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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those Mazda Tribute owners that have experienced the horrifying sound of a con-rod bearing failure, I have some information that may be of help to you. I recently requested help on this site, with regard to the correct torque setting for the connecting rod bolts on my (2005) 2.3 liter Tribute engine. I received no reply, but am not surprised, since (after days of research) I learned that nobody knows! I even contacted Ford directly for the information that I needed. They were not able to provide the correct info either, but were willing to "fix" my vehicle if I towed it to their location.

I was very fortunate that the Crankshaft Journal was not badly scored during the rod bearing failure. I was able to polish the journal, by hand, with sand paper. In my particular case, 600 grit was used, followed by 800 grit (wet or dry paper). I cut the sand paper into strips approximately 1/2 inch wide, and used a finger to carefully smooth the surface, using engine oil as a lubricant. I cleaned the surface with a lint-free cloth several times during the process, and checked the journal surface to track my progress. When I was satisfied with the work, a final cleaning was performed with the cloth/solvent to remove any traces of abrasive residue. I used Moly Lube assembly grease to lube the journal and bearing to protect it during start up.

After researching similar engines, with similar con-rods and bolts, I made an educated guess and installed the connecting rod caps. I tightened the connecting rod bolts (in 11lb increments) to 33 ft lbs. I also used (blue) medium strength Thread Lock on the bolts during assembly. (The threads must be clean and free of oil before application. I used acetone and a clean cloth to remove oil from the bolts, and solvent-soaked Q-Tips to clean the internal threads in the rods.) Note: New rod bolts must be used. It is very important to carefully observe the position of the rod caps, with respect to their corresponding rods, as they must be installed exactly as they were from the factory. It is best to mark the caps with numbers to identify their position prior to disassembly.

I also cleaned the Oil Pan, Oil Pump Pick Up Screen, and all accessible surfaces with solvent (to remove metal residue created by the failed bearing) and dried with compressed air before reinstalling. Fresh oil was added, along with a new oil filter. I filled the filter with clean oil before installing, to insure the engine would not experience a delay in oil pressure during start up.

I started the engine and alowed it to idle for approximately 10-15 minutes while listening for any problems, checking for oil leaks, ect. Finding none, I then test-drove the vehicle for approximately 1 hr. During the test drive, I was careful to keep the engine rpm low, while increasing it incrementally over the course of an hour. The engine ran well, with no problems during the test-drive.

All of this work was performed on Saturday, and the vehicle was subsequently used for a family outing on Monday. Today, the vehicle is back in use as a daily driver.

Cost of repair if performed by Ford: $4200.00
Actual cost of repair at home: $48.39
Con Rod Bearings were obtained through Summit Racing. ( Ford 2.3 L/140 CI bearing set)

Best regards,
Marshall H.
Mount Airy, MD

87 Posts
Took me a while to find the actual specs, looks like you got it close from what I found on alldata.

Sorry I never spotted your first post on this, work is taking up most of my time these days. Here is the spec i found.

Connecting Rod Cap Assembly Note


* When assembling the connecting rod caps, align the broken, rough faces of the connecting rods and connecting rod caps.

1. Tighten the connecting rod bolts in two steps using the SST (49 D032 316). Tightening torque

(1) 26-32 N-m (2.7-3.2 kgf-m, 19.2-23.6 ft-lbf)
(2) 80°-100°
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