How To Change A Timing Belt On A 4 Cylinder Ford Ranger?


12 Answers

Connor Sephton Profile
Connor Sephton answered
A timing belt is a very important part of all internal combustion engines, as it is the part that controls the timing of the valves.  It connects the crankshaft to the camshaft to accomplish this task. Unless you are really good with a wrench, this is a job that should probably be left to your mechanic.  If you do know what you're doing, you can save yourself several hundred dollars in cash.

Most of the nuts and bolts on a Ford Ranger are metric, so you'll need a set of metric tools if you don't already have some. To get to the timing chain you will need to loosen the air compressor and power steering pump so they can be moved over, but it is not necessary to remove them. There are also several parts and equipment you will need to buy to do the job.

• A timing belt kit - expect to pay up to $60
• Timing belt - expect to pay about $20
• Water pump - in the neighborhood of $50
• Two gallons of anti-freeze at about $10 apiece
• Tubes of grease for the 0-rings

Be sure the engine is aligned before you remove the belt and there are timing marks to use to help you align it. Now remove the two bolts holding the timing belt tensioner and remove it and the old timing belt. Now you can put the new timing belt on and reassemble the engine parts that are loose. 

Start the engine and watch the belt while the engine turns. It should not be too tight or too loose and if it is, be sure and make adjustments or you will find yourself doing this drill again very shortly. It should run quietly and if it doesn't, you've made a mistake and need to adjust the belt again.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The following is the procedure that I used to swap out the timing belt,
timing belt tensioner, serpentine belt, and water pump on my 1997 Ranger with a 2.3L 4-cylinder engine.  All fasteners on the truck are metric, so have your metric tools ready!  It took me about 4 hours to do this job,
a pro mechanic can do it in about two.  I had more time than money,
so I did it myself!  The A/C compressor and power steering pump DO NOT need to be removed!  They just need to unbolted and scooted over a bit.

Things you will need:

Gates timing belt kit. (belt and tensioner)  $60.00
Gates serpente belt. $20.00
Water pump. $50.00
2 gallons of 50/50 mix anti-freeze 10-15.00 per gallon.
Tube of light grease for o-rings. (I had this on hand)

Metric tools.
Long 3/8" rachet extension.
1/2" breaker bar.
1/2" impact wrench.
Large 24mm socket.
Various visegrips and screwdrivers for hose clamps.


Remove 3 of the fan bolts. (a 10mm long wrench works good for this)
Remove the two fan shroud bolts above.
Remove the last fan bolt.
Remove the fan and fan shroud.
Remove the fan pulley.
Remove the serpente belt.
Drain the radiator.
Remove the top radiator hose.
Remove the bottom radiator hose.
Remove the top two bolts and pull the radiator.
Remove the 4 bolts holding the A/C compressor, but DO NOT disconect any of the hoses.

Remove the bolts for the A/C and power steering pump bracket.  It is not necessary to remove the A/C and power steering pump, you just need to be able to move them out of the way a bit. There are three 13mm bolts and one 10mm bolt holding the brackets on. One of the 13mm bolts is directly under the A/C compressor.  The 10mm bolt is down and
to the right of the one under the A/C compressor.  The last two bolts are down by the power steering pump.

Remove the harmonic balancer.  An impact wrench and 24mm socket is required.  The bolt may be too tight for the impact wrench.  If it does not come out, try heating it with a torch.  If that does not work, use the 24mm socket with a large breaker bar.  Brace the breaker bar against the frame, and quickly bump the starter.  This should break the bolt loose. (this trick worked for me)  The balancer is not pressed on, and can
be removed at this time.  You may need to tap it a few times with a rubber mallet.

Remove the two bolts holding the timing belt cover.
Un-do the snaps holding the timing belt cover.
Remove the timing belt cover.

Now the engine needs to be aligned BEFORE the timing belt is taken off!  There are timing marks to use to align the engine.  Screw the harmonic balancer bolt back in the crank and use it to crank the engine over by hand.  Turn the engine over until the keyway on the crank is straight up, and diamonds are aligned on the other two pulleys.

Remove the two bolts holding the timing belt tensioner, and remove the belt tensioner.
Remove the old timing belt.

Put the new timing belt tensioner on.  Screw in the bolt and spring all the way tight, then back off one turn.  Use a long 3/8" socket extension to use as a lever to push the tensioner over.  Then put the other tensioner bolt in while holding the lever.  Use the lever to push the tensioner to the end of it's adjustment slot, then tighten
the bolt.

Now put the new timing belt on.  Start at the crank, and work up and clockwise, keeping the belt tight as not to screw up the alignment of the pulleys.  Now loosen the bolts on the belt tensioner a bit and let the tensioner take up the slack in the belt.

Crank the engine over a few revolutions to let the belt and tensioner settle in.  Recheck the alighnment of timing marks.  If it's off, fix it now!

Now replace the water pump.  You may think that if it's not leaking to leave it alone.  WRONG!  The tension of the new sertentne belt on the OLD water pump bearing will wear it out and it will be leaking within a week.  If you don't want to tear it down again in a week, the spend 50 bucks and put a new water pump on!

Remove the two small 8mm bolts under the alternator that hold the bottom raditor hose tube on.  This will be hard to remove.  Twist it back and forth and pull it out.

Remove the three bolts holding the water pump on.
Remove the water pump.
Lightly grease the o-rings for the new water pump.
Install the o-rings in the new water pump.
Put some teflon tape on the three water pump bolts.
Install the water pump and tighten the bolts.
Lightly grease the bottom radiator hose tube, the end that will be inserted in the water pump.
Install bottom raditor hose tube.

Now put her back together!

Install the bottom radiator hose and clamps.
Reinstall power steering and A/C bracket, and bolt down the A/C compressor.
Install fan pulley and fan.

Install serpentine belt.  Thread it over and under the pulleys as shown on the diagram sticker located under the hood.  Crank the belt tensioner over to the left with a 3/8" rachet and extension, and slip the belt over the tensioner pulley.

Hang the fan shroud over the fan.
Install the radiator.
Connect the top & bottom radiator hoses.
Bolt down the fan shroud.

Refill the radiator, start & run the engine until the thermostat opens up, fill up the radiator the rest of the way.

Cap off the radiator and go for a spin.  Don't worry if you hear a ticking noise.  It will dissappear after the few miles when the belts wear in.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I need a diagram to put on timing belt 1996 ford ranger 2.3l
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Show me how to replace the timing belt on a 1994 ford ranger 2.3 liter 4 speed
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
You will need to remove a/c compressor, fan balance, fan, radiator, harmonic balance and timing cover. You will then be able to access the timing belt. Release tension then remove belt. Replace with cranksaft at Top Dead Center, then line up the balance shaft at the eleven o clock position, then you will need to line the cam up with the mark on the rear cover. After doing so you will need to reinstall all components and such and the job is complete. Thank You -Paul Suggs
thanked the writer.
Anonymous commented
Where is the balance shaft? The AUX sprocket? I have seen diagrams with it at the 12 o clock, and other statin that I need some special CAM tool if it is CA emissions certified. I am confused and I need to put my truck back together so I can get to work tomorrow.
Anonymous commented
Thank you very much
Farhan Khan Profile
Farhan Khan answered
Well it is quite a long process so you need this step by step tutorial to change it. Check out all instruction that will help you to change timing belt.
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Mr. Adamo Profile
Mr. Adamo answered
Hi. The timing belt is buried amass everything in front of your entire engine behind the fan belts / serpentine belt system and other parts / covers / etc.. AND if your asking the question in the first place suggest may be too hard for oneself / even a backyard mechanic.. LET'S KEEP IT REAL AND DECLARE TRUTH HERE WE ALL KNOW IS PROVEN IN REALITY AT TIMES AS FOLLOWS: Professional mechanics who sense an unknowing customer can be taken for a ride they do not want to go on and charge them 10 fold for things that work fine so best to do some research on vehicle in question and get your basic knowledge account for how the vehicle has been behaving and at such serious concern to protect oneself with mechanic fraud take some pictures of the vehicles's engine compartment and undercarriage before having it serviced so you have some idea of differences when a mechanic MAY talk to you with the immaturity of a 3 year old... Good luck..
larry cook Profile
larry cook answered
The first thing is did the timing belt break if so you might have to replace the head on it it could have bent the valves .if not you need to take apart the front of motor an line up the timing marks on the cam an gear
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Hey man I'm in school for automotive. You need to tell me what type engine it has (Diesel, Gas), and year, plus if it has a distributor or coil packs. I'm changing mine right now on an 89 ranger. I've done them on hondas too.

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