April 10

2001 Ford Explorer – Engine Replacement

Auto Repair, Ford Cars


Today’s featured service is engine replacement on a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, brought to us by a client from Dunbar, Vancouver

Ford Explorer
2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

For over a year this Ford Explorer, equipped with a 4 liter overhead cam V6 engine had a loud rattling noise while running. We had advised our client that the timing chain was likely the cause. Repair were costly and so it was left. Finally, last week, the chain guide for the left bank timing chain broke apart and the engine was finished.

We managed to locate a reasonably priced used engine in good condition and after the very labour intensive process of replacing the engine our client now has a good running truck with a rattle free engine.

Many engines have timing chains. In the past, when engines were simpler the timing chain was a short chain running between the cam gear and the crank gear. With many modern engines featuring overhead camshafts timing chains have become a very complicated affair. Where once 3 parts sufficed, now many timing chain systems feature a dozen or more parts. Chains are very long and may drive 2 or 4 camshafts. Some engines have 2 to 4 chains. There are many gears along with guides  and tensioners to keep the chains tight.

Generally timing chains are very reliable however, when they wear or something breaks, they are very expensive to repair. Changing engine oil on a regular basis is critical to long timing chain life. I cannot stress that enough. Few car owners really appreciate the complexity of their cars engines. Modern car engines feature more technology than a Ferrari of a couple decades ago.

While timing belts have a recommended replacement interval, timing chains do not. If your vehicle is equipped with a chain you need not worry about when to replace it. Just change your oil religiously and keep your ears open for noises from the chain. Once noises become constant the chain and it’s components will need to be replaced.

For more information on the Ford Explorer Sport Trac click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Explorer_Sport_Trac

Ford Explorer
View of left cam gear and timing chain. We did not need to remove the valve cover as it was broken open when the chain guides came apart. The red arrow points to the timing chain & blue arrow to cam gear. The yellow arrow points to a piece of the timing chain guide. This part normally sits lower and out of sight. Other parts of the chain guide were found behind the gear.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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