How to Install Melling Timing Components on 3.5-liter Ford EcoBoost

Melling, a manufacturer of aftermarket products servicing engine rebuilders, recently introduced a new timing chain kit for the 3.5-liter Ford EcoBoost engine.

The 3.5-liter Ford EcoBoost engine comes in the 2013-2017 Ford Explorer, 2011-2016 Ford Flex and Taurus, 2011-2012 Ford Fusion, some Police Sedans, and Police Utility vehicles, and several Lincoln models. The kit offered by Melling also works with some Mazda CX-9 engines.

According to Melling, most of its timing chain sets have three keyways to ensure accurate timing for early or late-model vehicles, compatible for use with either performance or stock cams, and allow you to set the cam timing to stock, 4 degrees advanced, or 4 degrees retarded.

Regardless of the application, all of Melling’s timing chain kits come with the necessary timing components needed to perform a quality engine rebuild. Melling offers chains in several styles, such as single or double roller, single non-roller, and link belt, to ensure proper application fitment.

In this video, Melling Technical Director Cale Risinger shares the timing procedure steps for the 3.5-liter Ford EcoBoost engine.

Risinger starts by removing the oil transfer tubes from the cylinder heads, then rotates the crankshaft until both cam sprocket timing marks are approximately 30 degrees off-center. He notes you should be able to install the cam holding tools at this position.

The tool should smoothly go in near the bottom of the cylinder heads. If it doesn’t, Risinger says you may have to rotate the crankshaft in one direction or the other until the tools dropdown.

Once the cam holding tools are in place, Risinger says he likes to take a minute and break the camshaft and actuator bolts loose.

Next, he removes the primary timing chain by removing the two tensioner bolts and tensioner, followed by the tensioner shoe-chain guide bolts and all of the chain guides.

To remove the secondary timing chain, Risinger says he likes to “depress the tensioners before removing the chain to give myself a bit more room.”

He added that when you insert the special tool through the hole in the cylinder head, you can depress the tensioner with your fingers and the tool at the same time, and then finally spin the tool into place to hold the tensioner down.

Next Risinger removes and discards the cam actuator sprocket bolts. He notes that these bolts are torqued-to-yield and are not reusable. Then he slides the sprockets and chain off the assembly and removes the lower chain guide. Risinger releases the tensioner by removing this special tool before finally removing the tensioner by pushing up from the bottom.

“I like to take a minute with all the timing components out of the way to clean the timing cover mounting surfaces,” Risinger said. He added this is also an excellent time to install a new Melling oil pump to start reassembly if you have one.

Risinger lightly coats the rings on the secondary chain tensioner, then inserts the tensioner until it is fully seated.

“Next install the chain guide, place the chain on the cam actuator sprocket making sure to line the colored links up with the timing marks on the sprockets. Then slide the sprocket onto the cam. It may be necessary to rotate the sprockets to align the locator dowels.”

Next Risinger installs the new cam actuator sprocket bolts by taking the bolts to 30 foot-pounds of torque, then loosen the bolts one full turn and retorque them to 18 foot-pounds of torque, followed by an additional 180 degrees.

“Now we can release the tensioner by removing the retainer and repeat the installation on the other bank,” Risinger said.

As he moves on to the primary timing, he installs the chain over the cam sprockets crank snout and idler pulley making sure to align the colored links with the timing marks on the sprockets. Then he installs the guide’s tensioner shoe and tensioner.

Risinger instructs viewers to torque the tensioner guide bolts to 289 foot-pounds after making sure that all of the timing marks are in the correct position. He says you can remove the tensioner retaining pin to make sure that the tensioner releases.

The install is complete once the cam alignment tools are removed and the oil transfer tubes are reinstalled, torquing the bolts to 71 foot-pounds.

For more information, see Melling.

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About the author

Nicole Ellan James

As an automotive journalist and avid car enthusiast, Nicole Ellan James has a passion for automotive that is reflected in every aspect of her lifestyle. Follow Nicole on Instagram and Facebook - @nicoleeellan
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