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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 1987 Vert has just passed the 200,000-mile threshold. The car is running extremely well with all mechanical problems fixed within the last 12 months (new shocks, ball joints, steering rack, radiator, A/C compressor and lines, distributor rotor and cap, vacuum lines). The engine is running smoothly, is not noisy and doesn't burn oil, but I'm concerned about the age of the timing chain and whether I should replace it even though there are no signs of any problems. I've read that the timing chain should be changed after 150,000 miles or so, but I've also read about many others who are driving well over 300,000 miles with the original timing chain. Any advice on this matter will be greatly appreciated.
 

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At 200k miles I would certainly would be thinking about it, although it might go for another 50-100k. The problem is if it breaks the damage can be severe. Replacing the chain is not a particularly difficult job to do, and is done with the engine in-situ. The only thing you remove is the valve cover. I would start off by checking the wear by measuring the chain tensioner extension. It tells you how here; http://www.saabcentral.com/techhelp/c900/timing_chain.php
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for replying. The tensioner has been checked and seems to be normal, but it is the possibility of sudden failure (and its aftermath) that worries me, simply because of its age. My head says to replace it, but I wanted to check with others' experience with this partucular issue before making this investment.
 

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I too am contemplating the life of my chain, I have a 90 SPG with 175,000 on the clock. Like the previous poster my engine runs great though I havent checked the tensioner yet. My main question is, and I know this has been hashed out in detail before, some say the chain can be replaced in car. I assume that is only possible using a chain with a removable master link. I cant see being able to properly peen a chain while installed in car. If there is such a way I am all ears. While I do understand the reluctance to use a master link on the chain, I can say in all my years of motorcycle racing and riding I have never witnessed a failure of a chain because of a properly installed master link.
 

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It is not recommended to use a split master-link in the timing chain. There have been a lot of posts on this recently. The way to do it is a replacement chain that is rolled in. This has an open link that is riveted over once installed. Many people do this with the two hammer method, although tools are available to do it. Do a search here on timing chain. There are threads with photographs on this procedure. If the tensioner extension seems to be normal, and it is quiet, the chain may well be fine, but at 200k I would still be concerned. Replacing the chain is such a simple procedure that it seems churlish not to do so at 200k. Less than that, especially if the engine is quiet, I would leave it for a bit.

There is a link here on in-situ chain replacement. http://townsendimports.com/Web/engine_folder/incarchainpg1.htm
 

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I have done some searching, looks like the two hammer method is in my future. I do want to replace it though it doesnt make any noise, I had one let loose on an old Z1 Kaw once, the results were less then pretty.
 

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That's a great illustration.
If I were doing it in my backyard, my first blow would be with a chisel (still using the larger hammer as an anvil), to start spreading the link at the end. You want to avoid beating on it hard enough to bend the pin, rather than just peening the end.
 

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PFS lists split link timing chain for 16v as 1986 -1993. Mine is 1985 Im assuming it will fit all 16v engines ?

Ohh Ive found it. Same as 1986 . No endless link chains in stock though and eEuroparts is out of stock as well.
 

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Forgive my ignorance Im assuming you guys use masterlink chains but instead of the link with the circlip provided pull a link from the old chain join and hammer that?
 
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