04-- 4.0 all 4 chains replaced. completely gunked why? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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04-- 4.0 all 4 chains replaced. completely gunked why?


New Member
February 18, 2011
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City, State
Lyman, S.C.
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Just had 4 timing chains replaced and oil pump pickup picked out from broken parts clogging it up. The engine was completely gunked up something terrible. Oil changed approximatley every 3500- 5000 miles regularly. Now has 152,000 miles on it. And serviced often. Had to scrape off top of heads and oil pan to get to where it could be cleaned. Any ideas what contributed to clogging of engine. The cassetts, tensioners and chains were about to go prior to replacing parts. He has no idea how the truck didnt seize! Luck I guess. Any thoughts

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Did you change the filter at each oil change? What oil have you been using?

Yes they did. She's had it changed at 3 different places over the years. One place she actually saw them replace it each time. I saw it the one time I took it for her as for the other place? Dont know, and dont remember how many times she took it there. Had same thing happen to a 96 camry. Was puzzled about that too. I have a 91 Honda that that is run in the ground and rarely changed using 30 wt oil and havent had a problem with that. With 250,000 on it! Something is causing this and can't figure this out. I have a 01 explorer and don't want the same to happen to it. Total tune-ups havent been as regular, not too far apart between, but oil changes have. Still puzzled! Thanks for the question.

Sorry, Haveline at one place she said. I think she told me Pennzoil at the other. She said in yellow container so im thinking Pennzoil. I'm leading toward the oil for the gunk. To me thats not the best.

I'm not an oil expert but many moons ago I was taught that it is not so important the brand of oil you use, as it is to stick with the same oil through the vehicles life. There are different chemical compositions in different brands of oil and the differences in them when combined can result in things like this.

No idea if this is true but I have always adhered to this theory and have never experienced what you describe. Things may be different today. That was told to me 40 or so years ago.

Today, I run mobil one in everything even the lawn mower and only use NAPA Gold filters. The filters may not be rated the best but they are toward the top and they are readily available so I stick with them.

I can see where maybe additives could possibly create some havoc like described but I don't use them either. I think the best thing is to change your oil regularly with a good quality oil and use one with the proper detergents. Always dump the oil when hot as the solids are in suspension better and will flow out with the oil more readily.

My $.02 anyway :D
Good luck


If the thermostat is not working properly to warm the engine then sludge will rapidly build up in the crankcase. Does the engine temperature gauge reach normal? Also, if the vehicle is mostly driven short distances the engine won't have time to warm up and sludge will accumulate. I use Gunk engine flush just before oil/filter change. I add it to the engine, idle the engine for five minutes and then drain the oil pan. Sludge should not be a problem with synthetic oil.

Thermostat and water pump may be the answer. Replaced thermostat in winter of 2010 when truck just wasn't getting quiet warm enough but never ran hot enough to be concerned. Then January noticed a leak around water pump itself and around the part where thermostat is placed and sensor is located. Replaced all the components in there and heater produced good heat. That makes sense. Will be changing oil myself now. Hope I'm lucky, all the plastic guides of the timing chains had broken up and fell into the oil pan. Mechanic said he didn't know how it was running at all. Got it in just in time. Even had to pick out the fragments out of the pick up port. Going to look at my other explorer closer now. Thanks for the input!

3 Words

Cheap Oil Changes!!!!!!!!

Quick lubes and just about all chain shops use the cheapest bulk oil they can find! I know this from first hand experience. The chain shop I USED to work at was the worst! They would spend days trying to find the cheapest oil and filters they could, they had to charging $13.95. It was just amazing to see the garbage that they made me put in peoples engines, and what was more amazing was the massive amount of oil changes we did!!! People thought they were getting a "good deal", but what they were getting was semi recycled oil with NO detergents in it and a filter that was just there for the oil to flow through. Oh and the other reason the engine sludged up was lack of oil changes, don't let her fool you or fool yourself, This was the main reason.

synthetic oil changes now?

Was wonderiing about synthetic oil for my explorer. Taking a chance, worth it or what? Really considering it now that all new chains have been added. Replies? Thanks.

Was wonderiing about synthetic oil for my explorer. Taking a chance, worth it or what? Really considering it now that all new chains have been added. Replies? Thanks.

#5 above