Timing belts and chains have the same function in vehicles.
These two components of your vehicle help turn the crankshaft and the camshaft of your vehicle. Your vehicle can have either and there are advantages and disadvantages of having either.
What does a Ford Expedition have?
Does The Ford Expedition Have a Timing Belt or Chain?
Ford Expeditions have a timing chain instead of a timing belt. Timing chains are more preferable because they last for up to 150,000 miles without the need for replacement.
Although timing chains last a long time, you should not neglect their maintenance because they are more expensive to replace.
Chains can cost as much as $3,000 to replace whereas a timing belt can cost only a few hundred dollars.
What is the Difference Between Timing Belts and Timing Chains?
Both timing belts and timing chains ensure that the camshaft and crankshafts rotate in sync.
Although they have the same function, they have different designs and offer unique benefits over each other.
A vehicle engine has two parts; the top which houses the camshaft, cylinder head, and the valves, and the bottom part, which has a crankshaft, pistons, and cylinder block.
The top and bottom parts need to rotate in sync and the timing chain or belt ensures that happens.
If the camshaft and crankshaft are not in sync, even by a few seconds, the engine will not perform smoothly.
If the belt is worn out or the chain is missing some links, there will be engine problems.
Belts are made of rubber, which may have steel wires inside for reinforcement.
You do not need to lubricate the timing belt as there is no metal-to-metal contact.
Most manufacturers recommend that you replace the belt after 60,000 miles, but it can last for up to 100,000 miles.
When replacing the timing belt, you should replace the tensioners and pulleys that come with these belts.
You may also need to change the water pump when changing the belt as the pump may be installed behind the belt.
Modern timing belts last for a long time.
Before the 1990s, most cars had timing chains.
Belts are quiet and are easier to replace and this is why they were adopted.
Timing chains have metal parts the same as bicycle and motorbike chains.
These chains need enough lubrication to minimize the noise that comes from the engine and also keep them performing efficiently.
Because they are inside the engine, they can be lubricated by the engine oil.
The main benefit of timing chains is that they last for a long time.
However, they make more noise compared to belts, and they are expensive to replace if they break down.
Like timing belts, chains use tensioners and pulleys to ensure they are under the right tension.
The tensioners rely on the pressure from the engine oil.
If the engine oil pressure is low, the tensioners pressure will also reduce, and this offsets the timing of your engine.
When the engine’s timing is off, the engine loses performance and the chain might malfunction and cause further damage to the engine.
Unlike the belt, which has a connection to the water pump, the chain doesn’t have any connection, and you never have to replace them at the same time.
What are the Signs of a Damaged Timing Chain?
Chains are hard-wearing, but their life also comes to an end.
As they wear out, the engine timing will be inaccurate and there are several warning signs when that starts happening.
Here are some of the signs that your Expedition’s chain might be broken:
Engine misfires are problems caused by inaccurate valve timing.
If the timing chain stretches with time, it might skip a gear either on the crankshaft or the camshaft.
Here, the timing is out of calibration and you hear the misfire sound.
When the engine misfires, it performs poorly and lacks power when you try to accelerate.
If your Expedition shows these symptoms, you need to get it checked right away.
Metal Shavings Present in Engine Oil
Timing chains release small pieces of metal when they wear out.
These shavings break from the chain and they end up in your engine oil.
You can see them in the oil pan when you empty the sump.
Metal shavings in the oil may also indicate a worn cylinder head.
As such, see your mechanic for an accurate diagnosis of the engine problem.
If the timing chain breaks off completely, the engine will stop.
If the chain breaks when your car is parked at home, the engine will not start.
A chain that breaks when you are driving can lead to damage to the pistons.
The pistons will come in contact with the valves and the valves might bend and cause more damage to the engine.
If the chain is loose, it might fail and lead to more engine damages.
Engine Light Comes On
A worn-out timing chain is one of the reasons why your engine light might come on.
Your Expedition’s computer will detect there is something wrong with your system and the light will come on.
If, for instance, the timing chain is loose, the engine will perform poorly and the engine emissions will increase.
These increased emissions will trigger the engine light.
A mechanic can help you diagnose the engine using special software and see if the problem is your timing chain.
Rattling Noise When the Engine is Idle
You need to learn to listen to your engine.
If the engine produces unusual noises, this is an indication that something is wrong.
The engine should make a consistently smooth sound.
If the timing chain is loose, it will cause vibration and a rattling sound.
You need to get the engine checked immediately to ensure the rattling noise is not an indication that something in the engine is wearing out.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Timing Chain?
Although timing chains last a long time, you still need to replace them at some point.
Most manufacturers suggest that you replace the timing chain after every 150,000 miles.
The average cost of replacing a timing chain is between $910 and $1,600.
Labor costs will be between $550 and $1050 while the chain and any associated parts will be between $410 and $550.
Timing chains are located deep down in your engine and that is why the labor costs are so high.
To get to the chain, the mechanic has to remove several other components of the engine.
This is unlike the timing belt, which is not that deep- in the engine.
There are several advantages to replacing the engine at the time recommended by the manufacturer.
For starters, your vehicle will see improvement in horsepower as your vehicle’s timing will be in point.
This can also improve the vehicle’s acceleration.
When the camshaft and crankshaft work in sync, your Expedition will see improved gas mileage.
The valves of your engine will deliver better combustion and you end up saving a lot of fuel.
You will also reduce the repair costs of your car.
If you allow the chain to break before you replace it, several other components of the engine, including the valves, might be damaged.
If a mechanic inspects your vehicle on a regular basis, they will identify potential problems before they arise.
How is the Chain Replaced?
The mechanic will need to take your engine apart, replace the chain, and then put the engine back together.
Your mechanic will clean the engine using a degreaser before they start regulating the firing order.
They may have to remove the spark plug and ensure the cylinders are in order.
Next, the mechanic will disconnect the battery cables to get a space to remove the radiator cap.
They will then drain the engine coolant.
The mechanic then removes several other components.
The mechanic also needs to remove several other components of the engine, including the radiator hoses, the drive belts, water pump, heater hoses, fan, and the timing chain shield.
After that, they can remove the chain by loosening the tension gear and replace it with a new chain.
Before fitting the new chain, they will oil the gears.
They will then place the chain in a way that the teeth of the chain align with all the marks on the gear.
The last step is re-installing all the components of the engine.
Ford Expedition is a great SUV designed to offer sophistication in design and flexibility.
It was redesigned in 2018, and it brought forth several features that left the competition behind.
This full-size SUV is available in standard wheelbase and Max version, which is longer.
It offers powerful engine options with a host of comfort features.
The Expedition runs on a timing chain, which you only need to oil until it hits 150,000 miles.
After that, you can replace it with a newer timing chain.
Unless you have taken apart and put back together your engine before, you should let an experienced mechanic replace the timing chain.