4.0 SOHC Tried to fix death rattle found another problem. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

4.0 SOHC Tried to fix death rattle found another problem.


Active Member
November 30, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 Eddie Bauer
Well I started working on my engine a couple of days ago to try to fix the death rattle that started a couple months ago. I was thinking that the rattle was most likely the jackshaft to crank chain tensioner. After getting it apart and looking at it I am completely wrong it looks like somebody has already been in there and replaced the tensioners on the TSB.

Well I did find the problem though the balence shaft tensioner is shot. The left side of the tensioner is still hanging on but the right side is completely gone. I found the part of the right side wedged in between the chain and the oil pan. So I am thinking that, that part wedged in there was the rattle that I was most likely hearing.

My question is, is it ok to keep it how it is for now until I have a chance to pull the oil pans off to get to it or is it something that I need to replace immediatly.

Here are some pictures.


Jackshaft chain tensioner, no damage at all.


Balance shaft tensioner, you can see the left side is still there but the right side is gone.


Picture of the piece from the balence shaft tensioner.

Sorry for the picture quality I took them with my camera on my phone.

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Hello fellow Marylander.

I think you'll be fine for a bit -- I ran mine for almost another thousand miles after hearing the rattling sound. But to tell you the truth, replacing it is actually pretty easy, just takes a bit of time. As long as you give yourself a lot of time and get a good pace going, you should be fine.

Your broken parts look almost like mine. These I found in the pan and the "ladder frame":


These guys I found in the oil pickup metal filter thing (danger):

The tensioner's bracket missing the actual tensioner:

And finally replaced:

Ok thanks I didn't think it would be that big of deal because it is just the balancer and it cant effect the timing of the engine from going off and thats what I was attempting to prevent. Thats good to know I will probably just remove the rest of the tensioner so nothing else falls done and possible clogs the oil pump. Now to reassemble the engine.

Dont remove the rest of the tensioner -- looking at your pic, the piece of plastic is still there. That piece of plastic is probably still adding some tension or at least helping prevent the chain from skipping. Even if that plastic fell off, it wont clog up the oil pan.

I am not really worried about the plastic so much as the metal. Do you think that the rest of it could fall off it is barely on there.

I've been trying to figure out exactly how that tensioner is put together to determine whether or not that metal spring behind the plastic will fall off. But unfortunately, I cant really find a good picture. Here is one thread that has a picture of the part but not really at an angle thats usefull to us:


But to my understanding, you can not remove that tensioner from the top - you have to do it from the bottom because the two bolts are at the bottom of the balancer's bracketry. If what you're talking about is just using a pair of needle nose or something to fish out the rest of the plastic and the metal spring, then yeah that'd be okay since thats how my engine ran for a thousand or so miles. But I probably would not unbolt the tensioner bracket since its one folded side probably helps keep the chain on.

Well I just left it the way it was and replaced the jackshaft chain tensioner with a new one while I was in there. I also took care of some other problems I had with the accesorries that were squeking. After I got it all back together I cleaned the IAC and then went to start the thing up no idle and check engine light. Well stupid me forgot to reconnect the brake booster line and the electrical connection for the IAC. It runs fine now a lot quieter then before but the rattle is still there because I still need to replace that one tensioner.