Timing Belt/Chain 1992 Escort

I am considering a 1992 Ford Escort station wagon for $900. It is in fine condition except that it does need a front-right axle (note to self: H & W, Spring Hill). Body seems fine, I drove it and it did fine.
It had sat for 6 months, father is selling it for son who's in rehab at the moment. (Boy, don't you love this story?) It has about 80,000 miles on it, has the 1.9 litre engine.
The main focus of my post today concerns the timing belt. I've had some state that, with Ford Engines (which this appears to be despite the Mazda heritage) it is strongly advisable that you replace the timing belt/chain because if it breaks on Ford products, due to how their belt structure is a blown belt/chain could easily result in an engine that needs replacement. Thus, the argument is made, just replace the timing belt/chain by default to prevent this. And again, this seems to made specifically regarding Ford products. Is their argument correct? Should the belt be replaced by default, or can it be inspected to ascertain its estimated useful remaining life?
If the timing belt/chain should be replaced, what price should I expect to be charged?
LRH
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

ANY car so equipped and should be replaced periodically. The 1.9L in that 92 should be a "free wheeling" engine. No damage should result from the belt breaking, but I have heard if exceptions. You should replace the water pump also,, due to the age and mileage. It is driven by the timing belt and if it fails a year from now, you'll be doing it over. It will be in the neighborhood of $300 to have the belt and pump done at an independent shop.
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Tom Adkins wrote:

Also change the timing belt tensioner pulley so you won't have to do the work again if/when the old one fails. The pulley is about $30.(Autozone)
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yes definately change the timing belt, tensioner, all accessory belts and water water pump. But for 900 dollars you can drive it for a few months or maybe even a year until you can afford to have it done. Just because it has 80k on it doesn't mean its going to fail tomorrow or next week. And if it does fail its not going to cost much more than if you did it as preventative maintenance prior to (non interference engine). Take the cover off and inspect the belt, if it looks solid, no fraying on the ends or cracking, etc., let it go for a few months, but consider you are already on "borrowed time".
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Good call.... Rule of thumb with Ford engines - non-interference engines get timing belts (cheaper to produce). Interference engines get chains.. (more reliable and usually give some very definite clues before failure).

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