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ronc
 
  Replacing timing chain - Posted: 10-28-2005, 01:59 PM
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Post #1

Hey this looks like a pretty good site.

I just got a 96 Dodge Ram 1500 about 4 months ago (it has the 318 in it) and the truck seems to be in pretty good shape so Iím hoping to get maybe three years out of it before getting another one. I have started to notice noise when I really have to stand on the gas, sounds like the timing chain slapping so Iím thinking I should go ahead and replace the timing chain before this gets bad. So far the truck runs fine and I only get the noise if I really stand on it. What Iím wondering is how much trouble it is to change the timing chain. One nice thing about this truck is all the empty space under the hood. How much of the front of the motor has to come off in order to get to the timing chain? I had to replace the water pump about two months ago and that involved lifting the air conditioner compressor and bracket and the alternator out of the way. Does the water pump have to come completely off to get the cover to the timing chain off?

Another thing that has recently come up is when I start off from a stop at low speeds it seems to cut out or loose all power to the wheels. At first I was thinking it may be something like the vacuum advance on the transmission because the engine doesnít seem to stall, itís more like the tranny is slipping but it has occurred to me that it could be something like the fuel filter. It only seems to happen at low speeds like when first starting off from a stop or turning a corner. Once I take it up to normal driving speeds it runs fine and it starts fine. Any one have any thoughts on this?

After having been saddled with a few small cars I canít tell you how good it is to have a V8 again and I have always been partial to Dodges.
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Mike Sa
 
 Posted: 10-28-2005, 08:52 PM
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Post #2

1) If you want to get some years service out of this truck, why are you standing on the gas pedal so much?

2) When the truck is under constant load (from wide open throttle) the t-chain should be tight enough to not make any noise. If you could hear it, it should be noisey when you let off the gas.

3) Could it be what your hearing is spark knock instead?

4) Yes, take the w.pump back off to get the front cover off if the chain really is bad. Replace the front crank seal while it's off. If you didn't do it when you replaced the w.pump, replace that stinkin' short bypass hose while it's all apart too, so it doesn't come back to haunt you later (a lot of w.pumps get replaced by mistake because that hose leaks & makes it look like the pump is bad).
Mike Sal
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ronc
 
 Posted: 10-31-2005, 07:54 AM
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Post #3

Well actually I donít stand on the gas that often. However I live in Houston and in a city like Houston there times when being able to accelerate quickly is the difference between living and dying.

I did change that stupid little bypass hose when I changed the water pump and I have to agree with you on that one. You really have to wonder what the engineers were thinking when they came up with that one. Be that as it may, after working on some fords and some chevys and some jeeps this truck is wonderfully uncomplicated and uncluttered.

No Iím pretty sure itís the timing chain because I hear it when itís accelerating. But like I said itís when I stand on it hard enough to make it shift down into passing gear. So actually in this state it is in a lower gear and running at a high RPM, at itís peak it really isnít under a heavy load, the strain is coming off and the parts are starting to float. This is where Iím hearing the slapping. Besides there is a distinct difference between the sound of spark knock and a timing chain slapping. Hey the engine has 118,000 miles on it so itís not surprising that the timing chain might be beginning to show a little stretch.

I got down the little Chiltonís book (these things are just next to useless) and read what it had to say, apparently Iím going to have to buy at least a couple of special tools, one of the ones they show looks like it may be kind of expensive. There was a time when you could go to the dealer and get the dealer service manual for any vehicle. After making some phone calls it looks like that may be a bit more involved, like having it special ordered.
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charlie1935
 
 Posted: 10-31-2005, 10:48 AM
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Post #4

I have three vehicles with 318s in them and the only I actually heard a timing chain was when there was no load on the engine. Never when accelerating or decelerating.
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Hemi Pete
 
 Posted: 10-31-2005, 11:04 AM
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Post #5

Well, I won't say that I am sure what your truck's problem is, but as long as you have a plan of attack.

Who knows: maybe it is the timing chain, and if it isn't...then you've just treated your engine to a new valvetrain component!

Ha ha haaaaaah, good luck.
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