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Timing Chain Tensioner

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by mxp01, Apr 20, 2021.

  1. mxp01

    mxp01 Platinum Level Sponsor

    I have pulled the engine out of my SIV and have it broken down to the block. I'm not doing anything major, just giving it a refresh. When I pulled the timing cover off I noticed that there was no chain tensioner or evidence of one. I have had my SIV going on 16 years and have never had a timing issue and the engine has always been reliable. The chain felt tight in away that I don't have fear of it ever jumping time. My question is, have alpine owners been known to remove these? Should I add one? I have read that the tensioner was made of rubber, and I know rubber does not last for ever. Like I said, I have never had a issue with timing so I don't want to go and add unnecessary parts if I don't need them. I don't want to jinx 16 years of a fairly reliable car.

  2. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Donation Time

    There wasnt even a blade on a pivot?

    I have heard of the rubber parts of the tensioner disintegrating but there would still be the steel spring in there.

    Also IIRC 1494s had only a steel guide, no rubber tensioner.
  3. jumpinjan

    jumpinjan Bronze Level Sponsor

    I actually found one tensioner in the oil pan and it looked like it had grown almost double the size. And others that have swollen in size too. They look like they were replaced some time ago, so I don't trust any of the repops
    The best ones to use are the original ones...ever it they look to have wear on them.
  4. Gary T

    Gary T Gold Level Sponsor

    Sunbeam Specialties has Warning about possible deterioration and swelling of the rubber timing chain tensioner if you use an oil supplement or "high mileage oil". It also states that engine rubber seals could also be affected.
  5. mxp01

    mxp01 Platinum Level Sponsor

    BTW, I have only ran 10w-30. Never any kind of additives.
  6. mxp01

    mxp01 Platinum Level Sponsor

    Is the red arrow the “spring oil feed”?

    Attached Files:

  7. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Donation Time

    No, thats the pivot pin the tensioner should have been installed on.
    beamdream likes this.
  8. beamdream

    beamdream Gold Level Sponsor

    Wow, can't believe it wasn't making noise ?
  9. beamdream

    beamdream Gold Level Sponsor

    So in case you're wondering, this is what's missing.

    Attached Files:

  10. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    I wonder if the chain was shortened to take out sone of the slack?
  11. Mike O'D

    Mike O'D Gold Level Sponsor

    I can't imagine it running very well with an original length chain and no tensioner. Seems like the timing would float around some during certain operating conditions.
  12. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Donation Time

    You would have to have taken 2 links and even if you could have taken 1, it would have been too short.

    Someone messed up.

    I would not reuse the chain or both sprockets, they are going to be unusable from that running condition.
  13. mxp01

    mxp01 Platinum Level Sponsor

    I have ordered the tensioner and the blade. I will assemble everything as it should be and see how it all fits back together. Looks like the only thing I will need to pick up is a washer and cotter pin from the hardware store to hold the tensioner in place.
  14. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    My first reaction was like everyone else - the PO screwed up and left out the tensioner by accident. But maybe the PO was smarter than the rest of us. Maybe he figured out that the rubber was a "weak spot" in the design. ( now born out by our recent experience with newer replacements) . Maybe he knew that the engine could run just as well without a tensioner. Maybe he realized that he could do just as well by removing a link or two. 16 years later and how many miles (Cade?) later, it was still running fine. Does anyone here have any actual experience doing this with poor results? Cade, how about counting the number of links in the chain and comparing to stock. Maybe this is the answer to the poor replacement tensioners.

    It will be interesting to see how well the new tensioner fits this engine. If there are or 2 links removed, the tensioner might be too tight a fit

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
  15. mxp01

    mxp01 Platinum Level Sponsor

    I have probably put about 16K miles (some of those miles were back roads pushing the engine) on the car over my time owning it. After breaking the engine down I can tell that someone has been into before me. I will count the links in the chain and let you know what I come back with. How many links should be on the chain?
  16. jumpinjan

    jumpinjan Bronze Level Sponsor

    A new timing chain is going to fit very tightly and one will wonder if the tensioner is really needed. I think that is what happened.
  17. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    You are probably right, Jan. Just thinking about how little wear I’ve seen on original ones I’ve removed suggests that they don’t apply all that much tension. I wonder if their real purpose was to take up the slack if the chain stretched as is wore?
  18. Barry

    Barry Platinum Level Sponsor


    The term "tensioner" is misleading. The camshaft is driven from the crankshaft via the timing chain. The crankshaft rotates clockwise as viewed from the front, so the "right" side of the timing chain is tight when the engine is running and the "tensioner" simply keeps the "left / loose" side of the chain from flapping around. A new timing chain will have a little slack and a worn out timing chain can have a surprising amount of slack. FWIW, timing chains do not stretch, but they do get longer as the pins and rollers wear.
    Alpaholic and Alpine 1789 like this.
  19. mxp01

    mxp01 Platinum Level Sponsor

    Well I able to get my hands on the rubber tensioner but I have had no luck with the tensioner blade. Has anyone had luck with making this part? Or finding a place to make it?
  20. RootesRacer

    RootesRacer Donation Time

    Ask around in the wanted section, the blade is not rare.

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