Why Does the 2004 Ford Explorer Timing Chain Keep Making Noise?

The timing chain adjusts the movement of the crankshaft and camshaft, ensuring there is proper timing and allows the valves of the engine to close and open at intervals during the firing of the cylinder. The timing chain is continuously used every time you use the engine since the chain is located inside the engine.

Explorer timing chain noise is easy to notice during the automotive starting of the car. At this stage, the pressure of the oil and the flow of the oil are low. The excess loosening of the timing chain causes the clattering sounds; if the slang is severe enough to cause the chain to contact the timing chain.

Causes of the 2004 ford explorer timing chain noise

There are several reasons why the 2004 ford explorer timing chain makes a loud noise, and they are usually experienced during a cold start-up when there is insufficient flow of oil in the engine. The common causes include:

1. Loose timing chain

2004 ford explorer timing chain noise

Sometimes, the timing chains in the 2004 ford explorer may be loose and keep swaying during the driving process, and produce noise in the car engine. Once the timing chain noise produces much noise, it is advisable to troubleshoot the problem immediately to keep the 2004 ford explorer functioning normally.

Troubleshooting the 2004 ford explorer timing chain noise is easy as long as the recommended steps are followed and all materials necessary are present. For example, to tighten the loose timing chain, follow the steps below:

i. Locate the position of the explorer timing chain.

ii. Inspect the condition of the explorer timing chain.

iii. If the timing chain is loose, firmly tighten the timing chains to eliminate the noise. Avoid overtightening the chains to protect them from breakage.

iv. Ignite the explorer to see if the timing chain noise is eliminated; if not, proceed to check any damages.

2. Distorted explorer timing chains

Distorted explorer timing chains

Explorer timing chains wear out with time and finally fail to function. Once the explorer timing chains wear out, a rattling noise is produced in the explorer engine, and the noise may increase with time if not solved immediately. Unfortunately, the only solution to fixing a damaged timing chain is replacing it with a new one that suits your car model or installing an upgraded version of the timing chain cassettes. When installing a new explorer timing chain, ensure you review the manufacturer’s manual to get the best timing chain that suits your 2004 ford explorer.

When replacing worn out timing chain noise, consider the following factors;

a) Buy timing chains of high quality to last longer.

b) Consider the price of the timing chains and buy relatively affordable ones.

c) Consult the manufacturer to guide you on the best timing chains that suit your 2004 ford explorer.

3. Improper maintenance of the explorer engine

Improper maintenance of the explorer engine

The improper maintenance of the engine also causes explorer timing chain damage. When you take too long to change the engine oil or use the wrong oil for your engine may cause the stretching of the timing chain. Again, using a low-quality filter may increase the process of wear and tear to the timing chain. When the oil filter allows the passage of contaminants, the contaminants will act as a catalyst.

To fix the problem of poor engine maintenance, use the following steps.

i.If the problem is due to the wrong engine oil, research the best engine oil that suits your 2004 explorer engine. Also, refer to the manufacturer’s manual on the best engine oil recommended by the manufacturer and fill the engine by following the recommended steps.

ii. If the problem is with the explorer oil filter, change the oil filter and use one with high quality. Also, change the worn-out explorer filter and test to see if the problem is eliminated.

iii. Remove the contaminants causing clogging of the engine and test it to see if the explorer timing chain noise is resolved.

How to diagnose 2004 ford explorer timing chain noises

How to diagnose 2004 ford explorer timing chain noises

The explorer timing chain usually comes from the engine, indicating that the timing chains may be worn out or completely damaged. Once you hear timing chain noises, first, inspect the condition of the timing chain and detect if it is worn out

If the 2004 ford explorer produces timing chain noise, follow the steps below to diagnose the noise.

  • Park the vehicle in a well-ventilated area and locate the position of the explorer timing chain

Before diagnosing the explorer timing chain noise, first park the car in a well-ventilated area and leave the car engine to cool completely, after the vehicle engine cools, locate and raise the hood and start the engine as you listen to the front of the engine near the cover of the chain for any explorer timing chain noise.

  • Position the blade of a lot screwdriver against the uppermost portion of the timing chain cover

 Position your ear over the end of the handle of the screwdriver. Ensure that your hair is kept well to avoid being in contact with the moving parts.

  • Listen for any rattling noise from the explorer timing chains

The loose explorer timing chain will be hitting the timing chain cover every time a rotation is made, resulting in metallic slapping noise. Put on an automotive stethoscope and put the probe on the top of the timing chain cover to listen to the rattling noise from the explorer timing chains.

  • Use a  stethoscope to listen to any rattling noise in the explorer timing chains

Listen to the sounds produced by the rocker arm tappets. If the sound produced is loud, make sure that you move the stethoscope to the valve corner or near the corner and listen again. Keep on moving the stethoscope further as you listen to the noisy lifters.

  • Loosen the adjusting bolts

Loosen all the bolts found on the components driven by the belt and remove the belts using a screwdriver and a wrench. Ensure that you remember the proper positioning of the belts. Next, start the engine and listen to the sound using the stethoscope. If the rattling sound is the only sound coming from the engine, the explorer timing chain is terrible; hence consider replacing them.

Frequently asked questions:

  • After how long does the 2004 ford explorer timing chain need to be replaced?

A 2004 ford explorer timing chain is usually replaced after an average of 100 000miles of use. Therefore, it is recommended to always check for the symptoms of the falling timing chain if you are driving a vehicle with almost 100,000 miles. The frequent check ensures that the timing chain is replaced before it completely goes bad, affecting the vehicle’s engine.


The explorer timing chain is an essential part of the engine of any vehicle, not even the 2004 ford explorer. Without the timing chain, your car will be useless because the engine will not start. Therefore, it is always important to know how to diagnose the timing chain noises in your car because different components in the engine will produce noise.

In any case, if the timing engine of your vehicle breaks while you are still driving, it means that your car’s engine may have some damage, which could be severe.  The best thing to do to prevent serious damage is to seek help from a professional mechanic to change the timing chain or replace it.

for more information you might be watch this video from below, wish you good luck.

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