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Robert, Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 4708
Experience:  Fully qualified 19+yrs exp/self employed technician in the UK
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There, I have a Ford Focus Zetec 1.6 (2003 model) and the

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Hi there, I have a Ford Focus Zetec 1.6 (2003 model) and the cambelt has snapped - can I tell easily if the engine is damaged - I was thinking of pushing the car in gear with the plugs removed to see if the engine turns over. Most of the research I've done seems to indicate that it's a non-interference engine - if not damaged will I simply be able to fit a new cambelt ?
All 1.6's 16v Focus's of that year including the CDDA timing chain 1.6 are interference engines.. So likely hood of damage is pretty high if the timing belt failed...unless there is damage to the top end to prove other which you'll need to get the cam cover off to inspect - apart from the belt failure the rest is pretty much normally the testing thats done is to test each cylinder with piston at TDC and all valves in the closed position - using leak down tester forcing compressed air into the cylinder thats being tested for sealing.if its doesnt hold or a leak is heard either from a badly sealing exhaust or inlet valve due to impact damage to the top of the piston..then that would confirm the damage...some garage's re-time the engine up and the compression test it..but overall it will mean having to strip the engine down anyway if compression is lost or reading low...another way is to use a bore scope and see if any impact marks are ontop of the piston surface..the upshot is that engine will need the cylinder off to visualise the damage to the valaves and top area of the pistons..normally with cars knocking on a bit age wise or on high mileage it may prove uneconmical to repair.unless you can find a cheaper place to do the entire repair and just refit a secondhand head from the same engine onto it and new timing belt kit/water pump etc..might be the only way advice is to phone around for better quotes than you got already..I do hope this helps
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Robert & thanks for the reply.
That's a shame that it's an interference engine! If I use a borescope and can see no visual damage to the pistons then would it be worth me trying to fit a new cambelt etc and retiming it? Or do you think the head will have to come off regardless?
Thanks again,
You'll need a pretty good borescope in all honesty..mines has a really bright led light on the end and a good screen to send back images.but arent cheap for just one time use.....but normally what you look for is like termed as "eyebrows" or semi circle marks on the outer edges of the piston surface where the outer edges of the valves have made contact..if its really bad and the valves gouged marked the surface then all noticable as above its pretty much definative....there maybe noticable damage to the top end drivetrain..might be worth looking to see..but thats why i do leak down tests..saves wasting money on a new cambelt kit if the engines beyond econmical repair mechanically speaking...if it where me..whip the head off and have a look..if its done then make a decision to repair or not..if the valves seem to be ok which i doubt to be honest..clean both mating surfaces of old gasket - then fit another gasket kit on and cambelt kit..water pump..time it up fill your coolant system and bleed out and see how it runs..if ok? then do an oil/filter change as any coolant from the head removal may have gone down the oil passages into the sump....ive worked on fair few of the engines before and cant really say or recall when ever a failed t-belt came into our garage the customer got away with just getting a new belt kit they use that engine in other Ford models too..according to the technical data we use..its saying interference across the whole range of 1.6 16v of that Focus model you have
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi again Robert,
That's a very useful reply - thanks! One more query on this issue. (btw just to let you know that I have paid £21 for the question so I'm not trying to get answers for free!
To help my understanding - is it true that if I turn the starter motor that the engine will still turn over? And if so would I potentially be causing even more damage by turning the starter? The cambelt is just driving the valves I suppose (I'm a 2 stroke bike man so not used to cambelts, valves etc!)
In any case I think I'll just get the head off and take a look as you suggest - there are exchange heads available on ebay for £150 which might do the job.
Hi..there..yep thats fine just need to rate one of the answers above before you log out..many thanks..
The engine will still turn over..but it will only be turning the bottom end over,so the engine will be way out of as far as timing goes - wont have any compression because none of the both cams top end not turning - hence higher pitch spinning over than it normally does..but if a valve broke off then it will jam up - With any timing belt failure its pretty much un avoidable when its come to damage..its kind natural that drivers or folk to automatically spin the engine over if it doesnt start suddenly or someone comes out to it and does it..if you know what to listen for as per the engine spinning over much higher in sound than it normally did..then thats a clue too - unless you go checking for camshaft movement via oil cap if you can see - the damage is petty much done.even if the car was running at the time of failure then again..its automatic to spin it over on the starter but the damage is done the minute the engine came to a stop....
Robert and other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Great service, thanks again.