Ranger timing belt question

I have a 97 2.3L 4-cyl Ford Ranger XLT with 122k miles and I recently took it to my local Ford Dealership to get a new timing belt - I also had them replace the serpentine, sparks, and wires while they were at
it. There was NOTHING wrong with this truck - it has been an excellent vehicle from the very beginning. The owner's manual recommended a new timing belt at 120k and I wanted to take a long trip, so, that is the only reason I took it in.
Immediately after getting it back, it started making a loud roaring noise whenever it tacked through 2600 rpms (thereabouts). Whether revving up, or revving down (after shifting), it would sound like a bunch of muffled cannons going off whenver it went through that tack rpm. In 4-th gear, it rumbled like that at 51 mph, in 5th gear, it made that rumble at 67 mph (I have a 5 speed standard transmission). I took it back twice, but, even after looking it over with the hood up for almost an hour, they said they couldn't find anything.
After I got home, I lifted the hood myself and saw a long bolt loose resting on top of the compressor mount. I retrieved it and went back to e mechanic who got very defensive, but, he did put it back on (he said it was a retaining bolt for the compressor bottom mount bracket. I got worried about whether or not he did the timing chain correctly, as, it seems to have about 5-10 percent less power than before I took it in. He and his supervisor got real mad at me and told me to go get a 2nd opinion.
My question to anyone with experience with these timing belts is this: How can I tell whether or not the timing belt was installed correctly? It seems to idle OK, and run OK, and that loud roar is quietened down a lot now that he tightened that bolt up, BUT, I am now sensitive to that sound and I still notice that the engine makes a low-volume rumble when it goes though 2600 rpm. It still peaks out at around 79 mph, where, it used to top out at 87 mph.
I intend to take it to a larger dealer, BUT, I am totally ignorant as to how one goes about finding out if the timing belt has been properly installed - any good advice here? I am even tempted to remove the cover myself and LOOK at it - but I don't know what to look for. Is there some high-tech way to confirm whether or not a timing belt is properly installed? A friend suggested that it might be one notch off, but this friend has experience only with timing chaings from 20 or 30 years ago, and can't really advise me about these newer engines. Thanks, littleberry
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snipped-for-privacy@neto.com says...

Fan will make a loud roar if it is not de-clutching. Water pump can make various rattling, grinding, rumbling noises if getting loose, and changing the belt may affect it by changing the load on the bearing. At 120K it could be going out. Alternator, power steering, AC compressor can make a variety of noises. The belt tensioner can be damaged if you pry on it wrong (and these guys don't sound like the brightest bulbs in the string).
Lots of possibilities and hard to diagnose by remote control.

Very bad sign. Don't ever go back to this place for any reason. In my experience, Ford and Dodge mechanics are not very good. I've had things done there when pressed for time, and have had to re-do the job myself later. Every time. No exceptions.
Two things: 1) These places make big bucks selling new vehicles, so it's a bit of a conflict of interest to keep the old ones running. 2) They don't pay a very high wage, and really telented mechanics can find better jobs elsewhere.
The local GM shop seems to be okay. Why different? Training? Incentives? Corporate mentality? Dunno.

The gears have marks that you line up with each other and/or reference points on the engine. Get yourself a Haynes or Chilton's manual and educate yourself. They are relatively cheap, not as good as the full factory manual, but still useful for most jobs.

Timing being off a tooth might do that. Or a froze-up fan clutch can suck a lot of power.

I'd say instead take it to a good mechanic who doesn't sell new vehicles. Plan on leaving it for a couple days, he'll need to spend some time poking around, driving it to check his work, etc.
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If this mechanic didn't replace the water pump while he had the timing belt off- IT WASN'T DONE RIGHT!

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WTF are you talking about? Other than both being located on the front of the engine they have nothing in common. Let me try my caplock key I HATE IDIOTS THAT SPEW FORTH WITHOUT A CLUE. Bob

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On Thu, 23 Sep 2004 20:31:04 -0500, Bob wrote:

It depends on the engine. The 1.9L I-4 used in 1991-era Escorts had the water pump mounted in the engine block and driven by the timing belt. I don't know about the Ranger's 2.3L engine, but for some engines Dean is right.
-D

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the
IDIOTS
You are very right about "some" engines, but we were talking specifically about a 97 Ranger with a 2.3. The water pump on that truck runs off a serpentine belt and has nothing to do with the timing belt. For some vehicles replacing a water pump in conjunction with a timing belt makes very good sense, but not in this case because a water pump R&R is the same job whether the timing belt is off or not. Bob
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Now having said that, the owner of the truck did not ask about having this done at the same time, and I doubt the mechanic mentioned it to the service manager. When I did these at my previous job, I always made sure that my boss asked the customer about this. Second, it is an easier job with the timing cover out of the way.
Chris '79 Mercury Capri 2.3l '79 Ford Mustang Pace Car 2.3l Turbo '87 Ford Thunderbird TurboCoupe
P.S. No matter what the manual says, mine get replaced at 80K miles. The 2 '79's broke shortly after that and mechanics told me they changed broken belts reguarly around that mileage. That was before I worked on them for a living. To answer the next question, I now stay at home with my kids and only work on them when need be.

of
very
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