Timing belt tensioner spit it's bearings out

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May 7, 2004
Nokesville, VA
This is on the 1993 Ford Escort that my brother-in-law owns, which used to belong to my brother. About two years ago (when my brother still owned it), when it had 112,000 miles, I replaced the timing belt and the waterpump (which had started to leak). The waterpump I used came from Autozone. Part of the waterpump is the timing belt tensioner. About 2 months ago it started making a tapping noise. Brother-in-law continued to drive it until the engine quit. He had it towed home and it sat for a month. My brother finally had time to look at it this weekend. He needed my breaker bar to undo the engine mount to remove the timing belt cover, so I came over with it. The first thing I saw, even before removing the timing belt cover, was that the backside of the timing belt was really chewed up. When we got the timing belt cover off, it became obvious that the quickest way to get the timing belt off was to cut it off. As soon as we cut the belt and removed it, the tensioner pulley on the waterpump fell off. I found a couple of bearings and pieces of metal that fell out along with it. The bottom of the timing belt where it was on the crankshaft pully was chewed down to the reinforcing cords. Apparently, the tensioner had locked up and prevented the belt from turning. The engine was still spinning so it chewed the belt. One new timing belt and waterpump later, the engine was running again. Thankfully, it is a non-interference engine. It now has 140,000 miles. I can't believe the Autozone waterpump/tensioner crapped out like that after only 30k miles. The belt is supposed to last 60k so you'd think the tensioner might be designed to last. It was a new waterpump, too, not a rebuilt.
My original belt went at about 130,000 miles on my 92 wagon. I just replaced the belt and tensioner with Motorcraft parts. According to the owners manual for these years there is no timing belt schedule for replacment unless its the GT model with the DOHC. Then 60 thou. might sound right.
No, sorry, didn't think to check and the remains went into the trash. The timing belt on my mom's old 1991 Escort wagon went at 60k and again at 120k. Unfortunately, it was then towed away by the local predatory towing company (who eventually claimed that my brother, who then owned it, owed them $5k for 6 months of storage fees). The only thing wrong with it was the timing belt [Frown]
I always have my distrust for auto chains(PB, AZ or Kragens)providing major replacement parts for my rides. Always OEM from reputable online or local specialty parts suppliers. In my book they're only good for plugs, bulbs, minor fluids/chemicals/sprays/tools..(okay I'd give 'em credit for some air and oil filters, namely Purolator)...and of yeah, motor oil. [Big Grin]
Just did the 60K timing belt replacement on my wifes KIA Sportage. Changed out the old tensioner and idler bearings with new Japanese ones. Old bearings were Korean made and seemed still good but changed it out anyways. New belt was a made in Germany Gates. Ordered everything from Rockauto.com. Will do the water pump change out at 120K, needed or not. Word on the KIA forums is to get a new OEM water pump or new build from a parts store and stay away from refurbs/rebuilds. Hootbro
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