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
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.