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SOHC V6 Timing Chain Saga

I bought my Sport in May, 2009 with 150,000 miles on the odometer. I just switched to synthetic engine oil in mid Dec (151,674 miles) when I got the leaks resolved on my coolers and remote filters. I now have 152,245 miles on the odometer. If I had known the internals had so much sludge I would have flushed the engine before my change to synthetics.

I have not replaced the thermostat and have verified proper operating temperature (192 degrees) via multiple datalogs. The original owner was a young man in the military and I doubt the vehicle had proper periodic maintenance judging from the sludge in the engine and the crud in the fuel filter.

With people in the military i noticed they either take GREAT care of the vehicle or its left sitting around and they dont fix anything.

My truck sits for the most part but proper maintanice is essential for a vehice to run and stay running for a long time and i plan on keeping it well into the 160k mile mark.

To me it looks like he used regular oil and did not change it that ofent. I changed oil in friends 99 blazer and oil was coming out in chunks. I asked him the last time it was changed and he told me before we deployed! (that was over a year and a half) I changed the oil with some cheap crap and ran some sea foam in the oil for about 15 miles and it came out a little less chunky after the 2nd flush.

My Acura i owned which was my first car had sludge buildup. I ended up flushing it out with ATF but had to take the head off anyway to un plug the portals. If it was not for that car i would not have gotten into mechanics.


Good luck for i orderd parts the other day to be tackling the same task this spring. I am just doing the front since the rear was replaced in 2004 from what the ford print out says and that was only 15k ago. The front passenger side does have the rattle at idle and start up anything beyond that i cant hear since the air intake is loud.


Jon
 



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Hot socket

Well Bob I tried your trick of heating and then hammering on a 12 point socket. Unfortunately, the socket wouldn't hold. The problem is that the bolt head is on the inside curve of the downpipe and I don't have room to swing a hammer to drive on the socket. All I could do was attach a wobble extension to the socket and then hammer the end of the extension. The other bolt in the exhaust flange has been removed so there should be very little pressure on the existing bolt. I suspect the threads are just rusted to the intake manifold. I only have a propane torch so I don't know how hot the socket actually got. I also heated the threaded portion of the exhaust manifold before attempting removal of the bolt. I suspect I'll end up cutting off the bolt head and after pulling the engine try to loosen the bolt with locking pliers.

I'm in the process of disconnecting all of my remote filter/cooler oil lines.

I was able to remove one of the left upper transmission to engine bolts by reaching between the engine and the firewall. Access to the ones on the right is blocked by the camshaft timing sprocket/chain housing. I believe it's safe to remove all of the upper bolts before supporting the weight of the engine with the crane and the transmission with a jack. I'm not looking forward to trying to remove the upper bolts from underneath.
 






Dale,

As always and incredible write up. The Ford manual actually recommends removing the engine entirely to perform this procedure. Although it does give an in vehicle procedure the recommendation is to service this part with the engine removed. That is what I did just to make it easier.-j
 






Up and Running

Just to let you know I've finished my timing job and all is sweet. (Posting everything soon).
It has never sounded better.
My cam locking technique has worked well enough to be running smoothly. I tightened my crank bolt by wrapping a ratchet tie down around the dampner and tightening the straps (my mate had to pull one side) it held it tight enough. My dad took his strap wrench home that's why I used the tie down.
The strap wrench I used before was a nylon strap type with a ratchet sitting on a curved plate. Very similar to a tie down. I've seen different types so letting you know which one I used. We used opposite torque and 2 breaker bars but it came easily.
Hope this helps.

BTW after getting oil pressure up I put the ignition fuse back in and it started first kick. Not one miss fire, cough or splutter.Great feeling!!!!
 






Well done!

Congratulations on your significant accomplishment! I suspect that the special timing tool set would have cost you at lot more there than it does here. I know from your countrymen that the cost of parts from the Ford dealer there is exorbitant. Your ingenuity is highly commendable. I am inspired to proceed.
 






Upper trans bolts

Today I attempted to remove the upper transmission to engine bolts from the wheel wells instead of from the top of the engine compartment. I used various combinations of adapters with the tools shown below and managed to extract all of the bolts.
TranTool.jpg

The secret is to have a short 3/8 inch drive that works at an angle slightly greater than 90 degrees to break the bolt loose. I only had to use the universal joint on the bolt located at the top driver side that I removed by reaching down thru the engine compartment. Once loose, the bolts are easily removed with a 1/4 inch ratchet drive. There are electrical connectors on both sides. I had planned to disconnect them after lifting and sliding the engine forward a few inches but ended up getting them by just reaching thru the wheel wells as shown below.
O2Cnctr.jpg

Things were going so well that I decided to try the hot socket method again on the last exhaust manifold to downpipe bolt. This time I heated the socket until it started to glow. Then I hammered it on using my 1/2 inch breaker bar. After it cooled I sprayed the bolt with PB Blaster to soak overnight. Tomorrow I will try to loosen the bolt.
 






dude I know your pain, those exhaust bolts were the worst part of swapping out my SOHC. I ended up cutting two of them and then drilling them out and replacing them with a bolt that goes through the entire assembly. I could have save myself a lot of time by just starting out doing that. It only took me about 15min to cut through the bolts. But I wasted about 2 hours trying to remove them. once the engine is removed it is easy to drill out the manifold flange for the bolts. Just an idea if things get bad..

good luck man...
 






Congratulations on your significant accomplishment! I suspect that the special timing tool set would have cost you at lot more there than it does here. I know from your countrymen that the cost of parts from the Ford dealer there is exorbitant. Your ingenuity is highly commendable. I am inspired to proceed.

Could not find timing tools here. Ford would not sell me one! Jack shaft guide paid $9 US was quoted $135 by Fraud Australia. On ebay I saw head gasket set for $100 US so rang ford for a price and a laugh... $1250+.

The thing is I ordered the timing tools from network tool warehouse in the US 3 weeks ago,emailed them twice about when they would ship them,no reply, they billed me a week and a half ago, but sent them yesterday. The USPS notified me of shipping not them. $300 after shipping and currency conversion.

All the best and stay inspired! It is a great sense of accomplishment when your done!
 






Parts

just a quick one. Torrie at fast parts network was fantastic for getting me the right parts fast and with heaps of help. I found him through here. If you havn't got a parts guy I can highly recommend him. I think you get discount for being a member here.
 






Next time try Tasca Ford, they are typically the lowest, and they answer the phone most of the time. Regards,
 






For the tranny to engine bolts on top and side I found easiest to do by taking the center console out and pulling up the carpet and taking out the transmission hump pan. Just a tip for next time it seemed easiest.
 






For the tranny to engine bolts on top and side I found easiest to do by taking the center console out and pulling up the carpet and taking out the transmission hump pan. Just a tip for next time it seemed easiest.

Actually if you remove the upper intake, those bolts are really easy to get out from the engine compartment
 












Upper intake removed

Actually if you remove the upper intake, those bolts are really easy to get out from the engine compartment

Actually, I had removed the upper intake manifold in order to remove the valve covers to check the chains and guides. I still have the stock soundproofing attached to the firewall which reduces the space between the rear of the heads and the firewall.
 






Cost vs Value

Dale,
i'm enjoying following the saga. My '97 Sport was making a horrible "death rattle" and finally (the other day) I suspect the slack got so great that a chain jumped a sprocket as I suddenly lost power (compression?) I was able to baby her home and park her. Hasn't started since. I was at Advance Auto Parts today and the entire timing chain kit was $550.00 and I can buy a rebuilt shortblock for $ 700. it seems that if I'm going to have to pull the engine either way i'd be crazy not to go for the rebuilt engine. Just wondering what you think.
Best of luck and I'll follow your progress.
 






bobdabldr, I inherited a 97 4 door xplorer. It also had the "Death Rattle" I pulled the motor and put a rebuild in. To me it just made more sense. With the SOHC you may also need a special ford tool. Ask 2000streetrod if he would do this motor pull again. Its a long slow process. I would just get a rebuild. thats just my .02
 






Rebuilt shortblock

. . . My '97 Sport was making a horrible "death rattle" and finally (the other day) I suspect the slack got so great that a chain jumped a sprocket as I suddenly lost power (compression?) I was able to baby her home and park her. Hasn't started since. I was at Advance Auto Parts today and the entire timing chain kit was $550.00 and I can buy a rebuilt shortblock for $ 700. it seems that if I'm going to have to pull the engine either way i'd be crazy not to go for the rebuilt engine. Just wondering what you think. . . .

I would determine what's wrong with the engine before replacing anything. Pull off the oil filler cap and see if the left camshaft rotates when the starter motor is cranked. Do a compression check on the right bank to see if you have any.

Find out specifically what the rebuild of the shortblock includes. It probably includes a new jackshaft tensioner but may not include a new jackshaft chain guide, chain or sprockets. Is your vehicle 2WD or 4WD? If 4WD does the shortblock have the balance shaft and replaced tensioner and guide? Since the shortblock does not include the heads the upper timing chain components (front and rear)may not be included. Some engine rebuilders automatically replace high wear components and others check and repair/replace as required. If the shortblock only has a 90 day warranty then the components could be marginal but not fail in the warranty period. Remember, a warranty only covers the cost of the part and not the cost of engine removal/reinstallation.

The entire timing chain kit that costs $550 at Advance Auto is probably supplied by manufacturers that advertise the same thing on eBay for $200 to $300. Even the Ford genuine parts are manufactured overseas but to Ford's quality standards.

If you get a complete set of all new timing chain components in the rebuilt shortblock then it's a good deal. Otherwise, it depends on what's included in the rebuild. I suspect if you ask Advance Auto they won't know for sure what's included and will just say it's warranted.
 






Repeat performance

bobdabldr, I inherited a 97 4 door xplorer. It also had the "Death Rattle" I pulled the motor and put a rebuild in. To me it just made more sense. With the SOHC you may also need a special ford tool. Ask 2000streetrod if he would do this motor pull again. Its a long slow process. I would just get a rebuild. thats just my .02

Actually, I do plan to pull the engine again in a year or two when I do an engine rebuild. I'm not typical in that I am retired and am working on my Sport to occupy some of my spare time. I enjoy helping others and staying active physically and mentally. My Sport was an excellent purchase in that it's very difficult to maintain and presents numerous mental and physical challenges to solve when attempting what used to be routine tasks on some of my previously owned vehicles. I will document my first hand experience and post an engine removal/installation procedure and a timing chain related procedure. Then I'll validate the first procedure by following it when I rebuild my engine (probably another procedure to generate and post). This forum has helped me greatly with the posts by others who have shared their experience. I enjoy following their example.

From a financial aspect, installing a commercially remanufactured engine is probably a wise choice. I don't know about the quality of "rebuilt" engines.
 






My 2cents

Dale,
i'm enjoying following the saga. My '97 Sport was making a horrible "death rattle" and finally (the other day) I suspect the slack got so great that a chain jumped a sprocket as I suddenly lost power (compression?) I was able to baby her home and park her. Hasn't started since. I was at Advance Auto Parts today and the entire timing chain kit was $550.00 and I can buy a rebuilt shortblock for $ 700. it seems that if I'm going to have to pull the engine either way i'd be crazy not to go for the rebuilt engine. Just wondering what you think.
Best of luck and I'll follow your progress.

Swapping your parts over to the short block could be more work than doing the timing chains.
If you havn't bent valves and it's only gone in the front I would look at doing just that. How many miles on your engine?
Also I have been told that the generic tensioners and guides are no good.
I have seen a place on ebay I think they where called prefered parts or something like that, they used genuine tensioners and guides and generic chains and sprockets so the price was reasonable. Somewhere between the ford price and the cheap set price.
What ever you do Good Luck!
 



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A shortblock will not include the heads or any parts connecting them, meaning you still have to buy the parts you looked at at Advance. Don't pay $550 for valvetrain parts, I can get the Ford parts for around $200.

Find out if the actual engine is hurt, not the chains and guides. If there is no debris in the oiling system(pickup etc), then the shortblock is fine. If the chains are intact and didn't jump several several teeth, then the valves should not be bent. Confirm the valves and seats with a leak down test if needed.

Simply, buy the real Ford parts from a place like Tasca, the special TDC tools, and get those changed. The cost for labor will be the most, the parts are relatively cheap. Regards,
 






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