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Signs of a Stretched Timing Chain

by Justin Mitchell

Timing is an essential aspect of car motor operation. One of the most important components when it comes to regulating the timing of your engine is the timing chain. While timing chains can last for a long time, they do eventually wear out. However, before they break, they usually loosen. When a timing chain is loose, several signs can help you identify a potential problem, before it becomes dangerous, costly, or both.

Backfiring

If your engine backfires, it could be due to a loose timing chain. This is often a sign that your timing chain is severely loose.

Power Loss

If your vehicle loses power, without warning, your timing chain might be loose.

Rough Running

If you notice your engine running rough on idle, or while you are accelerating, this is another sign you may have a loose timing chain. This is a sign of a loose timing chain.

Timing Cover

If you have a timing cover on the front of your engine, noise may begin emanating from it when the tension chain is loose.

Crankshaft Test

A simple test involving the amount of degrees you can move the crankshaft can also be a useful way of determining if you are having trouble with your timing chain. Remove the distributor cap, and turn the crankshaft, clockwise. When the rotor starts moving, stop turning the crankshaft, and read the degree meter. Note of where the rotor is, and turn the crankshaft, counterclockwise, until the rotor moves. Read the degree meter, and see how many degrees the crankshaft moved. If it is more than 10 to 15 degrees, your chain is too loose. However, these problems could also be due to worn gears or a broken tensioner.

Check Engine Light

A "Check Engine" light turning on in your vehicle may be indicate you are having a problem with your timing chain.

About the Author

Justin Mitchell has been a writer since 2009. In 2002, he received a B.A. in theater and writing from the University of Northern Colorado. Mitchell worked as an ESL teacher in Europe and Asia before earning a master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York. He has written for the "New York Daily News" and WNYC.org, among other outlets.

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