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Rear timing chain rattle - tensioner


Well-Known Member
March 20, 2012
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Year, Model & Trim Level
'03 Sport Trac XLT (RWD)
I did the rear tensioner today. Here's a few videos I shot along the way. I don't know if it will help anyone or not. But, the videos have a few observations and some before and after sounds that may be interesting none the less. Enjoy. They may be a little out of order. Also, there is a very good video(s) on youtube of replacing the rear and front tensioner. It's by DanielJaegarFilms. Search Ford Explorer Timing Chain Tenioner Replacement.
part 1 - 3:21min
part 1.5 - 3:43min
part 2 - 2:18
part 3 - 1:08
part 4 - 0:16
part 5 - 2:59
part 6 - 0:36
part 7 - 2:04

Part 1,1.5,2, and 3 "commentary"
PART 4 and 7 are "THE RATTLE"
PART 5 and 6 are the "after"

Here is a good thread by 2000StreetRod: Rear Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement:

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Video 7 and 5 are the best before/after. I actually didn't know how the rattle would sound like, that made me cringe. The after is a 180

Well, that didn't last long:( Rattle is back. Not as bad. But, still coming from the rear of the block. Still need to do the front.

Well, that sucks. Though I haven't had any problems yet, I've resigned to just letting this engine go, if it isn't sold before then.

Well, that didn't last long:( Rattle is back. Not as bad. But, still coming from the rear of the block. Still need to do the front.

Did you use a Ford tensioner? I changed the front one with an autozone tensioner and drove it a month or two and the rattle came back. The cheap AZ tensioner had failed so I put a Ford part in and have not had any problems since. Not saying this is your problem but something to look into. I'm actually thinking about putting a Ford one in the back tensioner and taking the AZ one out before it fails. You could see a little difference in the internals of it through the oil hole. Ford one had brass parts inside AZ one had steel so maybe that assisted in failure.

Excellent point. Yeah, its a Ford part. Oh well, It's only on cold starts now and actually very random. Sometimes it does it and sometimes not at all. It only rattles for less than a minute now and much quieter then before. I've heard others have gone years with this issue (especially 03 and up) so I'm just hoping to be one of the lucky ones. Been changing my Mobile 1 every 4k just to be on the safe side. Excessive I know but can't hurt. Fine by me

Mine were also much quieter after getting the new tensioners but I also have a nasty rattle on cold starts. Once it hits normal rpm it is fine other than a stray rattle while accelerating.
How many miles did you get? I got 2k

Just over a month ago. So, around 1200miles or so. Scary some mornings isn't it? How many miles on your Trac when this began?

First heard the rattle at 148k and finally changed the tensioners at 151k. Granted that took 6 months but I hate cold starts now when I forget to plug in the block heater.
I have been reading a little about pre-oilers but not sure I want to bother with this engine:D