Engine Chattering (Timing Chain?) | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Engine Chattering (Timing Chain?)

Airplane Guy

Member
Joined
June 12, 2009
Messages
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City, State
Dallas, TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 SPORT 4X4 SOHC
What's up everybody. Got a sweet new issue with my spoder. I took it to a place a year or so ago for a chattering noise and they said that they replaced the front timing tensioner along with the oil pump. The noise did stop for a while then it came back. For the longest time my engine has made this chattering noise at start up and for a very short period after..but, it's always gone away. Now it seems that something has let loose and the noise is not only louder but it doesn't go away. Along with this the engine seems to hesitate when I accelerate and at idle the oil pressure gauge jumps around all crazy between low and normal. I'm open for advice on this one guys. Rear timing chain..front timing chain again..serious, not serious..engine rebuild?? Cost? I can do nothing but appreciate any advice. Unfortunately I don't have much other choice right now but to keep driving it..bad idea? Thanks
 



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Could be many things. I would not drive it if you want to fix it, you will do more damage. Pick up a beater to drive until you get it fixed
 






Along with this the engine seems to hesitate when I accelerate and at idle the oil pressure gauge jumps around all crazy between low and normal.
I assume that you have checked your oil level and that it shows normal on the dipstick. Does the idle oil pressure fluctuation correlate with a tachometer fluctuation? If not, then you could have a bad oil pressure sending unit (not so bad) or there could be an intermittent blockage in your oil supply (could be very bad). Have you changed the oil filter since the oil pump was replaced a year ago? It could be the filter is blocked and it's bypass valve is opening and closing. I suggest that you replace the oil filter with a good quality one if it hasn't been done recently.
 






Now it seems that something has let loose and the noise is not only louder but it doesn't go away. Along with this the engine seems to hesitate when I accelerate and at idle the oil pressure gauge jumps around all crazy between low and normal.

Sounds like a guide broke apart, a chain is very lose, and some debri from the broken guide is now clogging up your oil pump pickup.

Time to take it apart.
 






Sounds like a guide broke apart, a chain is very lose, and some debri from the broken guide is now clogging up your oil pump pickup.

Time to take it apart.

I'm pretty sure this is the problem but I wont have the means to have the engine rebuilt yet. I'll just pray that it lasts me another month.
 












Ok..I'm pretty sure i've pin-pointed it to the front timing chain. The oil pressure gauge only reads irratically when the engine has been running for a while and only then when at idle. As the oil pump runs off of the front timing chain I think I may only need those components replaced rather than having the engine pulled to get to the rear. Is it more common for the front guides to break than the rear? 160,000 miles and running strong..except for this little issue.
 






Glad you think it's only a "little Issue"....It may be a few more things than you think once you get in there. Balance shaft tensioner, Guides, Cassettes, Ect.
 






I suppose I could've made my sarcasm a little more clear on it being a "little problem".
 






Ok bluestream, i've decided to take your advice and stop driving it..seems to be getting worse. So....I will be tearing it apart this weekend to replace the front tensioner and guide. Going to get the cassette kit from ford. Up to this point i've only seen posts of people doing the rear and the front at the same time and having the engine removed. By listening to the noise I'm pretty sure the problem is only coming from the front. Am I going to be beating myself against a wall trying to do this with the engine in? Will removing the radiator and all accessories give me enough room to tackle it?
 






Taking out the rad will give you more room to work. Hard to say what you need fixed until you get into it. My biggest concern would be most people find the balance shaft tensioner to be shot when they get in. Then what do you do? It's a big job to replace it, but no point in doing half a repair. This thread is good:

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161701&highlight=crank+spacer

Lots of other threads now showing up on the chains as the vehicles start to get old. It's been five years since I did my first search for "timing chain rattle" I am going on holidays the end of July, then taking mine off the road and going in. I have all the parts and update kits already. Should be interesting.

Let us know how you make out; this site is about shareing information
 






Will do. I'll also take pictures while i'm at it. Hopefully everything goes well. Say a prayer for me.
 






Got it done. She purrs like a kitten (a big kitten that is)..pictures coming soon
 






So..after nearly taking the engine fully apart the verdict is the drivers side cam chain tensioner was the only problem I had. The engine had been into before and i'm guessing all the plastic tendsioners and guides had already been replaced. I was expecting the worst because of the noise it was making and the things I had seen..so here it is.

The beginning of it all..throttle body has to come off..well, it makes it a whole lot easier anyway.
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Make sure you replace these gaskets. And don't clean the ports, they have a protective coating on them to keep sludge and grime from sticking. You will remove this by cleaning them...no no
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So..after nearly taking the engine fully apart the verdict is the drivers side cam chain tensioner was the only problem I had. The engine had been into before and i'm guessing all the plastic tendsioners and guides had already been replaced. I was expecting the worst because of the noise it was making and the things I had seen..so here it is.

The beginning of it all..throttle body has to come off..well, it makes it a whole lot easier anyway.
Explorer004.jpg


Make sure you replace these gaskets. And don't clean the ports, they have a protective coating on them to keep sludge and grime from sticking. You will remove this by cleaning them...no no
Explorer005.jpg

Explorer006.jpg


And for more room, good idea to take the radiator and cover out too.
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Don't hurt the EGR..clean it if you feel the need, i'm sure it could use it.
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Yes, the fan needs to come off. Probably not very tight though. Takes a
1 1/4 wrench if I remember correctly. Have somebody hold the pulley.
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Remove the whole bracket that holds the alternator and idler pulley. Much easier and you'll have to do it anyways.
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Just to remember how everything came apart.
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Upon further investigation the water pump did not have to come off of the timing cover but anyways...
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Be sure not to loose the crank pulley position to the crank position sensor..otherwise you may spend an hour or so disconnecting the battery, sensor, turn over, reconnect sensor, battery, start, disconnect battery, sensor, turn over, reconnect sensor..and so on. Once you get the sensor close enough to the 180 degree mark it was at to begin with the computer will compensate..but it's time consuming so just mark the damn thing and don't move it. Got the crank bolt out with a 3/8 impact.
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And the culprit. A shot tensioner that bolts in from the side of the valve cover. It is nice to know that everything else was in great shape even though it didn't all need to come apart. I don't have any pictures of the timing cover off but once you get the crank pulley off it's pretty much self explanatory. There are five bolts that have to come out of the upper oil pan/re-enforcment section from the bottom to get that cover off.
Explorer018.jpg


It seems that my engine had been apart already to have the guides and tensioners changed cause everything is in great shape..plus there was PLENTY of sealer on the mating surfaces. Did find one little piece of plastic in the pan though..maybe new, maybe old, no way to tell
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Hope this helps somebody..it wasn't too bad for me. I'd do it again if I had to.
Here she is.


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Glad it al worked out for you.

Did you use the timing tool or did you just replace the external cam chain tensioner What about the cassette that the cam chain goes through?
 






Upon taking it apart I found that it had already been done so all I replaced was the bad hydraulic tensioner for the drivers side cassette. I didn't take any sprockets or chains off at all.
 






How much you think a shop would charge to do something like that?
 






I'm not sure because I never got an estimate. I'm guessing if they were take the engine apart, including the front cover and replacing the timing components in the front, somewhere between 1000 and 1500. Keep in mind you may have other problems though...balance shaft, passenger side timing cassette..etc..these things will require the engine to come out. Most place charge a flat 1200 just to R&R the engine.
 



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