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rich
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12/13/2005
09:56:23

Subject: timing chain
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I just purchased a 1997 4X4 3.9l Dakota. I researched the rattle sound coming from the engine before buying this and negotiated for most of the price of a Timing chain replacement/upgrade as discussed on this board (dealer quoted $575 with parts and labor).

My question is this: with 130,000 miles, do I really need to replace it to prevent engine damage, or is it just an annoyance with the rattle sound.

I have a 1997 Dodge Ram Van 3500 with the 5.2 l and it does not rattle.

Rich



spt
Dodge Dakota
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12/13/2005
14:36:48

RE: timing chain
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I have a 88 with 197,000 miles on it. The chain has rattled since day one. It still has the original chain and clutch for that matter. But my Dad had it before me so I know the history. If the chain goes on you while driving you well more than likely have engine damage.



Rooster
Dodge Dakota
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12/13/2005
15:33:34

RE: timing chain
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Yea, me too! My 88LE has 240,000 on it and it's been like that since as long as I can remember.



prodak
Dodge Dakota
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12/13/2005
18:17:15

RE: timing chain
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I've already had two vehicles (not Daks) where the chain jumped the gears and when it happens you are usually done/dead/totally stranded - and it's not a roadside repair to get going again either. Both went at around 170K (no collateral damage in either case). I've learned my lesson - I'll never go past 150K again without replacing a chain. I put a double roller on my '99 (old one was slapping loudly) @50K, so I figure I'm good out to at least 200K.
Rich, if you plan on keeping the truck for a while I'd replace it. The cost and inconvenience if you gamble and lose are just not worth it IMO.



Mateo
Dodge Dakota
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12/14/2005
00:31:45

RE: timing chain
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Rich,
I saw the above quote of $575 for the
dealers to do your timing chain. Was that
the total cost? It sounds like it is, just
doesn't seem right for it. Or i could be wrong.
I have a 89' 185K Dakota. I am interested in
replacing the timing chain too, but not enough to
do it myself. Five-hundred and seventy-five
dollars is almost affordable compared to a new
engine or car. IMO. Guess I might look in to a
quote.
thanks.



rich
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12/14/2005
01:44:30

RE: timing chain
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That was the total cost quoted by the dealer for parts, labor, and putting on the upgraded tensioner.

I am going to get it quoted at a reputable repair place and see what they ssy.

Thanks to everybody for their input.

Rich



Bob Lincoln
Dodge Dakota
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12/14/2005
08:24:38

RE: timing chain
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I paid over $700 at a Dodge dealer last year for that job - sounds fair, and yes, I'd do it to save the engine. Mine is smoother and quieter, a little more power.



Luke
Dodge Dakota
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1/03/2006
02:00:34

RE: timing chain
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I replaced my timing chain myself at 141,000 miles. It was really
loose. If I hadn't done it, I could see it easily jumping teeth. I
did it for less than $200. That was for the Hughes double roller
chain and tensioner. It wasn't a very difficult job at all.



Rich
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1/03/2006
10:51:12

RE: timing chain
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I noticed that some replacement chains are sold with different lenghts, allowing for them to be just a tad shorter than the OEM. What did you get? Where did you get this part and what part number is it?

I do brakes, water pumps, set valves on my old BMW and suspension work, but I have never delved into the deep internal organs of an engine. Do not consider myself a surgeon, but might give it a go.

Rich



Dan M
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1/03/2006
11:39:40

RE: timing chain
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I think the manufacture recommends every 100k miles.

it will only help - vehicle last longer, better performance, reduce possibility of being stranded.

- Dan M



Chris
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1/03/2006
17:03:28

RE: timing chain
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I just did this job a few days ago on my 93 3.9(at 150,000 miles). The chain had been been rattling for years, and when the water pump bearing went out and sprung a leak the other day I figured it was the right opportunity to go the rest of the way in and replace the chain. It was a bit of a hassle as I had to swing the A/C compressor and large bracket that supports the alternator back out of the way in order to get access. But it's really not as big of a deal as it appears, and it's smooth sailing with all that stuff out of the way. The auto parts house I use loaned me a nice harmonic balancer puller because mine wasn't beefy enough to do the job. Just had to put up a $90 deposit which they returned in full when I brought it back. I left the radiator in becase I didn't want to disconnect the auto trans lines, so the fan and shroud R&R was a bit more of a puzzle than it really needed to be - but certainly not rocket science. Believe it or not, the hardest part of the whole job was probably putting the harmonic BACK ON, as it was such a tight fit on the crank even after cleaning the inside of it good. I also took the opportunity to flush the heater core a few times in both directions with the garden hose while it was disconnected per the advice of others on this board - and sure enough the heater now works much better. All in all, things went quite well, and the best part is how smooth and quiet the thing runs now.



Rich
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1/03/2006
17:54:26

RE: timing chain
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Just got a quote from a very good independent. They will do the Timing chain replacement/upgrade, water pump and serpentine belt for $280 labor (about $200 in parts). I figured on replacing the water pump while all of that stuff is off, as precautionary. The belt looks reasonable, but I have no idea how old it is and for a $25 part, it would be good insurance.

Thanks for all of the advice. I am convinced to go ahead and do this where as I was not before hearig from you folks.

Looking forward to some snow to test out the new Geolander AT IIs I just put on the other day!

Thanks again,

Rich



John Sullivan
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1/05/2006
20:26:19

RE: timing chain
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Does anyone know how to put the chain back on and the timing marks are lined up but i can't get the cam gear back on the cam shaft...If anyone could help i would greatly apprecaite it....thanks JD



Luke
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1/05/2006
22:08:58

RE: timing chain
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Rich,

Here is the link:
http://www.hughesengines.com/general/timing/timing_sets.asp

I used the ProGear 3000 Series - Part # 6418 $79.95

It seems to me to be very high quality. They also sell the
tensioners. I just went to Advance Auto Parts and ordered the
gasket set.



Luke
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1/05/2006
22:15:08

RE: timing chain
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John,

I had the same thing happen. If I recall, I was able to use the
bolt to kind of push the gear on the cam. You just have to make
sure not to damage anything. Make sure you have the tensioner
pressure off the chain as much as possible also.



Rich
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1/15/2006
10:35:30

RE: timing chain
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I had the tensioner and timing chain replaced, along with the water pump, thermostat, bypass hose, and serpentine belt. All this cost me $540.

It might be me projecting this onto the car, but it seems like the engine has more power. Also, it is quiet now and I can drive with confidence that the chain isn't going to break and ruin the engine.

Now if it would only snow so I can see how the new tires and up to date maintained engine perform in 4 wheel drive!

Rich
97 Dakota 3.9l



Joe M.
Dodge Dakota
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1/17/2006
10:16:20

RE: timing chain
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na rich it's not your imagination
new chain will improve the hp & trq.
your timing is now dead on

i did mine last week (myself)
noticed a big diff. right away
(smoother, quieter) and much more "pep"

94 3.9 with 120,000
no idea how it never jumped a tooth
man the old one was sooooooooo slack,

now it's onto the egr i have to make a new post later... hey best to ya



Jose
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4/09/2011
19:46:54

RE: timing chain
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I'm in the process of replacing mine which is a 1993 2 wheel drive Dak with a 3.9 six, with 188+ thou on it. I'm just a do it your selfer and not too mechanically inclined.

So far the most difficult part for me has been replacing the front
oil seal. I don't have a press so I took the chain cover to my friendly neighborhood mechanic
and the new oil seal but he destroyed it(the seal not the cover). After numerous attempts I had to give up so I had no choice. Im waiting on the new seal now. The new one I will put it in myself.

If you remove the raidiator and radiator shroud this makes things much easier to get to everything. Make a diagram of the serpentine
belt so you don't have to guess how it goes later on.
Put a wrench on the tensioner turn it clockwise to remove the tension, then remove the belt.
I removed the water pump.
I removed the alternator and swung it to side.
I removed the AC compressor and swung that to the side as well. Next I remove the bracket that the AC comppressor mounts to. You will
need a 32mm impact socket or breaker bar. to remove the damper bolt. To pull the harmonic balacer you will need to use the correct puller I dont recommend crowfoot puller on this, as this will damage it. The last thing to come out is timing chain cover. Remove the two gears with chain all together at the same time. remove the old tensioner if you are replacing it. It would not make any sense not to replace it.

My water pump had the botom seal leaking anyway so I got that new as well. Also it's a good Idea to replace the water pump bypass hose while you are this deep into it.
So far I've installed the two gears the chain and I also installed an aftermarket tensioner for the timing chain. It's nice and tight now. The last thing is the new serpentine which was 45.00 a bit high, but it's Goodyear brand, made here not in china. Also one last thing...there are two bolts on the front of the oil pan that have to come out...when romoving the timing chain cover do it gingerly
and be careful not to damage the oil pan gasket unless you are planning on replacing that too.

While it is really not that big of deal, my set backs have been not having right the tools to do the job. It's do-able with a big BUT.
I hope this helps and gives you an Idea of what you are getting into. Total price for parts was about 300.00 us dollars, not pesos. Including the new anti-freeze and some gasket sealer.

the moral of my story might be...
Sometimes, it pays to pay.







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