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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, I have a dilemma. I have a Cougar with the 2.0 that by the sticker on the door was built 06/03/1999. The vin matches and all, and everything I can find online says that the stickers are supposed to be MM/DD/YYYY, so it should be a June built car. Anyway, my son was driving it and it just died, so we figured out it was the timing belt (top idler pulley destroyed itself). So, I ordered the after 3/29/99 kit that has the smaller tensioner pulley. Of course after we got it all tore apart and compared pulleys, the one that was on the car was the larger 70mm idler pulley and not the smaller 60mm pulley that it should have had. So, that leads me to two conclusions. Either someone changed it, which the guy I bought it from said it had been changed, and they installed the wrong kit, or someone swapped engines and it's an earlier model engine. How in the world can I find out which engine I have? I found a flat spot on the front of the engine behind the cat that has some numbers scribed into it, but man, that is hard to see, never mind get cleaned off enough to read or take a picture of. I am trying to figure out of the hole that is drilled for the idler pulley is drilled in a different spot? It seems that all the other parts of the kit are exactly the same. Did they change the crank or cam pulleys to a different size? That doesn' seem feasible since that would change the sync of timing of the engine. Any ideas? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So, one of the videos I just watched said that if the timing set in the car has the smaller idler pulley by the crank sprocket, it is an older (pre 3/1999) engine. Mine does have this lower pulley. I guess the next question is, can you put the newer kit in and leave that idler pulley out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So, to add to this now, the top timing belt cover has a date of 05/03/1999, which I would assume is May 3, which would be after the March 29th change date. Any thoughts?
 

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Id go with the date code on the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I went ahead and bit the bullet with my later model timing kit and opened it to see if it would fit, and guess what.... No dice. The top idler pulley is not only smaller in diameter, the bolt and the threads in the head are also. So, my guess is that they changed the geometry of the entire thing when they made that change by just changing the one pulley and it looks like the location of the hole also. So, an easy way to tell for me now is if the upper idler pulley has the same size bolt as the tensioner, it's the new 99.5+ style. If the bolt is bigger then the one in the tensioner, it's the older pre-99.5 style. So just because your car was built in June, and the sticker on the timing covers says May, it might still be an early 99 or 98 engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So, to continue on this journey, my son and I put the car back together, held the exhaust cam forward with a wrench while putting on the belt, and after two rotations of the crank pulley, it was back to TDC, and the flat edge fit in the back of the cams. So we fired it up, and now it seems to be missing on at least one cylinder. I have watched a dozen Youtube videos on resetting the VCT and have read a boat load of forum posts about it, but every one of them is different, and half of them make no sense. In the little install manual that came with the timing kit, it said that the number 4 cam lobes should be pointed towards each other, which they were, but some videos show a notch in the cams facing up, while mine are facing down. If they were facing down, I couldn't put the flat bar in the back of the cams (they would be too low then), but honestly, they if they were both 180 out, it shouldn't matter since they turn half of what the crank does. Any thoughts?
 

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1999 3.0 SilFro
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I did timing belts on 2 different SVT Focuses and never touched the VCT sprocket. Locked cams and crank, removed belt, installed new belt, end of story. No idea where this “VCT reset” comes into play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did timing belts on 2 different SVT Focuses and never touched the VCT sprocket. Locked cams and crank, removed belt, installed new belt, end of story. No idea where this “VCT reset” comes into play.
I think it has to do with the timing belt actually breaking on this one. I think I figured out the issue tonight though. My son, who is in an auto class in HS, put the plug wires back on. One of them went in next to the plug intead of on it, and of course casued a misfire. LOL. So I am hoping we are good to go!
 

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Man I hope so - that world definitely cause problems!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, interestingly enough, it ran fine for him on the way to school today, but on the way back it was low on power. Checked the codes, and it usually always has the rear O2 code since it needs a Cat, but it had a P0340 camshaft sensor code. So I am not sure if the sensor is going south or what, but I drove it just a little bit ago and it was fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Man I hope so - that world definitely cause problems!
Well, today he came home and it was running with low power again. Now it has the P0340 and the P1381 codes, so I am guessing the cam timing from the VCT is off. Still not sure why it set the Cam sensor code though. Seems as though if you shut it off, let it sit a mintue and start it back up, it will drive fine again for a while.
 
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