What do I need to know about replacing timing chain?

What do I need to know about replacing timing chain?

Postby ExtraParts [OP] » April 5th 2018, 7:26pm

Been chasing an issue for a while now, have fuel at rail, have spark, just replaced a badly chewed up distributor, next I'm thinking I need to go after the chain as it just stopped while driving with no hiccups or nuthin, just dead. There was 11° of play at distributor when turning crank by hand but that went away after I dropped the new distributor, but now it's backfiring and still won't even start up to run ugly. If someone thinks I should try other tests first, I will, but basically I've never been behind that cover and am wondering if I'm going to need special tools or what, and generally what to do at all, cuz I have no idea what marks or gears need to be pointing where blah blah and im having a hard time finding an answer online. Thanks folks.
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Re: What do I need to know about replacing timing chain?

Postby astroracer » April 5th 2018, 7:29pm

Verify you have the distributor installed correctly. It needs to be pointing at #1 on the compression stroke. :)
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Re: What do I need to know about replacing timing chain?

Postby ExtraParts [OP] » April 5th 2018, 7:46pm

Almost positive. Had my neighbor turn the crank while I had my finger in #1, felt the air and lined it up to the second mark on the damper. Dropped the dist and it hit right where the mark is for #1 on the distributor cap. Something is off but I'm at a loss for what else to do besides trying to replace the chain, or seeing visually if something else is messed up in there. ADDITIONALLY, when I did the head gasket 5-6,000 miles ago I didn't notice anything wrong with the distributor teeth, so maybe that wear happening so quickly has something to do with it? (But I didn't know to look for wear on the dist gear back then, but my neighbor mechanic guy never mentioned those teeth being ugly and he was the one who dropped it in last time....?)
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Re: What do I need to know about replacing timing chain?

Postby markmitch » April 5th 2018, 8:22pm

Unless something changed on newer vehicles I have always followed these steps. 1. mark on the back of the intake and on the back of the distributor corresponding marks to line the distributor up where it sits before loosening anything up. 2 after removing cap line up marks as to where the rotor button lines up with the body of the inside of the distributor. 3. bring engine to TDC.
then pull the distributor. Now when you put the distributor back in you line the rotor up to the number one cylinder and the mark on the distributor body you made earlier and you should be super close if not on the money. As for the timing chain the only special tools required would be to removed the crank sprocket and that tool can be loaned to you from autozone or oreillys auto parts. you line the dots up on the two gears its pretty strait forward.haynes manual for your van tells you how.
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Re: What do I need to know about replacing timing chain?

Postby SportsBoy » April 6th 2018, 1:34am

Did you verify that the crankshaft position sensor is working yet?

If it is, then this is how you get the timing cover off on my 97 (I don't have any experience with the chain and gears though)

After jacking it up and supporting it and disconnecting the battery and draining the oil, etc:
remove shroud and clutch fan and airbox and such
remove serp belt
drain coolant
remove water pump and harmonic balancer pulleys
remove water pump
remove harmonic balancer (need to rent removal/installer tools)
remove crankshaft position sensor bolt and wiggle it out
remove the plugs from the tranny bellhousing where it meets the oil pan
unscrew the (10mm?) nuts way the heck up there
use a torx socket (t4 or t6 I think) to remove the studs the nuts were on
remove starter
removes starter plate
take off diff mounting bolts (upper and lower)
unscrew axle support bracket (2 bolts) - for me I didn't need to support the diff, it just hung there...
undo the bolt holding that bracket up (attaching it to the control arm, I think?)
now there's enough room to remove the oil pan
remove the oil pan bolts, including the sneaky ones (way easier with the diff lowered)
crack oil pan free with a tap, if it doesn't just fall off
wiggle it out - seemed like it wouldn't go for me, but then somehow it just slid out
if the pan still won't come, rotate the engine to tdc (I think it was tdc - this was a trick from wiley to stroverlander/coursemoto)
with the pan out, remove 6 timing cover bolts
and you're in

for reinstall, clean everything, put a new oil pan gasket on, and put the gasket maker on the corners of the pan and by the bottom bolt holes on the timing cover (I used black rtv). And then do everything else.

Hope that helps a bit - I'm hoping to do a more detailed writeup on this sometime when I have time, because misinformation absolutely made this job hell for me.
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Re: What do I need to know about replacing timing chain?

Postby markmitch » April 6th 2018, 2:41am

ultra grey RTV is what most shops use and they swear by it.
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