Home garage installation

Hi guys, two days ago I had my home mechanic friend install a new timing belt, tensioner, drive belt, and water pump on my 95 escort. I’m not tremendously concerned, after all, its only a 12 year old ford escort, but still I have to wonder if the home installation went right for the long haul. The car starts right up, runs fine, idles perfect, and does not over heat or leak anything.

My question is could I later develop problems that I’m currently not seeing, that is, if something was improperly installed? Thank you for any info you can give, J.H.

Work like that ain’t rocket science. It’s quite possible that your friend did an excellent job (no worse than a dealer or a garage), so long as he was reasonably careful and used the right parts. A shop manual for this car would be helpful, but not vital for this kind of work. It’s running fine now, so just keep an eye out for leaks (at least for a while) and treat your friend to a steak dinner as a tip.

Sometimes, when there is no rush to finish the job, you get a great product. If it runs for a day and then a week without any problems, your car is done. You can, however, always have problems that you can’t see now. It won’t mean that the job was done wrong.

After reading your post stating the car runs fine with no leaks, I sincerely hope your home mechanic friend doesn’t read the post.

The only thing I can think of would be if something wasn’t tightened properly, it could cause problems. But that could happen at any repair shop also.

If you haven’t buy a gift for your friend. It will help the car run better and you sleep better!

At this point things may look good. I would, however, want to know if the timing belt was correctly tensioned. With too much or too little tension it will run for a while before the belt breaks or jumps time. Sorry to make you worry but you asked!

I have the concerns and my timing belt/tensioner/water pump was done at the shop. You and I should both learn not to over-think things like this. Just drive it and get the job done again in 60,000 miles. We will both be fine.

The usual worst-case-scenario for a timing belt failure doesn’t apply to your 1996 Ford Escort 4 cylinder engine (either size). The engine’s pistons won’t fight with the valves over position (“I was here first! No, I was here first!”).
Considering the long haul, it would have been prudent (preventative) to have changed the water pump, the radiator hoses, and the “fan” belts while changing the timing belt.

When I replaced the belts on my pathfinder it took me twice as long as a garage would take. That’s because I don’t do this that often and I need to make sure it’s working 100%. So I just take my time double checking that everything is right.

Your description of how the car is running is testament to your friend’s good and proper workmanship. It’s a 12 year old Escourt…if something else does break, please don’t be ready to blame your friend. As Roadrunner said, I hope your friend doesn’t read this.

For the record, years ago I rebuilt a friend’s carburator free of charge (materials only). The engine ran great for quite awhile after, but when he did have other problems he’d always question whether it could have been related to the computer rebuild. It never was, but the question was always raised. I promised myself then that I’d never do that again. Since that time I’ve always been happy to help a friend do their own work, but I’ll never do it myself.

Don’t be like my friend.

I wish to thank everyone for their thoughtfull, informative, and insightfull advice. My mind is completely relieved, and the escort is still pulling strongly and smoothly, even with the AC on. If something else does go wrong I can’t reasonably blame it on my friends workmanship which is proving to be of high caliber. I must now take my home mechanic friend out for a steak dinner as a tip.
The total cost of the repair was $260.00. $140 for parts and the rest for labor.
I will revisit this forum again in the future, the feedback really helps. Thanks again, JH.