Replacing Tensioner can fix timing Chain problem??? - Ford Explorer Forum - Forums for Ford Explorer Enthusiasts
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:55 PM   #1
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Replacing Tensioner can fix timing Chain problem???

I went into FOrd the other day ( not my usual dealer) and spoke to a mechanic, He said that if the timing chain issue wasnt to bad, they could replace the tensioners without taking the engine out, and that SHOULD fix the problem.... ($500)

I went to my local Ford dealer and they said you shouldnt do it as the Cogs could be warn etc and that its a bad idea.....

I can see what he is saying as I dont know if the guides are stuffed etc... I got a feeling its just the tensioner as the noise isnt always there....

Ie: When I first start the truck in the morning I get the rattle, If I turn it straight off and start it again its not there, for the rest of the drive..... SOme days I dont hear it at all, other days its all I can hear....

Just wondering if I should go the cheaper way first....? ANy suggestions.....

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Old 07-27-2011, 08:38 PM   #2
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Jump over to the Explorer forum(the big one) and hunt "SOHC tensioners cassettes".

The external tensioners have a lifespan of about 75k miles, they have a mechanical spring in them which wears out. That's almost always the first symptom you hear, but it's not the worst danger.

Inside the engine, at the end of each head(one in front, one in back), the cam chains leading to the center jackshaft, both ride on a plastic cassette. That plastic from the 1997 first SOHC, to the 2001 SOHC, all are a lower quality plastic which will fail eventually. When those wear or break apart, the chain gets way too loose, and the engine is killed. At that point your choice will be a new engine or a rebuilt engine.

Your local dealer likely quoted you the cost to change the external tensioners, which cost about $45 and $25. The front one can take an hour or two to change, the back one is about ten minutes to do. Find any decent mechanic to do those.

The internal chain cassettes are about $60 or so each to buy. The back one rarely fails evidently, so people avoid messing with that unless there is a symptom. It requires pulling the engine or trans out, it's between them.

There are a few parts wise to also replace if you get into the front to do that cassette, maybe $100 total more. The special tool to time the chains is a kit that runs about $150. That's a good sized job for a good mechanic, about five hours at least to R&R the whole front of the engine parts. There are a few things along the way which can slow things down.

It's best to plan to get the front cassette and tensioners done at the first 75k mile mark for pre 2002 SOHC 4.0 Ford engines.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:21 AM   #3
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Thakks for the "expert" info!!! And the pics. The tensioners gave out on my engine and the engine just the key was turned off. I am getting new tensioners and have the timing cover and valve covers off. I can still turn the engine over with a socket and wrench. Since, the timing chain "jumped" is there a way to make sure the timing chain and OHC is in time before trying to start it? My Chiltons only references the 1st cylinder "TDC" with the cam sensor on the damper this all that needs to be done to assure timing is correct? Thanks for the help.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:58 AM   #4
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I did a '97 4.0 shoc that was out of time. Ford did not put a pin between the cam gear & cam, so the bolt tension holds time (beat that engineer to death.) There r slots on the cam that hold it in place to tighten cam gear in time. The passenger side is the one the valve springs will push the came past the correct spot for TDC on the crank. I drilled a hole in the gear and made my own pin to match a hole inthe end of the cam.
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guides, tensioner, timing chain

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