Question re 1997 Mercury Villager timing belt

All:
I have a 1997 Mercury Villager minivan (twin to the Nissan Quest), and we bought it used about four years ago. It has served us extremely well
aside from a few minor dings and squawks, most of which I've been able to resolve myself.
The van now has 107,000 miles on it, and I believe the recommended time to have the timing belt replaced is 105,000 miles. I've talked to two different shops about having this work done, and on the basis of what I"ve read, I have two questions:
1. Is the engine in the 1997 Villager interference or non-interference? I've read conflicting information on this.
2. At least one shop has recommended that we change the water pump in addition to the timing belt. Is this a good idea? Looks like the going rate for timing belt replacement alone is about $300, but doing both is about $500. At 107K, is the water pump on borrowed time?
3. How much time (miles) do I have before I *really* need to get that belt replaced, or am I already there?
Many thanks in advance for your opinions and experience,
-David
ps Please reply to group - email in msg is dead.
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intrepid snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Nistech on this forum says they aren't, all the VG30's I've seen break belts bent valves but never seen a quest with a broken one..

Yes and you should change the belt tensioner, as well as the cam and crank seals. If you don't do all the seals, at least do the "left hand" cam seal (looking at the front of the engine), that's the one that always leaks.

You're already there, it's an age as well as a milage issue.
--

Steve

http://www.atlantaracing.com
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I forgot where I read it, but what I read said the ford/mercury version had a few less HP, and was non-interference.
Gary K
wrote:

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I believe that it has a non-interference engine. Check this website for more details. http://www.ourautoshop.com/TBeltChart.html
B.J. at http://www.apericas.com
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My Dayco belt book show all Nissans and Ford 3.0 sohc Villager as interference?

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intrepid snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com writes:

Especially if your water pump is behind the timing cover, yes. In general water pumps tend to last about as long as timing belts and a water pump failure is a big problem, leading to the recommendation that they be done at the same time. In the case of an internal water pump, it saves labor to have them both done at the same time. Also good ideas for 100k maintenance: rad/heater hoses, thermostat, timing tensioner(s), balancer belt (if applicable), front oil seals

A timing belt is a routine maintenance item. If you are past schedule, it is time to have it done. It is a hidden cost of having lighter and quieter motors. Don't fall into the trap of thinking non-interference means you are safe; the belt itself can still make quite a mess when it self-destructs.
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