All about Timing Chain & Kits
The engine control system of your car uses timing chain as an alternative to the timing belt. A timing chain is a reinforced car part that is used to drive the camshaft on a vehicle’s engine.
The timing chain kit controls the timing of opening and closing of the car engine valves, while connecting the crankshaft to the camshaft. In a car engine, it is the job of the camshaft to ensure that these inlet and exhaust valves open and close at the precise time during each cylinder’s intake and exhaust strokes. To guarantee an exact timing, the camshaft position has to stay in sync with the crankshaft. That’s why car manufacturers choose either a toothed belt or a chain to connect the two shafts.
While a timing belt features fiberglass-reinforced rubber construction and comes equipped with teeth on the inside surface, a timing chain on the other hand is essentially a roller chain. It comprises of a series of short metal cylindrical rollers held together by metal side links. The timing chain appears quite similar to a bicycle chain and is driven by a toothed wheel called a sprocket. A simple, dependable and effective means of power transmission, the timing chain is all the more important in an interference engine for preventing the piston from striking the valves.
In some vehicle engines, camshafts are controlled by using direct gear drive. By using a timing chain kit in place of direct gear drive, the engine designers can place the camshaft further from the crankshaft. In engines with multiple camshafts a timing chain also enables the camshafts to be placed further from each other. It should be kept in mind that although timing chains are generally more durable than other car parts like timing belts, but they would not last as long as a direct gear drive. The timing belts, however, are lighter, more economical, and produce less noise while in operation as compared to a timing chain.
Your car’s engine timing chain kits are generally maintenance-free and can last for up to 300,000 km. However, it is recommended to get the chain drive regularly checked to prevent any possible engine damage. Since the clamping and guide rails, as well as the chain tensioner are subject to wear on account of mechanical stress, it becomes very important that the timing chain kit of your car gets replaced at the intervals recommended by the manufacturers. As the timing chains start giving signs of wearing out they must be replaced as soon as possible, otherwise it may not only cause engine failure but may also lead to permanent damage to your vehicle’s engine and other important components too.
A rattling or chattering noise coming out from your car’s engine cylinder head is a strong indicator towards the possibility that the timing chain has started getting worn out. These sounds usually arise when loose chain vibrates during spinning from the crankshaft. This signifies that the timing chain is near the breaking point and needs urgent attention. A malfunctioning timing belt leads to fall in performance, bucking, shaking or sputtering, poor idling and backfiring of the engine.
One of the very common reasons, why all timing chains do not reach their expected life span, is using low quality motor oil in the car. Doing so or neglecting the oil change intervals will definitely cause the oil to deteriorate and lose its lubricating capability, which in turn will result in the engine timing chain’s fast wear and tear. To take care of all possible trouble sources and to get maximum performance from the new timing chain kit, one should also emphasise on replacing the timing chain guides as well.