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If anyone has the plastic tensioners Tom (Motorhead4Ever) spoke to earlier, his fear for the longevity/durability is spot on. Just get a set of cast iron units. Here is a link to a Parts Geek listing for them => Left & Right Tensioner The left part number is - 17877-07928337, and the right part number is - 17877-07895506. As of this posting, the price is $53 each. There are Mellings and Cloyes on the same page for even less.
 

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It might not work, Tom. The issue is the ID on the sleeve needs to be large enough to allow the spring to fit through. I don't have any pieces at the house to check. I am getting ready to go up to the race car garage and I believe I have a spare tensioner up there I can measure spring OD on. Actually, the price difference between McMaster and Aircraft Spruce is not that significant and McMaster has the tube in stock.

When I get back from the shop tonight I'll update you on spring diameter. If yours are already out, disassemble one and measure the spring OD. That will be the limiting ID on the spacers and determine your max wall thickness.
 

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Sorry Tom, late night, and I forgot to post up. The 0.095" wall tubing will work. The 0.125" tubing might work as well. I had one spring that would go into a 0.125" wall tube, and one would not. I believe one spring was OEM, and the other was aftermarket — and I can't tell which is which. To be safe, the 0.095" wall tubing will work all the time. Be sure to lightly scotch bright the OD to remove any foreign material and clean up any surface imperfections, so you have a nice smooth round spacer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thanks again Ed-- I can sleep tonight knowing I should have my spacers on Thurs of this coming week and can bust into the cover to get this finished up--- I truly appreciate the help-- helping me to keep my heads and cams well oiled for my future fun with this new build---


Can do
 

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We have a nice lathe at work and I have access to a lot of metal so I'll check tomorrow. Should I just remove the ratchet arm all together? Then I don't have to grind anything and guess 3 or 4 teeth. Thanks for the link guys. I don't think I'd ever have known about this. I'm going to get my crank from being turned after this problem and was assuming it was oil starvation or something. I built a 7 Qt pan and filter setup and was planning on the cobra pickup and pump for it. This could have easily happened again to me if the tensioners were my problem. With the symptoms and how it happens, this sounds valid. Thanks again!!

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Good luck on your new build Dave--Just remove that ratchet arm and put your tensioners back together with the spacers-- you are probably going to need to strap the tensioner plungers with some zip ties to keep them compressed enough for the reinstall process. I have not attempted this mod yet since I am still awaiting my spacers from the machine shop. Ed mentioned about doing one bolt at a time and fanegeling the tensioner in place-- others have used studs in one and a bolt in the other --so at this point I don't know what works best to get them in but this for sure is not rocket science unless you launch a spring and plunger into space on install. Make sure you chamfer both sides of your spacer since the id of the spacer rides on the od of the spring so it does not catch a winding and ends up shredding the spring and other things after that. I hope you are running the head cooling mod on the back of the engine to save the guides on # 7 & # 8 cylinders as well. Billett gears in the oil pump are a must especially if you are running boost.The reverse tensioner mod for the secondary chain on the passenger side head really helps too since the timing is known to dance around up to 7 degrees because Ford opted to tension the wrong side of the short chain. Doing these things will help bullett proof your future build.
 

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I have 2 sets of the cast iron tensioners so I'm going to go ahead and make the spacers for all 4. I'm planning another build with some DC heads I found. I do have the crossover mod done. I also am going to have billet gears. I'm going to look up the reverse tensioner mod. I saw MMR had a set with it flipped. I degreed my cams in when I first built it and they were around 3 and 6 degrees off between the cams. That added to the potential extra 6 would surely explain the differences in the stock setups and the freak engines. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Looks good Dave -- Nice clean engine bay-- mine is a bit messy with the aeromotive regulator and starlite fuel lines from my Division X fuel hat with twin 460 walbro pumps and a wiring harness conversion to cop's so I could clean up the front of the engine eliminating those coil packs and wires. My heads are ported but I need to gasket match the lower intake and I am going to install a burst window where the Cobra emblem is on my upper intake since I am going to spray a 300 shot at the track and try not to blow the intake through the hood. I've had my 98 GT for 15 years now and have been building her as cash allows. Three years ago I bought a 96 Cobra with an 01 IRS in the back end and coilovers all around with Wilwood brakes at the wheels. The Cobra really drives so much different than my GT. It hugs the road-- The Gt is a bit looser but launches straight line shots well. The rear end has Viking double adjustable coilovers and it has welded axle tubes with a fully adjustable 4 link setup from UPR and Wildrides and 4:10 gears. Can't wait to drive her with this newly built forged engine. Take Care Dave


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I have 2 sets of the cast iron tensioners so I'm going to go ahead and make the spacers for all 4. I'm planning another build with some DC heads I found. I do have the crossover mod done. I also am going to have billet gears. I'm going to look up the reverse tensioner mod. I saw MMR had a set with it flipped. I degreed my cams in when I first built it and they were around 3 and 6 degrees off between the cams. That added to the potential extra 6 would surely explain the differences in the stock setups and the freak engines. Thanks!
Dave, before you buy be sure to check out Cobra Engineering <= clickable. They also offer the corrected passenger-side secondary chain tensioner. The link I provided will take you to an opening page where they offer a package deal on the corrected tensioner body and a set of HD dowel pins among a number of other very nice items.
 

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Well, I do need the entire timing chains and gear but This is an awesome option. I favorited that site and will be getting the dowels as well. You guys are a wealth of knowledge on these engines. I just got my crank back today and all my bearings are on order. I can't wait to start putting this thing back together and see if I can tell a difference in the power from the timing. Peace of mind will surely be there though this time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Hey Ed & Dave --so an update on my engine: Crazy-- but I broke into the timing cover today after going and finally picking up my spacers for the primary chain tensioners from the machine shop and to my surprise- Lloyd my engine builder from Springfield Machine shop in Lorton Va all ready had done the mod without us even discussing it. He has built mod engines for 25 years and has retired and closed his doors this year. Gonna miss him-- he could straight build an engine. Well the cover is back on and the meizere water pump is back on now too-- now for the rest of the accessories and then get her into her new home. I have 5 sets of spacers cut-- if anyone needs them give me a shout---Thanks Tom
 

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Ack! You're killing me smalls!!! I just ordered a foot of the tubing for my own. No biggie. I have 2 engines I'm going to do it for on my own and a friend who has one I'll make some for as well. Good for you though! Good luck with the rest of the build! I just finished getting the short block together. Ordering my Cobra flipped tensioner soon and will have it together in no time.
 
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