How To Replace Timing Belt On ’97 Ford Escort

Learn how to replace the timing belt on a '97 Ford Escort for those times when the car shows signs of timing belt damage or misfires. You can also do it as a preventative maintenance at 80,000 to 90,000 miles which is the average life span of a belt. Replace the timing belt before it breaks to avoid bending valves, which causes damage to the pistons and ultimately, ruins the engine. If the timing belt breaks during driving, the engine most likely will be ruined.

You Will Need:

  • 10mm socket
  • 13mm socket
  • Ratchet
  1. Locate the timing belt cover on a '97 Ford Escort on the right hand side of the motor in the center. It has a black, plastic cover.
  2. Remove the serpentine belt located in front of the timing belt cover to gain access.
  3. Use a 10mm socket with ratchet to loosen and remove bolts from the timing belt cover.
  4. Remove the timing belt cover.
  5. Remove the bottom pulley on the crankshaft.
  6. Remove the lower timing belt cover using the 10mm socket with ratchet.
  7. Loosen the timing belt tensioner pulley with a 13mm socket and ratchet.
  8. Remove the timing belt. If the belt is not broken, install a new timing belt without moving the crankshaft and crankshaft pulleys. If the belt is broken, line up the top and bottom timing marks before installing a new timing belt.
  9. Tighten the tensioner to leave 1/4-inch of play on the timing belt with a 13mm socket and ratchet.
  10. Replace lower timing belt cover and tighten bolts with a 10mm socket and ratchet.
  11. Replace bottom pulley on crankshaft.
  12. Replace timing belt cover and tighten bolts.
  13. Replace the serpentine belt in front of the timing belt cover.


Purchase a new timing belt for a '97 Ford Escort at dealerships and auto parts stores. The replacement of a timing belt before breakage saves money in the long run. Think of replacing your timing belt at 80,000 to 90,000 miles as part of normal maintenance.

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