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How to Install Timing Chain in 4.0 Ford Explorer (The Easiest Way)

Timing chains are located in the engine of a vehicle and play a great role in the smooth functioning of the engine.

People usually ask how to install timing chain in 4.0 ford explorer, and this installation is not very complicated and doesn’t need to be done till the timing chain is damaged.

Although each vehicle has a timing belt or timing chain of its own, it can still cause certain problems that might lead to the replacement.

As this chain requires lubrication from the engine oil, it would start causing problems after a couple of thousand miles.

Various timing chain problems might occur, and you will need ford timing chain replacement. In some cases, there can be minor issues that might not need replacement yet can be solved with a little effort.

This article provides a complete guide on installing the timing chain in 4.0 Ford explorer and will help you through the process.

How to Install Timing Chain in 4.0 Ford Explorer: Step by Step Procedure

Ford 4.0 SOHC timing chain tensioner replacement method is not as simple, and you will require to take the whole engine out first for a successful installation.

After you have removed your engine, before starting the installation process, you should have your harmonic balancer, front timing cover, along with both of your valve covers, off.

Now, follow the below mentioned Ford 4.0 SOHC timing chain replacement procedure to get your new timing chains installed;

Step 1: Put your engine at the top dead Centre

The engine’s top dead center is achieved by putting the keyway and the keys at 12 o’clock to the number one piston on the top.

The first step is to ensure that your engine’s cam doesn’t move in any other direction. For this, take a pair of vice grips and put them on the cam lobe.

Clampdown when one edge of the vice grips is sitting against the mating surface of the valve cover.

Step 2: Remove the front timing chain hydraulic tensioner

With the help of a 27-millimeter wrench, loosen and remove the timing chain hydraulic tensioner.

Now remove the eight-millimeter bolts located near this timing chain hydraulic tensioner and then the ten-millimeter bolts.

After this, you will have your tensioner, as well as the front guide removed.

Step 3: Take the chain and sprocket off

Take out the e18 external torques and remove the bolt. In this way, you will have your old chain and sprocket removed.

Now, remove your balance shaft tensioner. You can skip this process if you do not want a new balance shaft tensioner.

Take a flat and thin screwdriver and place it between the gear and the snout. Now, hammer the screwdriver in that will pry up on the edge of the keyway, and it will come out.

Step 4: Spin the chain and pull it out

The next step is to take the chain out. For this, spin the chain and pull it towards yourself. Reinstall the crankshaft keyway.

Make sure to install the sprocket in proper directions. Now, reinstall all the bolts.

Take a new chain and lay it in the oil pan. Take the sprocket and slide it back over the crank and keep its chamfer out.

Next, roll the chain onto the sprocket. Check all the links of the chain if they are in the right place. Now slide the sprocket and the chain over.

Step 5: Check that you are still 12 o’clock on your crankshaft

It is important to check that you are still at 12 o’clock on your crankshaft. Now, install the new jackshaft guide and fix all the bolts that were removed before.

Along with the previously removed bolts, now reinstall your jackshaft tensioner.

Step 6: Torque the jackshaft bolts

You will have to torque down the jackshaft bolts ton thirty-three-foot pounds and then add ninety degrees for this step.

Install the first hydraulic chain tensioner before torquing down the Campbell. Torque the Campbell to sixty-three-foot pounds.

By following the above-mentioned Ford 4.0 SOHC timing chain replacement procedure, you can install the Ford SOHC tensioner and Ford timing chain without using any specialized tools or without having to go to a mechanic for help.

If you have basic information about the engine and its construction, you are good to go.

Ford 4.0 SOHC Timing Chain: What & Why?

Ford 4.0L SOHC V6 engine comes with four timing chains.

The first one is a shirt timing chain located in the front of the engine and is responsible for connecting the crankshaft to the immediate jackshaft.

While the second one is a comparatively longer timing chain just behind the first one, the second timing chain is responsible for connecting the front of the jackshaft to the overhead cam located on the engine’s left.

The third timing chain connects the rear jackshaft to the overhead cam located in the cylinder head on the right side. This third timing chain is located at the rear side of the engine.

Finally, the fourth chain is placed directly off the crankshaft.

Ford SOHC Timing Chain Problems with Solutions

Various timing chain problems can be observed in the Ford SOHC along with any other vehicle.

Therefore, along with fixing the old one, Ford 4.0 SOHC timing chain tensioner replacement is also an option.

Some of the timing chain problems include:

1. Rattling noise

Timing chain creating a rattling noise is a very common problem observed quite frequently. Rattling noise made by the chains be due to various reasons that are discussed below separately;

Loose chain

If the timing chain of your vehicle is not fixed properly and has come loose, it will cause vibrations in the motor.

Vibrations usually lead to the rattling sound coming from the timing chains as the engine is started or idles.


Fixing the loose timing chain immediately is necessary because it will break at some point if not fixed. So, it is important to tighten it up before it breaks

Cold weather

Cold weather also causes the timing chains to cause a rattling sound. In cold weather, the oil pressure and flow are at their lowest that causes the rattling sound to emerge from the timing chains of the engine.


A hydraulic timing chain tensioner can help reduce this rattling sound as it helps the oil warm up and helps remove the slack.

2. Stretching and damaging timing chains

When not properly maintained and replaced over time, stretching of timing chains might occur. In addition, the timing plate and pins get damaged as they are exposed to the contaminated oil.

Why do timing chains wear out

Due to poor maintenance and not changing the engine oil, the wearing of the timing chain starts.

Moreover, if you use bad quality or inappropriate fuel for your vehicle, it will also cause certain damages to the plates and pins of your timing chain.


Ensure that you maintain your timing chain with an oil change at proper intervals and use good quality fuel to avoid such problems.

3. Bad or failing timing chain

Most of the timing chains have a particular lifespan and can work between 80,000 to 120,000 miles.

If not replaced in higher mileage cars within this time, the timing chain starts causing certain problems. It can go bad and starts to wear out quickly, leading to complete failure.

Effects of the bad timing chain on the engine

A bad timing chain affects the engine badly as it will start to fail while starting the car or even in the middle of the ride.

Moreover, if the timing chain stops working completely, the vehicle would instantly stop working.


Change the timing chain of your vehicle within a particular period to avoid all the serious engine problems that a bad timing chain leads to.

Ford Explorer Timing Chain Replacement Cost: Full Costing Details

Ford SOHC timing chain tensioner replacement is necessary at one point or another.

Therefore, you must consider how much it will cost you to get your Ford explorer timing chain replaced.

On average, it will cost you almost $665 to $817 to get a new replacement timing chain. Along with the timing chain, you will also need some parts that might cost you $84 on average.

The average labor taken by most of the mechanics from the installation of a new timing chain into your vehicle is between $581 to $732.

Therefore, you can see that this replacement might cost you above a thousand dollars, but there is no way that you can neglect this replacement or keep on using the worn-out timing chain.

Therefore, necessarily, you will have to spend this much for the replacement of your timing chain.

How to Install Timing Chain in 4.0 Ford Explorer- FAQs

Is the Ford 4.0 SOHC an interference engine?

Ford 4.0 SOHC engine is luckily not an interference engine that gives you the benefit of protecting the valves if your vehicle’s timing chain fails.

Does a Ford 4.0 have a timing belt?

Engines of the Ford have been improvised over time.

Therefore, Ford 4.0L does not have a timing belt, and it has a timing chain along with 3.3L and 4.0L, while some models of 2.3L and 2.5L have timing belts.

How do you change a timing chain on a 4.0 SOHC tensioner?

The timing chain on a 4.0 SOHC tensioner can be removed by a series of installation and reinstallation processes.

First, you will have to remove the timing chain hydraulic tensioner, the keyways, and the old sprocket and chain by taking out the particular bolts.

Then fix the new timing chain on a 4.0 SOHC tensioner and reinstall all the removed parts, and you are good to go.

Moreover, the Ford SOHC tensioner can also be removed, and a new one can be installed.

How many timing chains do a 2004 Ford Explorer have?

Ford 2004 explorer with 4.0L engine has four timing chains while 2004 Ford explorer with 4.6L engine comprises of two-timing chains. 

Is the timing chain worth fixing for Ford 4.0?

Replacement of timing chains is necessary between 40,000 to 100,000 miles; the number is different for different vehicles.

However, before this mileage is covered, if the timing chain is causing any problems, it can be fixed after detecting the particular problem.

Therefore, if you experience any rattling sound or any other minor problem, you can get the timing chain fixed from your nearby mechanic or can also do it by yourself with a little guidance.

Does a Ford Explorer have a timing chain?

Ford Explorer has several timing chains, not only one. In Ford explorer 4.0L, this engine has four timing chains located at different points of the engine.

What does a bad timing chain sound like?

Bad timing chai produces rattling sounds when the cold engine is started, but as it starts to warm up, the rattling sound usually disappears or is reduced.

Along with the cold weather, the rattling sound can also be produced if the timing chain is loose at some point. This can be fixed by tightening the timing chain.


If you have timing chain problems, you can follow Ford 4.0 SOHC timing chain replacement procedure mentioned above to change it by yourself.

Moreover, it is necessary to go to a mechanic or a professional if you are not experienced.

This article on how to install timing chain in 4.0 Ford Explorer provides enough information on the ford timing chains and their replacement durations.

But still, if you are facing some minor issues, get your vehicle to the mechanic to get checked.

There can be a possibility that you don’t need Ford 4.0 SOHC timing chain tensioner replacement yet and might be having some minor problem that is solved easily.

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