How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dave Nova Your Own Question
Dave Nova
Dave Nova, Pontiac Technician
Category: Pontiac
Satisfied Customers: 19452
Experience:  ASE Master Certification. GM World Class Certification
Type Your Pontiac Question Here...
Dave Nova is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a 2001 grand am with a 2.4 engine. I had the head redone.

Resolved Question:

I have a 2001 grand am with a 2.4 engine. I had the head redone. I need to know how to get the cams and crank in the right setting to install the timing chain, so that the timing is right on. thanks James
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Pontiac
Expert:  Dave Nova replied 7 years ago.


  1. Use adhesive/sealant compound GM P/N 12345493 or equivalent on the camshaft sprocket bolt. Install the intake and exhaust camshaft sprockets onto the camshafts with the marked surface showing. Notice: Refer to Fastener Notice in Service Precautions.
  2. Install the retaining bolts and washers to the intake and exhaust camshaft sprockets. Tighten the camshaft sprocket bolts to 70 Nm ( 52 ft. lbs. ) while holding the sprockets with the J39579.
  3. Install the J36008-A through the holes in the camshaft sprockets into the holes in the timing chain housing. This will position the camshaft for correct timing.
  4. If the camshafts are out of position (you must rotate the camshaft more than 1/8 turn in order to install the alignment dowel pins), use the following procedure:

4.1.Rotate the crankshaft 90 degrees clockwise off of the TDC in order to give the valves adequate clearance to open.
4.2.Once the camshafts are in position and the dowels installed, rotate the crankshaft counter clockwise back to the top dead center.

Notice: Do NOT rotate the crankshaft clockwise to TDC. Valve or piston damage could occur.

Important: The side of the timing chain that was marked during removal must be showing when the chain is installed.





  1. Install the timing chain over the exhaust camshaft sprocket, around the coolant pump, and around the crankshaft sprocket.

5.1.Remove the alignment dowel pin from the intake camshaft.
5.2.Using the J39579, rotate the intake camshaft sprocket counterclockwise enough in order to slide the timing chain over the intake camshaft sprocket.
5.3.Release the J39579. The length of the chain between the 2 camshaft sprockets will tighten.
5.4.If properly timed the intake camshaft alignment dowel pin should slide in easily. If the dowel pin does not fully index, the camshafts are not timed correctly and the procedure must be repeated.

  1. Leave the alignment dowel pins installed.
  2. Raise and support the vehicle. Refer to Vehicle Lifting.
  3. The timing marks on the crankshaft and on the cylinder block should be aligned when the slack is removed from the chain linking the intake camshaft sprocket and the crankshaft sprocket. If the marks are not aligned, move the chain one tooth forward or rearward, remove the slack and re-examine the marks.



  1. Assemble the timing chain tensioner plunger and the tensioner body.

9.1.With the tensioner plunger fully extended, turn the tensioner assembly, plunger down, on a flat surface.
9.2.Press down on the tensioner body until the plunger is fully seated in the body.




  1. Install the assembled timing chain tensioner to the timing chain housing.
  2. Install the timing chain tensioner shoe on the stud.
  3. Apply hand pressure to the timing tensioner shoe until the locking tab seats in the groove in the stud.
  4. Install the timing chain tensioner bolts. Tighten the timing chain tensioner bolts to 10 Nm ( 89 inch lbs. ).
  5. Release the timing chain tensioner plunger.

Important: If the timing chain tensioner is not released from the installation position, engine damage will occur when the engine is started.



  1. Using a flat blade screwdriver or similar tool, press firmly against the face of the timing chain tensioner plunger.

15.1.Press down until the plunger releases against the back of the timing chain tensioner shoe.
15.2.Do NOT damage the plunger tensioner face.

  1. Remove J36008-A from the camshaft sprockets.
  2. Rotate the crankshaft clockwise 2 full rotations. Align the crankshaft keyway with the mark on the cylinder block, and reinstall the alignment dowel pins. The pins should slide in easily if the engine is timed correctly.



  • Install the timing chain guides.
  • Install the engine front cover.
  • Customer: replied 7 years ago.
    does the number one piston have to be at top dead center, if so how do I know that the crank is on the mark. Is the #1 piston at the front of the motor.
    Expert:  Dave Nova replied 7 years ago.
    The #1 piston is at the front of the engine. The #1 piston is all the way up when the mark on the crank sprocket aligns with the mark on the block directly above it. First rotate crankshaft 90 degrees counterclockwise (9 oclock position) align camshafts and install pins (5/16" bolts work well) to hold cams in place, then rotate crank clockwise til marks are aligned, then install chain.
    Dave Nova and other Pontiac Specialists are ready to help you