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Questions and Answers

Dodge Dakota Timing Chain Is Off

Q. Hello, I'm in hopes you will be able to assist me. I've used About.com before and had a lot of success. My husband recently replaced the timing chain on a 1990 Dodge Dakota. After placing, he has been able to align the camshaft and crankshaft and says the #1 piston is at top dead center.

Dodge Dakota Timing Chain Is Off

However, he says the rotor is 180° off. I have asked questions of him trying to possibly lead him to an answer, but I suspect I've made it worse. Any assistance you can give would be of great help.

Thank you,
Vikki

A. You have to keep in mind that a piston comes up to Top Dead Center (TDC) twice in the cycle. Once on the compression stroke and once on the exhaust stroke. If he is checking the rotor on the exhaust stroke and the rotor is 180° off, he's okay. But if it the piston is at TDC on the compression stroke and he's 180° off, he set the timing chain and gears wrong.

Dodge Dakota Timing Chain Is Off

Since you said it was a timing chain, I assume it is the 3.9 liter V-6 engine. Here is a picture of how the marks should be.

At this point he has two options. One is to remove the timing chain and gears. Insure that the piston is at TDC on the compression stroke and reinstall the timing chain and gears. This is the ideal way to go.

Some might remove the distributor, turn the rotor 180° and reinstall it. This is cheating and far from the proper way.

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