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How to: SOHC V6 Camshaft Timing

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What is the configuration of your engine? Have you disconnected any of the camshaft timing components?
At the moment, everything is still connected. The chain is VERY LOOSE though (back right). The guide is completely destroyed.
 


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2000StreetRod

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If the engine was still running and you tore it down just because of chain rattle then your timing should be close enough to factory to safely rotate the crankshaft clockwise until it is at TDC with piston 1 on the compression stroke. Have you removed the spark plugs? That will eliminate compression and make it easier to rotate the crankshaft and detect interference. The camshaft sensor "nub" on the driver side camshaft should be above the axis of the camshaft. If it is below then you need to rotate the crankshaft another 360 degrees. As the crankshaft is rotated you will feel resistance because valve springs are being compressed.
 




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If the engine was still running and you tore it down just because of chain rattle then your timing should be close enough to factory to safely rotate the crankshaft clockwise until it is at TDC with piston 1 on the compression stroke. Have you removed the spark plugs? That will eliminate compression and make it easier to rotate the crankshaft and detect interference. The camshaft sensor "nub" on the driver side camshaft should be above the axis of the camshaft. If it is below then you need to rotate the crankshaft another 360 degrees. As the crankshaft is rotated you will feel resistance because valve springs are being compressed.
The motor is completely apart and out of the engine. #1 piston is at TDC. The front passenger lobe is straight up due to the chain jumping, but the valves are fine. I must be feeling the spring compression when I try to turn it. That's what I was worried about. Edit: the drivers side camshaft is timed correctly. The passenger is not. I have to move the passenger camshaft to get it in time. How do I do that?
 




2000StreetRod

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The following photos show the correct positions of the camshafts when piston 1 is at TDC on the compression stroke.
cam1.jpg

The timing slot for both camshafts is below the axis of the camshaft and parallel to the head surface that mates with the valve cover. Don't rely on the camshaft lobe for reference. It is not accurate enough. The camshaft sensor "nub" is identified below with the blue arrow.
ToolsLft.jpg

If the passenger side camshaft is in the wrong position (usually about 30 degrees off) then you can move it to the correct position once the camshaft sprocket retaining bolt is loosened. Do you have the OTC-6488 timing tool kit?
 




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The following photos show the correct positions of the camshafts when piston 1 is at TDC on the compression stroke.
View attachment 93114
The timing slot for both camshafts is below the axis of the camshaft and parallel to the head surface that mates with the valve cover. Don't rely on the camshaft lobe for reference. It is not accurate enough. The camshaft sensor "nub" is identified below with the blue arrow.
View attachment 93115
If the passenger side camshaft is in the wrong position (usually about 30 degrees off) then you can move it to the correct position once the camshaft sprocket retaining bolt is loosened. Do you have the OTC-6488 timing tool kit?
I will be picking the kit up Saturday from craigslist for $50. Can you please tell me what the camshaft retaining bolt looks like and where I can find it?
 




archer973

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the drivers side camshaft is timed correctly. The passenger is not. I have to move the passenger camshaft to get it in time. How do I do that?

If the camshaft was not timed properly, there is a good chance that there were valve strikes--piston hitting open valve at TDC. The valves could be damaged.

The passenger side valve camshaft is driven by a chain on the rear of the engine, so the engine must be out of the car to work on it. You have been communicating with 2000StreetRod and he is very knowledgeable about this engine. I followed his threads to rebuild my engine. He has a list of useful threads and it includes every process for repairing and timing the the camshafts. Go back to his last entry and you will see a link entitled "My Helpful Threads" at the bottom of the post. Click it. I'm sure you will find the thread you need to complete this repair. Good luck!
 




archer973

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Oops! It appears that 2000StreetRod was posting the answer as I was writing my post.
 




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If the camshaft was not timed properly, there is a good chance that there were valve strikes--piston hitting open valve at TDC. The valves could be damaged.

The passenger side valve camshaft is driven by a chain on the rear of the engine, so the engine must be out of the car to work on it. You have been communicating with 2000StreetRod and he is very knowledgeable about this engine. I followed his threads to rebuild my engine. He has a list of useful threads and it includes every process for repairing and timing the the camshafts. Go back to his last entry and you will see a link entitled "My Helpful Threads" at the bottom of the post. Click it. I'm sure you will find the thread you need to complete this repair. Good luck!
Dude the valves are fine. And the engine is out and in a million pieces. I know there's a chain in the back lmao I just spent $400 on chains. I gotta rotate the damn camshaft and I need to know what the cam retaining bolt looks like
 




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Oh alright now I understand. It's the bolt that goes thru the sprocket with the chain on it.
 




2000StreetRod

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Oh alright now I understand. It's the bolt that goes thru the sprocket with the chain on it.
Correct. I suggest that you wait until you have the timing tool kit before attempting to loosen the camshaft sprocket retaining bolts. One of the tools when installed keeps the sprocket from rotating when loosening/tightening the retaining bolt. Many forum members break the passenger side bolt because it loosens clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. Others break it because of overtightening when using the special lever that allows loosening/tightening with the engine installed in the vehicle. Many people are in a rush to do something before reading and understanding using the tools and following the procedure. Even automotive shops not familiar with the engine and the tools have destroyed the engine at start up because of not correctly installing the timing components.
 




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Correct. I suggest that you wait until you have the timing tool kit before attempting to loosen the camshaft sprocket retaining bolts. One of the tools when installed keeps the sprocket from rotating when loosening/tightening the retaining bolt. Many forum members break the passenger side bolt because it loosens clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. Others break it because of overtightening when using the special lever that allows loosening/tightening with the engine installed in the vehicle. Many people are in a rush to do something before reading and understanding using the tools and following the procedure. Even automotive shops not familiar with the engine and the tools have destroyed the engine at start up because of not correctly installing the timing components.
I 100% agree. I have focused most of my time on cleaning the motor block. The chains are still intact and haven't moved. After I receive the kit I will begin breakdown of the chains. I'm still waiting on one more guide so I have some time.
 








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2000streetrod- I took the camshaft retaining bolt out and the chain/sprocket off. How can I now rotate the cams to proper timing? It seems hard to turn.
 




2000StreetRod

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2000streetrod- I took the camshaft retaining bolt out and the chain/sprocket off. How can I now rotate the cams to proper timing? It seems hard to turn.
Are you working on the passenger side? Did you remove the spark plugs to eliminate compression resistance? Have you replaced the broken cassette? There is no need to time the camshafts until you have replaced the broken cassette guides. Have you received the tool kit?
 




flwest05

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Are you working on the passenger side? Did you remove the spark plugs to eliminate compression resistance? Have you replaced the broken cassette? There is no need to time the camshafts until you have replaced the broken cassette guides. Have you received the tool kit?
 




flwest05

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How to set the timing chains without buying the cam service tools.
 




mrb09c

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How is the timing affected if you dont the use the tensioner tool provided in the timing kit and just leave your actual tensioner installed?
 




ICoull

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How is the timing affected if you dont the use the tensioner tool provided in the timing kit and just leave your actual tensioner installed?
I believe the issue you would have is that your installed tensioner will have ‘expanded’ to its maximum travel. Setting the valve timing with it there would not allow it to do its job of exerting pressure on the movable chain guide. It would already be fully extended. The valve timing would be correct but little or no tension would be on the chain.
 




mrb09c

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Its actually a brand new tensioner I just installed. Does that change the situation? The chain did feel very tight with everything installed.
 


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ICoull

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Its actually a brand new tensioner I just installed. Does that change the situation? The chain did feel very tight with everything installed.
I’m rusty on this but seems that the initial guide position is set and held (while setting camshaft position) with the fake tensioner (a fixed length dummy tensioner), real tensioners (that I have experience with) have an internal spring that will expand them to max length (unless retained by an installation pin - removed after installation). I’m guessing that the threading action of the installation here compresses that spring during installation. Whether the initial timing is affected by the use of a real (longer?) tensioner, or the shorter dummy tensioner is beyond my knowledge. I can’t help but suspect that does matter though. I’ve got the kit, so could measure the overall length of the dummy if that would help.
More thinking... timing is controlled by the length of chain on the non-tensioner side, so changes in the tensioner side really should ‘just’ affect the amount of tension kept applied on the slack side of the chain. Again more about chain tension than timing.
 




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