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Luke
Dodge Dakota
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11/07/2004
02:09:26

Subject: Timing chain replacement?
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I am a somewhat experienced shadetree mechanic. I did the complete intake gasket replacement by myself without much difficulty. I do my own oil changes and brakes and things of that nature. I also replaced my water pump successfully.

Do those of you with experience replacing the timing chain think I should undertake that project? Is it a much more difficult job than the intake gaskets? I certainly can't afford to pay the labor to have the chain replaced since I am about to start on my first mortgage on a brand new house.

How hard are the timing chain sprockets to remove? Does it take a special tool or do they come off easily after removing the housing?

I plan on using the Hughes high performance double timing chain and sprockets.

Any advice? How hard of a job is this really?

Thanks!



N56629
Dodge Dakota
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11/07/2004
08:37:28

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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Hi, Luke. Most of the time the sprockets will come off with nothing more than using two large screwdivers or similar prying devices. For most people this is at least an all day job. I would plan on spending a weekend doing it unless you have done it before. Little things like tearing the front of the oil pan gasket can mean additional work and you should plan on having things like an extra gasket. If you are not careful you could also end up replacing the front oil seal on the cover. If you don't have the timing right, cam and crank get out of alignment, you will have to do it over again.



Luke
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11/07/2004
11:16:11

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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Thanks for the reply. Perhaps this is one I should leave to the professionals. I don't know how to check the timing if I can't get the new chain and sprockets on the same as the old ones. Also, I spent a day last weekend dropping the transmission pan and putting it back on wih a new filter. It was a chore. I got it done but it is much more difficult doing it laying on your back than doing it on a lift. I don't know if I would be prepared to do the oil pan. As far as the front oil seal, I don't really know anything about it.

I may still get brave and attempt it. I will thoroughly study the service manual first. I will report back.

If I do take it to have it done, how many hours of labor can I expect to pay?



GB2000
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11/07/2004
15:57:53

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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Larry did a how-to on this fairly recently as well... may give you a lil more info on whether you wanna tackle it or not.
http://www.dodgedakota.net/articles/timingchain/

Josh

http://www.cardomain.com/id/sentenced

N56629
Dodge Dakota
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11/07/2004
16:47:25

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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I would say that they would charge you around 6 hours plus parts. I don't have a flat rate book so that's only a guess. I just had a plenum gasket replaced under warranty and that ran $550 just for labor. I just did the same thing in about 6 hrs. and I didn't have everthing ready.

You've alread gone as far as replacing you water pump and when you've gone that far, you are about 50% of the way done. Maintaining timing alignment is not all that difficult if you are careful and follow the manual.



Trest
Dodge Dakota
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11/07/2004
19:28:30

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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warranty labor rates are usually 20 under customer pay too.



Luke
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11/07/2004
22:33:34

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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Wow! $550? I new I saved some by doing it myself but didn't know it was that much. That is awesome!

Well, I think I will just give it a shot. The truck isn't my main vehicle so I can take my time and drive the Stratus. I think I will wait until after my move in January though.

Anyone have any experience with the Hughes double timing chains? It says with their hardened sprockets and chain, it won't ever stretch but should I still install a tensioner?



N56629
Dodge Dakota
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11/07/2004
22:58:07

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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"Anyone have any experience with the Hughes double timing chains? It says with their hardened sprockets and chain, it won't ever stretch but should I still install a tensioner?"

Unless you plan on building a 400hp monster, I would guess that it should outlive the life of your truck without the tensioner.

Btw, Luke, did you ever get your tb modified?



Luke
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11/07/2004
23:15:02

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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Perhaps there is more than one Luke on here? I have had a ported throttle body on my Dakota since 2001.

Okay, I won't bother with the tensioner then.

By the way, my Dakota is a 1993 Dakota LE 4x4 extended cab. I have the ported throttle body, K&N, and Dynomax Superturbo exhaust.

Assuming I am able to do the chain replacement without incident and considering what I have done in the past, would I be able to install the Crower 1.7 roller rockers without too much difficulty?



N56629
Dodge Dakota
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11/08/2004
07:54:39

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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The roller rockers are by far easier than changing the timing chain or intake manifold. If you can remove the valve covers and follow the instuctions for installing the rockers, you shouldn't have any trouble at all.



rdkc01
Dodge Dakota
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11/08/2004
09:42:00

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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Luke;
I just completed this procedure along with a long list of others. It is time comsuming the first time you do any thing like this. It is not really that difficult. You can purchase the Haynes repair manual which outlines this procedure then decide for yourself. The advise about taking the weekend to work on it is good especially if you don't have a back up vehicle.
I used the Hughes pro 3000 timing chain and sprocket set myself. It looks to be of high quality being heat treated and all. My sporckets were very easy to pull off by hand. You will need a bolt on stearing wheel puller to remove the crankshaft vibration damper. I did not need the installation tool however to reinstall the damper. Just used the damper bolt and it went on easily. You should replace the crank seal at the same time. It is not expensive or difficult and it is cheep peace of mind. I also installed the chain tensioner plate as another precautionary. Overkill? Prehapse. My time is worth something and I plan on running this truck for the long haul. I have 88K miles on this truck so I also replaced the water pump and associated hoses along with a 180* T-stat.
Good luck and again if you don't already have the Haynes repair manual get it. You will be glade you did.




Nathan Howard
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11/08/2004
10:20:00

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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Luke:

I replaced the timing chain on my 93 dakota with no problems whatsoever. It was easy. I DID NOT worry about indexing the cam or anything like that. I just made sure that the dots on the gears lined up when they were supposed to and that they didn't move when the gears were off. Just follow the instructions in your haynes manual. You will need a gear puller and gear installer.



FazDak
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11/08/2004
18:29:44

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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I didnt go and look at Larrys article but Im sure he says this and I'll do a quick and important step to start with.
Get your #1 piston (first piston on the driver side) to top. You can hold a screw driver in the plug hole while someone bumps the key, when you feel the piston touch the screw driver stop there and take your dist cap off and see if the rotor is on or close to the #1 position, if way off then go around again. If its close use a socket and breaker bar or 1/2 ratchet on the crank bolt to get it as close as possible.

If you get that your dots will be correct so longs as you know if the gears have degree dots. The paperwork they came with should tell you.

Good luck




Luke
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11/08/2004
22:57:55

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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Thanks for all the great replies guys! I think I will go ahead and do the timing chain replacement myself after I move in January. I will let you all know how it goes. I haven't ordered the chain and sprockets yet but will soon. I am looking forward to getting rid of the lag in power and rough idle caused by the timing being retarded by the stretched chain.

As for the roller rockers. I will do them after the chain. Can anyone who has installed the Crower 1.7 roller rockers give me an idea of how much of a power gain to expect from them?



N56629
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11/09/2004
06:52:06

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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"I am looking forward to getting rid of the lag in power and rough idle caused by the timing being retarded by the stretched chain."

The crank sensor mod would take care of most or all of that. You could do that in an afternoon.



Luke
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11/09/2004
12:01:59

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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So if I did that, the timing would be correct and after the timing chain is replaced, the timing would be advanced a couple of degrees? That would help the power a little more after the new timing chain wouldn't it? That would probably put the truck back to the factory settings wouldn't it? Didn't they originally have more advanced timing and they revised the programming to knock off a few degrees because some people were getting a little bit of pinging? I think I read that somewhere. I may just have to give the crank sensor mod a try.



N56629
Dodge Dakota
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11/09/2004
13:13:08

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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The crank sensor mod is all guess work unless you have a scan tool. The good thing about the mod is that you have some control over timing advance and you can make changes in either direction if you further modify your engine. The only time your advance should have been retarded is if you brought it in to the dealer and complained about pinging.



Luke
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11/10/2004
12:28:55

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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I never complained about pinging. Who knows what the first owner did though. I believe there was an article on doing the crank sensor mod on the speedtweaks website. Any idea where there would be one now?



N56629
Dodge Dakota
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11/10/2004
13:14:40

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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Crank sensor mod - http://www.krcperformance.com/newcontent/timing.html



Greg
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11/10/2004
22:20:19

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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There's also a lot of crank sensor mod post on this website with pics, infact I think there was one back a few months ago...

The hughes chain is a great chain and while your at it you might as well go ahead and replace gaskets, hoses, tstat and the tensioner... The hardest part to install is the chain after you've installed the tensioner "takes quite a bit of influencing, because that new tensioner sure is tight over the old one...

The best way I could tell to do the change over is to first drain the antifreeze "plan on changing", pull cooling lines, pull radiator and fan shroud, take off all accesories that need to be taken off such as alternator, ac, and so forth, then don't bother with the water pump, just pull off the whole front cover with water pump and cooling fan still attached, then use the hughes hylomar gasket maker/ sealant part #3658 along with the new gasket "front timing chain cover gasket" on both sides of the gasket and put some on top of and underneath the part of the pan gasket that is sticking out "by far the best gasket maker stuff that I have ever used, with no leaks even after 15,000 miles like most other sealants might have from my experiances anyway", then reasemble everything with new hoses and fluids and you shouldn't have any wories...

Then you can do your rockers and timing advance... Oh from dyno test you should be able to expect 4 - 6 hp from regular 1.6 ratio and around 15 hp for the 1.7 crower rockers... All of the things your doing should coincide each other quite nicely...

Hope this helped a little more on what to expect...



Luke
Dodge Dakota
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11/10/2004
22:53:34

RE: Timing chain replacement?
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Thanks for the link N56629. You have been very helpful.

Thanks for your input also Greg. I had kind of wondered if the water pump could just be left on the cover since it isn't that old anyways. As for the coolant, I would replace it. I have done it twice in the last year. It isn't that expensive and changing it often is cheap insurance. I have seen too many people have major problems caused by poor cooling system maintenance. I will order some of the Hughes gasket maker when I order the chain and sprockets.

So, after I do the chain, roller rockers, and crank sensor, would you guys recommend going to 3.91 gears? With the 3.55 gears I have now, when driving on the highway or against a wind, the trans constantly shifts in and out of overdrive. I would probably even get better gas mileage with the 3.91 gears if it kept it from shifting so much and stayed in 4th on the highway.



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