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Car Lost Power After Timing Belt Change

I have 1985 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe with manual transmission. (2.3L 4-Cylinder Engine with Turbo)

My neighborhood mechanics just changed the timing belt, water pump, and thermostat on the car. Now, however, the car runs with the pedal down, but barely has any power whatsoever. This was not a problem before the belt change.

They did use a timing light and the timing looks like it should be perfect.

Any ideas?

The timing they checked with the timing light was the ignition timing, not the valve timing.

I think it’s a real good bet that the valves are not properly timed. And they should fix it. That’ll mean removing and reinstalling the timing belt.

Two possibilities come to mind. One is that the belt is off by a tooth. This is fairly easy to check. The other is that the timing was set without the spark output connector (SPOUT) disconnected. The SPOUT connector is a little gray jumper box that connects to two wires. It enables the computer to influence timing changes as the car is driven. It is located near the distributor. Setting the baseline timing with the SPOUT connected can cause stalling and power loss.

Just talked to them. They weren’t aware of the SPOUT connector.

What’s the best method to retime the engine with that being the case?

Just disconnect the SPOUT and set the timing as usual to the spec on the underhood sticker or in the manual.

We’ve pulled the timing belt and gone through everything several times again. Still no luck. The timing reads perfect using a timing light, every mark lines up, by all means, the car should be running beautifully. We also made sure to follow your instructions with the SPOUT connector.

The repair was made by experienced mechanics. We also referenced a Haynes manual, the original factory manuals, a set of Alldata directions, and the knowledge of several other certified mechanics.

This car has only recently been driven after sitting for about 6 years. Before it was parked, it got a new clutch and turbo. I’ve put a new fuel pump and filter on it.

We pulled the distributer cap and rotor and replaced those. The battery cables are new. The spark plugs and wires are new. We’ve checked the turbo and we’ve checked every vacuum line. I’ve also checked the inertia switch in the trunk.

While doing the timing belt, we also changed out the thermostat and water pump.

Could the ECM need to be reset? With the engine sitting for so long, when we got everything timed right, could we have clogged up the catalytic converter? Any other ideas?

Tomorrow I’m towing the car to go get hooked up to an Autolab diagnostic machine and see what we can find. I’d love to hear any suggestions of things to try before we do that.