An integral part of the engine's timing system, the timing chain is powered by the crankshaft, connecting the crankshaft to the camshaft, and functions to drive various components that all work together to enable the car to move.
Situated in the engine compartment, the timing chain is a long chained belt which coils through a series of pulleys which contain bearings, usually operating with a spring mechanism. The pulleys function to enable the timing chain to smoothly spin around, allowing the chain to propel or drive various components in the engine compartment, such as the alternator, air pump and power steering pump. The pulley mechanism allows the timing chain to run along the inside of the tensioner, which enables it to apply tension to the timing chain as it spins around its path of pulleys and generates the mechanism and power needed to drive the components it serves.
The camshaft receives power from the crankshaft via the timing chain. The timing chain works in conjunction with the camshaft pulley to make sure the camshaft is rotating in sync with the crankshaft. As the camshaft rotates via the belt and pulley system, it opens and closes the intake and exhaust valves. The timing chain controls how fast the camshaft rotates and enables the smooth rotation of the cylindrical camshaft ensuring the right amount of air and fuel is allowed to enter the engine at exactly the right time in order for combustion to occur in the cylinders.
If the timing chain comes loose it can deviate from its position. A sure sign of a loose timing chain is a nasty screeching noise. A slipped timing chain will lead to extremes of temperature as the timing chain struggles, eventually leading to a damaged part. A slipped timing chain can also affect the proper performance of the components powered by this part. Often the cause of a slipped timing chain is that the spring inside the tensioner has become worn and is unable to apply the right amount of tension to the timing chain. The timing chain can crack and warp and eventually break, due to the high temperatures and friction it has to withstand. When replacing this part, choosing to fit the timing chain will give you perfect compatibility with the make and model of your vehicle.