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The Relationship between Timing Belt and Timing Chain I


There are so many complicated aspects of Rubber Timing […]

There are so many complicated aspects of Rubber Timing Belt and timing chain that it is tough to know where to start. I suppose the best place to start is in explaining exactly what mechanical engine timing is, and why it is needed in a four-stroke internal combustion engine. Then, we can get to the good stuff, like bent valves, broken pistons, and so on.

The majority of cars on the road have four-stroke gas engines. It is called a four-stroke engine because it has an intake, compression, power, and exhaust stroke during the combustion process. In one complete four-stroke process, the crankshaft rotates twice and the camshaft will spin once.

"Mechanical timing" is what we call the relationship between the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft. This, in turn, is really just controlling the movement of the valves and pistons inside the cylinders. Naturally, you need the intake and exhaust valves to open at a very precise time in relation to the pistons. Without the proper timing of these parts, the engine just won't work. Now, don't get mechanical timing confused with ignition timing, they are two totally different things. Ignition timing is the relationship between the ignition spark and the crankshaft rotation.

Timing belts and chains are the devices that make the connection between the crankshaft and camshaft. They are not something that you can see when you open your hood. Timing belt and chain are always hidden behind plastic or metal timing covers. These keep the camshaft timing safe no matter what the conditions are outside of the engine. Mud, snow, rocks and dirt should never be able to access the timing components.

As you can imagine, everything timing related needs to be installed very precisely or engine compression will be lost and internal engine damage could potentially be caused. The moment that the crankshaft and camshaft are "out of time," the engine completely loses its ability to move air, fuel, and exhaust into and out of the engine. No matter how much fuel and spark you throw at it, it will never run right if the mechanical timing is wrong. Now that we understand what mechanical engine timing is and how the timing belt and timing chain are an integral part of it, let's discuss why some automobiles use one over the other.