Timing chain replacement

Engine, Transmission & Driveline

  1. V Scott Senter

    V Scott Senter New Member

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    I'm going to be confirming a need for a replacement timing set for my '69 Chrysler 383 w/ 100K. About 10-15* of slop in the chain before the distributor rotor moves....

    The Factory Service Manual says to use a camshaft holding tool C-3509 to prevent the camshaft from contacting the plug at the other end of the block when installing the timing chain. Are there other options to getting another one-time special tool for this job? What about leaving just leaving the distributor in to act as holding tool and being gentle when installing? Options?

    Thanks
    Scott
     
  2. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    That tool has been obsolete for many years and I doubt you would be able to find one. You do not really need that tool. The valve springs will usually provide enough tension on the cam to keep it from sliding backwards. Start the top gear on the shaft by hand and put the center bolt for the gear back in. You can use the bolt to carefully draw the gear tight on the camshaft. The main thing you want to avoid is pounding on the gear to seat it as that could move the camshaft rearward. Leaving the distributor in place on a big block will not help as it does not directly engage the camshaft. That is done by the intermediate shaft that drives the distributor and the oil pump. Leaving the distributor in place would keep the intermediate shaft in place, but you would still not want to pound on the timing gear as you would run the risk of breaking a drive tooth off the camshaft.

    Dave
     
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  3. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    From experience and observation, no real need for that special tool. The "plug" is a core plug that fills the hole at the rear of the block, which was needed to machine the cam bearing holes in the block. Just do NOT push rearward on the camshaft, as there's no real need to do that anyway. I never did see a dealership tech use any special tools to do the timing chain job.

    As mentioned, just don't push rearward on the camshaft. Once the sprocket is attached, as mentioned, the back of the sprocket is the travel limiter against the cylinder block. Plus the valve lifters themselves against the slight taper of the cam lobes.

    DO put some moly paste cam lobe assembly lube on the backside of the sprocket, where it will contact the cylinder block. Plus, when the new sprocket(s) and chain is installed, douse some cam assembly lube/STP-type oil on the chain and sprockets. All that part of the motor gets for "lube" is splash from the crankcase, usually, so initial lubrication can be important.

    BE SURE to get the timing marks on the sprockets lined up EXACTLY as it's reasonably easy to be "just a bit off" rather than "dead on".

    Remember, too, that you'll need a harmonic balancer puller (the multi-bolt type and NOT one that grabs onto the edge of the balancer) to get to the timing cover to remove it. Add a thin layer of lube onto the crankshaft seal in the timing cover when you put it back together. This would also be a good time to put a new seal in the timing cover, and/or "a sleeve" on the nose of the crankshaft (which it seals against) IF there is any wear/oil seepage from that area.

    Just some thoughts and observations,
    CBODY67
     
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  4. V Scott Senter

    V Scott Senter New Member

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    Thanks for the info! I will be careful not to apply too much force on the cam gear when installing it and some moly lube. I'm planning on putting the gears and chain in a zip lock bag of oil to get it well pre-lubricated. And a new front seal of course!
     
  5. swisherred

    swisherred Senior Member

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    I just changed mine and it slipped right onto the cam with minimal drag...the bolt snugged it easily. No special tools. Lots of lube on everything mentioned above.
     
  6. live4theking

    live4theking Old Man with a Hat

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    Where did you set your engine before tearing it down? Did you put one of the cylinders at TDC, if so which one?
     
  7. swisherred

    swisherred Senior Member

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    I didn't set anything before tearing it down. Afterwards I set #1 to tdc
     
  8. live4theking

    live4theking Old Man with a Hat

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    Thanks.
     
  9. 68PK21 440.6bbl

    68PK21 440.6bbl Senior Member

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    Why not just line it up as per the FSM before you take the old off.
    Is that too hard?
     
  10. Gerald Morris

    Gerald Morris Well-Known Member

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    I replaced a sloppy old stock Cloyes with a nice dual roller chain this past Christmas. The job went very smoothly, step by step as per the FSM. FYI one can buy a Greenlee knockout punch set used for a few bucks and get a SUPER HARD 3/4" bolt to drive the damper back on. Mathilda purrs very smoothly now for having done that little job. I soaked the new chain in STP oil treatment, slathered moly grease on the back of the new cam sprocket, left the distributor in for several good reasons, put Cylinder #1 at TDC using a rope (had misplaced my damned piston stop! found it a week later in the shed...GRR) and used a high temp grey RTV for the timing chain cover gasket and water pump gaskets. Not a drop leaks of coolant or oil, while before I lost about a pint a week from a slight leak in the timing chain gasket before.

    So long as one respects the importance of clean surfaces, getting the timing EXACT, torques and such, this job seems pretty straightforward and rewarding. I'm glad I did it when I did. It made starting on cold mornings a mite easier. The rebuilt Stromberg WWC has helped too. This 383 runs better now than it has in some decades, I suspect.
     
  11. ceebuddy

    ceebuddy Well-Known Member

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    Apart from removing the harmonic balancer, I think the most tedious work on this project are:

    - Getting that one water pump bolt out that is located behind one of the heater hose nipples. Either you get the nipple out (good luck!) or you have to save this bolt as the last one to remove and then you undo it with an open-end wrench half a turn at a time while pulling the water pump housing away from the block accordingly.

    - Scraping off the remains of the old timing chain cover gasket. On a big block, part of the bottom sealing of the timing chain cover is the oil pan gasket. The new timing chain cover gasket set will most likely contain a piece to replace this front section of the oil pan gasket. Make sure you put sealant in there so the resulting gap will not not leak oil. Or pull the oil pan as well and replace the entire oil pan gasket after reinstalling the timing chain cover, which requires even more scraping away of old gasket remains.
     
  12. Gerald Morris

    Gerald Morris Well-Known Member

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    If the heater hose nipple has been in there a long time, I say crush it, use a big extractor, remove it, chase out the 3/8" NPT threads w a good tap, and have a nice NEW heater hose nipple with teflon taped threads ready for reassembly! I have a relatively new pair of heater hose nipples, duly taped in my water pump housing, so their removal is trivially easy. PLAN ON DOING THIS.

    Then you can remove the water pump housing bolt with your ratchet, just as easily as the others. :D

    Get a nice brass wire cup brush wheel chucked into a good high speed drill, and use this to remove the old crap from the previous timing chain cover. I'm guessing several decades elapsed since the last time my 383 had one. It may well have been 5.5 decades in fact, though I think the Cloyes timing chain sprocket and chain may have been Mathilda's SECOND timing set, as there were NO plastic teeth to be seen. There was some of the original turquoise paint down by the oil pan though.

    I used the bit of cork replacement for the oil pan gasket, and carefully removed the little bit of gasket between the pan and block immediately behind the TC cover until the replacement fit right. The high temp grey RTV did nicely to help this key piece stay put as I then applied the rest of the TC cover gasket on the nice shiny surface then bolted it on. Not a spot of oil has leaked since Christmas 2019, which was when I did this. Before, I lost a little down by the oil pan. I still lose a little oil here and there, but half a pint weekly isn't too bad when driving. I was about twice that before.

    This job was so easy I saw little need to comment on it here. I say just get everything clean, be precise with the timing marks and location of your new sprocket, and be sure to get your damper on straight and all should be well. The FSM helps a good bit, as usual. God bless the souls of Old Mopar for producing those great manuals!