Ford Explorer Timing Chain Problems + Troubleshooting Tips

2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 ford explorer timing chain problems

The timing chain is the part of your ford explorer which can leave you stuck on the road if it malfunctions. Instead of waiting for that to happen, you have to find out the causes and symptoms of the same. Once you know these in advance, it is easy to solve the problem before getting stuck.

What causes timing chain problems in Ford Explorer?

1. Chain set too tight:

Ford Explorer consists of a tensioner that allows you to change the tension of the chain.

If you increase the tension of the chain by mistake, it might be too tight. In that case, if you drive around, you might overload the chain. When that happens, timing chain problems might crop up. First, the wear and tear accelerate, and then, the timing chain problem arises. This happens after covering 50 to 100 miles with high tension on the chain.

Surprisingly, even if the chain is too loose, the chain might interfere with the moving components. Consequently, the wear and tear arise, and the timing chain problem might arise. If it is very loose, the time chain problem arises after 200 miles.

2. Wear and tear:

As you drive your car more and more, wear and tear is unavoidable. Due to this wear and tear, the guides around the chain and the sprockets can break. Once they start malfunctioning, it is just a matter of time before you experience timing chain issues.

3. Driving at maximum speed regularly:

When you’re driving your car at the maximum speed, every system of your car is under a lot of pressure. If you do this quite frequently, there will be excessive pressure on the timing chain. In this case, overheating of the engine and associated components is pretty common. When that happens frequently, the chain can break down as well.

You might think, when will someone drive at the maximum speed for a long period?

In case you take part in events or any other race, you might have to drive your car at the maximum speed for a long time. That is when timing chain issues can occur.

Sure enough, in a completely new Ford Explorer, this issue might not happen, but if you have driven the Ford Explorer for 30,000 to 40,000 miles and after that if drive it at the maximum speed, this issue can certainly arise.

4. Lack of oil changes:

Many car owners ignore the maintenance needed for the proper functioning of a Ford Explorer. If you, too, are one of them, your ford explorer might develop problems sooner than later.

In periodic maintenance, engine oil is often changed. Filters can also be cleaned or changed. If you skip out on the maintenance, these replacements or changes might not happen.

When the engine oil is not changed, and the filter is not cleaned or changed, the life of the timing chain reduces significantly. That is because the dust and contaminants caused by the low efficiency can increase the wear and tear of the timing change.

The higher wear and tear is not only limited to the timing chain. Sprockets, guides, and the associated components might also suffer from the same. That is why; there is a high risk that the entire system might fail.

5. Engine overheating:

The most common cause of the engine overheating is driving at a high RPM. Even though many drivers might not drive at the maximum speed but if they do not shift gears appropriately, you might end up driving at a high RPM. In that case, the engine can easily overheat.

The Ford Explorer has a temperature sensor and an overheating indicator. That way, if you notice the engine’s temperature rising, it is good to take a break till the engine cools down. If you frequently continue driving even when the engine temperature is high, the timing chain might break down eventually.

6. Piston issues:

Piston issues are pretty rare. However, when they do occur, the wear and tear and damage is not just limited to the cylinder. The other associated systems might also suffer from the same. One such associated system is the timing chain. That is why, if the Piston develops any problem, you can expect the timing chain to fail sooner than later.

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Can you drive with a bad timing chain?

You cannot drive a Ford Explorer with a bad timing chain. In case the timing chain has developed a snag or a problem, it will impact the efficiency of the entire engine. Even if the car goes around a bit, you can expect a complete breakdown at any point in time. That means you might be stuck roadside as well.

Immediately when you notice any symptoms of the timing chain issue, getting professional help is necessary. A much better alternative is to contact the car dealership or a mechanic to fix the issue. In the later part of this article, I will cover these symptoms so that you can know once and for all when a timing chain has developed issues.

How long do ford timing chains last?

Usually, timing chains can last anywhere between 80,000 miles to 120,000 miles. However, this depends on a few factors.

1. Driving style matters:

Whether you speak about the timing chain or any other part of your car, your personal driving style matters a lot. If you opt for frequent acceleration and deceleration of your ford explorer, wear and tear is on the higher side, and therefore the timing chain might last only around 50,000 miles.

Similarly, if you do not shift gears frequently and drive at high RPM, the timing chain might last only 50,000 miles rather than 120,000 miles.

In a nutshell, how you handle your ford explorer while driving matters a lot.

2. Regular maintenance matters:

With regular maintenance, you can keep the filters clean and change the oil from time to time. Doing so will minimize the wear and tear of the timing chain, and therefore you can extract the maximum life from the timing chain.

3. Professional inspection matters:

By the time you notice any external or performance symptoms of the breakdown of the timing chain, it is already too late. The breakdown of the timing chain might have affected some other components of your car. In a nutshell, you will now have to spend more to fix the issue.

It is better to get your car professionally inspected at least every year to avoid this. That will help you pick up the signs of damage to the timing chain in advance, and therefore, you can take the corrective steps.

Is it worth fixing a timing chain?

Whenever there is a mechanical problem with the timing chain, there is no point in repairing it or fixing it. You will have to replace it. Even if you find a makeshift solution, it will break down once again sooner than later.

When it does, your vehicle will come to a standstill, and you might be stuck somewhere where it isn’t easy to get help. Instead of taking that risk, a much better alternative is to replace the timing chain altogether.

What is the cost of replacing a timing chain on a ford explorer?

It will cost you anywhere between $1400-$1800. This includes the labor charges.

A significant portion of this is the labor cost.

How to know if my timing chain needs replacement? Ford Explorer timing chain problems

1. Engine misfire:

If your engine starts misfiring, it is a clear indication of a problem with the timing chain. If the misfiring happens after driving a fair bit and happens repeatedly, it might indicate that soon your vehicle might come to a standstill. When you notice the engine misfire, it is best to get some professional help.

2. Rattling sound:

The rattling sound is due to the problematic timing chain. Before it disintegrates completely, it will make a rattling sound. However, this is the sound of the wear and tear of the timing chain and other associated components. That is why, instead of ignoring this sound, you have to get your ford explorer checked.

3. Contaminated car oil:

When the timing chain starts to disintegrate, it is pretty common that certain parts of the timing chain end up in the car oil. Taking a look at the filter will let you know if the amount of residue leftover is higher than usual. However, if you continue driving, the contaminated car oil can bring your ford explorer to a standstill.

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