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Discussion Starter #1
Today I was aiming to replace my head on my '79 280zx all in one night, I was almost there when I ran it to this snag: The camshaft sprocket will not go into the camshaft, because it seems that the chain is not long enough. I have pulled and pulled and gave up trying to fit it back on. I know there is a tensoner somewhere down in the front of the block, and I have tried pushing it back using a long screw driver, but it keeps popping back out whenever I move the chain! If someone could shed some light on how I am to get the chain or tensioner long enough to let the sprocket to go onto the camshaft your help would be appreciated.
Akito
'79 280zx
 

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There is an actual tool used to hold the tensioner in place while you remove the head from an L-series engine. All you really need is a piece of wood or plastic about 1/2 thick and 1 wide and about a foot long. You will need to taper the width so that it will wedge in between the chain and tensioner, holding the tensioner in place. It also needs to be long enough so that it can be removed after the head is installed. You may also need to experiment with the width until you get it to wedge in between the chain and tensioner correctly. I hope this makes sense. I can show you, but its hard to describe. Good luck!!!

Ian
 

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Discussion Starter #3
> There is an actual tool used to hold the
> tensioner in place while you remove the head
> from an L-series engine. All you really need
> is a piece of wood or plastic about
> 1/2 thick and 1 wide and about a
> foot long. You will need to taper the width
> so that it will wedge in between the chain
> and tensioner, holding the tensioner in
> place. It also needs to be long enough so
> that it can be removed after the head is
> installed. You may also need to experiment
> with the width until you get it to wedge in
> between the chain and tensioner correctly. I
> hope this makes sense. I can show you, but
> its hard to describe. Good luck!!!

is there a way to do the procedure that you described with the head installed already????

> Ian
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If the tensioner is still at least partially in its housing there's hope. I was able to fix a similar problem. I've heard that it's possible for the tensioner to come completely out of its housing, and if it does you will have to pull the front cover off to fix it. With a flashlight you can get a look down in there to see what's wrong. Mine was part of the way out of the housing and kind of wedged there. I had to tap it down with a long screwdriver to get it to go back in. It really helped me to look at some photos in a repair manual of the timing chain components so I could see how it's all layed out .

The head was off mine when I did it so I don't know about doing it with the head on. Here's what I did.

1. Have somebody grab the loop of chain that would be around the cam sprocket and pull hard to maintain tension.

2. Use your long screwdriver to tap the chain tensioner back in to its housing (I had to tap the head of the tensioner down to get it back in).

3. Now stick that wooden wedge that was described in the other post in place between the two sides of the chain, making sure to maintain tension on the chain through the whole procedure.

By the way, the wedge should stay in place until the cam sprocket is installed. Definitely get a repair manual if you don't already have one.

Good luck!
 

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> is there a way to do the procedure that you
> described with the head installed
> already????
YO whats up I have had this same problem
with my 280 IT is to bad you didn`t read
your shop manual before attempting a head
job on your classic.As before mentioned
you should have fabricated a piece of
1 by 2 about 10 inches in length with a wedge on one end tapping this into place between the
timing chain this will hold tension on the chain
not allowing the auto tensioner to take over.
But since this has already happened you will need to remove the front timing cover to press the tensioner back into place by hand of course
naxt line up your timing mark on the crank gear
so it points straight down remember your z engine is on a slight angle now count up 42 links on your
chain the 42nd link should line up with cam gear
mark you should also see both cam lobes pointing up on #1 cyl you are now at top dead center
reinstal timing cover with anew gasket dont
forget to put a drop black rtv at the corners
top near head and by oil pan.
P.S.since your pulling your timing cover you wont need to use the wedge. And save yourself more time by purchasing a manual for further repairs.
I hate typing! GOOD LUCK LONG LIVE THE Z!

Southside Chicago

Where most Zs have long ago rusted away
 

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>Take a large to medium screwdriver, that you dont mind gettting the handle greasy and tie a string to it and push it in the place handle end first. It will work just as good as the wedge just make sure to tie the string to the screwdriver so you can pull it back out when finished.
 
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