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98 SOHC banlancer shaft chain tensioner

mrgroote

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Iowa
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 XLT
Hello all,
Took the annual family vacation this week with the new to me 98 XLT 4x4 with the SOHC. This unit has had a small rattle at idle ever since I've owned it, sounded like a dry idler bearing on the belt tensioner so I never worried too much. The rattle was only at idle and went away at anything over 1000 rpm, so it didn't sound like the timing chain issue to me. Long story short, on the last day of the vacation I got in to start it up and it made a God awful rattle followed by a small bang and quit. It started right up, but the rattle at idle was noticeabley louder. When we got it home (after a very nervous 200 miles) I tore the front cover off expecting to find broken jackshaft tensioner or quide at least. What I found was a surprisingly great shape main chain tensioner and cam cassettes (unit has 150000 miles so I expected much worse). However the balance shaft chain tensioner was broken and I could see where my noise was coming from. The guide is alright but the chain is/was bouncing off the metal support that is below the broken plastic tensioner. Now I understand I have to drop the pan to get to this piece and that my be a little more involved than I want to get in this high mileage motor. My question is (albeit probably a stupid one) what happens if I just cut the chain to the balance shaft, basically eliminating its rotation. I know the 2x4's don't have the balancer, but I don't know what kind of problems I would run into If I stopped the rotation of mine. Sorry this post got long, but any input from people smarter than me would be much appreciated.
Thanks
 
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CDW6212R

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98 Limited AWD
I have read from one person who claimed that the balance shaft was not necessary. I had already done mine, and I can tell you that it is a time consuming job. You would have to remove the balance shaft completely to install the chain. There are timing marks, mine was off when I got it. A shop manual is needed to explain the dots and how they should point(TDC). Good luck,
 
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mrgroote

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Thanks for the reply Don. One question, did you pull the motor to get the upper pan off? I have read were some say its possible to get the pan off by lowering the front axle. If thats the case, I may go ahead and go that route and just replace the tensioner. I really don't want to get into replacing the entire chain since it actually looks good. Thanks
Mike
 
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CDW6212R

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I unbolted the engine and lifted it a couple of inches to get the pan out. It's all tedious, dropping the diff. may help some. The chains and valvetrain parts are not expensive, but the labor is. Have you already got the valvetrain serviced, do you know about the timing chains etc. issues? If not hunt the many threads here about it, you have most of the engine apart now. Night,
 
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Boiler

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'97 XLT Sport
I have this same kind of noise on my 2wd 98 Exp with SOHC. At idle, in reverse with the brake held or sometimes in drive with the brake held, I get a rattle. Once I hit over 1000 rpm, noise goes away. Noise sounds like it is coming from the alternator but when I pull the belt and start the engine, I get no sound.

Any ideas??
 
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Space Truckin'

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'98 Exp XLT 4.0 SOHC 4WD
The ladder frame (upper pan) can be pulled without pulling the motor. It is not easy, but I did it to my ’98 4WD. The motor does have to be raised quite a bit but I didn’t drop the front axle. It looked like it was going to be even harder to get it back in there without damaging the new gasket. I ended up pulling the motor anyway because I discovered my rear jackshaft chain guide had to be replaced too.

Don’t kid yourself about this job. It is a lot of work, but don’t make it worse by not replacing worn parts while you are there. You won’t be happy when you have to repeat the labor because you skipped such a cheap part.

I’m replacing all four chains, guides, and tensioners on mine. I think Don did the bearings too.
 
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CDW6212R

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I didn't do my rear cassette or any bearings. I did the oil pump for insurance, and the balance shaft tensioner because it was out of time(broke when loosened). If the guides haven't started to come apart, there isn't any worry of oil starvation for the shortblock.
 
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Space Truckin'

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Oops, must have been someone else who replaced the bearings. There are so many threads about this repair. I can't keep them all straight.
 
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