Engine Timing Chains
A timing chain connects the crankshaft to the camshaft, which allows for control over, the engines valves. This chain is usually located at the bottom portion on the front side of the engine which allows easy access to the engines oil supply that is used to lubricate the chain and the gears that it rides on. Timing chains have been used for this application since vehicles were first produced, but the chain has been somewhat replaced over recent years due to the introduction of belts. Even with belts, the timing chain is still widely used by some manufactures due to its durability and design.
The job of a timing chain is extremely important because it controls the valves which need to be synchronized with the pistons before allowing air and fuel into the combustion chamber. If these valves open at the wrong time, the engine can run very poorly and possibly bend the valves if they come in contact with a piston. Using a chain to ensure proper timing is a huge benefit because without it, the vehicle will not be able to run and expensive repairs would be necessary to get all the way down to that part of the engine. Making sure that the valves and pistons are at the right position in the engine is crucial before installing a timing chain to ensure proper timing. The positioning of these components is usually listed in the vehicles owners’ manual.
To ensure durability, most timing chains are made out of high strength steel. Having a strong metal for both the chain and the gear is very important because these components have to withstand the constant acceleration and deceleration of the engine. Using a chain when dealing with this amount of torque will ensure that there is no slippage or snapping when under large loads. Over time, the timing chain and gears will eventually develop some wear which can lead to a rough idle since the valves would not be timed precisely. It is normal to change the timing chain every 200,000 miles or so which is sometimes longer than the engine even lasts in the first place.
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