Question about 1996 Jeep Cherokee
Your timing chain is behind the timing chain cover. This means all of the front engine parts have to be removed to reach it. You will need to pull the Radiator and they recommend removing the Grille.
It is a major disassembly of the front of the motor, unlike a Serpetine belt. To check for the need of replacement, you can try to turn the crank with a breaker bar. While you do this you should have the distributor cap off. Then watch the rotor inside the distributor turn. It should be almost immediate. If there is slack in the chain there will be a delay in the turning of the distributor rotor.
Another way to test is to use a timing light while the engine is running and see if the timing changes for no reason. Now I do not agree with this method because if you have mechanical weights in the distributor the timing may move because of a worn breaker plate or distributor drive gear. Of course that extra play in the distributor gear/ cam gear can lead you to believe the timing chain is loose when it is not.
Since the distributor comes out easily, you need to find a Speed shop who can test your distributor before going to all the work of getting at your timing chain. Then if there still is slack in the timing, you will know it is a chain and not the distributor.
So there is room for error using either method, but I feel you are farther ahead by using the breaker bar method.
Posted on Dec 05, 2011
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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