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4.6L Explorer engine timing chain ooops!

Discussion in 'Need for Speed!' started by jah81592, January 10, 2008.

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    1. Capri302

      Capri302 New Member

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      My last comment in this 4.6 thread! Finally!

      Hi, Steve.

      Problem is; the FAST XIM (ignition) box have some limitations, unfortunately...
      If I choose the 36-1 crank wheel, there's only one way to go with a 1- tooth cam sensor. And fortunatly, this is the 4.6- setup. Which have given the opportunity to get a complete engine harness & correct fireing order. Am going with a 351 cam, and therefore the 4.6 order.

      (If I'd gone with other rype of crank wheel, the options would have been there, but then I would have had other issues....)

      I have now got the cam phase sensor timing figured out by a guy at EECtuning, so thanks alot for the link, Steve. He had the engine on the rack in his workshop and checked the timing.

      25 deg ATDC.

      Thanks again

      RS
       
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    3. Splora

      Splora New Member

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      Explorer V8 timing chain rattle

      Have you considered replacing the tensioner and idler bearings? Might be worth a try before stripping the motor down. I replaced mine when I did a serpentine belt change
       
    4. JW

      JW Elite Explorer

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      I'm in the middle of this very repair on my Explorer. Oddly enough, I didn't find this thread using the board's search tool but did find it with Google.

      On mine, the passenger side also broke. I don't have the front cover off yet, due to the power steering pump, but I do have the valve covers off and can see into the front cover. The guide for the passenger side is floating freely in the cover; not sure about the tensioner arm. There is also a tremendous amount of slack in the passenger side chain, while the driver's side is nice and tight. I'm going to replace all the plastic pieces once I get it fully torn down. I don't believe the passenger side chain jumped time but will verify before putting it all back together.

      One question - many of the instructions I've found state the power steering pump needs to be fully removed from the motor, while in this thread I read that only the pulley needs to go (there's a front cover bolt hidden behind it). When I did a head gasket job on a 5.4L Expedition a few years ago, I had to remove the pump from the motor. Which is it - the pump or just the pulley?

      @Splora - when mine started making noise, I thought it was a bad idler or tensioner pulley, so I let it go for a bit, until my oil pressure went away. The tensioner and all three of the idlers are good.
       
    5. kware1

      kware1 Active Member

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      As somone experienced in this, this noise been going for over a year now. Do you think a bad tensioner would hv revealed itself by now? I changed the belt tensioners and idle pulley to no avail.
       
    6. JW

      JW Elite Explorer

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      I suppose it depends on how broken your tensioner/guide arms are. If there's only a little play in them, you might be able to run for quite some time (I went for nearly a month before losing indicated oil pressure, but the guide arm on the passenger side is completely broken off).

      One fairly easy test, and it will only cost you a couple of hours and possibly a set of valve cover gaskets: pull the valve covers, one side at a time (start where the noise is), and check for slack in the chain. They should be tight with no play at all. On mine the driver's side is tight while the passenger side (the noisy side) is absurdly loose, and I can see the guide arm bouncing inside the front cover. If one is loose, you're in for a teardown of the front of the engine to replace whatever's broken. The parts list, for both tensioner/guide arms, front cover and valve cover gaskets, is about $125. But it will probably take you a weekend to do it, if you've never been in one of these before.
       
    7. kware1

      kware1 Active Member

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      Okay, thanks I will try that out. Don't know if I mentioned before that I had the tensioners and guides replaced about 2 to 3 years ago. Don't really remember if they replaced the chain also. But I was thinking it would be awfully soon if they went again.
       
    8. Splora

      Splora New Member

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      To JW re tensioner. Where can I get tensioner/guide arms, front cover and valve cover gaskets for $125, Ford Australia want an arm and a leg for these parts. Can I import them?
       
    9. JW

      JW Elite Explorer

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      I imagine you probably could, though it could take a bit to get them. Check with Northern Auto Parts (www.northernautoparts.com); when I did my head gasket job on my Expedition a few years ago, they were instrumental in getting parts to me the local places kept screwing up.

      The guides are all made by Melling (the oil pump people). Gaskets are all Fel-Pro.

      Guide Or Damper BG334 $21.34 1 $21.34
      Guide Or Damper BG333 $21.34 1 $21.34
      Guide Or Damper BD322 $10.62 1 $10.62
      Guide Or Damper BD321 $13.49 1 $13.49
      Valve Cover Gasket Set VS50564R $33.48 1 $33.48
      Timing Cover Gasket Set TCS46064 $17.38 1 $17.38
       
    10. JW

      JW Elite Explorer

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      I completed this over the weekend. I don't have pictures, but they would have looked exactly like those on page 1. The passenger side guide was broken into three pieces, plus a lot of debris. The tensioner arm was worn completely through to the tensioner itself, which was also ground down. Chain showed no wear. The driver side guide was starting to break, but the tensioner arm and tensioner were fine. I replaced all the plastic pieces, and the passenger side tensioner, and managed to get the chains back on with the correct cam timing in the first attempt. Should be good for another 100,000 miles :splat:
       
    11. JW

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      Additional information that may be useful to other Explorer owners with this issue, in no particular order...

      - The radiator doesn't have to be removed. In fact, I discourage it, since the radiator, trans cooler and AC condenser are inexplicably married in a most unholy union. A standard harmonic balancer puller will not fit with the radiator in the truck, but a shorter bolt from Orchard Supply Hardware in the center of the puller provided a good workaround. For the puller I had, it was a 5/8" fine thread (18 per inch, I think; Home Depot only had coarse thread 5/8" bolts). You will need to provide some sort of spacer between the end of the bolt and the crankshaft snout, so that the bolt doesn't chew up the crank (maybe a socket from that cheap auto parts store tool set you bought in a pinch that one time...).

      - I had posted in another thread that I was having trouble getting the power steering pump off. Instructions I found elsewhere said it had to be unbolted from the engine (and one set of instructions even stated it had to be completely drained and removed). It simply needs to be unbolted (but all bolts need to be removed, as the bracket for the PS reservoir blocks access to one of the front cover bolts). The issue with mine is one of the bolts, attaching it to the front cover, is hidden behind a PS line on the pump. The pump has four mounting holes, and several sets of instructions I saw for Mustangs and other vehicles say only three of them need to be used. I believe this bolt was placed incorrectly at the factory and should have been in the rear hole instead of the front. I cut it off with a Dremel and a cutoff wheel between the pump and the front cover, and will add one to the rear hole soon. (You do also have to pull the pulley, because even with the pump unbolted, it won't move out of the way enough to get to the front cover bolt behind it. When I did the head gaskets on my Expedition, I had enough room to pull it out of the way.)

      If you suspect your motor has jumped time due to chain slack, the next two points will NOT apply to you. Mine didn't, so I was able to use this procedure successfully. I've used this procedure on a 5.4 and a 4.6 with good results.

      - Cam timing: it's not necessary to get the camshaft holding tool that Ford specifies (or the crank holding tool, for that matter). Before removing the chains, set up the engine as follows: The dot on the crank sprockets should be at a 6:00 position (this puts the keyway on the crank at what would be about a 10:30 position for the hour hand). The cam sprockets should have their dots at about an 11:00 position on the passenger side and 12:30 position on the driver side. From there, the tensioners can be removed. Note that one or both of the cams might rotate a bit after the timing chain tension is released. Not a big deal, if the motor is set up right before releasing them. You'll fix that on installation...

      - Timing chain/tensioner install: This is a minimum two person job, if you don't have the holding tools. Rely on the copper-colored links on the chains, but mark them with something to make them more obvious (I used a Sharpie). Place one of the colored links on the crank sprocket, at the dot at 6:00. Then route the chain through the tensioner and guide arms, and start to place it over the cam sprocket, placing the other colored link at the dot on the cam sprocket. You may find you have to rotate the cam a bit to get it to sit right (using a ratchet and 18mm socket), and also hold the chain on the bottom of the crank sprocket. Once the links are in the right spot, you can release the hold on the tensioner, and the cam if you had to rotate it. Repeat for the passenger side.

      - Find all the debris you can. I had it in all sorts of places in the front cover and the front of the engine. I didn't find anything in the pan, but didn't drop it, either. The guides seem to initially break into large pieces, but the meat grinder environment turns them into little pieces pretty quickly.

      - Ford changed the design of the tensioner assembly sometime after 1998. Before, you could collapse it in a vise, and insert a paper clip in a hole to hold it (my Expedition and Ranger both worked this way). Now that hole is gone, and a retaining clip is used. I got lucky in that I had to get one new tensioner, so I used the retaining clip from it on both tensioners. If your tensioners are good, you'll need to find that retaining clip or come up with another method to collapse the tensioners. Auto parts stores didn't know what I was talking about when I asked about it, and my local Ford dealer doesn't carry any of the Ford-specified "special" tools.

      - While you're in there, modify the little drip guard for the oil filter if you haven't already, so it doesn't eat up the wiring harness that sits right above it. Three 13mm bolts and five minutes, and about 3/4" off the top and that's it.
       
    12. Pontisteve

      Pontisteve Active Member

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      I would probably do at least one low-mileage oil change, and cut the filter open to see what you find. But put enough miles on it to actually have time for the filter to catch the pieces. The modular oil pump gears don't take too kindly to chunks going thru them.

      Ford makes two tensioners. The older cast iron tensioner with the little plastic one-way ratchet device and the newer composite tensioner that uses the retainer clip to hold it compressed while installing. New tensioners generally come with the new clip.

      In racing, we have found that the old tensioners are much better. The newer design fails more often. Also, the newer design doesn't have the ratchet ladder, which helps to compensate for chain stretch by keeping the chain slack taken up. Once the motor is running, the oil pressure against the tensioner keeps the slack up, so it's really only about starting the vehicle and stretched chains.

      You can take the old cast iron tensioners apart pretty easy. There's not much too them. You should be able to disassemble, clean, and inspect them. I think the only thing that could really fail in them is the teflon sealing ring that acts like a piston ring for the tensioner piston.

      If you have the old style tensioners, DONT throw them away. They're hard to come by, and Ford quit making them, and they're better.
       
    13. bcbow1971

      bcbow1971 New Member

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      OK I am thinking this is my problem with my new to me 03 4.6 Explorer. Here is a video of the noise that just started yesterday.

      Any suggestions please feel free to contact me. BTW with belt off noise still there and with increased rpms noise matches rpms
      [​IMG]
       
    14. kware1

      kware1 Active Member

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      Hey, How did you get my car? Lol. Seriously, that sounds exactly like my engine. It's an 02 with 198k, but the noise probably started at about 160k. I do a long commute, so it didn't take long to reach 198k.

      Anyway, how long has your engine been making this noise? Everyday day I have my fingers crossed hoping whatever it is doesn't manifest itself on the highway.

      I let a couple mechanics listen to it, and none had a definitive answer. Please, if you get any answers post it.

      Thanks!
       
    15. bcbow1971

      bcbow1971 New Member

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      Mine started that noise Sunday, two days ago. I plan on getting a deepwell 8mm socket to get the Valve cavers off and check everything out hopefully tonight. I assume that the the chain will be loose if the tensioner or guides are bad but not sure if there is no oil pressure on tensioner.
       
    16. Pontisteve

      Pontisteve Active Member

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      Could be a broke tensioner, guide, or tensioner arm. Pop the valve cover off and have a look at the chain, and the rest of the valvetrain on that head while you're at it. If the chain has any slack in it at all, something's wrong and the timing cover has to come off.

      You could also drain the oil, and look for pieces of nylon/plastic in the oil, from the guide or tensioner arm. You might try a stethoscope on that side as well, to better narrow down the noise before disassembly.

      I've heard a broken guide/arm before, that sounded just like a knocking motor to me.
       
    17. bcbow1971

      bcbow1971 New Member

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      Thanks I plan on popping the valve cover off tonight. I am PMing you my email if you have those PDF's as well. Also found this video that gives a great idea on basics of removal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAQwkISqdGw&feature=plcp two part

      Thanks again to all and I will let you all know the outcome of the inspection.
       
    18. Pontisteve

      Pontisteve Active Member

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      My money is on the tensioner, if it's the phenolic type. But an arm wouldn't surprise me either.

      You'll be able to see a loose chain with the valve cover off. DON'T try to run the engine with the cover off to see the chain move. You'll throw oil all over hell. If you do try it, build yourself a plastic bucket that goes over the bulk of the timing gear, because that's the major oil slinger. Hopefully you'll be able to see the loose chain without going thru all that.

      You'll need fan clutch wrenches to get the fan off as well as the usual PS puller, harmonic balancer puller, etc.
       
    19. bcbow1971

      bcbow1971 New Member

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      OK it was just what I suspected........Broken Timing chain guide so I just ordered a complete set of guides, Tensioners and Chains along with gaskets..

      Here is video to see what I found...

      [​IMG]
       
    20. Pontisteve

      Pontisteve Active Member

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      Dont bother replacing the chains. They never fail. The guides, tensioner arms, and tensioners do. Are your tensioners the cast iron ones or the lightweight composite ones? The cast ones are very good, but the composite ones do fail. You can take them apart and inspect them.
       
    21. bcbow1971

      bcbow1971 New Member

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      I haven't got a chance to inspect them yet. I will wait until all the parts come in and do it all at once.
       
    22. bcbow1971

      bcbow1971 New Member

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      OK thanks to Pontisteve and this post I replaced my chain guides and tensioners!!! All done and running great......only thing I may need to do is drop the pan and get the rest of the plastic pieces out.
       
    23. Pontisteve

      Pontisteve Active Member

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      Which component actually failed, the guide or the tensioner arm? And how were the tensioners?
       
    24. bcbow1971

      bcbow1971 New Member

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      The guides broke and the passenger side tensioner arm was wore through and some wear on the tensioners.....the factory tensioners looked like the same material, hard plastic(Polymer), as the new ones. I replaced the following:

      Tensioners
      Tensioner arms
      Guides
      Valve cover gaskets
      Timing chain cover gasket
      Main seal

      I have a new set of chains but they looked good and as you said the old ones should be fine.
       
    25. Pontisteve

      Pontisteve Active Member

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      Hmmm. I have the exact same truck with 130k, and no problems yet. I wonder what the difference is between yours and mine, that would cause your stuff to break earlier? I am not the original owner, but have had it since 80k and run Motorcraft 5w20 oil in it, and a Motorcraft filter (ala Walmart).

      Motorcraft oil is semi-synthetic on their lighter weights. I wonder if this has an impact on longevity? I figured it can't hurt, and at Walmart, the Motorcraft oil is often one of the lower priced oils. Although recently, they've all shot thru the roof in price.

      I have a couple tips for you. Make sure you get the factory specs and torque the timing chain cover properly and in order. Make sure you use black silicone to dab in all the joint areas where two different gaskets come together. And the best one... make sure you put a dab of black silicone on the keyway, or oil will leak right thru the keyway and out the front of the crank, making you think your front seal is bad.

      FYI, those chains pretty much never fail. They can stretch over time some, but the tensioner takes up the slack. That does however retard the camshaft a little. Any time you do a mod motor timing chain job, you should always use the slop in the cam gear keyway to "advance" the cam as much as possible. There's about 2 crankshaft degrees worth of slop in the keyway. We want to, at the very least, advance it to compensate for timing chain stretch.

      4.6 Cobra Mustangs actually use a polished version of that chain, which has less friction. I've never tried updating a 2v to that 4v polished chain, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
       
    26. bcbow1971

      bcbow1971 New Member

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      The previous owner used Valvoline 5w20 and standard filter....I have switched and will just use Motorcraft 5w20 Semi Synthetic and MC filter.

      I used the blue silicone(better for oil resistance) on the joints as well I used it in the grooves of the chain cover and valve cover light thin line and then gasket to hold in place and creat an extra level of seal. didnt do the keyway but I pressed the bearing in about 1/32" less than factory to keep it away from key.
       

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