1999 Mercury Villager Q&A

1999 Mercury Villager Question: What is the easiest way to know if my engine is toast after a timing belt break?

I was told that my Mercury Villager has an interference engine. One day I went to start it and it ran for just a couple of seconds before it quit. I was told by my mechanic that the timing belt broke. He said that there is a very slim chance that the engine may be OK just by replacing the belt, but it would cost several hundred dollars just to find that out. And in more likelyhood it will need a new motor anyway. What is the easiest way for me to tell whether or not the valves were bent or the piston is broken or anything else that is common with this sort of issue? I'd love to know that I can just buy the belt and put it on myself to get it up and going again, depending on whatever else one needs to look for. And are there any good resources to find the details of changing the timing belt, perhaps Chilton? Thanks in advance! -
Answer 1
This is a 3.3L engine shared with Nissan. They and the previous 3.0L engine are both interference fit engines. I have even seen the valve guides get damaged when the timing belt brakes and bends valves. good engine other wise if the engine ran well, didn't burn oil, didn't over heat it may be worth removing the cylinder heads and repairing the engine as opposed to putting in a new engine. -
Answer 2
Take valve covers off. Take cams off. remove spark plugs. Use an adapter to apply air to each cylinder. If you hear air in the intake or exhaust then you have bent valves. Like Pat has said that engine is an interference engine. I have personelly seen the timing belt break and there was no engine damage. PLEASE don't waste your money on a chilton or haynes manual. Spend $26.95 and get a year subscription to get factory info. The website is www.alldatadiy.com. It does not cost SEVERAL hundred dollars to replace the timing belt. You need to find another "mechanic". I would look for a AUTOMOBILE TECHNICIAN. How many miles do you have on the car? If you need more help from me email me at autoknowhow@gmail.com -
Answer 3
Did it Too, Yes, all of the info does say that this is an 'interference' engine but, when my timing belt shed it's teeth on the highway it DID NOT damage anything. I changed the belt & tensioner, all 3 accessory belts, plugs, cap, rotor, and wires. It started immediately and has run well for 5000 miles. Don't let a shop scare you into worse case scenarios and spend money unnecessarily. -
Answer 4
Ditto to the above post. We just got ours back up and running a few days ago so we will see how things go. I wasn't about to pay to bring it anywhere though. We paid $200 total to replace the timing belt, water pump, power steering pump, belts, hoses and gaskets. We have a few minor adjustments to make, but it didn't do any damage to the car. I called the Mercury Dealership for advice when it first happened and their "expert" on the subject said it should be fine. -
Answer 5
My just recently snapped.I was told some are interference motors and some are not.My son replaced mine for the cost of the belt $27.00 and I'm back on the road.Yippe,don't give up,these are good vehicles. -
Comment 1
There is a lot of misinformation about the Nissan built Mercury Villagers from I believe 1997-2000 or 2001. While it is absolutely true that the Mercury used the same Nissan 3 liter engine from the Quest... as part of the arrangement with Nissan, Ford insisted the engine be revised with a shorter stroke, providing valve clearance and making the engine NON INTERFERENCE. I do not think is was very well documented and many good mechanics still think the Mercury engine is interference. In addition to the above people having no issues, i too had no damage. This can also be seen by the drop in HP from the Quest to the Villager due to this engine revision. -