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Hi all my 170 has just started sounding like a washing machine! It sounds like its coming from the alternator bearings.How easy/hard are they to get out and will removing the belt affect the timing or anything else? Thanks in advance.
 

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I had the 170 but never changed the belt. The timing belt is a completely separate belt but that noise could be coming from the idler,water pump or alternator. Do not forget to disconnect the battery if your putting your hands anywhere near, a quick spin by hand of each item when you have removed the belt should tell you what you need to change.
 

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Chris - Mk2 ST XRS
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I replaced the idler and tensioner on my 170 as it started doing something similar, made a horrible sound. Bearing on one of them was shot - can't remember which. Removed aux belt and ran engine for a few mins to check the sound stopped (ie wasn't anything to do with the timing belt). Hardest part was getting the belt back on, needed a second pair of hands with a spanner to rotate tensioner while slipping belt back.
 

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Chris - Mk2 ST XRS
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Have you confirmed that's the source of the noise? There's a few guides online, or the Haynes procedure manual for the facelift focus (although doesn't explicitly cover ST/RS) might be a similar enough to be of use.

If the bearing fails completely you could lose the aux belt, and if that gets tangled with the timing belt and throws out the timing that's a big £££ problem!
 
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