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Replace all 4L timing chain & guides without removing engine or special tools


gotobob

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Hi, I'm new to the forum.

I thought of sharing my methods and results of replacing timing chains and guides without removing the engine or even using special tools,
Keep in mind his is meant to be helpful to anyone that may be interested in seeing how it could be done.
One would need very good mechanical skills to accomplish such a job.

This is a (UNLISTED) video that explains how it's done:
Note, I emphasize unlisted because I don't want this video to go to the general public.
I want it to only stay in this forum for those who search for it.

I will post a few other videos as the work progresses.

Regards
Bob
 


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mic98xlt

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Hey Bob, real nice informative video well made. Please keep it up and I have subscribed to this thread. Looking forward to the timing portion. :)
 








mic98xlt

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Enjoyed 2nd video also. Quick question, you have a 2 wheel drive vehicle, I wonder if for 4wd if there's a lot more difficulty to separate the engine and transmission. The 4wd have the transfer case and also the front drive shaft which might make for a bigger job to push the tranny back inches to get the rear cassette.

Never the less this could be a practical life saver for those like me whom are on a budget. I think many here simply don't have the time nor money to pay someone to remove the engine to replace the timing cassettes with new guides. I would definitely give your procedure a shot if the choice was removing the engine plus spending big money on timing cassettes. You have showed some ingenuity in keeping everything aligned and noting exact timing without an extra tool kit. Looking forward to more video(s)! :)
 




gotobob

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Hi mic98xlt,

Thanks for your positive reply once again.
This is my first Explorer and the first time ever doing this kind of a big mechanical job.
I'm sure the 4wd version would be a little more work. I've never seen one from underneath so I can't say for sure.

The cost of all new parts is only $100. so it's very affordable. It just takes time, skills and patience.

The complete timing chain kit is $55. with delivery: Fits 97-09 2, 4WD Ford Mazda Mercury SOHC 4.0L Engine Timing Chain Kit W/ Gears | eBay

Front timing chain cover and water pump gasket set $16. with delivery: Timing Cover Gasket Set kit with front oil seal for 97-11 Ford 4.0 SOHC Engine | eBay

Lower Oil pan gasket $13. with delivery: Lower Oil Pan Gasket Fit 97-11 Ford Explorer Land Rover Mazda B4000 Mercury 4.0L | eBay

Valve cover gaskets $11. with delivery: 2X Engine Valve Cover Gasket Fit Ford 03-10 Ranger 4.0L SOHC VIN 4 E / Cu245 | eBay

Intake manifold gaskets $10. with delivery: 01-11 Ford Ranger Mercury Mazda B4000 4.0L SOHC Intake Manifold Gaskets VIN E K | eBay
 




gotobob

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Here is part 3
Please note, at some points I mention 4 small bolts that screw the upper oil pan to the timing chain cover and it's actually 5 small bolts.

Link to video:
 




mic98xlt

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I am sure you not the first to mistakenly place that bottom sprocket on backwards. Glad you pointed it out so others won't make the same mistake. I too believe it's very important to be a neat freak when working on an engine and not dragging in dirt and debris into a open engine.

I probably need to tell you here on this forum site it's almost a religion to use Motorcraft replacement parts for the timing chain components because they seem to last longer, and not have an early failure rate. Many think it's worth the extra expense. There are several threads in this forum site that go into great detail why they believe this.

I still admire people like you whom are not afraid to try something different, such as you're doing by not taking out the engine for the timing replacements. I am enjoying your videos, and always open to learning more about the 4.0 SOHC engine which is quite dependable with the exception of the timing chain components. :)
 




Bobbylew

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This must be a 2 wheel drive car.
 




gotobob

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I probably need to tell you here on this forum site it's almost a religion to use Motorcraft replacement parts for the timing chain components because they seem to last longer, and not have an early failure rate. Many think it's worth the extra expense. There are several threads in this forum site that go into great detail why they believe this.
Thanks, it's good to know the mindset of a forum. So I guess it's not a crowd to appreciate what I'm sharing ($100. small budget repair of a major engine repair job)
Buying all the parts I listed as OEM would be $1000. So do you believe OEM will last 10 times longer?
If so, then why did the OEM chain guides break to pieces at around 190k miles?
The truth, it's a bad design to start with, mostly the rear (right) cam chain guide all made of plastic that becomes brittle over the years and breaks. There's enough youtube videos to confirm that guide is the weakest chain guide.

Back to the non OEM (complete) chains, sprockets and guide kit I bought for about $50.
I compared the parts side by side to the OEM I removed out of the vihicle and fail to see any difference. Usually you can tell an aftermarket part from an OEM but these had to of been made with OEM dies and molds, they are perfectly identical. I can even remove the plastic guide off the non OEM and it clips right on the OEM, this tells you something and the word is Mazda B4000, which are the same engine as Ford Explorer and parts are made in high volume to provide all of Asia and most of the world mind you, all this done using OEM dies and mold. The only difference is they don't come in a fancy Motorcraft box and have a rubber stamp on the part. Those are occasionally made for Ford in a separate run for believers.

What ever turns your crank (pun intended) man!
Maybe if Ford would of made a part that's not well known to brake I may of considered OEM but if this were the case then we wouldn't be here having this conversation, right?

Here's the completed job and working 100%

Video demo:
 




mic98xlt

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First of all, congrats!!! I been waiting to see the finished job and man do you have a clean engine bay! I believe there are many more here quietly waiting, and watching plus checking to see how reliable the non Motorcraft components hold up. I personally think you will be fine. Perhaps you can note in this thread occasionally your reliability progress. :)

It's kind of ironic that many here have not acknowledged what you set out to accomplish. A reasonable quick and efficient way to resolve the now age old problem of bad timing chain components. It's is the biggest enemy of the dreaded 4.0 SOHC "dead rattle", which always is so very much stressful plus feared, that many abandon a very good otherwise great vehicle. You have shared a very positive experience of your knowledge with us, that is valuable for many of us with the 4.0 SOHC.

The videos have been informative plus kept my interest since I too dread some day of hearing that "death rattle" or timing chain problems. Such problems traditionally have meant big money especially if you had to pay someone to also take out the engine. Many here are on a budget like me, so I believe we all could use a good budget repair. So once again thank you for sharing your knowledge, and experience here. I believe we are never too old nor too wise to learn something new. :thumbsup:
 




gotobob

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Thanks mic98xlt for your appreciation and confirming the facts.
I agree, it's quite the accomplishment and why I took the time to record it and share to help others in a bad situation like I was in.
I bought this vehicle 6 months back to tow a trailer from Florida to California since it has a 5700 pound rated factory tow package.
Back then I had no idea of the 4.0 SOHC timing chain/guide problems. I own for the past 12 years a 98 Ford Windstar which has original 3.8 V6 engine and transmission and now at 300k miles and zero issues. Doesn't even burn a drop of oil. So I thought this would be similar with the 4.0 V6 Explorer which was only at 192k miles.and never thought to look into it before buying it.
The guy I bought it from lied about anything I asked. He knew of all the issues including German cockroach infestation which wasn't noticeable in the day. It was also no longer plated and insured, so I had to test drive it in a parking lot.
The interior was in extremely bad condition but I just wanted something cheap to tow a 24 ft camper one way then sell the vehicle.
It's only once I got it home that I started noticing so many mechanical issues like 2 bad wheel bearing (front and back wheel). The valve covers leaking oil on the manifold and this clacking sound when you shut off the engine. Then I researched it I realized I got screwed (overpaid) by at least $450. I paid $850. and I should of paid no more then $400. which is the max a junk ward would of paid for it with the interior trashed, bad engine and paint peeling off the top of the hood and fenders (typical Florida problem).
I tried for weeks to get rid of the roaches, nothing worked. They were nested inside the seats and seat tube frame. The only way was to completely strip the interior of the vehicle. What ever was worth cleaning to salvage I did and the rest I got replacements from the junkyards.
I relined the headliner and now the interior is close to looking new. I hand picked only the best from over the 20 or more cars I salvaged from over several months.
So ended up doing a complete rebuild, replaced the rear bumper, one front fender and hood. Painted the inside of the hood and engine compartment and why it looks so clean. I also degreased the engine to prepare it for the the valve cover gasket change and inspection of timing chain guides. The rest you know since that's the part I shared here.
It's been a long journey to this point and I don't wish this bad experience to anyone.
Some months back I decided to give up on my California tow dream and just sold the 24 ft Camper instead. Now I have to complete the vehicle to sell it. Since now all I need is my dependable 98 Windstar to get to California. Whoever the new owner of this vehicle will be, he'll have quite an amazing deal compared to what I got.

Kind regards and thanks for being the only one to express your gratitude.

Bob
 
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tedmc1

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Thanks mic98xlt for your appreciation and confirming the facts.
I agree, it's quite the accomplishment and why I took the time to record it and share to help others in a bad situation like I was in.
I bought this vehicle 6 months back to tow a trailer from Florida to California since it has a 5700 pound rated factory tow package.
Back then I had no idea of the 4.0 SOHC timing chain/guide problems. I own for the past 12 years a 98 Ford Windstar which has original 3.8 V6 engine and transmission and now at 300k miles and zero issues. Doesn't even burn a drop of oil. So I thought this would be similar with the 4.0 V6 Explorer which was only at 192k miles.and never thought to look into it before buying it.
The guy I bought it from lied about anything I asked. He knew of all the issues including German cockroach infestation which wasn't noticeable in the day. It was also no longer plated and insured, so I had to test drive it in a parking lot.
The interior was in extremely bad condition but I just wanted something cheap to tow a 24 ft camper one way then sell the vehicle.
It's only once I got it home that I started noticing so many mechanical issues like 2 bad wheel bearing (front and back wheel). The valve covers leaking oil on the manifold and this clacking sound when you shut off the engine. Then I researched it I realized I got screwed (overpaid) by at least $450. I paid $850. and I should of paid no more then $400. which is the max a junk ward would of paid for it with the interior trashed, bad engine and paint peeling off the top of the hood and fenders (typical Florida problem).
I tried for weeks to get rid of the roaches, nothing worked. They were nested inside the seats and seat tube frame. The only way was to completely strip the interior of the vehicle. What ever was worth cleaning to salvage I did and the rest I got replacements from the junkyards.
I relined the headliner and now the interior is close to looking new. I hand picked only the best from over the 20 or more cars I salvaged from over several months.
So ended up doing a complete rebuild, replaced the rear bumper, one front fender and hood. Painted the inside of the hood and engine compartment and why it looks so clean. I also degreased the engine to prepare it for the the valve cover gasket change and inspection of timing chain guides. The rest you know since that's the part I shared here.
It's been a long journey to this point and I don't wish this bad experience to anyone.
Some months back I decided to give up on my California tow dream and just sold the 24 ft Camper instead. Now I have to complete the vehicle to sell it. Since now all I need is my dependable 98 Windstar to get to California. Whoever the new owner of this vehicle will be, he'll have quite an amazing deal compared to what I got.

Kind regards and thanks for being the only one to express your gratitude.

Bob
Hi Bob,
Thanks for the very informative post and videos. I do however have one thing to add that is critically important. Do yourself a favor and buy one of those "ebay special" timing chain tensioners,then go to O'reily's or other major auto parts stores,and get the best tensioner they have (They will lie to you and tell you that Cloyes tensioners are the same as Motorcraft. Then go to the local Ford Stealership and buy a genuine Ford tensioner.( after informing the parts counterman that you want to see all of their inventory) Pick the one with the strongest spring.
Take all 3 tensioners and figure out which tensioner has the strongest spring in it.
When you realize that the spring is providing "all" the chain tensioning until the oil pressure gets up in the engine and gets into the oil galley around the tensioner and fills the tensioner up to full pressure,the weakest spring is not doing the work that strongest spring is doing.
Take into consideration that most timing chain cassette failures start out as the "bucket of bolts" sound...but then it quiets down after a few secs.Months of continuous "buckets of bolts" sound for a few secs turn into hammered cassettes in the oil pan.These timing cassettes can last as long as the rest of the major engine components,but people keep driving 4.0 SOHC's with failing timing chain tensioners,until catastrophic failure.
Best,
Ted
 








gotobob

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Hi Bob,
Thanks for the very informative post and videos. I do however have one thing to add that is critically important. Do yourself a favor and buy one of those "ebay special" timing chain tensioners,then go to O'reily's or other major auto parts stores,and get the best tensioner they have (They will lie to you and tell you that Cloyes tensioners are the same as Motorcraft. Then go to the local Ford Stealership and buy a genuine Ford tensioner.( after informing the parts counterman that you want to see all of their inventory) Pick the one with the strongest spring.
Take all 3 tensioners and figure out which tensioner has the strongest spring in it.
When you realize that the spring is providing "all" the chain tensioning until the oil pressure gets up in the engine and gets into the oil galley around the tensioner and fills the tensioner up to full pressure,the weakest spring is not doing the work that strongest spring is doing.
Take into consideration that most timing chain cassette failures start out as the "bucket of bolts" sound...but then it quiets down after a few secs.Months of continuous "buckets of bolts" sound for a few secs turn into hammered cassettes in the oil pan.These timing cassettes can last as long as the rest of the major engine components,but people keep driving 4.0 SOHC's with failing timing chain tensioners,until catastrophic failure.
Best,
Ted
Yes tedmc1, I just didn't bother mentioning those details. That was one the first thing I changing (guide tensioners) to see if it would help. Got 2 different kinds from ebay. One stock and the other a modified set with a bolt to manually add more spring pressure. The stock one had twice the spring pressure then the old ones I took out so obviously that did help a little but as you see in my video the problem wasn't just the cam guides the issue but both the the main timing chain and balance shaft guide/tensioner (behind water pump engine cover) were already broken. So changing front and back cam tensioners won't do much in that situation.
But I do agree that better upkeep like changing the tensioners every 100k miles should help the cam guides to last longer but doesn't do anything for the other two (guide/tensioner in one) behind the engine front cover, which as far as I'm concerned are weak points to the 4.0L SOHC engine. The plastic they are made of becomes brittle and just brakes apart after 15 years or so. Those parts are just a weak design on Ford's reputation. Other then that the engine will probably last 500k miles without any major service if people could change oil regularly and change engine coolant every 100k miles and never add tap water or worst well water in the cooling system. It has to be (max) 50% distilled water and 50% engine coolant.
 




Bj6788

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I must say that the description and information in your videos, as well as the videos themselves, are absolutely outstanding. Extremely well explained and executed. They have been an unimaginable help. Thanks for sharing. Great job. 👍
 




Floridacatfan2020

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Great job bob - the pre-oiler would improve your chances - I smile evertome I use bc there is no rattle and I know my guides are broken - hope it works out for you.

I wonder if you could have gotten the transmission back far enough to do the gears also ?
 




donalds

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Great job bob - the pre-oiler would improve your chances - I smile evertome I use bc there is no rattle and I know my guides are broken - hope it works out for you.

I wonder if you could have gotten the transmission back far enough to do the gears also ?
I use a pre oiler to its mint
 




DILLARD000

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@gotobob
Applauding the detail & explainations in your videos, & your gutsy willingness to innovate\improve. A teacher by trade?
If you keep this truck for long, let us know how the non-Ford\Motorcraft components hold up?
 




DILLARD000

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Getting ready to do the routine of replacing the two timing tensioners on my 2001 ExST;
curious\dumb questions on both the short RH & long LH tensioners:
~ Does the final rotational position of these tensioners matter, considering the 1 oil inlet hole on the outer end just inside the hex head?
~ Would lining up this oil inlet hole with the oil supply hole in the head help improve oil pressure+flow to the tensioners?
~ Would drilling the 1 inlet hole bigger help or hurt?
~ Would drilling 1\2\3 additional inlet holes at 180\120\90degrees around the head help or hurt?
D

PostScript\UpDate:
Details\Results of my adventure in replacing both OilPressurized TimingTensioners on a 2001.Ford.ExST V6~4.0L~SOHC.
 
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donalds

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~ Does the final rotational position of these tensioners matter, considering the 1 oil inlet hole on the outer end just inside the hex head?
No just torque it to spec

~ Would lining up this oil inlet hole with the oil supply hole in the head help improve oil pressure+flow to the tensioners?
Nope just torque to spec and use motorcraft tensioner s only
 




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