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Found in lower oil pan...

koda2000

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So my '01 ST has recently started rattling a little after starting (even with making sure to get oil pressure up before letting it start). I've been using the ST around town, as my daily driver, since early Spring.

Last time I removed the lower pan I found nothing but a lot of sludge. Now after 3-4 oil changes and some engine flush I found only a little bit sludge and a short (2.5-3") piece of spring steel. I know the piece of steel came from one of the timing chain cassettes (have I mentioned how much I hate the 4.0L SOHC engine?) but it's a strange looking piece. It's shaped like the letter "C", shows some indication of wear marks on it's flat surface, but does not appear to have broken off of anything as both ends are rounded off and there are no rough edges. I've never found any broken tan plastic pieces in the oil pan. I'm just wondering if anyone can tell me exactly where this piece came from? I can take pictures of it if that helps.
 



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Its part of the spring off the tensioner that guides between the chain from the crank to the jackshaft. Pretty easy fix. Pull the water pump, harmonic balancer and timing chain cover and replace. Probably a couple hours in the shop. Really crappy design on that one but not as catastrophic or hard to fix.
 






Its part of the spring off the tensioner that guides between the chain from the crank to the jackshaft. Pretty easy fix. Pull the water pump, harmonic balancer and timing chain cover and replace. Probably a couple hours in the shop. Really crappy design on that one but not as catastrophic or hard to fix.

I drive this truck maybe 15-20 miles a day, 4-5 days a week. Do you think I can let it go for a while or is this something that needs immediate attention? I have other repairs to make to other vehicles and I've spent a lot of time on this POS lately (broken rear axle, front brake job, upper lower ball joints/control arms, wheel alignment next week, ordering caster/camber bolt kit and Moog Poly front sway bar end links). If necessary I can park this truck until I get around to doing the repairs, but I prefer to keep using it.

BTW, I do 99% of my own repairs. No shops for me.
 






If its just one piece of steel then its the balance shaft tensioner spring, don't worry about it. If you find 2 or more (could be 3, up to 6), it goes to the jackshaft tensioner, prepare to pull the front cover.
 






If its just one piece of steel then its the balance shaft tensioner spring, don't worry about it. If you find 2 or more (could be 3, up to 6), it goes to the jackshaft tensioner, prepare to pull the front cover.

My ST is RWD, so I don't believe it has the balance shaft. That's a 4WD thing IIRC.
 






My ST is RWD, so I don't believe it has the balance shaft. That's a 4WD thing IIRC.

You sure it isn't a swapped in engine with the valve cover swapped over to mostly hide it? That's a possibility, and then, it's not impossible.
 






You sure it isn't a swapped in engine with the valve cover swapped over to mostly hide it? That's a possibility, and then, it's not impossible.

It's the engine it was born with as far as I can tell and it's a Job 2, which fits the build date.
 






It's a 50-50 if it has a balance shaft. Usually if it says 2wd on the valve cover then it doesn't. Then again most engine swaps I do I clean and reuse the original valve covers.

Did you clean your oil pickup of debris?
 






It sounds like the primary chain tensioner, left side with grenade pin, judging by the size of it. From what I've read the original had 3 leaves and was very prone to failure and pre lube will not save it.
You can just replace the primary tensioners, without re timing engine, while you are there inspect the front cassette as you are getting some rattle after starting but that maybe because of that missing piece.
Phil you have done a lot to fix your ST, it would be a shame to let Ford crap design win out. I've got this problem comming like all 4l sohc owners and if I were you I'd fix it before anymore dramatic things happen!
 






It's a 50-50 if it has a balance shaft. Usually if it says 2wd on the valve cover then it doesn't. Then again most engine swaps I do I clean and reuse the original valve covers.

Did you clean your oil pickup of debris?

Yes I cleaned the oil pan and checked the pickup screen. Other than a small amount of sludge, which came from the left head, because the PO never changed the PCV valve in almost 200k. I'd cleaned as much crap up on the head as I could when I changed the valve cover and intake gaskets, but It's not an area that you can clean easily. The only other thing in the pan was that metal spring. I'll look to see if there's a 2WD sticker on the valve cover, but I don't recall seeing one when they were off. I really don't think the engine was ever swapped. I think there would be some indication if it had and I've been all over this truck.
 






It sounds like the primary chain tensioner, left side with grenade pin, judging by the size of it. From what I've read the original had 3 leaves and was very prone to failure and pre lube will not save it.
You can just replace the primary tensioners, without re timing engine, while you are there inspect the front cassette as you are getting some rattle after starting but that maybe because of that missing piece.
Phil you have done a lot to fix your ST, it would be a shame to let Ford crap design win out. I've got this problem comming like all 4l sohc owners and if I were you I'd fix it before anymore dramatic things happen!

Yes I have done a lot of work on this truck (too much really). It just seems like a "money pit". As soon as I fix one thing something else fails and they are not minor things. I just finished rebuilding the front end and replacing a broken rear axle and now this. I can't decide whether I should find a used engine, rebuild it and have it ready for when the engine in it blows, or pull the engine and replace the timing components before it blows. Another thought I've had is to convert it to a V8. Either way it's going to be expensive and a lot of work. While I really like the utility of the Sport Trac, frankly I'm sorry I ever laid eyes on this one. I feel like if I fix the engine the transmission will be next to go. Thankfully it's not my only vehicle. If it were I wouldn't be willing to fool with it so much.,
 






Yes I have done a lot of work on this truck (too much really). It just seems like a "money pit". As soon as I fix one thing something else fails and they are not minor things. I just finished rebuilding the front end and replacing a broken rear axle and now this. I can't decide whether I should find a used engine, rebuild it and have it ready for when the engine in it blows, or pull the engine and replace the timing components before it blows. Another thought I've had is to convert it to a V8. Either way it's going to be expensive and a lot of work. While I really like the utility of the Sport Trac, frankly I'm sorry I ever laid eyes on this one. I feel like if I fix the engine the transmission will be next to go. Thankfully it's not my only vehicle. If it were I wouldn't be willing to fool with it so much.,

Koda, your situation was exactly the predicament I was in with my '98 SOHC. It was in good condition overall but for the last year or so it seemed like something was always going wrong or just breaking. I simply could not keep up with it. Also, the expectant time bomb of the timing chains was always on the back of my mind. After 213k (which I was VERY happy to get out of it) I decided to cut my losses and move on. Don't get me wrong, this was one of the best vehicles I have every owned, but after 18 years and 213k it was time. I trust you will make an appropriate decision.
 






Koda, your situation was exactly the predicament I was in with my '98 SOHC. It was in good condition overall but for the last year or so it seemed like something was always going wrong or just breaking. I simply could not keep up with it. Also, the expectant time bomb of the timing chains was always on the back of my mind. After 213k (which I was VERY happy to get out of it) I decided to cut my losses and move on. Don't get me wrong, this was one of the best vehicles I have every owned, but after 18 years and 213k it was time. I trust you will make an appropriate decision.

So have you replaced her yet? If so with what? I don't know what to do with this thing. The body is almost perfect, The interior is quite good, great A/C & heat, everything now works, the frame is good, the suspension and drive train are currently good (with the exception of the engine issues) new fuel pump, new tires all the way around, new brakes front and rear, new windshield, new body mount bushings, new radiator (the list goes on and on) and zero rust anywhere. I'm just tired of working on this truck and maintenance on my other trucks is suffering. My XLT needs axle bearings, pinion seal attention and valve cover gaskets, my daughter's Mountaineer needs ball joints and valve cover gaskets.

I suppose even if I bought a fully rebuilt SOHC engine, from say Jasper Engines, for $3,500 bucks and replace the trans if/when it goes it would still be less expensive that buying another newer used vehicle (which would come with it's own problems). IDK, I guess I just need to think on it a while. If I won the lottery everybody in the family would get brand new vehicles, but that's unlikely. In the meantime I think I'm going to just keep driving it the 80-100 miles a week around town. If the engine blows, it blows.
 






One thing is sure someone else will benefit from all your hard work, plus you know the ST inside out. The ideal is 5.0l engine, but that is a monster job!
For what it's worth I'd pull the motor fix the timing chains and enjoy the massive sense of achievement.
If the transmission goes that is bad luck and I'd get a remanufactured one. I don't think giving up is in your vocabulary.
If you win the lottery, employ a couple of mechanics and watch them do the work!!!!
 






^ Agree 100%. Considering the HEAP you started with and the time and money spent. I applaud you big time for your effort slaying that beast. As mentioned later in your original 14 page thread linked below, if push came to shove you could sell it and still come out somewhat profitable.
I still sense some emotional attachment though. Good luck whatever you do koda, you're a great example of hands on experience and what perseverance really is on the forum. BTW, my "dream" Trac would be a 302 conversion. LOL

New Toy | Ford Explorer and Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

http://www.mysporttrac.com/shared/msgboard9e.asp?BOARDNAME=MSG&VIEW=1346788
 






^ Agree 100%. Considering the HEAP you started with and the time and money spent. I applaud you big time for your effort slaying that beast. As mentioned later in your original 14 page thread linked below, if push came to shove you could sell it and still come out somewhat profitable.
I still sense some emotional attachment though. Good luck whatever you do koda, you're a great example of hands on experience and what perseverance really is on the forum. BTW, my "dream" Trac would be a 302 conversion. LOL

New Toy | Ford Explorer and Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

http://www.mysporttrac.com/shared/msgboard9e.asp?BOARDNAME=MSG&VIEW=1346788

Thanks SW. Yes a 302 ST would be a near perfect vehicle. If I were a little younger and had more time, I'd go for it.
 






So have you replaced her yet? If so with what?

I did. I bought a 2011 Ford Edge Limited All Wheel Drive with the 3.5 Duratec engine. 60k miles, pristine condition. Tuxedo Black with 20" Chrome Wheels (chrome clad, of course.) Nice ride, Panoramic Sunroof, all the bells and whistles, even response to voice commands. Cars have come a long way since 1998! Ironically, today I parked next to the old Ex (the person I sold it to is a vendor.) I kinda' shed a tear when I saw her sitting there. I did give her a pat on the back bumper tho, just for old times sake. I hope she brings some good miles to her new owner. "She sure was a good ship."
 






I did. I bought a 2011 Ford Edge Limited All Wheel Drive with the 3.5 Duratec engine. 60k miles, pristine condition. Tuxedo Black with 20" Chrome Wheels (chrome clad, of course.) Nice ride, Panoramic Sunroof, all the bells and whistles, even response to voice commands. Cars have come a long way since 1998! Ironically, today I parked next to the old Ex (the person I sold it to is a vendor.) I kinda' shed a tear when I saw her sitting there. I did give her a pat on the back bumper tho, just for old times sake. I hope she brings some good miles to her new owner. "She sure was a good ship."

The Edge sounds really nice. Best of luck with it.
 






Really, for the cost, and the amount of work I would pull that front cover and pop in a new tensioner. Its a pretty simple job. Couple hours at the most.
 



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Really, for the cost, and the amount of work I would pull that front cover and pop in a new tensioner. Its a pretty simple job. Couple hours at the most.

Well I'll think about it. This week I've got to spend about $100 on it for a wheel alignment. What exactly is the part called so I can shop for one? I looked on RA but when I search "tensioner" all I get is the hydraulic tensioners. Oddly enough the last few times I've driven the truck it's been quiet.

Is this the part? I don't see anything on it that looks like the piece I found in the pan. I'll add a photo if it later today.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-NEW-O...ash=item20cbf57d1b:g:UQsAAOSwv-NWav5b&vxp=mtr

Here's some photo's (not great) of the spring. The piece itself shows no sign of having broken:

DSCN0414_zps3ztx3x1f.jpg


DSCN0415_zpston0thvy.jpg
 






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