Timing Chain

Lesabre T-type or other H-body related topics.

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CaliforniaT
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Timing Chain

Post by CaliforniaT » Fri Aug 19, 2005 7:03 pm

Okay well I know this has been covered before and I've searched through and read all the past posts but I'm still not sure about this. I'm going to try to change the timing chain on my BLT myself; I just can't afford the $500 to have someone else do it.

I'm fairly certain I can get the front cover off with no problems, I've changed the waterpump, alternator, power-steering pump, tensioner and harmonic balancer before.

Once it's off where do I go from there? Do I need to find TDC when I reinstall the chain or do I just have to make sure nothing moves once the sprocket is off? Further that and how do I find TDC? I read somewhere about packing something with petrolium jelly, do I need to do this?

It's been a long time since I've been under the car, can I remove the oil pan without removing anything else so I can replace it's gasket and clean it out? I'll bechanging the coolant and oil anyway so it should all be drained.

I've already got replacing the waterpump and hoses on my list, what other things should I replace while I have the front cover off? I know the cam sensor, button and front cover seal should be replaced.

Please consider me stupid in this just so I can get as much info as I can before i start and so I can lay out my plan of action.

This will be my first attempt at major surgery on the BLT.
'89 Red (mostly) Lesabre T-type. Strut brace otherwise bone stock.

2seater
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Post by 2seater » Sat Aug 20, 2005 2:16 am

The oil pan will come off without removing anything else, except the small cover under the flex plate/torque converter. The petroleum jelly mentioned is to pack the gears for the oil pump so it seals and primes the oiling system immediately. There will be marks on both the crank and cam sprocket to guide you for getting it lined up. The marks should be facing straight at each other when assembling. You have already had the hard stuff off before. Just be careful with the sensors, particularly the crank sensor. As long as you do not disturb the crank sensor in the holder, but just remove the whole assembly, it should bolt right back on without additional adjustment. If you use a FelPro pan gasket it should come with plastic "studs" you place in the corners of the block to allow the pan to hang on them when reinstalling. They are sort of spring loaded so the pan is just pushed up over them. It makes it a snap to get the gasket lined up and they just spin out by hand to replace with the stock bolts when it is in position. If you have the the oil filter adapter that hangs straight down, it does sort of get in the way, but you can work around it.
Hal twoseater@tds.net 1990 Buick Reatta, turbocharged, Dynomax s/s UltraFlow, hand made turbo manifolds, ceramic coated, 160* t'stat, GM Tuners chip, larger throttle body, relocated MAF, 30# injectors.

ore0690
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Post by ore0690 » Sat Aug 20, 2005 9:23 am

[8/20/2005]
Here you go:

This was my most recent project, done about 1 to 2 months ago.

Tools needed:
1/2" Drive 6-point 28mm socket
1/2" Drive breaker bar (smallest head depth you can find).
4 to 5 foot pipe to stick over the breaker bar for leverage.
Large pry bar or wide flathead screw driver.
Torque wrench: 50 ft lb to 250 ft lb range.
Torque wrench: 5 ft lb to 75 ft lb range (or something similar).
A tool set with an assortment of socket sizes and ratchet wrenches.
Flat blade gasket scraper.
A Torx bit set.
Front oil seal removal tool (if applicable).
Medium to large rubber mallet (for new front oil seal).


Please read through the entire post first before following it step by step.

I am assuming you have already drained the oil and coolant.....


Take off the serpentine belt and use the breaker bar, extension, and 28mm socket for the crankshaft pulley bolt. You may need the help of another person to do this: Get under the car and unbolt and move away the plastic cover that covers the underside of the starter and flywheel. You will see a rectangular access window from which you can see the flywheel gear teeth. This is where you get an assistant to stick the prybar or wide flathead screw driver in the teeth. Tell them to hold tight, then you slowly and carefully try to unbolt the crankshaft pulley bolt. This is done to keep the engine from turning while you try to undo the bolt. You may need the strength of yet another assistant to help you actually undo the bolt with the breaker bar and extension.

When you get the bolt off, you can now thank your assistants, and pull the crankshaft pulley right off the end of the crankshaft. There is a very thin shim that goes between the crankshaft pulley and the crankshaft sprocket, so be on the lookout for that... store it in a safe place.

Take off, as necessary, the engine accessories (alternator, tensioner) and move the powersteering pump out of the way. Disconnect all the hoses and sensor and ground wires.... (basically give yourself full and clear access to the timing cover). Now start unbolting the timing cover... don't take off the water pump, just undo the four long bolts as they are for clamping the timing cover as well. Unbolt the timing cover in a criss-cross pattern in two steps (my personal suggestion) to avoid warping the cover. As you take out bolts, coolant may gush out of the bolt holes, so be prepared. Also, if you haven't already, unbolt the three oil-pan-to-timing-cover bolts. You will definitely want to remove the oil pan to degrease it and make it squeaky clean and dry, partly because if you don't remove it prior to taking off the timing cover, coolant will spill into the oil pan, and that's blasphemy.

Remove the timing cover and behold the chain and sprockets. I was very disappointed when I discovered that my chain, sprockets, and tensioner all looked new. I replaced them anyway, but hopefully your change has more purpose than mine. Anyway, remove the camshaft button (spring with a round cap at the end). Now thread the crankshaft pulley bolt into the crankshaft and turn the crankshaft with a ratchet wrench and the 28mm socket until the timing marks on the two sprockets are aligned, as perfectly as you can get them (it's an engraved dot on the crankshaft sprocket, and a triangular notch on the camshaft sprocket). Now unbolt and remove the chain tensioner, and undo the two camshaft sprocket bolts, take off the magnet, and then slide the two sprocket and chain off the engine as an assembly. Now is when you DO NOT turn the crank or camshaft at all until you put on the new chain and sprockets, but don't put them on yet. Now, as best as you can, and without nicking any metal, scrape the old timing cover gasket off of the engine block and timing cover. Be especially careful with the timing cover as it is aluminum. Get some clean rags and some carburator cleaner to help dissolve oil and light gasket reminants off of the engine block and timing cover (spray some on rags and wipe). Perform the previous three sentences until you get nice, clean, smooth, and dry gasket mating surfaces on both the timing cover and engine block. You may need to repeat this several times up until the timing cover is installed.

Okay, I need to go to sleep. I'll continue this post shortly.
..........
[8/21/2005]

Okay, I'm back. Now, let's focus on the timing cover. If you are replacing the front oil seal, you should probably get an oil seal removal tool, or a good improvisation. The seal is force fitted into the front of the timing cover so see what you can find to enable yourself to pull it out without hurting the timing cover. Maybe it's easier to pull it out with the timing cover still fastened to the engine? In my case, I got an entirely new timing cover, so I didn't have to deal with removing it. The new seal I got from GM said to install dry, (very small text embossed on to the rubber of the seal itself, so look for that). Seat the new seal in the timing cover and firmly knock it into place with a rubber mallet. You may need to retry this a few times, (It really is force fitted!). When you do this, place the timing cover on a clean, non-hard surface (like cardboard and paper towels) so that the timing cover's gasket mating surface won't get damaged......

Sorry guys, once again I have to continue this post later. I'm in summer school and it's exam week..... a midterm, final exam, design project, and two homework assignments all in a week, so I'm really busy... and tired. Consider this post a work in progress. I'll keep adding daily.

................
[8/22/2005]

Sorry, wasn't able to update today.

................
[8/22/2005]

Now let's focus on the oil pump. On the inside of the timing cover you will see an approximately round plate held on with five Torx bolts. Under this plate is where the oil pump gears are located. Undo the bolts, using a Torx bit and a ratchet wrench, and remove the metal plate. Take out the gears and inspect them for wear. You're supposed to use a feeler gauge for this, to compare clearances with factory specs. If you just feel like getting a new oil pump so that you never have to remove the timing cover again and destroy that nice new gasket you will have installed, I got new oil pump gears for 30 bucks at the GM dealer. Anyway, if there is a lot of oil in the oil pump cavity, try to clean some of it out (like with a LINT-FREE cloth). Now is when you perform the step that I'm sure catches everyone's eye, you pack the oil pump cavity FULLY with petroleum jelly (like vaseline). Fill it as much as you can, and then install the oil pump gears into the cavity. It is a messy job. When you install the gears, seriously make sure that all the spaces between the gears are filled with petroleum jelly. Once all of this is done, reinstall the metal plate onto the oil pump cavity, torquing the Torx bolts to factory specs (ask me if you need these specs). Your timing cover is now complete. Next step... reconstruction.......

To be continued.....
Last edited by ore0690 on Tue Aug 23, 2005 6:34 am, edited 4 times in total.
-Oren.

:stt: 1986 LeSabre Limited Coupe.
Given to me by my good friend Ron, Summer 2003.

tony t-man
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Post by tony t-man » Sat Aug 20, 2005 10:28 pm

Hey Oren, please continue. This is great information.

Tony
:btt2:

Donny Lowrida
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Post by Donny Lowrida » Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:47 pm

WOW! Nice "How-To" for the Maintenance section!!!

Good job! Thanks for the info. In about 50,000 miles I should be able to do the job myself next time.

:btt2:
You must be fast, cause I was haulin' a$$ when I passed you!!!
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88T-FL
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Post by 88T-FL » Sun Aug 21, 2005 2:45 am

Great info guys - thanks. I have the information from past posts but have always put off doing the job. Gonna start getting the parts together and do it when the heat dies down a bit.

CA-T, let us know how it goes.

Thanks - Peter
88 BLT, 89 BLT, 89 BLT (Sold and missed), 86 LGN, 86LGN

T
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Post by T » Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:05 am

Just a reminder to always replace both sprockets, the chain, tensioner and button. Make sure to clean out the pan if the sprocket is badly damaged.
-T

'87 Lesabre T-type
L67 swap, CAI, STB, 180deg stat, Walbro 307 fuel pump, tranny cooler, Michelin XGT H4s, ZZP 3.4 MPS, AC 41-601 plugs.
PB: 14.447@95.08 (2.299 60ft.)

'88 Lesabre T-type
RIP

For questions concerning Lesabret.com, please e-mail me at lesabret@gmail.com

CaliforniaT
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Post by CaliforniaT » Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:07 pm

I'm working on a budget, so for the time being I'm stockpiling parts and tools (of which I have none). I picked up a torque wrench today, 20 - 200 ft. lbs. should be okay I hope. I'll pick up a tool set this weekend with a torx bit set, then next weekend will be the parts.

How expensive is a new front cover and for that matter a new oil pan? I'd rather not have to clean those.

BTW: Thanks so much for this post, I'm gaining so much more confidence that I can do this in a timely manner.
'89 Red (mostly) Lesabre T-type. Strut brace otherwise bone stock.

T
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Post by T » Tue Aug 23, 2005 9:10 pm

CaliforniaT wrote:I'm working on a budget, so for the time being I'm stockpiling parts and tools (of which I have none). I picked up a torque wrench today, 20 - 200 ft. lbs. should be okay I hope. I'll pick up a tool set this weekend with a torx bit set, then next weekend will be the parts.

How expensive is a new front cover and for that matter a new oil pan? I'd rather not have to clean those.

BTW: Thanks so much for this post, I'm gaining so much more confidence that I can do this in a timely manner.
Your not going to want to buy a new oil pan or front cover. Just pick up a good scraper to remove the old gasket material.
-T

'87 Lesabre T-type
L67 swap, CAI, STB, 180deg stat, Walbro 307 fuel pump, tranny cooler, Michelin XGT H4s, ZZP 3.4 MPS, AC 41-601 plugs.
PB: 14.447@95.08 (2.299 60ft.)

'88 Lesabre T-type
RIP

For questions concerning Lesabret.com, please e-mail me at lesabret@gmail.com

ore0690
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Post by ore0690 » Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:03 am

Yeah, a new timing cover is real nice, but not if you're on a budget. I think mine was roughly $250 from the GM dealer. For the oil pan, just get a gallon-bottle of degreaser (something like Simple Green) with a scrubber and some sponges. Pour the degreaser in the oil pan and scrub. Then rinse with water. The degreaser REALLY works well. It takes oil right off the oil pan surfaces and is water soluble. My oil pan was so clean and dry after this procedure that I could eat off of it (not that I did).
-Oren.

:stt: 1986 LeSabre Limited Coupe.
Given to me by my good friend Ron, Summer 2003.

Beck
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Post by Beck » Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:28 pm

I just had mine done yesterday. Took us from 5:30 to 11:45 to get it done and tested. Use a dremmel to get the old gaskets off, and you don't need to drop the oil pan, because we didn't and there are no leaks.


On another note... my tensioner was eaten completely through and my timing chain could be pushed in on the side about a HALF INCH. Dear god. I guess 174000 miles will do it to ya. :P

ore0690
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Post by ore0690 » Fri Sep 02, 2005 8:20 pm

Hey CalifoniaT. How's the timing chain project going? Any questions or concerns?
-Oren.

:stt: 1986 LeSabre Limited Coupe.
Given to me by my good friend Ron, Summer 2003.

T
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Post by T » Fri Sep 02, 2005 9:06 pm

Beck wrote:I just had mine done yesterday. Took us from 5:30 to 11:45 to get it done and tested. Use a dremmel to get the old gaskets off, and you don't need to drop the oil pan, because we didn't and there are no leaks.


On another note... my tensioner was eaten completely through and my timing chain could be pushed in on the side about a HALF INCH. Dear god. I guess 174000 miles will do it to ya. :P
You don't have to take it off, but you should to clean out the remnants of any damaged parts.
-T

'87 Lesabre T-type
L67 swap, CAI, STB, 180deg stat, Walbro 307 fuel pump, tranny cooler, Michelin XGT H4s, ZZP 3.4 MPS, AC 41-601 plugs.
PB: 14.447@95.08 (2.299 60ft.)

'88 Lesabre T-type
RIP

For questions concerning Lesabret.com, please e-mail me at lesabret@gmail.com

electra380
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Post by electra380 » Fri Sep 02, 2005 9:18 pm

yeah if you messed up the cam gear or anything in there, its best to clean it out the pan. When mine went, all that plastic/nylon or whatever it is on the gears fell into the pan somehow.
"Possibly a rare granny rack? you know them things give you all the extra power needed to outrun a cop car. they only put them on grandma's Buick because they know they wont abuse the power."

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Post by Beck » Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:15 pm

He used pressurized oil and sprayed the inside of the pan. We checked the drain and found pieces of gasket but no shavings.


In other news, gas mileage has returned, not that it matters now with regular @ $3.00. :x

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