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Q: Adjusting the camshaft and crankshaft for the timing chain

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I have both the camshaft gear and the crankshaft set on TDC but I cannot get the gear back on because the tensioner is on too tight, any advice on compressing it or anything I could do to make reinstalling the cam gear easier

My car has 130000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

I believe the "official" procedure for these M30 engines is to:

  1. Leave the tensioner until last

  2. Install the chain with the crank and cam sprockets on TDC, and the chain tight on the driver side of the chain

  3. Use the chain guide, tied with a plastic tie wrap to keep pressure on the tensioner side of the chain

  4. Install your timing cover (w/ the tensioner bore)

  5. Carefully insert the tensioner piston, engaging the slot to the guide rail

  6. Remove the tie wrap

  7. Insert the tensioner spring and install the cap with new sealing ring (yes, it’s hard to do with oily fingers)

  8. Tighten cap.

  9. Rotate crank as many times as necessary to check yourself that both crank and cam are still TDC together.

NOW - to recover from where I think you have things - you will need to remove the tensioner cap and spring, stuff a rag or something between the timing cover and chain guide to maintain "some" tension - all while trying to bolt the cam sprocket to the cam without jumping time with the chain. It’s possible, then do steps 5-8 from above, just a bit trickier.

If you’re overwhelmed by this, consider YourMechanic, as one of our mobile technicians can come to your location to inspect and service your vehicle.

Good luck!

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