Information - Timing chain tensioner

Timing chain tensioner: replacement and selection

When and why a timing chain tensioner needs replacement

Operational lifetime of the timing chain tensioner is 150 000 – 200 000 kilometers of car mileage. The part requires premature replacement when it is deformed, plunger is jammed, the ball valve is depressurized, plunger working surface is worn out or its teeth are damaged. Also a new component will be needed in case of wear-out of metallic gears, defects of threaded connections. Moreover, a new tensioner is installed at each timing chain replacement.

Mechanical damages and deformation of the tensioner teeth can be a result of aggressive driving style, for instance, frequent engine operation at maximum revs. And the most common cause of thread defects is improper part installation. Other defects are caused by usage of inappropriate motor oil or its untimely replacement. Also breakages of the tensioner often stem from improper installation of the timing chain.

Defects of this car part, as a rule, cause rattling from under the bonnet during engine operation. In some cases malfunction of the component can be indicated by engine misfires.

The timing chain tensioner should be replaced at a service station as removal of this part requires demounting of other components, including auxiliary equipment. The chain should be replaced together with this car part. Also it is advisable to install new sealing elements.

How to select a timing chain tensioner

According to design features there are two main types of these parts: with and without a spring.

The first ones provide chain tensioning thanks to the spring pushing the rod, which in turn presses the tensioner arm and chain guide. Parts without a spring (plunger mechanism with a lock) use a ratchet with a hook. These tensioners do not monitor chain wobbling and maintain constant gap between the plate and the chain. They are considered more durable, but lead to accelerated wear of the chain, because they have no rebound travel. Various materials, such as metal, polyacrylic rubber and plastics are used for production of timing chain tensioners.

In order to make the car part serve faultlessly during the whole operational lifetime give preference to products of reliable manufacturers. For example, high-quality timing chain tensioners are produced under Febi Bilstein, Ruville, Swag, Trucktec Automotive, Vaico brands.

Selecting the part be guided by recommendations of the car manufacturer and consider the model, production year and type of the engine. Diameter, thickness, length, size and thread pitch of the component are important for proper installation. Moreover you need to pay attention to required quantity of tensioners, and parts mounting location in relation to the camshaft (above, below, to the left or right).

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