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Yet another timing belt / water pump question

A post here a few weeks ago reminded me that it’s time to replace the timing belt on the 1999 Ford Escort, 4-cyl 2.0L SOHC, even though the car has only 48K miles. (The car’s Maintenance Guide says at 120K mile “inspect camshaft belt”, not “replace”. Hard to believe that anybody would do all the work to inspect, yet not put in a new belt. Also, I do not find any info on time-driven belt change.)

Anyhow, if the car had 120K on it I’d replace the tensioner and the water pump while we’re at it. I’m inclined to do it even at 48K (have not priced it out yet). What do you think?

BTW, regarding coolant the Manual says to stick with whatever color you have, orange (“Ford Extended Life” or DEX-COOL) or green (“Ford Premium”). Except I don’t know if my Dad did that before he handed the car down to me, and he surely cannot remember. At this point in the car’s life, does it matter? Any hints as to which to use, or how to find out, other than “consult local dealer”?

As you know, this Is Very Low Miles For A 99

Am I correct in guessing that the car will be driven more frequently, now? You could wait on the pump and tensioner, but personally I would go ahead and replace them. You sound like you are going to dump the coolant, anyhow. That water pump seal is around ten years old, now. Do the whole bit and you will know what you’ve got and not have to second guess whether you did the right thing or not by not changing the pump and tensioner.

If the water pump is driven by the timing belt, I’d go ahead and replace it, and the tensioner, while you have everything apart. They recommend “inspection” of the timing belt at 120K miles because this is not an interference engine, and if you wanted to you could just run it until the belt breaks, although I don’t recommend that.

If you’re going to completely drain the coolant you could flush everything and use whatever antifreeze you prefer. As long as you don’t mix them it won’t matter. I’d use the standard, inexpensive green antifreeze if this were my car.

What color antifreeze is in the car now?

Thanks for confirming my inclination.

I was planning to get new coolant because I took over the car about two years ago, and I know the coolant has not been changed in that time. I do not know if it has wever been changed. (Maintenance Guide says about 40K miles for green, 150K for orange.) Dad had some antifreeze stored in his basement – Prestone II and Dowguard. Neither is marked “long life”. One has price tag from Zayres, and they have not been in business around here for several years.

I went out to check the color of the coolant. Reservoir has a trace of plain water at the bottom. (I gotta train my son to be more careful about checking the car. But he is off on another car delivery trip. Remember the Alaska adventure?) No coolant visible down the skinny filler neck of the radiator. I stuck my finger in there and got a smudge that was more orange than green.

So I guess I’ll have the belt, tensioner and water pump changed, and refill with green antifreeze (unless my trusted independent mechanic has good reason for something else).