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Old 06-15-2009, 12:46 PM   #1
DJboozeAlot
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Default Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

just bought a 97 sl2 with 110k that wasn't starting because of a fuel issue that i just fixed. got it started and it ran fine despite having a clackety noise from the passenger side top end, so i figured it needed a timing chain. like an idiot though, i figured i'd give it a ride around the block to see how it drives, well, i got about 100 ft out of the driveway and the car just shut off.

it cranks now but no start, very clackety while cranking, before it didn't make any noise until it was running. pushed it back into my driveway and pulled the valve cover, there's a good amount of slack in the chain. the timing chain is still intact and the engine is cranking, but it doesn't even sound like it's attempting to start, shouldn't it at least do that? i will be replacing the timing chain anyways, but was wondering if there is any way to tell if the valves are bent (or if it did have bent valves if this would cause a no start) or if there is anything else that could be causing the no start?

i did can it and there are no codes coming up either... if the timing was off it should be throwing a code for that, right? i know it does on some other cars

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Old 06-15-2009, 12:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

the code would only show up if the engine had run long enough for it to set a code. For you it quit really quick.
I would fix the timing chain then do a compression test. If all the cylinders are similar, then you are likely ok. Perhaps the timing chain jumped and it wont start.

Make sure the chain guides look ok and likely you should replace the tensioner.
I thought I had a bad chain, but no.
Take your old chain and flex it
take a new chain and flex it.

I found they were identical, same arc when stretched straight out. My problem was worn guides and stuck chain tensioner.

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Old 06-15-2009, 12:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

Is the chain turning the cams? If so, you may as well do a compression test now. If you've done any valve/piston damage, you've already done it, so it won't hurt to crank the engine further. A new timing set on an engine that may have bent valves could amount to a lot of wasted effort/expense.

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Old 06-15-2009, 02:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Is the chain turning the cams? If so, you may as well do a compression test now. If you've done any valve/piston damage, you've already done it, so it won't hurt to crank the engine further. A new timing set on an engine that may have bent valves could amount to a lot of wasted effort/expense.
the chain is turning the cams. i'll do a compression test and see what happens. thanks

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Old 06-15-2009, 05:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

well, i tested the compression on 2 of the cylinders, and stopped because i didn't have the valve cover bolted down and the oil was leaking out a bit, and it started raining before i could bolt it down. the first 2 cylinders were the same, the compression kept rising slowly as long as the key was turned to crank the engine, i stopped after about 10 seconds and both of the first 2 cylinders read about 100-110. it's raining right now, but what do you guys think of the results so far?

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Old 06-15-2009, 05:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJboozeAlot View Post
both of the first 2 cylinders read about 100-110. it's raining right now, but what do you guys think of the results so far?
Not good. Service Limit is 180 PSI.

You need to watch richpins video on how to do a proper compression check. Then do a wet compression check. Post both results.

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Old 06-15-2009, 06:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

Do the rest before worrying. If it's bent valves, one or another will be near zero. If they're all low, it's POSSIBLE it's a timing chain jump (there's a better test for it, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it). Wet compression test isn't useful just yet, since it only reflects on compression rings, which aren't related to the camshafts / timing.

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Old 06-17-2009, 04:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Do the rest before worrying. If it's bent valves, one or another will be near zero. If they're all low, it's POSSIBLE it's a timing chain jump (there's a better test for it, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it). Wet compression test isn't useful just yet, since it only reflects on compression rings, which aren't related to the camshafts / timing.
i watched richpins video and did the compression test properly, and got the following results:

145
130
175
125

so no bent valves, but where should i go from here? i know i am getting fuel, and some compression, enough to start the car, i am going to check and make sure i am getting spark tomorrow.

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Old 06-17-2009, 06:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

Well those compression #s are really low. You can pull the timing cover and see, when the crank is at TDC, if the cams are lined up where they are supposed to be. If that is good an engine rebuild is in order as the service limit is 180 PSI for compression.

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Old 06-17-2009, 06:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

You can do that without pulling the timing cover. Just use a straw in the #1 spark plug hole, and turn until it "tops off".

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Old 06-19-2009, 05:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
You can do that without pulling the timing cover. Just use a straw in the #1 spark plug hole, and turn until it "tops off".
the timing marks are right at the top when the straw in cylinder one's hole is at it's top, so it looks like the timing is good. there is a good deal of slack in the chain so i know that it needs to be replaced, but it should at least start. i checked the spark and it's not getting any. the obvious next thing to check would be the coils, however, the car just shut off all at once, and i can't see the coils just failing all of the sudden. i checked the big 30a IGN fuses under the hood just in case, but they were good. any ideas?

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Old 06-19-2009, 08:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJboozeAlot View Post
i checked the spark and it's not getting any.

The next obvious thing to check (replace) would be the crank sensor. Most common cause of no spark.

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Old 06-23-2009, 11:44 AM   #13
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
The next obvious thing to check (replace) would be the crank sensor. Most common cause of no spark.
thanks. i replaced the crank sensor and now have spark. actually, i probably had spark before, but was using this cheapo inline spark tester, it's supposed to light up when you have spark, and it didn't. but then i checked the spark by watching the coils when someone cranks the car and i saw the spark jumping across the towers.

anyways, now i have spark, fuel, and good timing(although loose chain).... STILL NO START!! after i replaced the crank sensor, the car did start for maybe 1-2 seconds then instantly died. since then it barely makes an attempt to start at all. i have also swapped out the coils/ignition modules from a junkyard saturn, visually the coils seem in a lot better shape then the ones on the car. still, no start.

now what? i am losing my mind here.

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Old 06-23-2009, 05:58 PM   #14
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

With all this cranking I would remove the spark plugs and crank it over with the throttle wide open to get rid of any excess gas. Then put them in and give it a shot.

Loose...how lose?

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Old 06-26-2009, 11:41 AM   #15
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

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With all this cranking I would remove the spark plugs and crank it over with the throttle wide open to get rid of any excess gas. Then put them in and give it a shot.

Loose...how lose?
well, when i had the cam cover off, i cranked it a few times to watch the chain, and when i stopped cranking, sometimes the chain was taught, sometimes it had maybe a half inch of slack.

i am in the middle of doing the timing chain right now, and now that i have the timing cover off, there doesn't appear to be as much slack in the chain as i saw before, and i have rotated the crankshaft by hand a few times. i guess if anywhere is making the clackety noise, it would be the chain hitting that metal thing that sits in between the 2 cam gears, don't know exactly what it's called.

i figured i might as well just change the chain and then go from there. if it's loose, i don't want it to slip and do any more damage. once i get it in, i'll go back and further diagnose the no start.

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Old 06-26-2009, 05:53 PM   #16
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

here's a pic of how much slack there was in the chain the first time i removed the cam cover to inspect it. i cranked it a few times, and depending on where the engine stopped, there would be slack like this, or it would be taught. don't know what that means, but there shouldn't be slack at any time, so i bought a complete timing kit and am replacing everything.


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Old 06-28-2009, 03:42 PM   #17
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

does it make any sense that there's slack sometimes and other times there is not? and could this cause my no start?

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Old 06-30-2009, 12:10 PM   #18
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

i installed the new timing chain, tensioner, cam gears, etc and the car fired right up. i drove it around and the car has pretty good power, although it is burning a lot of oil out of the back. i'm hoping that letting it run a while will help clear it up a bit.

so, i looks like the slack in the timing chain CAN cause a no-start situation. my question now, is, do you think that the slack in the chain could cause the compression test to come out low? i will likely redo the compression test a little later, but it's going to rain all day here. just wondering what you guys think.

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Old 10-21-2012, 01:23 PM   #19
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Default Re: Timing Chain? Chain loose, engine cranks, no start

Hi sorry to bring up such an old thread but I am having this exact same issue with my brothers cars right now.

The timing chain has slack at different times in the stroke and also tight at different times.

My question is did you ever figure out if this was the cause of the low compression issue? I ask this because I would really prefer to just replace the timing chain and etc instead of pulling the whole head and all that.

This car will start tho; chugs gas and needs to be floored to start tho but runs fine.

Thanks

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