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Premature aftermarket timing chain failure #5407401 04/19/20 12:01 AM
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chipdipjones Offline OP
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Just looking for insight into anything else I need to check on my vehicle after having an issue with an aftermarket timing chain stretching within 100kms of installation.
2008 Honda Element, 147,000 kms. Burnt an exhaust valve. Redid all intake and exhaust valves, also redid timing chain, tensioner, and guides with aftermarket parts, ITM Auto components.

Car was driving great, sounding normal. Started it to warm up one day and CEL on. P0341 Camshaft position sensor out of expected range. Talked to mechaninc, tried new battery as low voltage was listed as possible cause and my battery was old. No change. Tried a camshaft timing relearn (didn't know we needed to do it, not sure how critical this is). No change.

Go back to mechanic and open it up. Timing has jumped a tooth, tensioner fully extended, chain stretched beyond the orignal chain the car was manufactured with (mechanic still had it). This aftermarket chain had maybe at the most 150kms on it.

Replaced all timing components again with new Honda parts did oil change due to metallic sheen in oil. Code disappeared right away upon restart of engine.

TIming was done correctly, I trust the mechaninc working on my car. He sent pictures of the first install, I was there during the second install/re do of the Honda parts.

Is there anything else that would cause this failure besides bad luck and a faulty or low quality chain? I just don't want to have to do this again for a third time. I know there are not many parts that contact or would stretch a chain and we already replaced most of them. Even if the part was aftermarket, it seems almost unbelievable to fail nearly immediately. Even the mechanic said he wouldn't of believed it if he wasn't looking right at it.

Thanks in advance

Last edited by chipdipjones; 04/19/20 12:02 AM.
Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407403 04/19/20 12:13 AM
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ZeeOSix Offline
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What brand was this aftermarket timing chain? Made in China? Sounds like it was very bad quality if it stretched that much in only 150 km. Crap metallurgy could be the root cause.

Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407404 04/19/20 12:13 AM
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Y_K Offline
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Too much Chineseum out there. Where did the ITM chain come from? A retail or online source?


“This disease making us more cruel to one another than if we are doggs.” -- Samuel Pepys 1666
Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407406 04/19/20 12:31 AM
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As far as I know, ITM doesn't make parts, they just source them & box them, much like Beck Arnley

Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: Y_K] #5407408 04/19/20 12:37 AM
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chipdipjones Offline OP
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I believe it came from Rock Auto (online). The parts were made or marketed or sourced possibly as per above by ITM engine components who are based in California but my guess is the parts are Chinese, yes. They were mid range price as far as aftermarket replacement parts.

Last edited by chipdipjones; 04/19/20 12:38 AM.
Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407413 04/19/20 12:42 AM
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Y_K Offline
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Wow! Thank you for sharing.


“This disease making us more cruel to one another than if we are doggs.” -- Samuel Pepys 1666
Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407432 04/19/20 02:03 AM
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Ages ago , in my youth , I replaced the cam sprocket , crankshaft sprocket and timing chain on a 1966 Comet 289 . Sourced from a local auto parts store .

Never had any more problems with those components .

At that time , parts for American cars were made in America . Foreign parts , do not know . I drove American cars .

Now , with so much being manufactured over seas ( especially in China ) , seems like you have to second guess the quality of the parts you purchase . :-(


Wyr
God bless
Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407474 04/19/20 06:15 AM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by chipdipjones


Is there anything else that would cause this failure besides bad luck and a faulty or low quality chain? I just don't want to have to do this again for a third time. I know there are not many parts that contact or would stretch a chain and we already replaced most of them. Even if the part was aftermarket, it seems almost unbelievable to fail nearly immediately. Even the mechanic said he wouldn't of believed it if he wasn't looking right at it.

Thanks in advance


I'll tell you exactly what most likely happened because I do a great deal with engineering level failure analysis on chain systems for pulp/paper, mining and others. This is more common than most people realize and almost impossible to detect and predict at the user level.

Theres more than 1 failure mode and mechanism for a chain and sprocket failure so for the purpose of this comment- I assume it was the "right" combo for your application and the mechanic in question properly installed/tensioned/aligned it and your lubrication system was operating properly.

Here's what happens during chain and sprocket manufacturing.

Chains to NOT stretch- the pins and rollers wear thus "opening them up" giving the illusion of stretch.

These pins and rollers are made in machines literally by the millions at the time and frequently have batches that suffer during the heat treat section because of various things such as running speed, holdover, depleted oils, temperature problems and so forth.

There is very little legitimate QA/QC "over there" ( been there and seen it in person) so they get installed.

I have verified this many times in paper and mining with a Rockwell tester and tracing quality back through ISO systems on high dollar failures.

You can get a soft sprocket too but that's less likely.

Without doing the actual analysis, I can almost bet money that's what happened in your case. It has all the textbook ear marks.

Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407479 04/19/20 06:23 AM
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Trav Offline
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Timing chains do not stretch they wear so you were dealing with a cheaply made product that wore excessively in a short time probably due to poor quality materials.
Long OCI have been also associated with this on some engines and some manufacturers have re-calibrated their OLM and shortened the OCI. Engines that run higher zinc levels eg 1000 to 1200 ppm and shorter OCI seem to avoid this for the most part.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: Trav] #5407486 04/19/20 06:39 AM
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4WD Offline
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Right on … accumulation of many OD’s and ID’s that wear into what some call stretch …
So if the short OCI is about cleaner oil … always wondered if an engine known for chain issues would not benefit from a bypass filtration system taking it way down in the particle size,

Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407491 04/19/20 06:47 AM
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I started my 'chain education' in the '60s with motor scooters. There was a fair amount of quality variation and they were dependent on a good lube and schedule with proper adjustment. Japan was often the source. O-ring chains were generally better, but with long chains and lots of links, they were all still plenty of contacts and wear possibilities. With that history in mind, multiple overhead cam design for a 'daily driver' for the masses was not appealing to me. That short 289 Ford chain would also stretch and may possibly need replacement but much easier/cheaper as it doesn't contain 176 links with all of the other parts!

Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407500 04/19/20 07:05 AM
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Kruse Offline
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Your post reminds me of a Ford 4.0 SOHC timing chain repair. To replace all of the necessary parts,meaning the passenger side components located on the rear of the block, the engine has to be pulled.
I'll be doing another one of these soon. In the past, I've always replaced with genuine Ford parts. Looking on the RockAuto website, there are at least half a dozen different manufacturers of replacement parts, most of them Chinese made.
There is one aftermarket brand that I'd like to try, but have yet to do so. After reading your post, I'll probably still go back to genuine Ford parts because then you only cry once on the cost of the repair.

Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407503 04/19/20 07:12 AM
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Did you not replace the sprockets? Mixing old sprockets with a new chain, esp with higher miles on the sprockets, can cause issues. Were the sprockets inspected and measured? Price difference between with and without is not that much.

Also I see the mellings kit is less than $40 more. Mellings is my go to for timing products. Also for LS water pumps.

And the other thing was the oil system inspected to make sure the chain was getting proper lubrication?


yup
Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: 4WD] #5407509 04/19/20 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by 4WD
Right on … accumulation of many OD’s and ID’s that wear into what some call stretch …
So if the short OCI is about cleaner oil … always wondered if an engine known for chain issues would not benefit from a bypass filtration system taking it way down in the particle size,


It will make little to no difference 99% of the time and a minor difference the other 1%

The reason is the problem and the solution is well known in industry but the specific application almost always prohibits doing it "right". ( too much up front cost)

If we null all other variables (alignment, contamination, stress, tension etc. et al) and focus only on chain wear- here is the problem.

The tribology is the surface contact and wear between the finished surfaces of the pin and roller. Textbook boundary condition on the curve.

Putting lubricant ON the chain is all but meaningless unless you get lubrication IN the chain.

The problem is that an in service chain is under tension and several dynamic loads and theres a capillary path to get oil in the inner pin with enough of a film to make a difference. ( and keep it there)

I've done this in the lab, controlled destructive testing, FEA and worked with OEM's of machines and chains to remedy this and its always the same- you "can" properly lubricate a chain but the costs are often prohibitive based on the application so replacing chains/sprockets is the business based decision.

That's why O ring chains generally perform better longer because at least they have a seal that holds lube in and contamination out longer but eventually that fails too.

Re: Premature aftermarket timing chain failure [Re: chipdipjones] #5407515 04/19/20 07:29 AM
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Jarlaxle Offline
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This might sound stupid, but: are you sure it was the correct chain? It sounds almost like it was just a bit too long.


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