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dion914-6's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 204
Question chain tensioner test?


I've searched the message board but can't seem to find the answer to my question. I hope someone can help.

Let me provide some background and a bit of an intro. I have a 1969 European case 2.0 T engine in a 914. I know little to nothing about the engine except that 3 years ago one of the rocker shafts backed its way out during a track day, and I dumped a lot of oil on the track. It was the end of the season and I was building a house, so I parked the car under a cover ... and went racing Formula Vees for the past 3 years.

Recently I got the itch to tear down the engine and get back to my Porsche habit. I've been building my own Vee engines for years, so I'm not too much of a rookie with a wrench, but those weren't Porsche engines either. (I did manage to do my own oil bypass mod - piece of cake) I've been pleasently surprised but what I keep finding at every turn. It's apparent that the engine has been apart before. Everything is clean inside and all parts from the crank to the rods are within factory spec.

I'm building it back up with 68 2.0L pistons, heads and cams and plan on using the car for an occasional sunny drive to work in the Summer or a Sunday drive with my 3 year old Son. In other words, nothing fancy. Which brings me to my question. The tensioners that I have taken out of the engine visibly look brand new. They are the version just previous to the Turbo style tensioners. The plunger (tension?) is impossible to get retracted into the cylinder. Short of putting it in a vise, I haven't been able to get either tensioner to move. Can I assume that these are still good? Do tensioners start to get soft before they fail? Is there a 'test' of how good these are? I'd like to reuse as many parts as possible within reason, but I'm not sure the upgrade to pressure-fed tensioners is justified with the limited mileage the engine will see every year.

Any thoughts or advice is very much appreciated.


Old 08-19-2005, 08:33 PM
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cstreit's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Naperville, IL USA
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It sounds like they are good, but I'm not aware of any test. As added insurance there are aluminum and steel collars that can be bolted to the tensioner shaft that will prevent it from collapsing all the way in event of failure. A "must have" in my mind for mechanical tensioners...
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Old 08-19-2005, 09:53 PM
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dion914-6's Avatar
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Thanks Chris. Was hoping for more ideas, and yes, I already have the tensioner guards as well.

Old 08-22-2005, 07:24 PM
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89red911's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: east bay Ca.
Posts: 39
the tensioners should be very hard to compress i use a long thick screw driver or a larger pair of channel locks my best advice is if they are tight they should be fine i would recomend trying to get them to move a bit to make sure they will spring back and tighten the chain. If they do reuse them if they dont or you cant move them at all then they might be frozen. I would have to guess that they are ok though who ever went in to the motor spent some time and money on it and i cant imagin they would not have replaced them already

so like i said try to move them a bit if able to do they spring back if yes they are good to go

if they dont move or they dont spring back they are frozen and need to be replaced.
Shiny side up, Rubber side down, Its the fastest way around the track.
Old 08-26-2005, 09:01 PM
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