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A Pinto engine is a happy engine if it’s got a fresh belt. Here’s how to change a cambelt.

how to change a cambelt

1. Remove the fan belt and ideally the fan to to gain access to the cambelt set-up. Note: this job is easily done with the engine in the car – we removed it to make taking the photos easier.

how to change a cambelt

2. Ensure the engine is at top dead centre (TDC). The cam pulley has a pointer that needs to be lined with the marked hole in the head. 

how to change a cambelt

3. The crank pulley has a groove that lines up with a ridge on the front cover.

4. Now remove the bottom pulley by either locking the cam or using some force with a breaker bar. They are usually fairly easy to come off, but borrow an impact gun if it proves to be too hard. 

5. Using a splined tool, loosen the tensioner spring and then loosen the bolt holding the tensioner itself in place. 

6. Use a screwdriver or similar to push down on the tensioner to release tension on the belt. Gently slide the belt off while still pushing down, as it’s self-sprung.

7. With the belt off check the tensioner for wear by giving it a quick spin. Replace it if it’s noisy or there’s resistance.


8. Before fitting the new belt, check that the pulleys haven’t moved from their TDC marks, then start by feeding the belt over the bottom pulley first.

9. You also need to check that the auxiliary pulley hasn’t moved, as there are no markings on the pulley itself and if it’s wrong then the ignition timing will be out. Check it’s in the right position by removing the dissy cap and lining up the rotor arm with marking on the distributor housing.

Thanks to Dave Fisher at D&D Developments

This Classic Ford guide to how to change a cambelt first appeared in the November 2011 issue

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