Timing chain tensioners - Forums at Modded Mustangs
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post #1 of 22 Old June 10th, 2011, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Timing chain tensioners

I know i should replace them but was wandering if it would be a bad idea not too... I got 130,000 on the clock an will be doing a head an cam swap in the next 2 weeks an will be replacing my guides just cause im sure theyre in bad shape but i have no unusual noises and the car runs fine an i plan to do a complete over with a new short block in the next 50,000-70,000 miles...

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post #2 of 22 Old June 10th, 2011, 04:09 PM
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Yes, replace the tensioners. Cheap to replace. You don't want to have to pull the cover and everything else off of the front of the motor again.


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post #3 of 22 Old June 10th, 2011, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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The tensioners are exactly cheap when you add the $70 they cost in to the rest of my labor charges for everythig else.. Hell the guides alone are like $50... I just cant justify replacing them now when ima be tearing back into in 50,000 or so miles

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post #4 of 22 Old June 10th, 2011, 04:18 PM
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Replace them with the high miles you have on that engine. You would hate to be tearing it all apart again after only 5-10,000 miles.


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post #5 of 22 Old June 10th, 2011, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thats true... I just dont think they would though they havent gave me trouble yet... I dont even know how to begin to inspect them...

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post #6 of 22 Old June 10th, 2011, 08:31 PM
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There will be no increased labor charges in replacing them, that would be included in your guide replacement. Spend the money and buy the tensioners. From what I'm starting to think you aren't replacing chains either. The tensioners ratchet out with oil pressure and chain stretch. Depending on the amount of chain stretch you have on the chains, if you're reusing them, the tensioners may be locked out at their limits already and there would be no need to replace them with new units that will lock out on first crank.

Don't take this the wrong way, but if you're not willing to do it the right way and replace the components that work together in the timing setup why not just wait until you have the money to do replace it all? I know it's not cheap, but it's a lot cheaper than paying for it today, then paying for it again in 5k miles plus more parts to do the job that should have been done originally. To each their own, but if I'm going into the front side of the 4.6 it's getting chains, tensioners and guides. No increased labor cost to install them.


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post #7 of 22 Old June 10th, 2011, 08:46 PM
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I would go ahead and replace them as the others have said. On the original tensioners @ 80k the passenger side ratcheting mechanism (original metal version tensioner) the teeth were rounded off where some didnt have enough to hold the hydraulic plunger in place when needed. The other showed signs of wear as well.

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post #8 of 22 Old June 10th, 2011, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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The chain is good ive never heard of chain failure unless the chain guide was wore down to metal and or was wearing on the tensioner itself... Its a buddy of mine doing the install an we talked bout it an i will be getting tensioners and holdin out on guides till i tear it apart an see if it needs them bt i seriousley doubt the chains are stretched out to the tensioners limit esp at 130k

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post #9 of 22 Old June 10th, 2011, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 02gtmustang View Post
The chain is good ive never heard of chain failure unless the chain guide was wore down to metal and or was wearing on the tensioner itself... Its a buddy of mine doing the install an we talked bout it an i will be getting tensioners and holdin out on guides till i tear it apart an see if it needs them bt i seriousley doubt the chains are stretched out to the tensioners limit esp at 130k
What rock have you been living under? If you've never seen chain stretch you've never been into a 100k mile motor. Go buy new chains and measure the circumference of the new chain versus the old chain, it will blow your mind. 130k miles I assure you the guides, tensioners and chains need to be replaced. Cut corners and save money by not replacing the timing gears. You are wasting your time by replacing cams and using worn out chains and tensioners. The chains keep your cams in time with the crankshaft..... when they are stretched, which I assure you they are, your cams will be retarded (timing retard) in comparison to the crankshaft. Do it your way though, you're probably gonna regret it in the long run.


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post #10 of 22 Old June 11th, 2011, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
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Never said they werent stretched .... But ive heard of SEVERAL people re using 100k+ chains with no issues cause its not the chains that are in bad shape its the guides an tensioners

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post #11 of 22 Old June 11th, 2011, 05:26 AM
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Chain stretch is measured C to C on pin distance over several pins ie .375" pitch over 20 links should be 7.5". The wear will be easier to see over a longer distance and a cailper should be used. Tensioners IMO are re-useable but need to be inspected for ratched wear. With 130k guides will probably show a little wear but should be fine.

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post #12 of 22 Old June 11th, 2011, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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So what are you saying exactly? And can i get some more people and opinnions on this? Where is all the modular gurus?

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post #13 of 22 Old June 11th, 2011, 01:29 PM
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If you look at the sideplate on the chain there are two round pins that hold the link together. They should be exactly 3/8 of an inch apart. If you count 10 pins the center distance should be 10 x 3/8" or 3.750". Any distance measured over 3.750" on 10 pins = stretch/wear.

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post #14 of 22 Old June 11th, 2011, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Well has anyone heard of a motors chains being over stretched under 200,000? Ive just always read an heard to worry bout the guides an tensioners...

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post #15 of 22 Old June 11th, 2011, 08:04 PM
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Guides are a wear item and they do wear, i've never seen any completely destoryed in 130k motors but they will show obvious wear. We've already covered the method the tensioners use to tension the chains and the tensioners max limit of expansion. The chain stretch is the issue and I agree with TJs measurements, however the reason I said go buy chains and compare circumference is because you can lay the old chain down on a clean surface and will most likely to be able to lay the new chain inside it. Your chains keep the cams true with the crankshaft. Stretched chains, while the tensioner tightens them, allows the cam to become retarded in relation to the crankshaft. You're already doing all of the labor to get to them, you should replace them while you're there. You also mentioned something about chain failure.... I HAVE NEVER SEEN A MOD TIMING CHAIN BREAK. I don't think that's an issue that even needs to be addressed, my point is trying to keep cam timing accurate. 8 hours labor no matter whether you replace chains, guides and tensioners or not. Same labor time. I just hate to see people spend their hard earned money to hot rod their car and then have a parts failure that could have been prevented when they were inside it 5k miles before.


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post #16 of 22 Old June 11th, 2011, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Well i doubt my chains will stretch that much more in 50,000... If that long... Ill be back in theyre by then doing a short block with all new components... I dont have $200 extra for chains anyway

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post #17 of 22 Old June 12th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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Wow. Nevermind. Reuse everything. Gastkets too, they won't be any more worn in 50k. Good luck.


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post #18 of 22 Old June 12th, 2011, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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That was just dumb... Thats why i hate these big forum sites like this sometimes... Ive never heard of somebody replacing the chains on just a head swap an cams...

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post #19 of 22 Old June 12th, 2011, 03:51 PM
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That was just dumb... Thats why i hate these big forum sites like this sometimes... Ive never heard of somebody replacing the chains on just a head swap an cams...
You and you're friend who have never heard of chain stretch aren't understanding. I'm done trying to explain why to you. Reuse everything, it will be fine and run great.


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post #20 of 22 Old June 12th, 2011, 03:54 PM
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just saying.... rebuilt my entire motor at 150,000 miles. Guides and chains looked GREAT!... got new tensioners though and 500+rwhp later... no issues! If it were me, inspect your guides and chains, if they are fine, then rock em! Change the tensioners. Its cheap enough.


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