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Found this in the oil pan..


Shadowranger

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Took the oil pan off yesterday for a thorough cleaning and to replace the pan gasket and found this little gem inside. It reminds me of the old nylon timing gear teeth from way back but it doesn't look like a broken tooth. It's nylon but has a corner to it as though it broke off something. Engine runs fine, 139k on the 4.0 2001. Oil stained. What is it?
62995
 


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dvdswan

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You've heard of a "dime bag", this is the lessen known cousin "dime n' chip".

Seriously though, it may be a chip off a tensioner bracket for a timing chain.
 

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Seriously though, it may be a chip off a tensioner bracket for a timing chain.


That is about the only thing that is of any plastic in the engine, except for the tops of the roller lifters have a small plastic cup on them. If it isn't making any harm anywhere, I wouldn't worry about it. cheers

let me re-phrase that. I just noticed this is a 2001 engine i was thinking first gen 4L. I am not aware of what is in the newer engines. sorry
 

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Given the propensity of the early 4.0 SOHC engines to suffer catastrophic timing chain tensioner and guide failure, and being that those guides are plastic...

It obviously came from one of these pieces...

112304cloyestim_00000062661.jpg
 

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I'd be a bit more concerned & would remove valve covers for a closer look. at the left+right TimingGuides.
That small chip from a timing guide could have
been there since the engine was first started at the factory, or a guide could have just given out last week.
How many miles since the OilPressurized TimingTensioners were changed?
More info at
https://2001fordexplorersporttrac.fandom.com/Engine_Oil_Pressurized_TimingTensioners
 

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Hasn't been done....that's a pretty involved process you linked to and I'm not sure my mechanic could do this. But he has surprised me with his knowledge, so maybe.
He did change valve cover gaskets last year. Lots of things to remove just to get access to the bolts. Something I could have done in the old days when you could actually see the valve covers! Thanks.
Question, though. How long can I expect the timing chain to survive with normal driving?
 

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Question, though. How long can I expect the timing chain to survive with normal driving?
That depends. Is the chain making any rattling on start up? Is it continuing to rattle while you drive? If no, then you should be good for now but I would recommend changing the external chain tensioners every 70,000 miles. If the chain tensioners and oil has been taken care of on a regular basis, you could drive it indefinitely.

There were some issues with the early 4.0 SOHC engines with the tensioners and the chain guides. If you can verify both have been attended to with improved parts, you shouldn't have any worries. If you don't know any of this, it may be worth your time finding out and to confirm that, that piece in the pan isn't part of your current chain guides.
 

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If you are the original owner since 2001 and have never replaced the tensioners you should probably go buy a lottery ticket. :icon_rofl:

If the tensioners were updated and have been replaced on time the timing chain can last basically forever. Once the tensioners go the guides fail and at that point there is nothing you can do except pull the engine.
 

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If he thought valve cover gaskets were a challenging job don't let him attempt tensioners or cassettes. If I found that on my engine and decided to let it go for a while it would strand me on the way home, I've recommended that customer get something fixed as soon as they can and they've driven another year with no problem. To quote Dirty Harry "do you feel lucky"
 

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No, I don't feel lucky!!
There is a rattle on startup every time and it stops within a second or two. And it's been there quite a while. I thought it was a fan belt noise...or a rat caught in the belt..
Time to talk to the mechanic...sigh.
 

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The tensioners themselves are pretty easy, but at this point if the guides are busted it's a much bigger job.
 

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Thanks...I'll update this later.
Edit.: Just doing some online parts info digging and most parts I see (timing chain, tensioners, guides, separate or in kits) specify for VIN. "E"
Would that be for the first letter in VIN? Mine begins with "F"
Also some specify if the engine has balance shafts or not. How to tell?
 
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DILLARD000

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...parts I see (timing chain, tensioners, guides, separate or in kits) specify for VIN. "E" Would that be for the first letter in VIN? Mine begins with "F"
...some specify if the engine has balance shafts or not. How to tell?
The "E" or "F" their refering to is the 8th digit in your VIN; that 2nd digit "F' indicates a Ford product.
Considering your original 2001 engine is in a 4x4, it likely has a Balancer;
best way to make sure is take the lower oil pan off & the Balancer (if present)
is visible+mounted directly behind the oil pump up in the "girdle".
Difference in the Timing Kits is the Crank sprocket is different, with or wOut a Balancer.
Next time I've got the front TimingCover off, likely will just cut the Balancer chain off & get rid of that "RubeGoldberg" power sink.
 

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The entire timing system of the 4.0 sohc is a Rube Goldberg design...

Engineer - "Let's have a chain go from the crank to a fake camshaft and then from the fake camshaft to a real camshaft but instead of doing that twice on the front so it's at least easier to fix, let's make an entire other identical setup on the back of the engine so it can't be fixed without pulling the engine!!!"

Assistant - "Should we at least use quality parts so people don't have to fix these things often?"

Engineer - "nope."
 

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I suspect back in the 90s, interns got assigned to the task of redesigning the 4.0L, & the result never got reviewed, all courtesy of the bean counters cutting costs.
 


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