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L16 rebuild cam sprocket issue


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so yesterday i finally pulled apart my L16 thats in my off road buggy to fix the blow head-gasket, everything came off fine and i cleaned everything up, put on new gaskets and reassembled. 


(problem 1)  i cannot get the cam sprocket to lift up high enough to get it to fit onto the cam dowel. ive put the timing chain onto the sprocket and tried lifting it up onto the cam dowel but the fucker wont budge, ive heard people wedging screwdrivers inside the dowel and prying the cam sprocket on but i don't wont to fuck anything up.


my hypothesis is maybe the chain tensioner has decided to fall out but i'm not sure (problem 2), i wedged a piece of garden hose down in-between the timing chain to try prevent that but again i guess the only way to find out is to remove the timing plate (problem 3) i cant get the crank pulley off to remove the timing plate. (problem 4) i think i may have fucked up the timing because i turned the crank while chain was disconnected to try see if maybe the chain stuck on something, HOWEVER, i  have moved the crank back so it lines up with the marking i made and with 1st piston at TDC and i havnt moved the camshaft so i think its still good.


so yeah thats where im at, any help is greatly appreciated fellas


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The garden hose was likely not enough to hold the chain tensioner in position, your likely going to have to remove the timing chain cover, it sucks but I doubt you have a way of getting the tensioner back into place, here is a photo of the timing chain tensioner out of position.





Here is a photo of the tensioner in position, you will likely need to take it apart and put it back in.


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alright sweet cheers wouldnt be able to do this without the help of you knowledgeable beings.

i tried removing the timing plate originally but couldnt get it off cos of the crank pulley, recently bought a long torque wrench so hoping that along with some mad strength will be able to remove the crank pulley (put it in highest gear, brakes on and curb stomp the wrench yeah?). also hoping i didnt fuck up the timing but if so ill have to ask you fellas how to fix it.


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Once you get the front cover off get new tensioner and slack side guide put the motor back to TDC and gently put the front cover on with the timing tab so you can see what TDC is on the crank pulley ,should be at zero mark


now since front cover off I would put the head on and hopefully it’s at TDC an then put the chain on using the brute links on the dimples .put guides and tensioner and tighten up.

I would lower the oil pan so the front gasket and the head gasket don’t get pinched up near the head.

once you think you get it do a lock the cam using a wrench on the center lobe boss if you have them or jam a screw driver in cam sprocket to lock it then torq crank bolt cam bolt

set crank to zero and install the distributor oil pump drive to the famous 11/28 position and then install dist and hopefully it locks down on number 1 plug wire or close enough where you can adjust the dist to get to start 0-20 on the timing light means you got it right.set to 10 once running 

watch vid again to get more info

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He just put the head on, just loosen the front and side oil pan bolts and drop the front of the pan down a little, put the chain tensioner in it's hole and put the chain and cam gear on the cam with the crank at TDC, the cam at 10am/2pm, then tighten it up the best you can then put everything back together, then tighten that cam bolt to spec.

Edited by wayno
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Once the tensioner is out it's impossible to put it back in without taking the timing chain cover off to get at it. Removing the front pan bolts and loosening the side ones will allow the pan to drop very slightly so the timing cover can be slid out to the front, hopefully without tearing the pan gasket so it can be reused. 

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15 hours ago, byrnzy said:


So your saying I could just drop the oil pan and fiddle around on the inside to get the chain tensioner back on?


Mike explained it, I just didn't want you to remove the head again even though it might go faster that way.


I am pretty sure someone that knew what they were doing given enough time could get the chain tensioner back in without removing the front cover as I have heard of someone doing it, but doing something like that would be a challenge and it likely would need the tensioner to be real close to where it is supposed to be already, you cannot really see down there all that well and the chain is also in the way, doing something like this takes a miracle to succeed, it would be like dropping a valve into a cylinder and then getting it back into the guide using the spark plug hole and a coat hanger and using the crank to raise the piston.

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That tensioner spring is STIFF! Trying to get it in the hole and push the plunger in after it is like pushing a car up hill with a piece of rope, holding the loose chain out of the way, (using long 'chop stick' screwdrivers) then holding everything in while the chain is put onto the cam sprocket? Makes pulling the timing chain cover off look easy.



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yea decided to pull the timing cover off, good learning experience too!

if you want to checkout what you guys have been helping me with these last few weeks heres a YouTube video i made! thanks heaps fellas couldnt have done it without ya


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See this blue? RTV worm??? I pulled it out of a KA head. This is what happens when a chev owner works on a Datsun. They love RTV like an Aussie likes Marmite. They trowel it on with a butter knife with no thought where it will end up. Nissan parts are closer fit than a chev tolerance and don't need it.   



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It's not the fit of the part that should determine the use or type of sealant to use. It's the condition of the parts going together. Porosity in a front cover means it gets sealant. I will not trust even the best gasket to seal on a cover that has been worn with age.


Also, the quality of the gasket matters too. If I can't get my hands on the OEM style hard gaskets, I use sealer, period. The flimsy construction paper gaskets sold now days squish, tear and move around. Sometimes I ditch the gasket altogether and use the proper sealant for the job.


For what it's worth:

- threebond 1211 for water and fuel related items

- The Right Stuff RTV for oil pans and other parts that seal oil, like transmission and differential. No gasket needed with this RTV.

- high temp RTV for use on exhaust gaskets. I know, it's ugly, but if you use the right amount, it seals pesky leaks and you won't even see it.

- Edit - grey RTV for oil items like front covers where the cover is aluminum and I don't want to see black RTV hanging out.


NEVER use blue or orange regular RTV. That stuff is garbage.


Let's not start another RTV argument here guys. Please.

Edited by Stoffregen Motorsports
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