Timing Chain - Does the engine have to be removed? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Timing Chain - Does the engine have to be removed?

Johnny Glenn

Well-Known Member
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September 2, 2009
Messages
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City, State
Charleston, SC
Year, Model & Trim Level
02-04 Explorers
Thanks for looking in - I've got an 04 Mountaineer 4.0L w/ AWD that is making the loudest timing chain rattle I've ever heard. The Haynes manual describes repair w/ engine removed but is it possible to inspect/repair some of the chains and tensioners w/out removal? The manual does describe being able to get to chains w/out removal w/ a V8. I couldn't find any good links -- I'm sure this has been covered in detail (many times) --- any repair posts w/ pics? Thanks!
 



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When engine removal required?

The only SOHC V6 timing chain related component replacements that require engine removal are the balance shaft tensioner and the right (rear) cassette or guide assembly.

SOHC V6 Timing Chain Inspection & Repair

Check my helpful threads for more timing chain related threads
 






Thanks for that great link! The few parts you mentioned that require engine removal - are they normally the most likely problems? Do you recommend inspecting any certain components first due to their common failure.
 






Upgraded components

Your 2004 should have all of the upgraded components that were incorporated in the 2002 and later models. Unfortunately, Ford chose not to reinforce with metal the traction side of the right guide assembly. Consequently, for the later models it is one of the least reliable timing components.

The photo below shows my old style (2000) right guide at 150,000 miles.
RCasset.jpg


Sometimes just the top breaks allowing the guide to move laterally and the chain to strike the upper positioning bolt as shown below.
5RightCamshaft.jpg

When that happens there is a very loud rattle that echoes throughout the engine. The photo below shows how the upper end of the guide should look.
RtGuide.jpg
 






What do you recommend?....trying to inspect parts that can be w/out removal...or take engine out and go through it completely? I found a complete timing chain kit on EBAY for $150 http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/NEW-...ptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories -- I'd like to replace just what is wrong but thinking maybe just sending it to a trusted mechanic and have him replace everything. Thanks again for your help!
 






Inspect to determine what's failed

I'm an advocate of determining what's failed before replacement. In my opinion too many forum members replace things that might be causing a problem without isolating to the failure. Then when all of the easy to replace (but somewhat expensive) components have been replaced and the problem still exists they start testing. The chains, sprockets and chain contact surfaces can easily last 500,000 miles. If you do the inspection yourself it will only cost you time assuming that you have adequate tools. Start with the right timing chain guide since if its bad the engine will have to come out. Then you can inspect the rest after the engine has been removed. If the right guide is OK, then inspect the left guide. If you have to pay a mechanic to pull the engine, repair it, and then reinstall it you should consider replacing the entire timing set since so much of the cost is labor. Make sure you pick a mechanic that has the timing tool kit (OTC 6488) and has done at least one engine successfully before. Some mechanics have timed the camshafts 180 degrees out of phase even with the tool kit. The instructions for using the kit to time the engine can be misunderstood. At least one forum member had his newly rebuilt engine valve train destroyed in the first minute after the engine was started because it was timed incorrectly by a mechanic not familiar with the process.

There are varying quality of timing chain sets available on eBay. I bought a Cloyes set of cassettes to compare with Ford OEM cassettes. Here's a thread I started on the topic: SOHC V6 Timing Chain Parts Sources. In the future I won't take the risk of something other than Ford OEM. The SOHC V6 is an expensive engine to rebuild. It's cheaper to find a low mileage 2005+ Mustang SOHC V6 in a salvage yard and adapt it to the Explorer configuration.
 






Thanks Dale - Your posts have been very helpful.
I'm not sure if an aftermarket part could be much worse than OEM in this situation?! It is of course the "bad design" or at least the "lack of quality OEM parts" that have caused the problem in the first place?! I'm going to try and inspect the problem w/ your posts in hand and see what I can come up with -- thanks again!
 






no bolts

. . . I found a complete timing chain kit on EBAY for $150 http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/NEW-...ptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories -- . . .

That kit includes the jackshaft rear cover which often has to be purchased separately but does not include any bolts. The jackshaft rear sprocket retaining bolt and the harmonic balancer retaining bolts are torque-to-yield and should not be reused. The kit includes the cassette sprockets but no sprockets that fit on the crankshaft (balance shaft chain and jackshaft chain). It does have the updated style of tensioners and guide assemblies.

I'll be offline Monday thru Wednesday but will check Thursday for any updates you have posted. If you post photos of your rear guide after removing the valve cover I'll comment on what I see. It's hard to see anything directly with the hood in place so a camera helps. A mirror of the right size and shape can also be helpful.
 






I have a 2002 XLT I think might have some timing chain noise. Only does it under load at around 2500~3000 RPM's and I can't really hear it if the windows are up.

Are there any examples (videos or audio) of what this would sound like if it was bad?

Are there other things that could sound the same and be mistaken for the chain?

This noise sounds external, not internal. Also as I said it only seems to do it under load. can pop the hood and rip on the throttle cable and I do not get this noise. Again, only under load when moving.

Also is one more known for going then another? What I mean is I have a friend who is a mechanic and he is saying IF it needs to be replaced, most likely it's just the front one and the engine doesn't need to be pulled.

Comments?
 






hard to verify

I have a 2002 XLT I think might have some timing chain noise. Only does it under load at around 2500~3000 RPM's and I can't really hear it if the windows are up. . .
Are there other things that could sound the same and be mistaken for the chain?

This thread may give you some ideas: Timing chain rattle resolution process - SOHC V6

This noise sounds external, not internal. Also as I said it only seems to do it under load. can pop the hood and rip on the throttle cable and I do not get this noise. Again, only under load when moving.

Also is one more known for going then another? What I mean is I have a friend who is a mechanic and he is saying IF it needs to be replaced, most likely it's just the front one and the engine doesn't need to be pulled.

Comments?

I agree with the mechanic. The most likely timing chain issue for midrange engine speed under load is failure of the primary chain tensioner. It is very difficult to verify. You might try using a local dynomometer.
 






You agree that it's most likely the front one then? I ASSUME my friend knows what he is talking about. He has been an ASE certified mechanic for like 20+ years...? He also exclusively owned Ford Explorers. In fact, he has 3 of them. He has 1 V8 and two V6's, all 4x4's.
 






OK! I just read your other post. You mention the 2002 has some new upgraded parts?

Do ALL of them or was it like a late year model 2002 thing? I have no idea if my 2002 is early or late model year.
 






2002 upgrade

OK! I just read your other post. You mention the 2002 has some new upgraded parts?

Do ALL of them or was it like a late year model 2002 thing? I have no idea if my 2002 is early or late model year.

I don't when in 2002 the upgrades were implemented. The primary tensioner was significantly improved.
 






Would FORD know based on the VIN what part was used? Don't really want to rip the engine apart just to look! :D
 






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