well..i sucked it up and decided to redo the timing belt service on my '98. Bought the car in the beginning of this year. Previous owner told me it was done but she couldn't remember, so to have peace of mind...i decided to get it done. Good thing I did because all components such as wp, tensioner, idlers were all original...looks like the tech that worked on it previously only replaced the TB. I replaced everything with OE parts.
TB service went well...no rough idle, no hard starting, idle is perfect where it should be....couple of observations though:
-The sound of the V8 is now more noticeable...what I mean by that is when accelerating (not stepping on it crazy) just normal..I can hear it more like mustang V8 kind of tone..not that its bad but more noticeable now
-The shifting points feels higher than before
-Gas mileage went from 24mpg to 21-22mpg
Anyone experience these post TB service on 98-2000? would like to get some feedback from those have done theirs. How can you tell if the timing is off by a tooth? would this be "timing is off issue? can't tell because as far as idle, ride, and starting...all seems fine.
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Carefully check that you tightened all the clamps on all the air intake parts from the front of the car up to the throttle body, and that everything is fitted back together properly. If you've got a gap somewhere, it might increase the sound a tiny bit and throw off some of the sensor readings to the computer. It shouldn't make it too loud though.