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Does it pay to repair?

1997 Ford Explorer needs timing chains replaced so have to drop engine. Engine has 140,000 miles so might as well replace it. Now we’re up to $5700–bit over Blue Book for this vehicle. Otherwise in great shape. Crazy to repair this??

Is the engine worn out that it needs to be replaced? I replaced the timing chain on a Chevy small block at 156,000 miles and the engine went another 125,000 miles without any problems when we sold the car.

If the rest of the car is in great shape, as you say, and the engine does not use oil, I would do the chains.

Drop the engine to replace the chain??? You mean drop the oil pan??

$5700 is awfully expensive to just replace a timing chain.

Just clarifying this a bit, but are you saying it will be 5700 bucks just to replace the timing chains? If so, that’s obscene.

So what are the symptoms that led to the chain diagnosis in the first place?
Did the chain jump or break which in turn damaged the valves and cylinder heads since this vehicle has an interference engine?

As far as I know, the engine does not have to be dropped to do this job. It’s labor intensive, but not that intensive.

Before spending over 5 grand on this vehicle I’d hit the salvage, eBay, or Craigslist for a used engine.

The labor cost for dropping the engine and replacing the chains is so high I thought while they were in there a rebuilt may make sense, but would rather not spend the money if possible.

Timing chain hasn’t broken yet, but making lots of noise and know it’s only a matter of time so this is preventative maintenance. The 5700 is for replacing both timing chains and a re-built engine installed.

As others have said, IF the current engine otherwise runs fine, replace the timing chains and don’t rebuild the engine. Get a second estimate…replacing just the timing chain should cost much less. 140K miles on a reasonably maintained engine should be nowhere near being worn out (240K miles is more reasonable). But don’t let the chains break! If they break the engine will be trashed and need either a rebuild or a replacement.

Does it pay ? Pay whom ?
‘blue book value’ is completely irrelevant on any vehicle you intend to keep.
Financing 5,700 dollars is a lot cheaper that financing 25,000 or more for another vehicle.

If the 5,700 is a Ford branded reman engine ( $3500.00 parts ) then you get a 3yr/100,000 warranty and this is something to consider making it ''cheaper to keep ‘er’'
Otherwise, at $300.00 for timing chains, guides and tensioners ( parts prices only ) is still a good way to go whether you’re keeping or selling it.

Rebuilt engine puts a whole new spin on the amount. So why is the engine assembly being replaced if the engine is rattling due to a timing chain?
Sure this is a timing chain rattle and not a valve lash adjuster problem; which is much cheaper to repair?

It’s difficult to give any advice when little of the story is provided.

What engine is this? You write timing chains indicating two so I guess it is a 4.6L V8. It is possible that the timing chains or tensioners are gone at this mileage, but it is not a usual thing. In the mid 2000s there was a tensioner design change that did not work very well and people had trouble with worn tensioners. (Those owners need to listen for a sewing-machine sound and change them out before they spew plastic into the oiling system.)

Most people in the know, know that these engines are expensive to rebuild and plentiful (relatively cheap) in salvage yards. the long blocks are compatible for many years ahead of '97. If you really want a fresher motor, you may be able to find a nice one for less than a kilobuck. I am, however with the club that says change the chain only and be done with it after you do some analysis to convince yourself that the engine is sound. I reiterate, it is nuts to put a new engine in a '97 when you can get a low-mileage one from a salvage yard so inexpensively.

Lastly, I am under the impression that the easiest way to get to the engine on Ford SUVs is to pull the body off the frame rather than pull the engine. I could be wrong. If it is, you have the added benefit that you can replace hardened, worn body-frame bushings while you are at it too.

In a 97 Explorer, 4.0 sohc V6( the V8 in that app is the 5.0 302 )