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How to Replace a GM 3.6L Timing Chain

  1. Acquire a complete timing chain kit which includes chains, guides, and tensioners for your specific vehicle make and model Watch

Tip : Engine removal is highly recommended on transversely mounted engines
  1. Follow service information to remove the engine timing cover to gain access to the timing chains.
  2. Remove the spark plugs from the engine, this will make it easier to rotate the engine during timing chain service
  3. Identify which chain is the right side (bank 1) and which chain is the left side (bank 2) on your engine Watch
  1. Locate the stage 1, stage 2, and crankshaft sprocket timing marks located by the crankshaft sprocket Watch
  1. Rotate the crankshaft to align the crankshaft sprocket timing mark with the stage 2 timing mark putting the engine in stage 2 timing Watch
  1. Check that the timing marks on camshaft sprockets are in the correct location for stage 2 timing, if not turn the engine over an additional 360 degrees

Tip : Colored links WILL NOT line up when setting engine to stage 1 or 2 timing, colored links are only a reference for installing timing chains
  1. With the engine in stage 2 timing, remove the right bank (bank 1) tensioner, guides, and secondary timing chain Watch
  2. Rotate engine to stage 1 timing, make sure the camshafts flats are pointed up on the left bank (bank2) and left bank timing marks are as pictured below Watch
  1. With the engine in stage 1, remove the primary chain tensioner, guides, and primary timing chain Watch

Tip : If not replacing oil pump, DO NOT remove chain guide attached to oil pump, to replace guide swap plastic shoe from new guide to old guide
  1. With the engine in stage 1, remove the left bank (bank2) secondary chain tensioner, guides, and timing chain Watch
  2. If replacing, remove both idler sprockets

Tip : The idler sprockets are right and left specific and are not interchangeable
  1. If replacing oil pump, remove oil pump Watch
  2. Install oil pump if removed in previous step Watch
  3. With the engine still in stage one timing, install the left bank (bank 2) secondary timing chain, aligning the pink colored links the with the correct 'L' dot marks on camshaft sprockets Watch

Tip : Camshaft sprocket design and marking may vary between engines
  1. Install left bank idler sprocket and torque to 43 ft lbs. Watch
  2. Align yellow colored link with hole in idler sprocket Watch
  1. Install the left bank secondary chain guides and tensioner, torque bolts to 18 ft lbs. (be careful not to let chain slip off timing marks during installation) Watch
  2. Recheck timing marks and pull pin on the left bank secondary chain tensioner Watch
  3. Install the right bank idler sprocket torque to 43 ft lbs. Watch
  4. Locate the timing marks on the idler sprockets and mark them with a paint marker to ease assembly of the primary timing chain
  1. Install the primary timing chain aligning the 3 yellow colored links, one on each idler sprocket timing mark and one on the crankshaft sprocket timing mark Watch
  1. Install the primary chain guides and tensioner, torque bolts to 18 ft lbs. Watch
  2. Recheck that timing marks are aligned and pull pin on the primary timing chain tensioner Watch
  3. Rotate engine to stage 2 timing Watch
  1. With the engine in stage 2 timing install the right bank (bank 1) secondary timing chain, aligning the 2 pink colored links to the correct 'R' triangle marks on the camshaft sprockets Watch
  1. Align the yellow-colored link on timing chain to the hole in the idler sprocket Watch
  1. While holding chain in place install right bank (bank 1) secondary timing chain guides and tensioner, torque to 18 ft lbs. Watch
  2. Re-check timing marks and pull pin on right bank (bank 1) secondary chain tensioner Watch
  3. Double check all timing marks Watch
  1. Rotate engine over by hand and make sure the chains move smoothly and nothing is pinched or binding Watch

Tip : It is normal for the new tensioners to move in and out while turning the engine over, this will be corrected when the engine is ran and they fill with pressurized engine oil
  1. Rotate the engine back to stage 2 timing and re-check timing Watch

Tip : Colored links WILL NOT line back up to timing marks, this is normal, they are only to referenced for timing chain installation
  1. If cam tools are available, they can be used to double check cam timing in stage1 and stage 2, right bank cam flats will be up in stage 2 and left bank cam flats will be up in stage 1
  1. Reinstall engine timing cover and all related engine components