Guide Protege Timing Belt Change (How-To)


2014 Focus ST
Posting this because most of the threads that exist now are missing pieces. The part numbers listed for the belts and thermostat might be different for your vehicle, and in these lists refer to the MSP. Third party parts will be much cheaper than OEM, and ran me about $225 shipped for everything.

Links to the FSM for more instructions:

Parts (for 3rd gen Protege with 2.0L engine, MSP included)
  • Third party parts list
  • Timing Belt Component Kit: Gates (TCK228)
  • Water Pump: Gates (42135)
  • Power Steering/AC Belt: Gates (K050459)
  • Alternator/Water Pump Belt: Gates (K040360)
  • Valve Cover Gasket (optional): FEL-PRO (VS50574R)
  • Thermostat with gasket (optional): Gates (34014)
  • OEM parts list
  • Timing Belt: FS01-12-205A
  • Tensioner: FS01-12-700B
  • Idler: FS01-12-730A
  • Water Pump: FS01-15-010F
  • Water Pump Gasket: FS02-15-116
  • Power Steering/AC Belt: FS59-18-381E
  • Alternator/Water Pump Belt: FS59-18-381C
  • Valve Cover Gasket (optional): FSD7-10-235
  • Thermostat with gasket (optional): KL01-15-171A-9U

  • Long breaker bar
  • Sockets: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 21mm
  • Box wrenches of the same sizes (ratcheting wrenches will help big time)
  • Sockets extensions
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Crescent wrenches (optional)

  • Break loose lug nuts, passenger front wheel
  • Jack up the car, put it on a jack stand, remove wheel
  • Loosen splash guard
  • Side: Plastic screw plug, 2x10mm bolts
  • Under front: 1x10mm bolt
  • Start draining coolant
  • Access panel in splash guard, open it
  • Put pan/bucket under panel, unscrew the drain plug
  • Let it drain while you're doing the rest of the work

Break loose crank bolt
  • Put 21mm socket and breaker bar on crank bolt
  • Wedge breaker bar into the ground facing towards front of car
  • Unplug your coil packs
  • Crank the motor for one second and check crank bolt, should be loose now
  • Finger tighten the crank bolt and set breaker bar aside

Remove side motor mount
  • Put a second jack with piece of wood under oil pan to support engine
  • Remove side motor mount support bar (14mm nut, 14mm bolt)
  • Remove bolts attaching motor mount to car (2x14mm bolts)
  • Remove nuts attaching motor mount to engine (3x17mm nuts)
  • Pull motor mount out through the top of engine compartment
  • Pump the jack one or two more times to get some more support on the engine

Remove valve cover
  • Remove coil packs (4x10mm bolts) and plug wires, set aside
  • Remove spark plugs and set aside (or toss and replace)
  • This makes it easier to set the crank to top dead center (TDC) later
  • Unplug wires
  • Power steering switch
  • Cam position senser
  • Crank position sensor
  • Use screwdriver to work compression fit zip ties out of the valve cover
  • Fold wires over the top and tuck under the strut tower bar
  • Unbolt valve cover (11x10mm bolts) in following pattern
  • 11 10 9 8
  • 2 1 7
  • 3 4 5 6
  • Remove valve cover and set aside
  • Put a towel over the valve train to keep debris out

Loosen water pump pulley
  • I do this now, because the pulley has the most tension on it right now
  • Try to loosen the pulley bolts (4x10mm) with one socket wrench
  • If that does not work, use this method
  • Set pulley bolts so one is towards the firewall, other towards radiator
  • Use one socket on the front bolt to hold the pulley still
  • Use the other socket to break loose the rear bolt
  • Rotate and repeat until all bolts have been broken free

Remove power steering belt
  • Break loose the top pivot bolt (1x14mm) and loosen it a bit, but don't remove it
  • Loosen the tensioner nut (1x14mm)
  • This is underneith the p.s. pump, hard to see, use 14mm wrench
  • Loosen the adjuster bolt (1x14mm)
  • This is right in front, turn it till the belt has enough slack to remove
  • Pull off belt, check length of new belt to make sure it's the correct length

Remove alternator belt
  • Break loose lower pivot bolt (1x14mm)
  • This is hard to get to, under car, right above the axle
  • It's possible to do this with hand tools, but a pain
  • I wedged my impact gun in there and hit it a few times
  • Loosen the bolt a few turns, but no need to remove it
  • Loosen the adjustor bolt (1x12mm) until the belt is loose enough to remove
  • Check new belt to ensure correct length

Remove water pump pulley, put engine at TDC
  • Now that the belt has been removed, remove the four bolts holding the pulley to the pump
  • Using your hands or a 21mm socket, put the engine at TDC
  • There's a tick mark in the middle of the crank pulley
  • I suggest putting white out or something to make it more visible, q-tip with white paint works well too
  • There's a part on the lower timing cover with marks on it
  • Line up the tick mark with the T on the timing cover
  • Remove the crank pulley without altering the position of the engine
  • If the crank moves, put the pulley barely on so you can move it back into place

Remove timing covers
  • Upper timing cover has four bolts that are pretty easy to see (4x10mm)
  • Pull all bolts, pull off cover, set aside
  • Lower timing cover has five bolts, some not easy to see (5x10mm)
  • One is under the side motor mount bracket
  • Another is below a bolt for the alternator bracket
  • Two are at the bottom near the crank pulley
  • The fifth is in the front and can be found pretty easily
  • Pull all five bolts, pull off cover, set aside

Remove timing belt
  • Keep the I and E of the cam gears aligned
  • You can use two crescent wrenches, one on each cam
  • Then span the handles with a box wrench and zip tie into place
  • This will help immensely later on
  • I skipped this step and it cost me probably 30-60 minutes later
  • Loosen the adjustor pulley bolt (1x14mm)
  • Loosen the adjustor tension with #6 hex wrench
  • Pull off timing belt

Remove tensioner & idler pulleys
  • Remove the tensioner pulley (1x14mm)
  • Retain the tension spring
  • Remove the idler pulley (1x14mm)

Remove water pump
  • Remove the several bolts holding the water pump in place (7x12mm)
  • You must remove the two bolts holding the p.s. bracket to the water pump
  • There are two bolts tucked in near the p.s. bracket bolts you just removed
  • The others are pretty easy to find
  • Put your coolant drain bucket directly under the water pump
  • Use a piece of wood, metal pipe, etc and break the pump free by tapping it with a hammer
  • Compare water pump with new one, make sure it's the same bolt pattern
  • Make sure the water pump pulley will fit on the new water pump

Break time
  • Go grab a brew and kick back until the coolant stops dripping out of water pump hole

Install water pump
  • Wipe up all spilled coolant, because it's bad for the belts
  • Attach the stupid rubber blockoff pieces to the pump
  • Throw some small RTV dots on the back of the pump and attach the gasket
  • This helps hold the gasket to the pump during installation
  • Gently wedge the pump into place
  • This will take some finesse and effort, because the blockoff pieces don't have much give
  • I put the pump in from the top, then worked it into place from the bottom
  • Feed all of the bolts through the pump and thread them a bit
  • Double check that the gasket is in the proper position
  • Secure all of the bolts for the water pump

Install tensioner and idler pulley
  • See what number hex wrench fits in the new tensioner, mine was #5
  • Set aside the tension spring and install the tensioner, not fully tight
  • Rotate the tensioner so the spring hole is at the top, then tighten the bolt
  • Install the tensioner spring and loosen the tensioner bolt
  • Install the idler pulley

Install timing belt
  • Keep the I and E of the cam gears aligned
  • Slide one end of the belt over the crank and push so it's about 1/2" on
  • Push belt to the correct side of the idler pulley (towards firewall)
  • Slide belt over the cam gears, exhaust then intake, pushing it on about 1/2"
  • Grab the hex wrench that matches the new tensioner
  • Put the hex wrench in the tensioner and rotate it towards the firewall
  • Wrestle the belt onto the correct side of the tensioner (towards radiator)
  • Alternate pushing the belt onto the crank and cam gears
  • Now, rotate the tensioner towards the radiator
  • Keep enough tension on the belt so it deflects a bit with your finger pulling between cam gears
  • Tighten tensioner pulley bolt
  • Double check bolts for pulleys

Check timing
  • Slide the lower timing cover into place (might be tough depending on new water pump pulley mount)
  • Do not bolt it into place
  • Slide crank pulley onto crank
  • Do not bolt it into place
  • Check that the yellow crank mark is still at "T" on the timing cover
  • Check that the I and E are still lined up on the cam gears
  • If not, pull off the timing belt and try again
  • If everything is fine, install and tighten the crank bolt
    • Use an impact gun to full tighten the crank bolt
    • If you don't have one, put the wheels back on, lower the car, chock all of the wheels, and tighten with a wrench.
    • Having someone push on the brake pedal would help when doing it with a wrench too, but chock the wheels is a must.

Install timing covers
  • Same as removing them, only in reverse
  • Make sure to reinstall the crank position sensor wire bracket
  • This goes on the lowest, front bolt on the lower timing cover

Install valve cover
  • Same as removing it, only in reverse
  • Should probably replace the valve cover gasket too
  • Install spark plugs
  • Install coil packs

Install accessory belts
  • Throw the belt over the crank pully, feed over the water pump and alternator
  • Tighten the alternator tensioner bolt until the belt deflects slightly pulling up on your finger
  • Do the same with the power steering belt
  • Tighten the power steering pivot bolt
  • Tighten the power steering tensioner bolt (the one under the pump, next to the pulley)
  • Tighten the alternator pivot bolt
  • Reattach wiring harness sensors near power steering belt

Test the belts
  • Start the car and observe/listen to the belts
  • Make sure the belts are tracking
  • Make sure the belts are not making any noise
  • Make sure you don't hear any whining from the timing belt
  • Turn car off

Finish up
  • Make sure the belts still only deflect slightly when pulling up with your finger
  • Reattach the splace guard
  • Install thermostat if you'd like, I did since the coolant was already drained
  • Put wheel back on, drop car back onto the ground
  • Fire up the car and install new coolant slowly
  • Make sure there is no coolant dripping near the crank
  • Check for leaking coolant every few days to make sure there are no leaks
Last edited:


2014 Focus ST
I scavenged pictures from the other how-to writeups.

Side Motor Mount

Water Pump Pulley

Valve Cover




Power Steering Belt
Note: This arrow is pointing to the bolt that's sort of in the dark, farther back in the pic



Alternator Belt




2003.5 Mazdaspeed Protege
i have always been able to reach the alt pivot bolt with hand tools from above the car, how come nobody else can do this? its done it like 7 times on this car already, i can chance both belts in 15 minutes flat, including removing the old ones.


2004 6 Wagon S
Are cam seals and the front crank seals NEEDED in this operation? Or is it just a good idea to do it while all this stuff is out of the way?

I see some kits include these seals, so I bought them for mine, but debating on trying to install them.


2014 Focus ST
I can't find a kit that includes them, but if you're up for it then go ahead and change them. I don't know how, but you might find the instructions IN THIS THREAD. My guess is that you need to remove the cam gears and those end caps (bolts 3/4, 13/14 in second to last picture in the thread I linked, 19/17, 18/20 in the last pic). If you want to tackle it, I would bust loose the cam gear bolts before taking the timing belt off. I wouldn't know anything about the crank seal either, and I wouldn't even begin to know how to remove it.


2014 Focus ST
After thinking about it, since the crank seal is pretty cheap, I would just pick it up any ways. I didn't think of that beforehand. Then if you notice oil weeping out of the seal, drain your oil and change it out. My best guess is that you pry the seal out with a flat screwdriver or something and just hammer the new one into place with a rubber mallet, but I could be wrong. YouTube will have the answers.


2004 6 Wagon S
I imagine it's along those lines as well. Lucky for me, I have my old blown up motor I can examine and "practice" on before attempting on my good motor. lol

Another plus is, both motors are out, so this timing belt should be a breeze with the engine on the stand. I'm just confused on the make-shift tool setup for the cam gears. What happens if you don't secure them in place? I cut the belt on my old engine, to get the adjustable came gears off quickly to sell, and nothing moved.


2014 Focus ST
You think nothing moved, but it probably did. My exhaust cam was moving backwards at least a half tooth, so putting the belt on with the proper timing was a pain in the butt. I saw this done on another forum on a different car and everyone who tried it out said it worked great. You don't have to, but it makes for a quicker timing belt install.


2004 6 Wagon S
I dunno....I had my eyes on the cam gears as I cut the belt, and I'm 99.9% nothing moved. But, i mean, it can't hurt to have some security, so I'm definitely going to try and rig this up.


02 Mazda Protege ES
please add this to info!

I want to inform the OP that there is a step on this that he needs to add and it almost made me ruin my motor, luckily I wasn't going to finish putting it back in place without an expert opinion, and luckily for me I know a mechanic that was off yesterday(sunday) and came by to show me what was wrong, so here it is, please update info so someone won't make the mistake I almost made.

Remove water pump pulley, put engine at TDC

Now that the belt has been removed, remove the four bolts holding the pulley to the pump
Using your hands or a 21mm socket, put the engine at TDC
There's a yellow mark on the crank pulley
There's a part on the lower timing cover with marks on it
Line up the yellow mark with the T on the timing cover
Remove the crank pulley without altering the position of the engine
If the crank moves, put the pulley barely on so you can move it back into place

Please add that people don't go by the yellow dot on the face of the crank pulley, they need to use the groove on top of pulley between where the two belts sit, which is hard to see if you don't know what your looking for, or to remove the crankshaft pulley and use the V that's cut out of the crankshaft gear, that marks TDC also. I know people that have done this before know what mark to go by, but people like myself that haven't done this before can benefit from this point.

Thanks after 6 hrs on saturday and 3 hrs on sunday she's running beautifully, I retired my RX7 to the garage, and gonna be enjoying this baby for a while.


2014 Focus ST
The yellow mark on my crank pulley was TDC and lined up with the tick mark. I'll update my instructions.


2004 6 Wagon S
I also did not have a yellow mark on my crank pulley. I got it though, using the groove/notch on the pulley, and the V on the crank itself.

Another note, if the cams and or crank should happen to move, be ready for the fight of your life! lol Mine jumped around on me, and it took me 2.5hrs to finally get it right...even WITH it being on an engine stand!!!
I just attempted to replace my belts, and i STRIPPED the power steering lock down bolt. It's the one that behind the pulleys. Anyone have any tips on removing it??


Bike Geek
Just want to thank livelyjay for taking the time to post all the information. I was able to change all 3 belts, the tensioner, idler and water pump by following the instructions. I have a garage, a pretty big collection of tools and a lot of mechanical inclination but I have no experience other than basic maintenance. I never would have attempted something this major without a good how-to.


Mazda Protege 1999 ES 1.8
How does a person get the bolt off the crankshaft pulley? I've broken two 8M bolts that your suppose too use on the pulley to help prevent the shaft from turning. Is there another way?


Certified Mazda Tech
2003.5 Mazdaspeed Protege x2
I use my impact, takes 2 seconds. I have used a breaker bar and bumped the starter to break the bolt loose in the past.


Bike Geek
Ditto on the impact wrench. The bolt came right out for me. Don't forget that you'll also need to tighten the bolt when you're done and a breaker bar just wants to turn the pulley. I tried to tighten it with my torque wrench and everything was just rotating so I held my impact on there for a few seconds and it worked much better.


2014 Focus ST
How does a person get the bolt off the crankshaft pulley? I've broken two 8M bolts that your suppose too use on the pulley to help prevent the shaft from turning. Is there another way?
Just like I say in the instructions. Go buy a breaker bar, a long one (mine's two feet I think). Put the socket on the breaker bar, put it on the crank bolt, wedge it against the ground towards the front of the car. Pull your coil packs off the car, get in the car, crank the ignition. The starter is strong enough to bust the bolt loose. Don't crank it for more than like one second. Then check the bolt and see if it's loose, if not, try again, if not, then I have no idea how to help you.