falcon timing chain tensioner

Falcon Timing Chain Tensioner

We have received a number of emails from readers using the HOW TO REPLACE A HEAD GASKET ON AN E SERIES FALCON tutorial regarding the correct procedure for releasing and reseting the timing chain tensioner on the Falcon engine.

I recently got my hands on a dead Falcon and sacrificed the timing cover to get you a close-up, cut-out view of how the tensioner works, and how it is released and reset. Obviously you won’t have as good a view as we have here with the cutout timing cover, but hopefully this article will give you a good idea of what is going on. This tutorial is for all 6 cylinder Falcon engines from EA to AU.

Here is a quick video I did on the subject followed by a written tutorial.


EA – AU Falcon Timing Chain Tensioner Tutorial

The components that make up the tensioner.

Step 1 is to remove the 14mm plug. You may have to hold the outside body of the tensioner with vice or multi-grips to stop it from winding out also. Behind the plug will usually be a filter screen that has to be removed.

falcon timing chain tensioner 2

 In the cut-out view above the tensioner is in it’s normal operating position.

Step 2 in the releasing procedure is to insert a 3mm Allen Key (the longer the key the better!) into the tensioner until it locates.

ef falcon

Step 3 – Rotate the allen key clockwise until a click is felt and heard. The tensioner will now be locked in the released postion.

timing chain 3

Cut-out view of the tensioner in the released position.

In the image above you can see that there is now a gap between the outer tensioner body and the tensioner itself. The chain guide can now move towards the drivers side of the car and the chain will have slack.

 To Reset The Tensioner

To reset the tensioner we have to use a small tube over most of our 3mm Allen key. This is so that we can push the tensioner in, while rotating it in an anti-clockwise direction. This is from the Ford manual –

falcon tensioner allen key

And this is what I have been using for the last ten or so years, the ‘tube’ was originally a car antenna, crude but reasonably effective.

el falcon timing chain tensioner

Step 1 is to fit the Allen key (with ‘tube’ fitted) into the tensioner again and move it around until it locates.

Step 2 is push the Allen key in while turning it anti-clockwise. When done correctly you should feel the Allen key being pushed out as the tensioner resets.

au falcon timing chain tensioner

Cut-out view of resetting the tensioner.

falcon timing chain tensioner

And now it’s back into the normal operating position.

Step 3 is check that the timing chain is no longer slack on the tensioner side (drivers side) and refit the filter screen and plug, and you’re done.


9 thoughts on “Falcon Timing Chain Tensioner

  1. Re differences in El/AU heads during the transition period. The later (AU)type head is easily identified by the conical shaped valve springs (also called beehive) They also have changed the valve stem size from the old 11/32″ to 7 mm. Hopes this helps someone.

  2. Hi, I have just got to the stage of cleaning down my cylinder head an found on the passanger side of the timing chain the bracket the chain is guided through has Broken somewhere in the process, I would say whilst removing head bolts I have lent on it, could any one suggest the fastest and best way to replace ASAP an what this part is actually called for order purposes, such a disappointment to get to this point an now a hold up….

  3. Hi
    Taking head off 1995 Falcon xg ute, have run into trouble the retaining stud that holds the timing chain guide in place IS TIGHT, so much that the head of the stud has rounded off useing a 10 mm single hex socket.
    Have you any suggestions on how to get it out.
    Spoke to a head repairer and he stated the timing chain guide can come out with the head, then the stud can be dealt with on the bench, also he said that some heat can be put onto the head of the stud to melt the loctite.
    Also does the timing chain become slack when the tensioner is released ?
    Hope you can help.
    Thank you
    Greg Schiemer

  4. I am up to taking off the cam sprocket, but
    I did it without releasing the tensioner first. I have put it back on o k , but should the tensioner just release as you described in your video I should have watched first if evrything is o k ,and as long as the timing marks are aligned why are you assured of correct timing if the sprocket does not have any locating device on the cam. Can you put my mind at ease please as my own timing chain is doing plenty of revolutions on this – thanks Marcus

  5. Hi I’m working on my ef falcon at the moment and it’s leaking oil out of the timing chain tensioner and I was unbolting it and the whole out and inner come out aswell so I bolted it back up! So what should I do remover the inner plug and reset it or what I’m not to sure what to do???

  6. What happens if you pull the whole outter plug out? And then tighten it back up? Does it make a difference will I need to reset ? It or

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