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Q: What Is the Difference Between a Timing Belt and a Timing Chain?

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What is the difference between a timing belt and a timing chain?

The main difference is the material that they are made of. The timing belt is made out of a rubber base product. The timing chain is made from a type of metal.

An engine has one camshaft or it can have up to four camshafts. It depends on the engine set-up. It operates valves to control the air/fuel mixture in and out of the engine cylinder. There is either a timing belt or chain that rotates the camshaft.

The timing belt is located in the front cover assembly of the engine. The engine has a crankshaft that rotates to move the pistons in the engine. Both the crankshaft and the camshaft have a sprocket. The sprockets allow a connection for the timing belt. When you start the engine, the crankshaft and camshaft(s) rotate in a synchronous relationship. There is a timing aspect between the pistons and camshaft. Physical damage to the engine can occur if this were changed. The belt has a tensioner assembly that keeps the proper tension on the belt. The timing belt is a wearable item that needs replacement as part of a maintenance schedule. The timing chain does the same job as a belt. There can be more than one timing chain depending on engine configuration. It uses gears instead of sprockets. Hydraulic tensioners keep the proper tension on the chain. The chain system requires no scheduled maintenance.

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