Monday, December 08, 2008

SVT Focus Timing Belt

Just a reminder for those of you who drive an SVT Focus (or any performance-oriented car with an interference engine): Replace your timing belt early, and often. Though Ford says to replace it at 120k in the manuals, they were obviously drunk, high, or hung-over when they wrote that. Many have had them break with only 80k miles on them, so 60k is the recommended guideline. Whatever you do, try not to let it go over 60,000 miles.

Why? Because in an interference engine (most cars are non-interference), when the belt breaks, the valves are allowed to hit the cylinders - and they collide at full force, causing massive amounts of damage.

More bad news, on an SVT Focus, the timing belt can be very complicated to change, and only qualified Ford mechanics should tackle it. More bad news, it's going to cost between $400 and $600+ to get it done. You should probably change your water pump, and belt tensioner while you're at it, so there's some more change out of your pocket.

Welcome to the world of owning nice things. The non-sport, regular version of the Focus really doesn't need a belt change until 120k, costs less to get done, is much simpler in design, and won't cause any engine damage if it breaks (you'll just be left stranded on the side of the road). It also takes premium octane fuel instead of regular (about 30 cents more per gallon at most places), gets poor mileage for a 4 cylinder, and has more problems.

But is it worth it? Ask any SVTF owner, and they will tell you "absolutely" with a huge smile on their face! :)


Justin said...

As an SVT owner: Amen.

chris said...

as a SVT owner and DIYer I have found that replacing the timing belt quit easy... the parts covering the belt all come off and all goes right together. owning a stock focus- never! This car get great gas mileage and performs even better! highway driving 30mpg (give or take) I can drive anywhere and have a great time driving! get one!