here it seems like everyone has wideband internet, so this is the first time I've been able to ask a few questions, and do a little research, before I dive into something. If it wasn't the first day of deer hunting season, and a 4 day weekend coming up, I probably would have taken it to the local mechanic, but with this hard cold snap, he just threw a 3 digit figure out and said it would be a week at least. It's the first week of breakdown season here
Well, thank's everyone, now I have to go and return all these bizarre tools I had to borrow from all my friends. It's starting to snow out there in the ditch, and that won't do the lathe and 5 axis milling machine any good at all. :-)
.
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My 94 dropped a seat in cylinder 4, parts got sucked through the plenum ,and hammered pistons in cylinders 4 and 2. Big fix that one was. Also, be careful that the timing belt tooth profile fits the timing gears. I bought an Advance tb and the profile, while close, didn't match the tooth profiles as it should have. Bought a NAPA belt and the match was perfect. To loosen the crank bolt it helps to remove the flywheel cover, if an AT, and use a large screwdriver to hold the flywheel from turning.
Tom Adkins wrote:

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