Thanks, all (for kicking my lazy butt). I'm replacing the timing
belt (and water pump) tomorrow. Even tho my '95 Tracer has the
typical 1.9L (88 hp) non-interferance engine, I don't know if it has
ever been replaced (@ 98k mi.).
The expense and inconvenience of having the car towed / belt changed
should it break during my 1,400 mi. round trip to Presque Isle, ME
next week would be way more than doing it now (not to mention
missing at least a day of fishing w/my brother).
From FORD MOTOR COMPANY website:
"Does a broken timing belt permanently damage the engine of a 1991-96
Ford Escort / Mercury Tracer?
"It depends on the Engine in the car.
"1.9L SOHC engine (SEFI on Valve Cover), no. They are non-interferance
engines. Put a new timing belt on it and go.
"1.8L DOHC engine, yes. It can destroy the valves, head, pistons, and,
ocassionally, the block as well. These engines are interferance
engines, where the valves just barely miss the piston as it comes up.
When the belt breaks the pistons will hit the valves. This can destroy
"Less than 5% of these models were sold with the higher compression 1.8L
interferance engine installed. Customer negligence in following the
60K mile timing belt replacement schedule for the 1.8 resulted in
misconceptions about the reliability of the 1.9L engine as well."
Jeff (the one from Connecticut)