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Eric, Automotive Repair Shop Manager
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 31900
Experience:  Automotive Repair Shop Manager, Technician
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How do you replace the timing chain on a 1999 ford windstar

Customer Question

How do you replace the timing chain on a 1999 ford windstar 3.8L
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Eric replied 7 years ago.



Below are directions for timing chain replacement:


  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2. Remove or disconnect the following:
    NOTE If the crankshaft pulley and vibration damper have to be separated, mark the damper and pulley so they may be reassembled in the same relative position. This is important as the damper and pulley are initially balanced as a unit. If the crankshaft damper is being replaced, check if the original damper has balance pins installed. If so, new balance pins must be installed on the new damper in the same position as the original damper. The crankshaft pulley, new or original, must also be installed in the same relative position as originally installed.

    NOTE The front cover cannot be removed without lowering the oil pan.

    NOTE Do not overlook the cover retaining bolt located behind the oil filter adapter. The front cover will break if pried on, and all retaining bolts are not removed.

    NOTE The front cover contains the oil pump, water pump and crankshaft seal. If a new front cover is to be installed, remove the water pump and oil pump from the old front cover and install them on the new cover along with a new crankshaft seal.

    NOTE If the crankshaft sprocket is difficult to remove, pry the sprocket off the shaft using a pair of large prybars positioned on both sides of the sprocket.

    Negative battery cable
  3. Coolant
  4. Air cleaner assembly and air intake duct
  5. Fan/clutch assembly and shroud
  6. Accessory drive belt idlers, drive belts and the water pump pulley
  7. Power steering pump bracket retaining bolts. Leaving the hoses connected, place the pump/bracket assembly aside in a position to prevent fluid from leaking out.
  8. Compressor front support bracket but leave the compressor in place
  9. Coolant bypass hose and heater hose at the water pump
  10. Upper radiator hose at the thermostat housing
  11. Coil wire from the distributor cap
  12. Cap with the secondary wires attached
  13. Distributor hold-down clamp and lift the distributor out of the front cover
  14. Crankshaft damper and pulley

  15. Oil filter
  16. Lower radiator hose at the water pump
  17. Remove the dual converter Y-pipe assembly.
  18. Remove the starter motor.
  19. Remove the engine rear plate/converter housing cover.
  20. Remove the retaining bolts and remove the oil pan.

  21. Front cover retaining bolts. It is not necessary to separate the water pump from the front cover.

  22. Front cover and water pump as an assembly.
  23. Drive the crankshaft seal out of the front cover with a suitable seal driver. Remove and discard the cover gasket.

  24. Camshaft bolt and washer from the end of the camshaft
  25. Distributor drive gear, camshaft sprocket, crankshaft sprocket and timing chain


To install:

  • Clean all gasket mating surfaces. If reusing the front cover, replace the front cover oil seal.
  • If removed, install the timing chain vibration damper. Tighten the mounting bolts to 71-123 inch lbs. (8-14 Nm).
  • Rotate the crankshaft to position the No. 1 piston at TDC and the crankshaft keyway at the 12 o' clock position.
  • Lubricate the timing chain with engine oil.
  • Install or connect the following:

    Camshaft sprocket, crankshaft sprocket and timing chain. Be sure the timing marks align. Distributor drive gear. Install the bolt and washer assembly on the end of the camshaft and tighten to 30-37 ft. lbs. (40-50 Nm). New crankshaft seal in the front cover and lubricate the seal lip with engine oil New gasket on the cylinder block and install the front cover using dowels for proper alignment. Install the front cover retaining bolts and tighten to 15-22 ft. lbs. (20-30 Nm). Oil pan Lower radiator hose Oil filter
  • Coat the crankshaft damper sealing surface with clean engine oil. Apply a small amount of silicone sealer to the crankshaft keyway.
  • Position the crankshaft pulley key in the crankshaft keyway and install the damper, using a suitable installation tool.
  • Install or connect the following:

    Damper washer and retaining bolt and tighten to 103-132 ft. lbs. (140-180 Nm). Crankshaft pulley and tighten the retaining bolts to 20-28 ft. lbs. (26-38 Nm). Coolant bypass hose Distributor with the rotor pointing at the No. 1 distributor cap tower Distributor cap and coil wire Upper radiator hose at the thermostat housing Heater hose Compressor and mounting brackets. Tighten the retaining bolts to 30-45 ft. lbs. (41-61 Nm). Power steering pump and mounting bracket. Tighten the retaining bolts to 30-45 ft. lbs. (41-61 Nm). Water pump pulley. Position the accessory drive belts over the pulleys. Fan/clutch assembly and fan shroud. Cross-tighten the fan/clutch assembly retaining bolts to 12-18 ft. lbs. (16-24 Nm).
  • Fill the crankcase with the proper type and quantity of engine oil. Fill and bleed the cooling system. Connect the negative battery cable.
  • Start the engine and check for leaks. Check the ignition timing and curb idle speed and adjust, as necessary.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. The timing marks should be facing each other, when the timing chain is installed correctly-3.8L engines