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Slack timing chain: symptoms

Updated February 21, 2017

Timing chains are used in some vehicles in place of timing belts. Unlike timing belts, it is unusual to replace a timing chain. Common chain problems include losing some or most of the tension that holds in place and keeps it operating properly. There are several symptoms you may experience if your car or truck has a slack timing chain.

Chattering

When a timing belt starts to fail, it squeals. When a timing chain starts to fail due to slack, normally caused by the belt tensioners weakening, it rattles and chatters. You will be able to hear a clicking, chattering noise coming from the area around your cam shaft if your timing chain has slack in it.

Loss of Power

The timing chain turns the camshaft. If the timing chain is not tight, then it will not be turning the cam shaft at the correct interval and speed. This causes a number of problems, including your engine losing power and a possible decrease in compression.

Not Running

If you have a great deal of slack in your car's timing chain, your vehicle may stall out from time to time or completely cease operating. If the camshaft will not turn in your motor, your car will be unable to power the engine and the car will stop running.

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About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.