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SOHC Front Cam Tensioner Fix 00M12


Well-Known Member
December 10, 2005
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City, State
Melbourne, Australia
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 4.6 SOHC v8 Explorer
I have 1998 SOHC 4*4 Explorer 4 door.
There is a lot of info on this already but here in another way.
I have just done the Front Cam Tensioner to fix the timing chain rattle on startup and thought this may be of some use to others, here it goes:
1) Remove plastic splash cover (4 screws)
2) Remove upper plastic intake manifold:
a) do not remove throttle or cruise cables,
b) remove all vacuum lines (several, including the 2 held by plastic locks, just pull out the plastic)
c) do not remove IAC valve, at rear back top - the vacuum line pulls out of the back of it.
d) remove air intake, loosen band
e) using power drill, unscrew the 8 long screws holding the upper portion of the intake manifold, there are 2 hidden at far back of engine
f) lift and flip to side over cables

3) Replace Tensioner
a) locate old Tensioner, right next on left of thermostat housing
b) remove the sensor to the left of big 1+1/8" Tensioner bolt, use large socket to do this.
c) remove fuel line to right injector header, 2 screws, twist and pull out - move the fuel line to gain access to the Tensioner as needed
d) if needed - unscrew 2 bolds holding the EGR pipe, the large pipe that goes into the upper manifold that made it a pain to take off - this will enable you to bend and play with this assembly to gain access to the Tensioner
e) grab and unscrew the old Tensioner, i tried shifter but could not get angle needed, ended up using robogrip, you could use 1+1/8" ring spanner
f) cover the hole with tape so nothing falls down there.

4) Volume reduction stick
a) unscrew the small torx screw right behind the Tensioner (pipe plug)
b) put in the plastic pencil (oil volume reducer)
c) screw in the plug

5) new Tensioner
a) put the new washer on the Tensioner and tape it up the top so it doesn’t fall down on a funny angle
b) remove tape from hole cover and push the new Tensioner into the hole, you way need to finesse this pushing and turning can be hard.

6) put it all back together
7) go for a drive

Time to pull down to tensioner = 1 hour.
Time to replace the tensioner = 15min to 2 hours (depends on tools and how good you are getting the old one out, the old one will be done up real, real tight - in fact way to tight for an alloy thread!).
Time to put back together = 30 mins.

Someone has just loaded the Pics for me here:

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Cool, Did it stop that annoying rattle.

Startup rattle has completely gone, now shes smooooth. However because i know what to listen for, there is a real faint phantom diesel sound for about .0001 second on startup about 1 in every 10 starts. The new tensioner works by holding its pressure even when car is off, thats what was wrong with the old one.

Aussie Explorer said:
Cool, Did it stop that annoying rattle.

Mine has been replaced TWICE and it STILL rattles! :mad:

I'm just gonna live with the friggin noise. :thumbdwn:

did it stop or reduce the noise as all? do you only get it on startup? if you look at the tensioner - does it come out about 2 inches from the case? or is it only about 1/4 inch?

rmcknight said:
did it stop or reduce the noise as all? do you only get it on startup? if you look at the tensioner - does it come out about 2 inches from the case? or is it only about 1/4 inch?
The clatter on start up went away for a SHORT time after I replaced the front tensioner.

I ended up trading my Ex off last week for a 2500 Ram P/U w/Cummin Diesel! :D

I stopped by the Stealership earlier today and on the way out saw my old EX on the Used Car lot already!! I'm CERTAIN they didn't do ANYTHING about those engine noises!!! :rolleyes:

Buyer Beware !!! :eek:

HI looks good an you fixed it yourself...great..I hope do it myself...
where did you get parts from? I need timing chain and cam tensioner.
Please let me know..

O no, if you need to do the chain as well, then its way more work!
I got the parts from a ford dealer, however if i could do it again i would order them from the US. Its only a small kit but ford charged a fortune for it ($200) i think.
From what i understand about the front right chain replacement its very hard to remove the cam sprocket from the shaft and put it back on with the chain on it, and requires a special tool to hold the rear of the cam whilst you press it back on. (We are talking about the top right cam - right!). If you get that far into the project then you may as well pull the engine and replace all chains and guides with the newer versions that look a lot better and last forever! Also there is an option of transmission removal to get to the back of the engine, but i have not heard of it done yet.

I got Chain and Tensioner..

Hi...I got chain and tensioner..around AUD$120 including shipping charge.
tensioner is look like big & long it right?
Wow.. i just think about change with chain...Thanks for advice with
notice. I really worry about replace tensioner.....I will try, when mainfold gasket arrive...

where did you get them from for only $120, Ford changed me about that for the "long bolt" alone! Remember, if you are doing the chain(s) you should do the guides as well, as they are the real issue. The chain(s) are actually probably fine! + In order to do the front timing chain you have to remove the front right cylinder head (in order to grab the overhead cam shaft and press the chain with its cog back on the splines) Also remember that in order to do this you must hold the bottom harmonic balancer and the top cam you are working on from moving, this is normally done with special SOHC cam timing tools (see ebay), after you are done with the tools you can re-sell them again to the next poor idiot that ford has screwed with this engine design.

I just replace tensioner only...give up about chain...
it looks different with old one...old tensioner is 5cm longer than new one...
body is little shoter(1~2mm) than old one, but head is only 5~6mm...
but still rattling..need change mainfold gasket also? make me confuse....
you can see tensioner picture following address...

That looks like a picture of the original early part. The new part you get with the oom12 kit is about twice as long and together with a restrictor, also new o rings. Its best to get the proper Ford oom12 kit. Did wonders for my x.

Yes, that part is definitely the old part, the new one has a longer head on the unit and is said to put more tension on the cam. Also you are missing the plastic pencil (oil restrictor). No wonder you only paid $120.00, who sold you that part?

Thanks...I got really mistake...i just bought from e-bay, as connected site..
really feel bad....what can i do..remove it and request refund...that's not important at now...just i have to get 00m12kit and replace again...where can i get this parts... anyone can send from US please? I will pay handling and shipping charge together...or how much can i buy from Australia ford dealer?
/..\...what is oil restrictor??? have to replace?

oom12 kit available

I can tell you that a reliable source for the oom12 kit is our very own Howard,

Look in UK posts for him, he has got the correct parts for this fix many times for happy owners, inc me!
Find his name and PM him, I am sure he will help if he can mate!