Timing Chain

How can you tell if a timing chain is ready to go? Then and when it goes, does it hurt other vehicle parts? This happened to me, I turned a corner at 30mph and then nothing. I drifted off the side of the road about 50 feet and that was it. Shouldn’t it give some kind of warning— as to fix it will be quite expensive? I think the manufacturer should allow for some kind of warning device, don’t you? The high end price to fix it was $6,000.00. Is it worth it on a 2001 Ford Ranger? It is in excellent condition—no rust and only 122,000 miles?

Normally, when a timing chain stretches to the point that it is on its last legs, it will make a rattling noise somewhat reminiscent of…a chain. If there was no noise prior to the chain breaking, that is somewhat unusual.

What engine do you have in your Ranger? I have heard of chain guide failure on the 4.0 SOHC, but they normally give plenty of advanced warning in the form of lots of noise before anything catastrophic can happen. If you have the four cylinder, get a new mechanic. I have never seen a timing chain fail on the 3.0L Vulcan V6. The four cylinder engine uses a timing belt, not a chain, and they can indeed fail suddenly and without any kind of warning (other than the recommendation to replace it periodically). The thing about the timing belt in the four cylinder is that the belt can fail, but will not normally cause any other incidental damage. I have replaced several broken timing belts on Rangers and older Mustangs (same engine) and never found any engine damage. Coolant leaks can, however, lead to timing belt failure due to contamination degrading the belt rapidly, so have your mechanic check for coolant leaks if you have a four cylinder.

A few questions.
You state that you went aroun the corner and then nothing. Are you saying that it died and there were no noises instantly before or during the seconds that it did die?

How much oil was in the engine at the time?

How in the world do they come up with 6 grand to fix this?

For what it’s worth, timing chain failure is generally caused by lack of regular oil changes and in the case of oil pressure operated chain tensioners, a lack of oil pressure. (See comment above about how much oil in the engine.)

What engine?