Replacing the Timing Chain Tensioner

By Rick Zotz


Beginning around around 70K miles, my engine began emitting strange noises: excessive clatter at startup, jingling at idle, and a "mad cricket" sound under high load WOT. This obviously caused some concern.

I studied TSB# NTB92-056 for the 1991-92 SR20DE that mentioned, "a rattle in the timing chain area for short period when the engine is started after a one night soak or at low RPM caused by a leak-down of oil in the chain tensioner." The "countermeasure" part is a re-designed chain tensioner, superior to the original factory one. This difference is easily seen when both are viewed side by side. The oil chamber is larger, with a much larger passage to allow greater flow and pressure. A fresh O-ring is already installed. The new gasket is a stamped and crimped two-piece metal design, compared to old one composed of a single stamping with a rubber insert.

Installing the new tensioner eliminated the major problems of clatter and jingling. I still heard some kind of 'cricket' or hissing sound under high load WOT, but I suspected this noise was from another source, possibly in the intake or emission control system.


Part Description Part  # Price
Chain Tensioner 13070-2J200 23.75
Gasket 13079-2J200 3.54

Procedure Length:

This procedure will require 30 minutes and can be done alone. If your next oil change is soon, I recommend you replace the tensioner when you perform the oil change. This will saving the trouble of removing the filter twice.

Tools and supplies:

View the photos before beginning!

This procedure originally appeared as part of Rick's SE-Rious Procedures created by Rick Zotz which appeared on his excellent site