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Glenn, Senior Master Ford Tech
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 1746
Experience:  26 years exp with Ford Products, ASE Master Auto & Truck + advanced engine perf L1/L2 Gas & Diesel
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Ford: 5.4L V8 Triton engines: I..camshaft..gears..crankshaft

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To a Ford expert on 5.4L V8 Triton engines: I have 2 questions both asking if the procedures I conducted, first in timing the camshaft gears to the crankshaft and second if torquing the cylinder head bolts, were correct.

Camshaft gear timing: According to the Haynes Repair manual, I placed the #1 piston at top dead center, with the first crankshaft gear cog notch pointing at the timing chain cover notch. Then the camshaft gear notches, both left and right, are placed so that the notches are perpendicular, 90 degrees, to the flat side line of the cylinder heads, both left and right. The timing chains are then placed over the crankshaft cog gears, first rear cog for the left head cam gear, and front cog for the right head cam gear and over the cam shaft gears; being careful not to move/rotate the cam gear. My question then, is this the correct procedure to time the crank to cams? I did check the cam lobes to see that they were not touching the rockers for each valve (exhaust & intake) and they were not. I turned the crankshaft to the TDC of the next piston according to the firing order and again the cam lobes did not touch the rockers. I did the same thing for each of the other pistons and of the 8 piston positions, none of the cam lobes touched the rockers. So, I hope, the procedure was correct, was it?

My next questions concerns the torque tightening of the cylinder head bolts. First, I used new bolts. According to the Haynes manual, starting with the center located bolts, first each bolt is tightened to 30 lbs. The problem with this first step, is that the lb pressure to tighten to 30 lbs can hardly be felt. In fact I had loosen the bolts up, twice and start over because I could not at first, feel the torque wrench snap at 30 lbs. I had to be extremely slow to feel the snap. Thereafter, from the center bolts on, the wrench is turned to a 90 degree point (position from the starting point) until all of the bolts are tightened to that 90 degree amount. Then, according to the Haynes manual, beginning with the center bolts, again, turn the wrench to another 90 degrees from the starting point on all the bolts. And that's it. One does not use torque pounds to tighten the head bolts, only two 90 degree turns to tighten the bolts. Besides the problem with the first 30 pounds, the method of tightening the bolts, two 90 degree turns is to me, extremely inaccurate. Is this the correct procedure? Or will there be problems later? Please help, Steve O.

Hello Steve,


Yes the head bolt torque procedure you followed is exactly as stated in the Ford shop manual. I have always thought the same as you, but have never run into a problem. It's even more scary on a diesel.

Now on the cam timing, you did line up the copper links on the chains to line up with cam and crank gears marks correct?



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No, I did not line up the copper links with the cam because I couldn't find them. The copper links are suppose to be brighter than the other links according to the Haynes manual. I showed the chain two ladies because woman seem to have better color vision than men and also to one male. All three agreed, separately, that there was no links in a different color or brightness than the others. So, I took the chains to Sil Tehar Ford, a dealer nearby and the head mechanic told me that there was no different color or brightness to any links because most timing chains did not come with such a feature in the original Ford engines. This mechanic said, that all that had to be done is the procedure I described to you and that the chain position does not matter because that chain doesn't know or care what position it is in (as if the chain were a living thing) as long as the crank and cam shafts are positioned as they should be. This put a big question mark in my mind and that's why I contacted you. Incidentally, the mechanic also told me that most likely, after market replacement chains probably did have copper or bright colored links but when I went to Sil Tehar's parts counter, they showed me replacement chains and they pointed out that none of the links showed a different color. What do you think, is the procedure then correct for timing the crank to cam?

Well step #6 tells you to mark the chains if links are not visable. This is important for when tensioning the chains, it stays in time. You could easily end up a tooth off, if you did not have the correct number of chain links on each side. I would double check this, just to be sure.


Click here> cam timing

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Okay, I'll accept your advice about the correct number of chain links, each side. Where can I find what the correct number of chain links are and from where on the cams does one start. This is not mentioned in the Haynes manual. Will I have to buy a shop manual from a Ford Dealer?
I sent you the ford procedure already, you remove the chain, lay it down to split it in half and mark them like in the picture...Click on cam timing in previous post.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Well, the problem was that I did mark the chains with each cam and crank gear with a paint marker, and then removed the chains. I bought the truck from a kid that had a blown head gasket. I had the head checked with a company that only does heads (it's okay). When I went to replace the chains, one set had some how had the paint (yellow) removed possibly from a chemical (I had help which could have been the problem). Your cam timing link will not work on my Apple computer (I hate Apple). I am now at a loss to resolve this problem. It appears I will probably have to take it to a Ford dealer to have the cams timed with the crank. I'll go ahead and press the accept link in the next page. Thank you for your help, Steve O.
I don't know, try right clicking and open with adobe reader, its just pdf file.
Glenn and 2 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Well, the program "Preview" is used to open and copy pdf files and preview will not open the timing link and instead tells me "to try anothere browser that supports W3 standards." My browser is Firefox.

Hey Steve,


You can purchase shop manuals here >


If you can not borrow a friend or neighbors [windows] computer to get file I sent you

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Glenn, first I will pay an additional fee for this next request. Send me an e-mail with your cost.

When I had sent you all of my e-mails concerning the torquing of the cylinder heads and the timing of the cams with the crank shaft, I had already completed putting in the timing chains, placing the chain covers, valve covers, and pressing in the harmonic balancer (chains and cam/crank gears in timed position). My new question, is there a way (probably electronically) to check the timing and change it, should the timing be off one tooth on the chain/cam gear, instead of tearing everything apart and starting over?

Also, would you send me the link you had sent me, "cam timing" to a friend's e-mail address? She has a regular IBM type computer and doesn't have the pdf problems I do with my piece of you know what, Apple computer. Her e-mail address is:[email protected]

I bought a subscription to get a shop manual (online) and this didn't work at all. The site opens to an additional purchase I would have to make to get the shop manual and then I got to realizing that this group wants to sucker you in to getting more of your money. I will be asking them for a refund.

I'm sorry Steve but the JA website Prohibits direct contact with customers. She could access the question with your log on. download the file and print it off for you


There is no way to alter or check a mechanical relationship electronically. The best thing to would to turn engine over by hand, making sure you don't feel/hear any pistons hitting valves. If not, you could then do a compression check, if your getting 150-175 psi your probably OK on the timing.



You can always leave me a bonus if you wish or accept again [that will charge you the $18 again] or post a new question requesting me.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, I did leave you a bonus the first time you helped. It wasn't much, only $7 for a total of $25. If you didn't receive the bonus, let me know and I will send another amount that you wish.

If you remember in my first contact with you, I did turn over the engine and by hand to check if each set of valve rockers were not going to be touched by the cam lobes. I did this with each piston TDC to check each set of rockers according to the firing order, if you recall. None of the rocker sets (exhaust & intake) were touched by the cam lobes and while doing this, I knew to listen for in klicks or clatter or metal knocking sounds that would alert me to valves possibly hitting the pistons. There was no such sounds and again, the rocker sets were free of the cam lobes. Thanks for the hint of the compression check. It happens that just today, I bought a new compression test gauge that had an extension rubber tube that would go down into the spark plug hole.

When I test the compression on the #1 piston, I will check to see that the timing mark on the chain cover matches the mark on the harmonic balancer. If the compression is over 150 lbs and the timing marks, chain cover to harmonic balancer, match, then, I believe I will be okay.

About the cam timing link, I instead forwarded Just Answers contact with you to her computer (internet e-mail). You have been a big help and it was good to talk to you; please let me know how much more I owe you. Thank you much, Steve O.

Yes Steve I got your bonus, thank you. I am not really trying to get you to pay any more money. I would appreciate you requesting me [eppic60] should you need help in the future with something else on a ford product.

I wish you a happy, healthy new year...Glenn

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