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Old 03-10-2011, 11:54 PM   #1
gnargasim
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Default Timing Chain Tensioner

I have used the search and google and have not found the answer that i am looking for.

My girlfriend drives a 2004 Saturn Ion and it is making a timing chain noise/rattle. The shop that she took it to said that she needs a new timing chain tensioner and the part is going to cost $400 and the labor is $1300-$1400. They stated that the labor was so much because they have to remove the engine. I find this impossibly difficult to believe and i think they are trying to screw her over. Obviously i have told her to get a second opinion but still i want to know what is going on.

Could anyone please give me incite to this situation and tell me what you think since i am not a Saturn person and do not know much about the engines in them.

Thank you

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Old 03-11-2011, 12:03 AM   #2
2006 ion2
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

the ecotec has to be pulled from most vehicles it's put in to replace the timing chain/tensioners. the ion is one such vehicle.

while they're in there, have them replace the chain and all the tensioners and guides.

before you find out, I'm going to tell you, yes, the guides are a teflon (plastic), or other synthetic part, and yes, they are like this on engines in most cars, from a saturn all the way up to $300K+ cars.

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Old 03-11-2011, 12:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

Thank you for your reply.

So basically the guy was not BSing her?

Only thing that confused me was this sentence.

"the ecotec has to be pulled from most vehicles it's put in to replace the timing chain/tensioners." What do you mean it'd put in to replace the timing chain/tensioner. I think i am just getting confused reading that but what your saying is that yes the engine has to be pulled to get to what is needed?

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Old 03-11-2011, 12:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

most cars the ecotec engine is put in are front wheel drive. no matter how big the car is, as long as it's front wheel drive (maybe even in rear wheel drive ones, but it's been a while since I've seen a sky), the way the engine mounts work, there is never a way to replace the timing set with the engine in the car.

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Old 03-11-2011, 06:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

What he's saying is don't spend that kind of labour to replace one of many mated parts, spend a bit more and replace the entire timing set while you're in there. Murphy's law states that in a very short time down the road it will need the rest of the set, so you might as well do it right the first time rather than pay all that labour again to redo what is basically the same job. Do not allow them to replace the water pump, they can be changed without distrubing the timing set and they rarely fail.

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Old 10-04-2012, 04:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

I hate to tell you this, but that place ripped your girlfriend off. Sorry I didn't see this post sooner, but the part only costs about $30, and it only take about 2 hours worth of work to do. You do have to "remove" the engine, but not really. You need only to support one side of the engine and remove the engine mount, then you can easily replace the timing tensioner. I've done it on my 2004 Ion twice, and it looks like I'm getting ready to do it again . The first time was a tensioner failure, the second time was a timing issue, this time is a tensioner failur again. I wish I could figure out why the tensioner keeps dying on me.

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Old 10-05-2012, 01:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

Commented on the other thread... but maybe you'll want to look and see if there is/was any changes regarding the part(s) between the 2004 and later models... or specific TSB or concerns. Maybe there was a revision or tweak that was missed during your previous repair(s).

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Old 10-07-2012, 04:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

The chain tensioner can be replaced without pulling the engine, the chain tensioner guide that has most likely failed cannot be changed without pulling the engine. The tensioner itself rarely causes issues on this engine.

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Old 06-01-2013, 01:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

Sorry to revive an old thread, but I didn't think this merited a new one--

Remove the engine? I don't think you need to. According to Haynes, you can replace the timing chain, guides, and tensioner without removing the engine for Saturn Ions 2003 - 2007.

To replace the balance shaft or any of that, the engine has to be removed.

I'm about to replace my timing chain/guides/tensioner, but I would definitely not dive in if I had to remove the engine. I was pretty sure I was good, since Haynes explicitly says you do not have to.

What's going on here? Is Haynes wrong? Should I plan on removing the engine after all?

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Old 06-01-2013, 02:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

Quote:
Originally Posted by motoroil View Post
Sorry to revive an old thread, but I didn't think this merited a new one--

Remove the engine? I don't think you need to. According to Haynes, you can replace the timing chain, guides, and tensioner without removing the engine for Saturn Ions 2003 - 2007.

To replace the balance shaft or any of that, the engine has to be removed.

I'm about to replace my timing chain/guides/tensioner, but I would definitely not dive in if I had to remove the engine. I was pretty sure I was good, since Haynes explicitly says you do not have to.

What's going on here? Is Haynes wrong? Should I plan on removing the engine after all?
Timing chain can be done in car. To replace the balance shafts the engine needs to come out.

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Old 06-08-2013, 12:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

Thanks for the info!

Okay, I've removed all the necessary parts to get to the timing chain. I'm inspecting the chain, guides, and tensioner now- and they look okay. (I'm definitely replacing them while I'm doing all this--thats not the question).

But, since they look good, that is a bit disconcerting because I want to make sure I find the culprit of my ticking noise. My local mechanic--who is trustworthy and knowledgeable--suggested the timing chain, that is why I'm working on it. It does have the old tensioner design, so maybe that would be enough to cause the noise. BUT, the chain has good tension.

And here's the punch-line..... Inspecting the balance shaft chain, on the other hand, didn't go as well. The guides, sprockets, etc... all look good, but the chain has a teeny weeny bit of slack. I can move the balance shaft chain maybe an 1/8 of a inch or so back to back, and looking at the tensioner for it, it has about 1/8-1/4 inch play or so.

This is good news insofar as I think I found the culprit for the slight ticking/rattling noise, but bad news because it means replacing things other than what I set out to replace.

My questions are:
One: Is that kind of play actually a bad thing as I'm assuming it is? Or is it normal? If it is normal, then I should keep looking for my noise-causing-culprit elsewhere.
Two: I would like to replace the balance shaft tensioner along with all the timing components, but I would not like to replace anything else in the balance shaft area (I don't want to replace the sprockets for it or the balance shaft chain or pull the shafts) since I don't want to remove the motor. Is there any problem or risk in replacing the balance shaft chain tensioner (along with the timing kit parts) without also changing the balance shaft chain, sprockets, etc...?

Thanks!!!!

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Old 06-17-2013, 02:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

All finished. I replaced the timing chain, the cam sprockets, the timing chain guides, the timing chain tensioner, timing chain oiling nozzle, timing chain lower/crankshaft sprocket, and the balance shaft chain tensioner (not to mention new spark plugs, serpentine belt, timing cover gasket, front oil seal, valve cover gasket, etc...).

I figured that there is no real risk in replacing the balance shaft tensioner alone (and not the chain or sprockets with it) so long as the chain had not stretched or become damaged given the lack of tension. So, I went for it considering that the noise had only been around for a week or two.

I finally fired it up, and the Ion is running considerably better than previous.

BUT, low and behold, the slight tick is still there. So, my trusted shop was wrong. Bummer.

At least I changed those parts, considering that they're known to fail and they were the original parts at 95k on the odometer now.

I bought a mechanic's stethoscope and examined the tick pretty thoroughly. Its not piston slap. It could be valve noise, but I'm fairly sure its not. I think, at this point, and based off the stethoscope probing, that it is either an exhaust leak where the headers meet the downpipe, or a fuel injector(s).

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Old 06-17-2013, 06:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: Timing Chain Tensioner

A slight tick is exactly how I would describe the injectors firing under normal operation. Because this engine is so quiet you can hear them quite well, but it's normal.

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