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Author Topic: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt  (Read 9259 times)

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boughtabobcat

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78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« on: April 07, 2014, 04:04:25 PM »
Okay guys, needing all the knowledge I can get, starting a project in the next couple of days and I want to be sure I do it right, cause I love my lil' Dragon Wagon! Here's the scenario- was driving my GF to her sisters last night(about 15 miles away) and noticed when I started the Dragon Wagon that it was idling pretty high, and wouldn't kick down like it normally does. Also, when I got it backed out of the carport and started driving, it was lacking the normal awesome power that a 2.3l 4 cyl puts out (Lol!). I didn't think much of it, made it to Sis's and while I was in the driveway there, sprayed the carb down with gumout just to clean things up a bit. Started it up, still idling a bit high, went to the local market about 1/4 mile away, got some smokes, and went to head home. Started good again, now idling more normally. Got to driving up a slight hill about 1/2 mile down the road but was lacking power and near the top of the hill, the DW just dies- no backfire, nothing- just quit. So I turn it over a couple of times and it won't start. Checked the gas gauge(step one) and it had gas, so I pulled the gas line from the fuel filter and crank it a couple of times and no gas, so I assume its the fuel pump. Found a ride, went to town about 40 miles away and got a fuel pump($25). Pushed the car into the driveway of a wonderful older gent who was kind enough to let me use it, and replaced fuel pump. Still no start. Took fuel line off at fuel filter again, and no fuel - AHH! So called a friend of mine who's a mechanic and he suggested also checking for spark- no spark at the #1 plug, but good spark from the coil when I took the coil wire off the distributor. (stuck a screwdriver in the end and laid said screwdriver on the fender.) Next step was taking off the dist. cap and seeing if the rotor was turning, which it ain't. :(  Quick peek at the timing belt at the top of the cover showed a raggedy, cracked, frayed looking thing just screaming to be replaced. So to the zone I went, got a new timing belt($12) and now I'm in the process of getting the DW towed home to change the timing belt. I do have a Haynes manual for the wagon, but I'd like to know if there are any secrets, tips, things to be careful of, or any easy ways to do this lil' project that you guys know and might share... oh yeah, I don't have a timing light....

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2014, 05:27:27 PM »
Changing the belt is easy enough. Just follow the directions in the manual. Running a string between the timing marks helps assure you are lined up.
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boughtabobcat

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2014, 05:44:29 PM »
Thanks, 5.0! Line the strings up center of the sprocket bolts and align the marks along the string, I guess?

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2014, 07:18:11 PM »

 
Do the upper then move the string to the lower & line it up with the idler.
'73 Sedan (I'll get to it)
'76 Wagon driver
'80 hatch(Restoring to be my son's 1st car)~Callisto
'71 half hatch (bucket list Pinto)~Ghost
'72 sedan 5.0/T5~Lemon Squeeze

Offline amc49

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2014, 02:10:46 PM »
Make sure you get correct belt for the teeth on sprockets. Round tooth for round tooth sprocket and square tooth for square. The parts stores commonly mess that up.

Turn engine several turns clockwise just before you set the tensioner and stop gently on your mark by sneaking up on it. Do NOT turn backwards, it drops off tension at the tensioner roller. You are rolling all belt looseness to the left side to allow tensioner to eat it up. Let the tensioner spring load belt while doing all that and when you slowly stop, then tighten tensioner bolt. Do NOT add more tension yourself, you will simply cut belt life in half.

Never turn backwards or counterclockwi se at the crank, these can easily jump time by doing so. If you go too far trying to set the marks then keep going clockwise and start over.

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2014, 07:41:56 PM »
You will also need to turn the distributor CCW before you point the rotor to #!. These engines need a lot of CW rotation to get the ignition timing right. And yes, you need a timing light. After you get the belt on, turn the dist CW a little bit and it should fire up. If not move it some more.
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2014, 03:47:44 PM »
Later electronic ignition helps, you can line up the reluctor very close to make it start almost instantly.  Using reluctor is closer than using rotor. I personally never keep cranking, if it does not start in 3 seconds I go looking for the reason.

X2 on the timing light needed, every belt settles in a little different, they often vary up to 3-4 degrees in timing. Some will be dead on and some won't.

boughtabobcat

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 11:22:03 PM »
Well, just to update- the weather finally got nice enough for me to put in the timing belt, and thanks to all the advice and tips here, things went really smoothly, only one minor glitch. After getting the cam and crankshaft timing marks all lined up and set, I made sure the rotor was pointing at the #1 wire.... forgot that it needed to be the ORIGINAL position for #1, and not the position for #1 after it had been timed previously -DUH! anyway, looked at the timing mark on the cover, saw that it was sitting at 2 degrees BTDC, just like the sticker on the valve cover stated, fired it up and it was running poorly, but running. So started slowly turning the distributor ccw, and got it to where it sounded good and jumped in for a spin. Lo and behold, I had no power on acceleration at all! So I turned it as far as I could ccw and still the same. Finally the light bulb went off and I remembered that I needed to set the rotor at the ORIGINAL position for #1 which was basically 7o'clock (when looking at the distributor from the left fender well), and I had set it to the TIMED position for #1, which was 4 o'clock. So I just loosened the belts, turned the crank back around to the timing mark (I had knocked out the little port at the top of the timing belt cover when I had it off before and had cut the fan shield in half so I could just remove the top half to see), reset the distributor to the original #1 position, and voila! It was then just a matter of turning the dist. to get it to purr like a kitten! Still don't have a timing light so I've done it by ear, but it runs better than ever now! The sticker on the valve cover says 20 degrees BTDC and my son in law is coming in this weekend for Easter, so I'm having him bring his timing light to see how far off I am, but the way the Dragon Wagon is running now, I doubt I'll change a thing! Thanks again everyone for the tips and advice! Happy Easter to all!

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2014, 02:11:25 PM »
Good to hear you got it sorted out. I timed by ear for years but broke down & bought a good dial back timing light 25 years ago.
 
Happy Easter!!
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'76 Wagon driver
'80 hatch(Restoring to be my son's 1st car)~Callisto
'71 half hatch (bucket list Pinto)~Ghost
'72 sedan 5.0/T5~Lemon Squeeze

Offline amc49

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2014, 05:23:37 PM »
Timing by ear is how you lose scads of fuel wasted on a car that still seems to run great......... .............y ou will not feel the 2-3 horses lost by it not being optimum but be assured the gas mileage will. And only five degrees or less error can send emissions totally out the window.

boughtabobcat

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2014, 11:18:56 AM »
Well, the son-in-law showed up with the timing light, and we got it set to the sticker advised 20 degrees BTDC (I had it set at 30), but it was running poorly- missing badly and wanting to choke itself out. So it was time for some rooting around under the carb, and I found a collapsed vacuum line coming from the intake manifold. Luckily it was long enough that I was able to pull it, trim about an inch and a half off the collapsed end, flipped it around so the "bad" end was coming out, and yippee!! It runs better than I had imagined! I also started to investigate the other vacuum  lines and discovered that a few had been routed wrong, and a couple needed some trimming and refitting. But now I have one other issue that's just bugging me- there's a green check valve diaphragm coming off the air cleaner (it points directly towards the front of the motor) that has ports for two vacuum lines coming off (one slightly larger on the bottom), well these ports just have been plugged with one section of vacuum line going from one to the other, but I wonder should they actually be going to something? Its got the Model 5200 V2 carb on it- does anyone know of a place I can get a diagram of the vacuum lines for that carb and how they're routed? Or is leaving it plugged going to be okay? As I said, its running really well atm, just idles a little high for my taste....

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2014, 10:57:18 PM »
Could literally be several things. Maybe public library if in the big city, the reference section. Mine here has service manuals for older Fords like the vacuum diagram ones.

boughtabobcat

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2014, 03:23:21 PM »
Here's some pics of how the main vacuum lines are routed atm, seems to give me the best performance so far...

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2014, 03:35:51 AM »
Not a vacuum canister in the driver wheelwell, rather, the carbon canister for emissions.

boughtabobcat

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Re: 78 Bobcat wagon 2.3l timing belt
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2014, 03:05:08 PM »
One final update- was looking around on the net and in checking out some pics of a 78 bobcat wagon that had been posted as an advertisement for sale, I came across these pics of the engine which had clear views of the vacuum lines, so I finally saw how to route the lines from the check valve on the air cleaner I had questions about. Maybe posting the pics will help anyone else who has questions about the vacuum lines on a 2.3L with the Holley 5200 carb like I had...