My 1993 Ranger 2.3 broke the timing belt running down the highway other day, so I'll be tearing into it tomorrow to replace it. Are there any tips to figuring TDC and all the other timing marks perfectly?
I assume that you have a manual. I've never done it on that motor. I've done in on a 2000 Pinto while standing off-camber, in a sand-dune on my buggy and also on several others. On a sand buggy, it can be done in 15 minutes, EZ.
Just line up the marks, give the motor two full turns and verify that the marks line up again. You can, often, start it up in order to verify that it will run, w/o putting all of the covers back on.
A word about your crank nut. It holds the pulley in place and prevents it from turning/moving. All the keyway on the crank does is index the crank to the proper location. The keyway does not prevent the pulley from moving. If the nut is loose, the pulley will move and after 20-50K miles the keyway will be wallowed out and, if you are lucky, the only thing that will be ruined is your pulley. But, likely, the crank's slots will also be messed up. I found this out on a Mazda MPV that somebody had changed the TB on. It started running worse and worse and finally, I had to advance the dizzy as far forward as possible as the crank gear had turned.