ID19 timing chain tensioner: good idea or not?
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Thread: ID19 timing chain tensioner: good idea or not?

  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default ID19 timing chain tensioner: good idea or not?

    Hi all,
    as part of "due diligence" before putting the long stroke engine back together (thanks Michael and John for the replacement cylinder head) I had a look at the timing chain. Well, "slop" does not decribe the amount of play there. I think a replacement chain is in order. This car must have not been able to idle properly, I think.
    I understand the sprockets need to be removed as the chain is end-less, as in: has no joining link. Looks like they get replaced as a set: both sprockets and chain. When I do this, would you recommend a timing chain tensioner as per Kaz a few years back? Is this an improvement on the original system or will new sprockets and chain remove the play altogether?

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    I've got a bit of time anyway, as I need to replace the valves in the cylinderhead first and install the new water pump.

    It's funny how this works: you remove one part to clean, degrease, refurbish, prime and re-paint it and, while you're there, there's just one more thing. Then one more, and then one more, and before you know, you have boxes full of (hopefully) labeled parts and an empty shell of a car. Yep, I did it again... I just tell myself this is a thorough refurbishment.......
    Best regards, Erik

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    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    New Sprockets and chain will remove some of the play. A chain tensioner of the spring steel strap type will certainly help ,but it is not really necessary. Centrifugal force keeps the chain fairly stable as it rotates around the sprockets even at idling speed. This is how they were from new. They were able to idle quite smoothly.
    Cheers Gerry

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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    It's funny how this works: you remove one part to clean, degrease, refurbish, prime and re-paint it and, while you're there, there's just one more thing. Then one more, and then one more, and before you know, you have boxes full of (hopefully) labeled parts and an empty shell of a car. Yep, I did it again... I just tell myself this is a thorough refurbishment.......
    Best regards, Erik

    It's a restoration. They all do that.
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    Fellow Frogger!
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerrypro View Post
    New Sprockets and chain will remove some of the play. A chain tensioner of the spring steel strap type will certainly help ,but it is not really necessary. Centrifugal force keeps the chain fairly stable as it rotates around the sprockets even at idling speed. This is how they were from new. They were able to idle quite smoothly.
    Meanwhile at the other end of the camshaft .....

    As you are probably aware the 3 bearing long stroke motors have a short camshaft with a separate camshaft extension mating on splines to go through the bell housing to the drive pulley. They develop a clonk noise at idle and from memory relied upon an o ring in a groove to "tighten" the male and female matching splines and maybe take up some slop or wear....not terribly effective in my experience. I I R C Tractions used just a dog drive there.
    At the front end of the engine there was also a thin circular paper gasket that fits between the engine block and the bell housing casting to supposedly prevent slung oil from the real camshaft end seeping into the clutch space.... probably people seal that joint with a silicon goop these days. There seemed to be a sweet spot regarding that idle clonk noise .. adjust to lower idle speed or raise it to escape the idle clatter.

    On the later 5 bearing engines the camshaft was one long piece all the way through from timing chain to drive pulleys.

  5. #5
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    It is standard practice to replace chain and sprockets .. as a complete set. They have all worn together. Mixing new with old isn't recommended.

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    Fellow Frogger!
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    You say the timing chain has quite a bit of wear. When bending the chain sideways, is there much of a curve "to and fro". You probably haven't removed it yet but I am curious if the chains that I have are "in good nick".
    I'd say that it would be risky putting in a 2nd Hand one.
    When breaking a timing belt on a more modern car; I know it's a disaster ..... bent valves etc. What damage, if any, occurs if a timing chain breaks. The Id 19 engines seem to be bulletproof. They just slowly die, becoming less powerful as time goes on. The lack of an oil filter doesn't help but in my case I make sure that the oil changes are done routinely.
    The Slough Safari has been off the road for a month now as I wait for my rubber dome to arrive to fix the leak in the brake pressure valve.

    I use the Safari for the long haul trips carrying loads to and from from the SA border. Funny how I miss this car! It's a noisy old thing and it occurred to me that it wouldn't help if It had a worn timing chain.
    The trick of putting a long screwdriver to ones ear and touching it to different parts of the engine (like a stethocope) to hear what's going on inside. I suppose I could find the spot where I might just get some idea of the noise coming from the chain. At least I have the two IDees to compare.
    Last edited by IDear; 29th May 2019 at 02:25 PM.

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    Hi Tomatoes. I have 2 Light15s one original the other with an ID engine, the timing chain arrangements in both are the same. Both were overhauled over 30 years ago and fitted with a new timing chain and no tensioner, neither shows any sign of timing chain noise or rattle still and no problems to idle evenly. Roger Brundle (lhs2.1) wrote a thread on here about reconditioning a DS 19 engine. Look up DS19 engine reconditioning on here, started in Sept.14 He was an accomplished engineer and CitroŽn expert, unfortunately no longer with us.He makes no mention of using a tensioner in his rebuild. I recently spoke to another experienced Citroen person who told me he had reason to pull down a recently reconditioned ID engine with a tensioner and found the tensioner heavily grooved so removed it as he was concerned about metal dust in the engine. Hope this helps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IDear View Post
    When breaking a timing belt on a more modern car; I know it's a disaster ..... bent valves etc. What damage, if any, occurs if a timing chain breaks.
    That question got me thinking. If the timing chain physically broke, then the result would be that the camshaft would not turn and the lifters would not operate the valves in sequence. With the camshaft 'frozen', some valves would be held open and others shut - but I think there is room for the valves to be fully open and for the piston to be at TDC? Initially i thought the result would be that you would get misfires because the valves wouldn't be allowing fuel in and gases out. Then I realised that if the cam isn't turning, then your dizzy cam wouldn't be rotating and you wouldn't get a sequence of sparks at the plugs anyway. If there is no spark then the crank will not be turned. I think the main damage from a snapped timing chain would be the broken chain getting caught up in the sprocket on the crank while you took the car out of gear and brought it to a halt!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Budge View Post
    That question got me thinking. If the timing chain physically broke, then the result would be that the camshaft would not turn and the lifters would not operate the valves in sequence. With the camshaft 'frozen', some valves would be held open and others shut - but I think there is room for the valves to be fully open and for the piston to be at TDC? Initially i thought the result would be that you would get misfires because the valves wouldn't be allowing fuel in and gases out. Then I realised that if the cam isn't turning, then your dizzy cam wouldn't be rotating and you wouldn't get a sequence of sparks at the plugs anyway. If there is no spark then the crank will not be turned. I think the main damage from a snapped timing chain would be the broken chain getting caught up in the sprocket on the crank while you took the car out of gear and brought it to a halt!
    Modern terminology is whether the engine is an "interference' or "non interference" design .. basically is there space for the errant valves to hit the pistons or not. ie a gentle stop or a desperate crunching expensive and possibly terminal one.

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    Thanks all for your replies, it's great to get real-world-experience advice. I'll replace the chain and both sprockets and will not install a tensioner. If it was good enough for the late Roger Brundle without one, it certainly is good enough for me. Cheers, Erik.

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