How To Replace Falcon 6Cyl Timing Chain and Guides – Part Two

Ok, now that we have it all apart it’s time to fit the new parts and time for the scary bit – putting it all back together without any left over bits! Just kidding, it’s a piece of cake really.

The first thing to do is give everything a good clean, in particular the gasket surfaces of the timing cover, block and underside of the cylinder head. I can’t stress enough that it is vital that these surfaces are clean and free from foreign material. There is nothing worse than spending a few hours re-assembling the engine to find out you have an oil leak caused by a dirty gasket surface 🙁  I use a single-sided razor blade for cleaning gasket surfaces and I still think this is the best way to be sure you have a nice clean surface.

The timing cover itself needs some work before it’s ready to go back on, namely replacing the front seal, fitting the bottom chain guide and tensioner oil gallery O ring. The front seal is easy enough, knock out the old seal from the inside and then carefully knock the new one into position.

falcon timing chain repair 1

falcon timing chain repair 2

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The bottom chain guide simply pushed into position and the O ring is best fitted with a dab or two of grease to hold it in place when you fit the cover.

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Once the cover is sorted we can fit the new left hand side chain guide (passengers side) to the chain.

falcon timing chain repair 5

The next step is to lower the chain (and guide) into position over the crankshaft and intermediate shaft sprockets, taking care that the timing marks still line up and there is no slack at the bottom of the chain between the two sprockets.

falcon timing chain repair 6

While keeping the chain in this position we can then fit the camshaft sprocket, ensuring that all the slack in the chain is on the drivers side (as pictured above). The camshaft sprocket timing mark should be just above the passengers side of the head (unless it’s a ‘hybrid’ engine with yellow links in the timing chain- see THIS ARTICLE). NOTE – The camshaft gear on our donor engine is an adjustable Crow item and although in the same place, the factory timing mark is a ‘line’ rather than a ‘dot’.

falcon timing chain repair 7

Next we can fit and tighten the camshaft sprocket bolt. I always use Loctite on the thread just to be sure and so we don’t mess up the chain and timing marks (and the valves for that matter) we need to limit the amount the camshaft will turn. An extension bar onto a head bolt usually does the trick.

falcon timing chain repair-6

At this stage we can also fit the 10mm bolt through the cylinder head and top chain guide (red arrow in the pic above). It’s a good idea to dab some sealant on the thread of this bolt also as it tends to leak oil otherwise.

Once that’s done we can also bolt up the new drivers side (tensioner) chain guide. Once again a bit of Loctite on the bolt thread is good insurance.

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Ok, we are almost ready to refit the timing cover and start bolting everything up but before going any further I suggest one last check of the timing marks.

The crankshaft mark and intermediate shaft marks should be facing each other, all of the slack in the chain should be on the right hand side (drivers side) and the camshaft mark should be just above cylinder head level on the passengers side.

falcon timing chain repair-7

If that all checks out ok it’s time for the fun part! The gaskets between the timing cover and block need all the help they can get to stay in position so I suggest coating both sides with Permatex Aviation Form-A-Gasket and then fitting them in position on the engine block. The Permatex is a non-drying sealant that is sticky enough to help the gaskets stay in the right spot and obviously it helps to stop any leaks.

I also suggest putting two dabs of a silicon sealant (Ultra Blue for example) in the corners where the block, head and timing cover meet, as shown in the pic below.

falcon timing chain repair 11

And I highly recommend a good coating of silicone on the gasket that gets sandwiched between the timing cover and the underside of the cylinder head. This has long been a problem area for oil leaks on these engines and depending on which model you have the timing cover may have gaskets locating ‘cutouts’ on the top surface.

falcon timing chain repair 10

And finally, some silicon around the bends and corners of the sump gasket won’t go astray either. With all of this in place it’s time to fit up the cover.

As the gasket between the cover and the underside of the head does literally need to be squashed into position the best way to fit the cover is to push it into position, slightly lower than it needs to be and then either push or lever it up until the dowels in the bottom bolt holes of the cover locate in their positions in the block. Keep in mind that the bottom chain guide must go into position under the chain and we have an O ring in the top that needs to stay in position also. Sounds difficult, but it’s really not too bad, honest 🙂 


One side dowel and where it fits into the block.


Gently lever the cover up into position one side at a time.

Once you have the two dowels in position I suggest fitting the first three 10mm timing cover bolts (or two 10mm and one 12mm bolt in our case – broken block).

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The next step is to make sure that the gaskets are in their correct positions and it shouldn’t be too hard to loosen the bolts and make any adjustments to the gaskets if need be.

Now it’s time to fit the tensioner. You want it in the retracted position and as you push it into it’s hole in the timing cover try to line it up so that it sits correctly against the guide.  See THIS ARTICLE for info on resetting the tensioner.

The rest of the job is simply following the steps in PART ONE in reverse order, with attention to the following couple of things –

  • When it comes to fitting the harmonic balancer, smear a light film of oil where the timing cover seal will run. This will stop any squeaking and while you’re working with the balancer turn the engine over a couple of times by hand (well ratchet and socket actually) to make sure everything is working as it should. The action of doing this should also tighten up the balancer bolt enough as well!
  • Try not to over-tighten the sump bolts. If you see the gasket spreading out the sides you’ve gone too tight.
  • Take the chance to clean the core of the radiator of any leaves and grass etc and refill the cooling system with a quality coolant.
  • When you refit the cooling fan (left-hand thread remember!) spin it to get it hand tight and then a gentle tap with a cold chisel and hammer will be enough to tighten it up if you don’t have the spanner to do it.
  • It’s a good idea, if you haven’t done so already, to fit a rubber tappet cover gasket and replace the seals on the studs. Be careful not to over-tighten the nuts also as the tappet cover is easily cracked.
  • I think that just about covers it. Best of luck.


13 thoughts on “How To Replace Falcon 6Cyl Timing Chain and Guides – Part Two

  1. Re Ford timing chain and cover. Good article. Photos are excellent. I found the following.

    1. I had to put the timing cover gaskets on the block before the chain was fitted. One of the gaskets goes right under the chain and would have been mission impossible to fit with the chain already fitted.

    2. When I went to fit the timing cover I found it necessary to remove the water pump because it fouled with the cover. Obviously no problem when the seal under the head was compressed but until it was removed it wasn’t going to happen.

  2. I’m having trouble getting my xh ute into base timing mode. If i bridge out the 2 pins on the far left of the plug in the cab near the drivers right leg it doesnt pick up in revs like it should. I’ve checked all earths n everything is fine. Any ideas what could be going wrong???

  3. Thanks for a very informative blog !!! I have struck a bugger of a problem in not being able to drop the sump pan …. I suspect some one has glued the thing on with a particularly strong glue …… Any ideas on how to remove??? I’ve got a bit of an edge on th LH corner of the sump … But have bent the damn sump mating surface …not happy with myself …cheers


  4. Hey Andrew,
    Silicone sealant can cause a few hassles when dropping the sump but should let go with a little bit of prying. As long as you have the majority of the sump bolts out (except a couple of rear ones to keep it in place) some gentle prying in a few different places should work. Going by memory there is a bolt on each side near the engine mount that is hard to access, do you have those out?


  5. Thanks for a very informative blog !!! I have struck a bugger of a problem in not being able to drop the sump pan …. I suspect some one has glued the thing on with a particularly strong glue …… Any ideas on how to remove??? I’ve got a bit of an edge on th LH corner of the sump … But have bent the damn sump mating surface …not happy with myself …cheers

    Dear craig !! Thanks for your timely response!, yes I know the bolt of which u speak ! It’s the 4th from the back I think… All the ones from there to the front are out , and following the instructions all including this bolt to the rear are all backed off 5 turns …… It’s hard to get anything between the sump and block to prise them apart … Without causing damage ! I’m of a mind to attack it with angle grinder and search the wreckers for another sump pan !,

  6. Keep persevering Andrew, you will get it. I’m probably stating the obvious here but try prising anywhere you can down both sides of the sump, a little bit at a time in each place you can get into to. If need be you can usually panel beat the sump lip back into shape if you do damage it.

  7. Thanks Craig !

    The other immediate problem is trying to remove the chain tensioner insert ( the one facing the exterior of the housing whack looks like a large washer with two opposing holes ). Again it appears to have industrial strength lock tight on it and is hard to grip … I’ll try making up a tool myself tho ! But does this need to be removed in order to seperate housing from the block ????? If not I may as well leave it alone …..


  8. Hi Andrew and anyone else who wants to delver into timing chains on the trusty 4.0l

    The problem you are having with the tensioner retainer is due to back lash from a weak or loose timing chain tensioner. I picked up an AU SR Wagon 13 years old with 130,000 on the clock and an oil leak at the tensioner. Knowing where it is and how to stop the leak I pulled it apart but could not get the retainer out. Having done this before it just unscrews with no effort.

    I did it back up but over tightened the tensioner, created a new bunch of problems.

    When I put the new chain and guides in I found the end of the Retainer was mushroomed out by the tension tapping on it. This makes it too big to fit in its shaft. I made a tool to fit the 2 pins and undid the tension all the way but nothing would allow it to come out. I took the timing chain cover off and punched the retainer out from the inside thats when I found the root cause of it not coming out.

    Also I did not have to drop the sump as the timing chain cover slides between the sump and the head with gentle leverage.

  9. Okay, I have a stupid question … this is *hard*. Not hard as in difficult, but hard as in “this is just one more thing I’d rather not have to mess around with”. Especially trying to get the balancer bolt out because I’ve already got the head off … and snapped the passenger side guide when I tried to put the head back on. And hurt my hand and ruined the gasket, but that’s another story….

    So here’s the question: has anyone successfully glued the top guide, maybe with one of the various magic fluids Loctite are so good at making? Seems like a reasonably “rough” surface to the break … what are these things, glass-filled polyester? That would explain the surface of the break, and that might provide reasonable “keying” between the two pieces provided the glue is at least as strong as the plastic, but I don’t know how well it might glue.

    Failing that, and assuming I can convince my son to get under the car long enough to pull a piece of wood against the ring gear through the starter opening so I can crack that damn harmonic balancer bolt, what gotchas do I have to look out for when trying to pull the timing cover off without removing the sump? I’d rather not drop the sump if I don’t absolutely have to.

  10. hi how do i remove the timing chain cover on my falcon el gli as i have undone all the bolts that i can see but it appears there maybe one ive missed any ideas thanks gary

  11. Sure you’ve got all of ’em Gary? Should be 8 – four on the driver’s side, three on the passenger side, and one kind-of-in-the-middle – see from the previous article.

    Oh, and getting into stating-the-obvious territory here … there are another couple that hold the front of the sump to the timing cover. And despite whatever else you may see online, in EA through EL you WILL need to drop the sump – as otherwise you will lose the bottom timing chain guide into the sump, and you will not be able to put the timing cover back on with the bottom timing chain guide in place.

  12. Gday

    Have an 98 xh ute that has the hybrid engine. have purchased a new timing chain kit for it. the chain doesnt have the 2 yellow links.
    what needs to happen here when setting the timing?

  13. Hi Mike,
    My suggestion is set the engine up on tdc and put a mark/s on the cam gear in line with the top of the head and use that as your timing reference. Why there is no aftermarket chains with the coloured links I have no idea.


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