How to Replace the Timing Chain Tensioner in a 2001 Ford Explorer


Replacing the timing chain tensioner of the 2001 Ford Explorer is a fairly simple job that you can do in about an hour or two. The timing chain tensioner of the 2001 Explorer model is fairly accessible, located in front of the engine and just behind the cooling fan and radiator. Moving the air filter cover will make it easier to get to the tensioner. The tensioner and pulley are attached to the engine with a bolt and the assembly is removed as one unit.

Things You'll Need

  • Open-end wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Socket wrench set
  • Unfasten the negative battery cable of the 2001 Ford Explorer from the battery post with an open-end wrench to prevent electric shock while replacing the timing chain tensioner. Disconnect the air filter cover from the engine with a screwdriver and set it out of the way.

  • Place a socket wrench over the bolt in the center of the timing belt tensioner pulley and turn the socket wrench clockwise to relieve the tension on the timing belt. Take the timing belt off the engine pulleys and set it off to the side.

  • Loosen the bolt on the timing belt tensioner by turning it counterclockwise with the socket wrench and remove the tensioner from the engine compartment. Attach the new timing belt tensioner to the engine with the bolt and move the tensioner forward with the socket wrench to allow enough room to put the timing belt around the pulleys.

  • Loop the timing belt around the engine pulleys and over the tensioner pulley the same way it came off. Let the new tensioner move back into position and reattach the air cleaner cover to the engine.

  • Secure the negative battery cable of the 2001 Ford Explorer to the battery post.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make a note of how the timing belt is threaded around the pulleys before you remove the belt, to make it easier when you are ready to reinstall the belt.
  • To avoid burns, let the 2001 Ford Explorer engine cool down before attempting to replace the timing chain tensioner.

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