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Discussion Starter #1
2001 Ram 1500 5.2l Tore the oil pan gasket redoing the timing chain cover gasket. Now I'm trying to remove the oil pan to replace the gasket but the sub-frame is in the way. Also, should I be using cylinder 1 or 6 for TDC? Because I think my Haynes manual has made me set timing with TDC on #6 .
So both timing dots are pointed up. Any help on how to gain clearance for the oil pan and to make sure I don't ruin my timing would be appreciated. I would like to replace the timing chain but I'm worried I may cause my truck more harm than good.
 

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As Haynes shows, and others normally show: when dots on timing gears are "closest" to each other (crank gear dot at 12 o'clock, cam gear dot at 6 o'clock) no.6 piston will be TDC "beginning of firing stroke" (end of comp stroke).
..Simply said and done, and easiest to do: position cam dot at 6 o'clock (crank dot will be at 12, and both dots will be close to each other and easy to see/align); turn crank a whisker as needed till slack is equal on both sides of old chain, then remove timing gears and chain (if slack was equal on both sides of old chain, the new chain and gears will likely to slip right on as keys should be very close to correct position.

... Inversely, when dot on cam gear is at 12 o'clock, no.1 piston will be TDC "beginning of firing stroke" (end of comp stroke); but it's darn hard to align dots when cam dot is at 12 (likely why most/all? mfgrs use TDC of cyl 6 at beginning of firing stroke as it's far easier to see/align both dots when they're close together).

Just for info: cyls 1 and 6 are "companion cyls", meaning both will be at TDC at the exact same time, but on different strokes (one beginning of firing stroke, other beginning of intake stroke); if a particular stroke is not needed, only TDC, either can be used.

... "Double roller" timing chain/gears is more durable than stock "silent" timing set, would consider miles/condition of your engine when choosing (ditto for oil pump, and pickupscreen
..Myself have a pet peeve about future coolant leaks between timing cover and block that can happen after just water pump is changed; would consider a new top quality (dealer?) pump; and of course a new front main seal, and bypass hose.

... Many good adhesives sealers and gasket maker products nowadays; and it's no more work if pan gasket is changed later; if pan is still on maybe something like these or similar would repair or replace damaged portion of oil pan gasket (worth the chance imo)

http://na.henkel-adhesives.com/industrial/product-search-1554.htm?keywords=rubber gasket adhesive, oil resistant&primaryFacet=000000026R
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your help. I greatly appreciate it! OH! Also, whats the deal with the black link on my replacement timing chain?
 

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whats the deal with the black link on my replacement timing chain?
Just to be sure, recheck part number as black link is not "required" for your 5.2; my guess is its there to help easily/quickly locate dots anytime, especially when they're covered in dirty oil in a cramped/dark engine bay (consider black link a gift!)
..Using that theory: with crank dot at 12 and cam dot at 6, would install chain so the black link is at 12 on cam gear so it's on top making it clearly visible.

... Easiest is to assemble chain onto gears on workbench;---
---black link @ 12
---cam dot @ 6
---crank dot @ 12
(if on engine, this would/should be cyl 6 at TDC "beginning of firing stroke", and the black link would be right on top at 12 ish and clearly visible :smile)
..Assembled this way, if ever you need to "find" both little dirty oily dots :wink in a dark engine bay, in 2 crank rotations or less black link will be at 12 o'clock ish, positioning both dots close and visible for final aligning.

... For 5.2/5.9: as long as dots are aligned per Haynes on 6 TDC firing stroke it will run fine, black link could be anywhere with no ill effects.

... imo never hurts to soak new chain in engine oil (wiggle/move it so oil gets into/under rollers/bushings/etc), then hang it up a bit to let drip, lightly blot off excess oil so it does not drip and mess up sealant/gaskets, assemble on bench; oil film inside gear bores and on cam and crank snouts helps everything to slide on smoothly.
 
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