ford explorer

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 06, 2007 at 18:35
ThreadID: 42055 Views:17781 Replies:5 FollowUps:11
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I have read with interest all the posts on the ford explorer, in particular one by keepkampin which was responded to by "exploder". You really know your stuff about explorers, can you suggest somewhere in the US to purchase timing kits or just the front timing chains and tensioners and guides? Have you replaced yours and if so how much did it cost you for parts and shipping? Any help would be appreciated
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Reply By: Exploder - Tuesday, Feb 06, 2007 at 20:07

Tuesday, Feb 06, 2007 at 20:07
Mate I have replaced only my Front and rear Cam Chain Tensioners, they are located in the top of the head's intake manifold side, No need to open the engine up to do them. You just need to remove the Intake manifold and anything else in the way and they unscrew out the side of the head.

For the new timing gear I would suggest hear> Note all prices are USD

Site Link

Hear is the section you need to look under for the parts> you want all the timing gear relating to the 4.0 SOHC V6
Site Link

If you are unsure simply E-mail them and tell them what you require and they should be able to hell you get the right stuff

Don’t worry about getting new Sprockets as the old ones will still be fine, How noisy is your engine, if it’s very rattly it’s possible the timing chains are stretched, if it reasonably quite you can just use the old ones if funds are tight, but they cost bugger all so you may as well fit new ones it the budget allows.

Just IMO but if you re going to the trouble of doing the front of the engine (which can be done with it still in the car but is tight) You may as well just pull the motor and Do the back at the same time as there is only 1 chain, and related parts back there. And if that guide fails right after you have done the front you will not be happy.

Who is going to do the work and have they worked on a SOHC V6 before as there are a few things that can trip you up with these things.

Hear is a Photo of the front of the SOHC showing most of the assembly

AnswerID: 220235

Follow Up By: Exploder - Tuesday, Feb 06, 2007 at 20:18

Tuesday, Feb 06, 2007 at 20:18
That’s the front, the back is basically the same but with only the rear Cam chain that attaches to the rear jackshaft sprocket, the Jackshaft runs where the Cam used to when it was a OHV engine, You can see the front Jackshaft sprocket in that photo, the big one in the Middle that has a timing chain that runs down to the Crank Sprocket
FollowupID: 480794

Follow Up By: jase_c - Tuesday, Feb 06, 2007 at 22:15

Tuesday, Feb 06, 2007 at 22:15
it doesnt sound like its about to let go(my old 4runner was as rattly till i replaces the chain) but its noticable while idling until around 1200rpm. did you replace your tensioners because yours was noisy? i have a mechanic friend that my family has used for all there work for years now who has done stuff similar in mitsubishi's and hyundis before and he assures me it isnt a problem for him to do the work (i will just remove the engine to reduce labour costs), i just didnt want to give ford australia any of my hard earned's as they are a bunch of overcharging criminals, did you get the tensioners from here or the states? i will check out the websites you sent and compare the prices to what my mate can get for trade, the only killer might be freight from the US. I picked the car up for cheap enough so i can afford to spend a little on it for peace of mind and a top car. but wtf is the balance shaft? i got a fax from ford here with their ridiculous prices, with a chain for the crank to balance shaft as well as from the crank to jackshaft and jackshaaft to camshaft. How many are there? Mate thanks for all the help and info you have given, you are a true champion!
FollowupID: 480822

Follow Up By: jase_c - Tuesday, Feb 06, 2007 at 22:24

Tuesday, Feb 06, 2007 at 22:24
By the way, the car is a 1998 model with 240 000 on the clock. other than the rattle which goes away after 1200rpm it is perfect. looks like it mite be a knuckle skinning job removing the engine tho, but have done a full reco on my 94' nissan skyline turbo with not 1 problem. Thanks again mate!
FollowupID: 480824

Reply By: Exploder - Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 18:27

Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 18:27
First off, I can give you a semi detailed step buy step procedure for this job if you like, you can have a look at it and so can your mechanic friend if he hasn’t done this before just to save you both any problems.

Now to your question

Ok mate, if he hasn’t done work on the Ford SOHC V6 before then he may get a little shock.

It isn’t a little different to the run of the mill engine.

Getting the parts from the U.S will be way cheaper than Hole sale hear, That site I listed sells OEM Ford gear for under the Ford MRSP.

On the front of the engine there are 3 chains and on the back there is 1, making 4 in total.
(if you look on that photo I posted you will see the 3 chains on the front of the engine )

A balance shaft is to control engine vibration (Only the 4WD explorers are fitted with a balance shaft due to differences in design and intended use, all Australian explorer are 4WD)

Onto the surprises, to retime the cam shafts you need to buy a Tool off ford or you can order one from the U.S ( I can get you the part number of it if you like)

A experienced mechanic can get around it without using the cam re timing tool if they are very careful but the odds are not in there favour !!!). Each camshaft needs to be perfectly timed to the other one otherwise the engine will run like chit or worse you will bend valves.

Basically long story short you need the Cam Timing Tool for the SOHC V6 for this Job. I would do both the front and back timing gear wile you have the engine out, you will be able to buy all the pats from the U.S shipped to you door in under a week for under $500 at a guess.

Ford Australia charged me $250 for Just the 2 cam tentioner assembly + gaskets and seals. The same stuff in the U.S is worth around $60 Australian.


P.S Look to see if the Upgraded cam chain tensioners have been fitted yet If they haven’t fit them and see if the noise goes away, you will be able to see the front right one sticking out of the side of the head about 1-inch or so around the Theostat housing aria, it’s black, Round and around 16mm in diameter.

You can see it in this photo; Those 2 braded Fuel lines are running over the top of it

Oh and what does this noise sound like exactly, is it a constant metallic type rattle sounds slightly like a diesel engine at idle> if so defiantly the timing gear, if not it may be something else.

AnswerID: 220444

Follow Up By: jase_c - Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 18:43

Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 18:43
Yeh mate she sounds like a diesel! How do i tell if the upgraded chain tensioners have been fitted? are they a different size to the stock ones? My mechanic is very good ( over 35 years in the game) as he used to work for an auction company but he hasnt worked on one of these before, so it will prolly be worth it to get the cam re-timing tool( he knows someone at ford so we may be able to borrow them). I checked that website and all the chains and guides and tensioners total around $300 australian roughly compared to $1200 from ford so for my sanity and peace of mind i might order everything and just pull the motor and be done with it. The step by step procedure sounds great thanks, will take you up on that offer!
FollowupID: 481022

Follow Up By: Exploder - Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 20:31

Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 20:31
The shipping from the U.S will probably be around $70-$120 depending on weight of everything, like I say use express post and you can get it in 6 days.

Make sure you only get the timing gear for the SOHC V6 and not the OHC V6 as they are 2 completely different engines.

As a Example
Chain guide, explorer - 4.0l ohv - 4.0L OHV 95-00 $15.83 $12.35 > this relates to the OHV engine, You don’t what anything with 4.0L OHV in it

Chain guide, explorer, mountaineer, jackshaft to cam - 4.0l sohc - 4.0L SOHC 97-05 $79.92 $65.46> this relates to the SOHC engine, this is what you want!!!, make sure the parts you order are designated 4.0 SOHC 97-05.

Look in the photo I posted in my reply above, if you can see that tentioner sticking out the side of the head near the Theostat housing the Updated tentioners are fitted, If they haven’t been fitted you won’t see anything there and I would suggest fitting them first and see if that shuts the engine up as it’s only takes a few hours to do, apposed to 2-3 days for the Compleat timing rebuild.

Too see if thay are fitted to your engine Just pull the engine cover off and shine a torch around that thmostat housing, if it’s there you will see it (That is the front right cam chain tentioner pictured, the left cam chain tentioner is on the left head at the back, but you can’t see it with the manifold still on the motor)

Front cam chain tetioner Veu from the above.

I will put the timing overhaul Procedure up in a wile.

If you friend knows somebody at ford and he can get a print out from the Ford service CD of the Ford Overhaul procedure concerning the timing on this engine that would be very helpful to you as well.

FollowupID: 481046

Follow Up By: Exploder - Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 20:35

Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 20:35
See it sticking out the side of the head, it’s that black cylindrical thing the 2 braded hoses are running over the top of it and you can see the other end sticking into the head with the Rocker cover removed.
FollowupID: 481048

Follow Up By: jase_c - Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 23:56

Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 23:56
i checked that parts site out but cant find any camchain tensioners, only upper and lower tensioners which i think are for the crank to jackshaft and the crank to balance shaft. i dont spose you have the part numbers for the ones you purchased?
FollowupID: 481100

Follow Up By: Exploder - Thursday, Feb 08, 2007 at 17:55

Thursday, Feb 08, 2007 at 17:55

But the part number I have doesn’t seem to show anything which is odd as that’s never happened before.

Best to E-mail or call them and tell them you are looking for the left and right bank hydraulic Cam chain Tentioner to fit a SOHC V6 for an Explorer.

Let me know the outcome.

FollowupID: 481233

Follow Up By: jase_c - Thursday, Feb 08, 2007 at 18:19

Thursday, Feb 08, 2007 at 18:19
i checked that # too and nothing, maybe it comes as a kit with the chain and guides? price for the camshaft drive assembly is $65.46 US compared to $32.70 for the crank to jackshaft chain so mabe the difference includes this part as the other guides are around $10US. Total for all the parts to do everything is(all icould find anyway) $332US. when i look up 4L2Z6M290AA it shows a few parts with this number including camchain, guide and gear, all at the same price of $65.46US, but no tensioner
FollowupID: 481243

Follow Up By: Exploder - Thursday, Feb 08, 2007 at 21:42

Thursday, Feb 08, 2007 at 21:42
Yeah mate could be the case, I would say if it say’s cam shaft drive assembly then that would include the cam tentioners as well in the Kit, as I know there is a kit for the cam timing but I don’t know the Part number for it so can’t check it.

KIT-TENSIONER TIMING 2u3e-6d256-ab> I have that number as well but it draws a blank too, I am a little confused, I will try and check it out on the week end and let you know what I find.

Like I say best to E-mail or call them to check you have the parts that are needed before you place the order, they are generally fairly helpful in that regard.

Did that right up at the bottom of the page help give you a understanding of what is involved?


FollowupID: 481280

Follow Up By: jase_c - Thursday, Feb 08, 2007 at 21:46

Thursday, Feb 08, 2007 at 21:46
yes, the instructions are a great help, thanks
FollowupID: 481282

Reply By: Auntie - Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 19:16

Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 19:16
G'day Jase. Talk to some Explorer owners on the web site link below. They all seem to have plenty of knowledge, as does "Exploder" I've had a 2000 XLT since new with no problems. Cheers.

Site Link
AnswerID: 220452

Reply By: Exploder - Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 22:00

Wednesday, Feb 07, 2007 at 22:00
Well finely found it in buried in a file in my hard drive LOL
It might seem a bit confusing at first but read it a few times and it makes a little more sense, but once you get into it the hole thing will become clearer.

1997 - 2005 4.0 SOHC Ford Explorer Timing
Disclaimer Note: I am not a ford mechanic and don’t hold me responsible if this does not work for you< please only use this as a guide and if unsure seek advise from a trained professional before proceeding.
Technical short cut guidelines to do the entire timing job

Get Ford timing tool kit, part = otc-6488 (For about $119 USD on eBay)

4 timing chains (3 front including the optional balance shaft chain + 1 back)
2 cam guides (1 front + 1 back)
2 oil tensioners (1 front + 1 back)
1 jackshaft tensioner (1 front)
1 jackshaft guide/cassette (1 front)
1 balance shaft tensioner (1 front) (will probably be ok, so dont replace it)
1 balance shaft guide (1 front) (will probably be ok, so dont replace it)
new sprockets + bolts + gaskets etc.
new spark plugs + throttle body cleaner + lithium grease spray + oil change
head gaskets

parts order (without the balance shaft stuff):

Engine, Camshaft and timing, Timing chain, TIMING CHAIN, Explorer, Mountaineer, Rear - 4.0L SOHC - 4.0L SOHC
Engine, Camshaft and timing, Chain guide, CHAIN GUIDE, Explorer, Mountaineer, Jackshaft To Cam - 4.0L SOHC - 4.0L SOHC
Engine, Overhaul gasket set, OVERHAUL GASKET SET, Explorer, Mountaineer, Upper (Valve Grind) - 4.0L SOHC - 4.0L SOHC
Engine, Camshaft and timing, Tensioner, TENSIONER, Explorer, Mountaineer, Upper - 4.0L SOHC - 4.0L SOHC

This is written up as is basically on entire engine re-build with both heads off and the engine out of the vehicle.

It is not possible to do the rear chain or sprocket with the engine in the car as the flywheel needs to come off + at least 1 head, but it is possible to do the front primary chain and or front cam chain with the engine in the car.

You will be a ford exploder and timing expert after you do this - the main reason should be the love of your American built vehicle LOL. Its a solid car - except for the plastic guides!!!!

Timing Overview

A Small Sprocket on the crank turns a larger (2 to 1 ratio) jackshaft sprocket that is in turn connected front & back to the 2 camshafts.
Thus a 360o turn of the crank will turn both the camshafts 180o.
Firing order is 1-4 2-5 3-6, Right side numbers 1,2,3. Left Side = 4,5,6.
At TDC pistons 1 & 5 are fully raised, thus 1 is about to spark & 5 is evacuated.
The engine will turn freely (no piston to valve contact) with the cams 180o out, it will even run (roughly) with 1 out 180o, any other settings may cause major damage to the valves.

The 2 cam shafts come with timing markings, "yes" real timing marks that anyone can use (even without special tools) to ensure correct timing.
The way to time it is to ensure both the off centre cam shaft slits are level/flat with the head.

With the engine at TDC both the cams need to have the off centre slot in the same position either up and level or down and level.
It is super critical that both the camshafts are 100% in sink with each other, i.e. not a few degrees off, the engine computer can compensate for crank timing but not engineering failure.

Be warned the camshafts can turn easily fast & hard by themselves as a few springs are compressed at TDC
Now heres the hard thing that you will need special tools for - if you need to change the timing gear, you will need to be able to undo the cam sprocket bolt on both cams & these are done up real tight.

There is a tool that you attach that has 2 pencil thick shafts that fit into the sprocket and prevent it from turning - then you need to put about 90Nm of force on the bolt (remember the rear one is LHT)
For the $money$, its well worth getting yourself the tool kit - it will save you hours in the long run. Search eBay for otc-6488 should be US $
There is also a tool version of the oil tensioner in the kit that screws right in and puts the correct amount of force on the chain + guide, to enable you to do up the cam bolt with the chain and sprocket in the right spot on the cam.

Engine out procedure - OK here we go
1. Remove battery
2. Remove radiator fan clutch, (note: its normal RHT. stop clutch from turning by holding one of the 4 small bolts with wire to another pulley, turn anti clockwise till its tight, attach large robogrip or equiv, extend torque by adding a large spanner to end, turn hard to left) FYI its 36mm
3. Drain engine oil + remove the filter & remove the transmission line bracket bolt (from behind where the oil filter was).
4. Remove clutch, fan + shroud from vehicle
5. Drain radiator fluid .
6. Remove Radiator from vehicle (as the engine needs to come out - you can leave the radiator in the vehicle for this procedure, but its a tight fit to pull the engine out - you will need to twist front up and back to the left - so better to pull the radiator out)
7. Remove the fan belt
8. Remove all the crap from the top of the engine, i.e. all the air intake + air filter + throttle cables + harness etc
9. Remove the upper air intake + disconnect all vacuum lines; block the 6 lower Intake Ports in the head with 6 rags.
10. Relieve the fuel rail pressure - via the valve on fuel line - using a nail - like air from a tyre.
11. Undo the fuel line to the injector rails (2 bolts each side) and wiggle / pull apart - there is an o ring inside, seal all fuel openings
12. Undo the power steering pump line from middle of car - all the fluid will thus run out into a bucket
13. Undo and label all the electrical connectors, start labelling from 01 etc - you will end up at about 30.....
14. Undo accessory assembly (the air conditioner + others on battery side - the air con does not have to be messed with as there is enough play in the cables)
15. Remove the belt pulley tensioner and swing the entire alternator assembly bracket into the air filter box.
16. The Front of the engine is now completely free / clear.
17. Jack up vehicle + remove both front tyres + support 2 strong stands + remove both type/engine aprons, also put wood to support next to stands as who would trust their life to a weld?
18. Undo Starter motor and leave connected to power cables, but place away from engine block.
19. Remove the 4 talk converter to flywheel bolts - have helper rotate engine (always clockwise - never the other way as the plastic timing guides will destroy themselves)
20. Put a hydraulic jack under exhaust to stop it from moving
21. Put a hydraulic jack under the tranny front edge on a flat piece of wood to stop it from moving / turning.
22. Remove the exhaust pipe to exhaust manifold bolts with air tools - too easy!.
23. Undo all other bolts + lines + harnesses that you can find that prevent you from pulling the engine - such as the tranny dip stick
24. Mark and remove the front bonnet
25. Attach engine hoist to engine any way you safely can
26. Remove the lower 4 Tranny bolts and label them
27. Remove the upper 4 Tranny bolts and label them (through where the tyres were) - that’s all 8 bolts
28. Remove all the engine mount bolts (all 8 of them - 4 each side - not that hard with the tyres off)
29. Undo the main firewall harness - drill out the 2 rivets - pull the harness + earth ribbon + Undo cut the small earth wire to bolt (join it up later)
30. Pull the engine out a little - Undo the 4 back electrical harnesses + label them
31. Pull the engine + remove the flywheel + put on engine stand via the 4 engine block bolts (Not the ladder frame etc bolts)
32. Well done if you got here in 2 days!

Engine tear down procedure:!!!!
33. Remove spark plugs from the engine + label the leads - pull the wires from plugs but leave them on the coil
34. Remove the harmonic balancer and ensure keyway is at 12:00 - To remove you need long screws
35. Remove the lower air intake + all harnesses
36. Remove the complete electrical harness & coil & wires with a helper as a complete unit
37. Remove the engine oil dip stick - it pulls out with a twist!
38. Remove both valve covers
39. Remove both hydraulic / oil cam chain tensioners
40. Clean out and loose broken cam tensioner pieces (heads still on)
41. Remove the timing cover, you can leave the water pump housing on I think
42. Clean out and loose broken crank tensioner pieces (heads still on)
43. Turn the engine over a few times to make sure it feels smooth and get a feel for it.
44. Again clean out any new loose plastic pieces as the guides will probably be broken.
45. Remove the sump cover - from under the stand - dont rotate the engine as pieces of loose plastic guide may move!
46. Remove the oil pickup pipe and check that the screen and pipe are clear - clean the area and reassemble the sump.
47. Check the engine is at TDC (keyway up or use the crank TDC tool) and the 3 drive chains are loose (dont ever rotate the engine left).
48. Using the special ford tool, remove both the upper cam sprockets - no need to hold the shaft with the alignment tool - the shaft is not under any tension. Note: The rear cam sprocket is left hand threaded
49. If you are going to remove the heads - do so now, you may be able to do this job without pulling the heads as the chain + guide + sprocket will fit out the top of the head.
50. Leave the exhaust manifolds on –You could use these as anquor points to lift the engine out
51. Remove the timing cover - leave the water pump cover alone - no need to open that up.
52. Remove jackshaft plug by flipping it over with a hammer, hold the jack shaft rear with a torx55, use powerful pneumatic tool to undo the front jackshaft bolt, if the back turns first then you need to get creative.
53. Remove the front jackshaft metal tensioner + cassette + chain + sprockets
54. Undo the rear cam guide holder bolts and remove the sprocket + chain + guide
55. Undo the front cam guide holder bolts and remove the sprocket + chain + guide (may be a bit hard if the read is still on)
56. Service the balance shaft as needed, put a new cassette in if needed, the tensioner is at the very bottom of the engine and if replacement is needed then the ladder frame will need to be removed - dont do that unless necessary
57. The balance shaft system may not be faulty?
58.Check the balance shaft timing, to do this align the 2 dots with the hole to the right of the sprocket and ensure TDC on the crank. You will need to rotate up to 7 times, checking each time due to the reverse gearing ratio.(Don’t do this with the heads still on and no timing gear on the engine as you will hit valves)
59. Clean the heads + piston tops if you pulled the heads
60. Well done if you got here in 2 days! LOL

Valve timing
1. re-insert the old front jackshaft bolt to hold the shaft from turning, put in a new rear chain + rear sprocket + do up to 20nm + 90o. + There is a tool that can hold the read jackshaft but its not really needed - remove the front old bolt.
2. Replace everything up front (chains + cassette + tensioner & pull the pin + front cam guide, tighten up the front Jackshaft bolt to 45Nm + 90o Note: don't tighten up the cam sprocket bolts - allow free wheel.
3. Turn the engine over a few times to ensure smooth operation with the jack shaft & tensioner etc fully tightened.
4. Leave the engine at TDC i.e. piston 1 & 5 fully up at all times - for each side
5. Right Side Head & Timing: (i.e. rear i.e. left hand threaded one)
6. Position and fit the new cam guide + do it up
7. Install cleaned head back onto the engine if you removed it, with new gasket, do them up as per ford CD order and torque
8. Install cam sprocket onto the shaft (finger tight only - free wheel) (tighten after tools are on)
9. Install camshaft holder tool to time the shaft, remember both slots on the cam camshaft up or both slots down - dont mismatch them!
10. Install the timing chain tensioner tool in place of oil tensioner
11. Install the Cam Sprocket Holding tool 303-564 (T97T-6256-B)
12. Tighten enough that chain will turn cam, after a few crank turns ensure correct timing and then fully tighten. 61Nm with tool extension or 85Nm without
13. Remove the timing chain tensioner tool and insert the real oil tensioner
14. Left Side timing: (i.e. front of engine)
15. Same as Right Side (remember engine at TDC)
16. Install both valve covers after checking the slots are identical in both cam shafts
17. Install timing case cover and fit harmonic balancer, use silicone at the 4 key edge points.
18. Install the jackshaft plug

Engine Assembly tips
Install nice new spark plugs whilst the engine is out.
It is very hard to align the torque converter bolts through the to the flywheel
Use a whole saw and drill out a big hole in the air filter box to allow more breathing - all the way up to 6,000+ rpm (sounds great).

I would recommend using Loctight thread locker on all sprocket bolts to be sure they stay tight.
The Haynes repair Manuel is No. 36024 it doesn’t cover everything but has a lot of good info and all the toque specifications.

Cheers and good luck
AnswerID: 220488

Reply By: jase_c - Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007 at 22:09

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007 at 22:09
well i have just recieved all my parts from the U.S so now the interesting part begins, instaling them. Btw, anyone know where to get a hold of a fuel cap for the explorers?
AnswerID: 223033

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