Time to Install Your Timing Chain Tensioners!

Rebuilding your Porsche Air-Cooled Engine

This engine is a 1969 2.0L engine and we have chosen to stay original and use the non-pressure fed chain tensioner. If you go for the up-dated pressure-fed tensioners, you would use a kit and it would include new lines and new chain box covers to run the oil to the tensioners.

We have made an extensive video lesson on rebuilding your non-pressure-fed chain tensioners. . If you have 901 tensioners you can still upgrade them by using the latest kits. The kits are like having turbo tensioners inside. We are using turbo tensioners and they have a skinny arm. Because of this difference, we need to install a spacer to the idle arm first.

A turbo tensioner next to a 901 tensioner. Note the skinny arm
A turbo tensioner next to a 901 tensioner. Note the skinny arm

Compressing your Timing Chain Tensioner

Take care when compressing your timing chain tensioner. You can damage the tensioner by compressing it too fast. Use tool P214 to hold the compressed tensioner. You can purchase this tool and it will be made out of lighter metal than ours! We bent up a piece of steel in house to do the job.

Timing chain tensioner holding tool P214

Use a bench vise, put the P214 on one end of the tensioner, slowly compress. We mean slowly, you can cause damage inside the tensioner by a speedy compression.

Make sure that the engine is released on the rocker, it should move. We do this so that you have less chance of messing with the timing you just completed! Place the tensioner onto the shaft, don’t forget the spacer if you need it, and press it into place. The holding clamp will just pop off.

Please take the time to use the holding tool. Prying on the tensioner shaft to install it is a very poor practice that can lead to damage. Once the tensioner is in place, put on the nut and torque to 25 NM. Lift up on the idler arm to add tension to the chain, your piston should come up as you lift.

Fitting the tensioner to the next side. Cylinders 4,5,6.
Fitting the tensioner to the next side. Cylinders 4,5,6.

Now you are ready to install the 4 thru 6 side. Turn the engine over 360 degrees, until the rocker has released. Compress your chain tensioner and put on the spacer if you need it. Work your way through the same process as above. Lift the idler arm to fully tension the chain.

Up next in your Air-Cooled Engine build

We work our way onward, installing the remaining rockers and setting the valve clearances. Then we fit the oil cooler and in the next installment, we move onto the intake manifolds.

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