OEM Timing Chain Tensioner — The Weak Link
So why do you need a new timingchain tensioner? Below is an articlewe put together during the R&Dprocess to help illustrate theproblems with the OEM ten-sioner.
The timing chain tensioner is a critical component in the K-series en-gine as it prevents the timing chain from loosening, which could result infouled valve timing and possible engine damage. To understand why thechain tensioner is necessary, you need to understand what happens to thechain to make it stretch and/or loosen. When the sprocket on the crank ro- tates, it applies tension to the chain which forces the cam sprockets to ro- tate. The higher the revolutions per minute the motor is spinning at, thehigher the tension that the chain is exposed to. The size of the chain that isused on these motors is chosen to be strong enough to last for thousands ofmiles, while keeping the rotating mass of the motor as low as possible. If thechain were a smaller size, it wouldn’t last as long; if it were a larger size, theengine wouldn’t rev as quickly as it does.When enough tension is applied to a chain, it will stretch in two ways:elastic and plastic. In elastic elongation, the chain stretches while the tensionis applied and returns to its original length once the tension is removed(essentially, a temporary elongation). In plastic elongation, the chain is per-manently stretched. This stretches the chain as little as a few millionths ofan inch at a time, but can add up after the engine is run for a few thousandhours. Plastic elongation will not occur until the chain has first been elasti-cally elongated; this is because it takes more tension to plastically elongate achain than to elastically elongate it. Timing chains can also loosen and tighten due to valve springs forcing cams to rotate. What all of this means is that the chain tensioner needs to be able to take up both the temporary andpermanent slack in the chain.