i always double check gates info.
while they are an important research tool when performing this kind of maintenance, i personally know their info is incorrect on some toyota motors.
i googled the crap outta this motor. i'm not going to list all the forum links. there are plenty of escort/wikki forum entries.
the gist of what i got was that it is technically a non-interference motor. however, all agree that the tolerances are so close, that carbon build up or any cam/lift upgrades and loss of belts at high rpm's, creates an interference issue.
with the exception of the zx2-s/r package. more aggressive cam. it is an interference motor.
bottom line is, change your belt and give it a shot. you have nothing to lose.
Replace the belt, you have to anyway, if you go to start it and have NO compression and it runs really crappy then it was interfeared with and you will need a head/valve job. If you turn the key and it goes like crazy then all is well. The service dept at Ford would tell you if you give them the VIN #.
That's a Zetec 2.0 engine - they are non-interference engines. Does it say Zetec or DOHC on the valve cover when you open the hood? I'm pretty sure all the ZX2 models had the 2.0 Zetec motor in them.
Dear God - do not listen to the guy above. Replace the belt, then see if your valves are gone? Seriously?
Zetec schmetec! Only the marketing department uses that stuff.
1999 Escort ZX2's came with the 2.0L DOHC (V.I.N. code 3) engine. Regular Escorts came with the 2.0L SOHC (V.I.N. code P) engine. 8th character of the V.I.N. is the engine code.
Either way, they're both interference-fit engines.