Timing Chain Replacement

JDM P/L performs timing chain replacements at our Charmhaven workshop.

The timing chain is the main link between the crank and camshaft.

Timing chains are made from metal, so they are stronger than timing belts, so they normally don’t have to be replaced, however, timing chains are much more expensive.

Manufacturers occasionally swap between chains and belts between models.

SYMPTOMS OF A FAILING TIMING CHAIN

Don’t get caught off guard. Worn timing chain symptoms can be felt during driving. Look out for the following:

  • Engine light on the dashboard
  • Rattling noises from the engine
  • Poor acceleration
  • Loss of power

These symptoms not particularly pronounced when going uphill or downhill, in contrast to say, clutch problems. They are experienced overall.

ROLE OF THE TIMING CHAIN

The main role of the timing chain is to supply rotation to the camshafts and cylinder heads. The timing chain operates the valves in the cylinder heads and assists with ignition timing.

HOW OFTEN TIMING CHAINS NEED TO BE REPLACED

Normally, never, the chain replacement is a major repair compared to a lack of maintenance. Timing chains in some models also have a habit of stretching.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO REPLACE A TIMING CHAIN?

This replacement service is usually in the $3,500 – $4,500 range.

HOW TO IMPROVE THE LIFE OF YOUR TIMING CHAIN

It’s very difficult for everyday owners to physically inspect their timing chain. It’s hidden away and complicated to access.

Firstly, the best thing you can do is change your vehicle’s oil regularly. 

The oil provides pressure to the chain adjuster, and if the adjuster is clean & receiving ideal pressure, then this will maintain pressure and tension on the chain, so it won’t “move around” as much and wear out prematurely.

Secondly, be careful not to tow a payload above capacity.

WHAT CARS USE TIMING CHAINS?

Timing chains can be found commonly in Nissan Navaras, VE Commodores, diesels and some newer Toyotas.

If you’re not sure, try your logbook or ask JDM to let you know.

JDM P/L TIMING CHAIN REPLACEMENT PROCESS

Please book your vehicle in via the phone or our book online page. This service usually takes 2.5 days.

We use specialised cam locking rings, crank locking tools and balance shaft locking tools for this replacement.

Replacing a timing chain is a very involved process. The manuals on how to do this process are quite extensive, so we will summarise the steps –

  • Removing front components of the engine
  • Gain access to the timing case
  • Remove existing timing chain + guides
  • Replace with new chain + guides
  • Replace timing case
  • Reconnect drive belts
  • Oil change
  • Test drive

From there, we usually keep the vehicle overnight, perform another test drive and reinspect the engine.