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4.6L Explorer engine timing chain ooops!

Got a local customer with an Explorer who came to the shop with a noise coming from the front cover. As I suspected the timing chain guide on the pass side was broken completely and both movable guides were worn through, right down to the tensioner. Attached is some pics.....
 

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The new tensioners i got are cast also. I read the composite had some issues so i made sure to get the cast ones. I didn't get the chance to compare the chains as he finished this afternoon. Runs great now. It is a mustang shop that i went to. Probably could have had a cheaper mechanic but sometimes its better to pay for a qualified one over someone who can "figure it out". And its still 1100 les than what the ford dealership wanted to charge and they didn't even look at it lol.
 



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Where did you get new cast tensioners? I thought they were discontinued long ago. Are they Ford brand? Do they have the ratcheting ladder?
 












The factory chains are made by Morse. They have that stamped right on them. Not sure who makes Cloyes, but I would assume they make their own.

The 4v Cobra chains are fully polished, providing less friction than the 2v chains.
 












i have ordered the cloyes kit, and will be having my timing chain done on my 02' X soon.

When the engine is warmed up, there is a very distinctive noise from the front cover, especially on deceleration. I also have a cam sensor code present, and it was not fixed via a new sensor, alternator, and pigtail. The car has been running okay, but not 100%. The timing might be out by a little. I'm hoping to have the truck running great again, and hopefully free of codes too.
 






There's not much to the cam sensor circuit. It's comprised of the cam sensor, the wiring to the PCM, and the PCM itself. The only outside issue that can have an effect on it is a bad alternator diode.

On the mechanical side, there's a bump on the driver's side cam gear that the sensor reads directly. I suppose if the tensioner went bad, and the cam timing moved enough, perhaps it MIGHT be able to throw a cam sensor code, but I doubt it. And if it were that far out, I would think it would have bent the valves by then anyway.

The cam gear and bump aren't really subject to failure on their own. It's always the tensioners, tensioner arms, and guides that fail.
 






got them from orielly autoparts. Cloyes are supposively the supplier to the dealerships for the parts they look exactly like what was replaced.


part number 9-0387sj timing kit.

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/d...71_2630&keyword=timing+kit&pt=04806&ppt=C0141

The tensioners pictured here are the older style, with the ratcheting ladder. These are the good ones, and they look just like the Ford ones to me. I'm glad I found these!!! They're hard to come by. Hopefully these are as good as the Ford ones.

On another note, the gears don't look the same, and I would not use these Cloyes gears. Just reuse the stock ones, as they never really fail.

I'm curious if the Cloyes kit comes with Morse brand chains. If anybody orders this kit, or the chains from Cloyes, could you please inspect the new chains and see if they're stamped "MORSE" on them somewhere?
 






Verify the keyway and timing mark. If all is in the same place (which i suspect they will be) use the new gears. Worn gears with a new chain will prematurely wear the chain.-j
 






if everything in the kit is more or less the same, i will be replacing it all.

I just ordered the timing cover seals, and front crank seal.

my truck needs the front valve train attended to, i can hear it. I have 3 codes, 2 for cam position sensor/mis alignment, and another for a misfire monitor. The truck overall runs okay, but I can feel it stumble at times. I wonder if the timing is slightly out.

I hope this will take care of all of my problems, and that I dont have an actual PCM issue.
 






It's probably all in the cam timing components. All those codes are in that area. It's possible the misfire monitor is a bad plug or coil or something, but I would worry about that after the chains get fixed.

Each tooth on the cam gear is worth 17.5 degrees of cam timing advance/retard. So having a loose chain is a serious issue with alignment, power, and possibly could lead to bent valves. Get'r done.

When you put the harmonic balancer back on, make sure you put a dab of black silicone in the keyway, or oil will leak out when you're done, making you believe the front seal is no good.
 






It's probably all in the cam timing components. All those codes are in that area. It's possible the misfire monitor is a bad plug or coil or something, but I would worry about that after the chains get fixed.

Each tooth on the cam gear is worth 17.5 degrees of cam timing advance/retard. So having a loose chain is a serious issue with alignment, power, and possibly could lead to bent valves. Get'r done.

When you put the harmonic balancer back on, make sure you put a dab of black silicone in the keyway, or oil will leak out when you're done, making you believe the front seal is no good.

thanks for the tips.

I replaced all the plugs, and all the coils are original... but never had a problem. It started with a Cam sensor code 6-8 months ago, then shortly after there was a rattle coming from the front of the engine. much more distinct when the engine is warm, and deceleration. The truck has 230,000kms (144k miles).
 






What kind of oil have you used it's entire life?
 






What kind of oil have you used it's entire life?

since brand new (we bought the car new) till 120,000kms (75k miles) serviced at the dealer, motorcraft 5w-20 oil and motorcraft filter

from 120,000kms (75k miles) until 200,000kms (120k miles) other brands 5w-20 oil, and either a full/bosch filter.

from 200,000kms (120k miles) till now 230,000kms (144k miles) quaker state 5w-30 oil, and motorcraft filter. Usually put a small oil treatment of lubro moly oil stabilizer.

truck runs fine, doesnt blow any smoke, was consuming maybe 0.5-0.75qt per oil change. Oil changes done on time always every 5000kms (3k miles). Recently haven't been driving it much due to getting this work done.
 






I'm wondering about a theory I have, that the reason some of these trucks are failing the timing components might be that they got away from the Motorcraft 5w20 oil. If you notice, Motorcraft 5w30 and 5w20 oils are semi-synthetic. But their thicker oils (beginning with 10w30 if I recall correctly) are not semi-synthetic.

Ford doesn't do anything without a reason, so I'm wondering if they saw a need to make their thin oils semi-synthetic. And if we don't use that (or true synthetic), are we contributing to the wear of the timing components?

FYI, personally I would never use Quaker state. Parafin = sludge. I've seen some amazingly sludged motors supposedly maintained with only QS oil.
 






I'm wondering about a theory I have, that the reason some of these trucks are failing the timing components might be that they got away from the Motorcraft 5w20 oil. If you notice, Motorcraft 5w30 and 5w20 oils are semi-synthetic. But their thicker oils (beginning with 10w30 if I recall correctly) are not semi-synthetic.

Ford doesn't do anything without a reason, so I'm wondering if they saw a need to make their thin oils semi-synthetic. And if we don't use that (or true synthetic), are we contributing to the wear of the timing components?

FYI, personally I would never use Quaker state. Parafin = sludge. I've seen some amazingly sludged motors supposedly maintained with only QS oil.

Working at a shop, we stock/use quaker state oil. We have never experienced any problems from it. As long as I replace my oil on time (like i do), conventional oil should be fine for this truck. How much different is there on this engine compared to an earlier 4.6L in a crown victoria/thunderbird? Those all spec'd a conventional 5w-30 oil to begin with. 5w-20 oil is mainly a hoax to maximize efficiency in all vehicles used by auto manufacturers today. A new mazda RX-8 Spec's a 5w-20 oil. A sports car that rev's to up to 9000-10,000rpm. No wonder why they have an engine recall. I think my biggest mistake is the time I was not using OEM motorcraft filters. OEM oil filter will now be stamped on my head for my truck. With 230,000kms (144k miles), its due for this timing chain service. It seems to be fairly common...

Thanks for all your advise.
 






I steered away from QS when I saw a motor come in as a core, and I was tasked to take the valve covers/oil pan off. The motor inside looked like one solid block of black shiny carbon/plastic, taking up all the room on the inside of the valve cover except where the pushrods went. Those areas looked like finely machined bores.

The motor eventually died of oil starvation, I'm sure. I didn't realise you could get a motor to look like that. I assumed the guy had never changed the oil in it's life, and just kept adding oil or something. When I got a chance to ask the owner, he said that he had always serviced it with QS oil. You never know, but it sure convinced me that I didn't want to take any chances. I'm sure oil change intervals must have had something to do with it.

I think you're right about 5w20 being almost water. But Fords decision to use it was partly based on the expensive overhead valvetrain. They wanted to get oil up to that valvetrain quickly when the motor was cold, and thin oil does that. Could it have been 5w30 or 10w30 and still accomplished that? Probably.

In racing the 4v version, it was discovered that if you tried to run thicker oil, at higher RPMs the motor would "pump up" the lifter, and basically cause the valves to never fully close. This caused a major loss of compression, and had the overall feel like the motor was floating the valves or didn't have enough spring pressure for the RPM. The lifters in these things (technically lash adjusters) have an oil exit hole in them that's sized to match the thickness of the oil. Too thick, and the lifter can't let the oil out fast enough, and that's when it pumps up. High RPM is a major factor there.

There must be some reason these motors fail prematurely. They don't all do it. And some other models rarely do it. I think it might be a combination of things: non-synthetic oil used, wrong oil weight used, 5,000 mile or longer oil change intervals, low quality oil filters used, or maybe there is something about the timing components in this particular engine. Crown Vics didn't seem to have this problem, and those things were used for Police and Taxi cars that were rarely shut off.

See what exact parts failed on yours, and why. I know the newer style phenolic tensioners (w/o ratcheting ladder) were a problem thru all these 4.6's, but I'm curious if that's the problem, or if it's something in the guides/tensioners that's specific to Explorers.
 






so i've sent my truck to my shop and probably within the next week i might have updates to what lies beneath my timing cover.

Although I don't think the oil, and my change intervals are a problem. Im considering switching to a semi-synthetic oil. I would like to keep the viscosity atleast 5w-30.

unfortuantely when i called my local ford dealer, they do not carry the motorcraft 5w-30 blend oil like they do in the united states. So anyone have a semi-synthetic oil they recommend in a 5w-30? i'm also considering using a good blended oil that I used on my past volvos - Lubro Moly 10w-40. Would you think a 10w-40 viscosity is too thick for the 4.6 modular?
 






pontisteve, here are some photos of the driver side cylinder head. Like i said QS 5w-30 was used for a while now. Car was regularly driven until recently, and oil changes done always on time. Looks pretty clean to me...

head2.jpg


head1.jpg


front timing cover will probably be off tomorrow. Will keep updating.
 



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so my truck is somewhat done now. here are my carnage photos:

IMG_2315.jpg


IMG_2322.jpg


IMG_2321.jpg


IMG_2324.jpg


IMG_2326.jpg


Replaced were: the crank gear, chains, guides, tensioners, front crank seal, front timing cover gaskets, valve cover gasket set, waterpump, oil, coolant, etc.

I did not use the cam sprockets that came with the cloyes kit as they had very thin key slots for the cam which I preferred the stock ones over. Also my original sprockets were still in good shape.

chains are solid tight now, started it up and the car runs great, and no more odd noises, but I still have my dreaded P0340 code - for cam position sensor :(
 






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