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Chevrolet Timing Chains and Covers
Timing chain covers are interchangeable between Gen. I motors. Gen. II timing covers and those
found on Gen. III engines are different from Gen. I covers and are not interchangeable between
engine families. Also keep in mind that the timing tabs found on Gen. I timing covers were either
welded on or were bolted on. The timing tab was also placed to match whichever diameter vibration
damper the motor originally received at the factory.
Generation 1 timing chain cover Bolt on timing chain pointer
Gen. I timing covers came with a timing tab,
which was moved to different locations over
the years to match the diameter of the front
vibration damper and the TDC timing mark on
the damper. On this cover, the tab is welded to
the cover.
Some timing tabs were bolted on to the cover.
Bolt on timing pointer Timing cover with a welded on pointer for a 6-inch damper
This timing tab is bolted to the timing cover.
Here is an example of a welded-on tab for a 6"
diameter early damper.
In addition, the location of the timing mark on Gen. I vibration dampers indicating TDC was moved in
later years, in relation to the damper keyway on the crank snout. So it is important when you are
mixing and matching parts from Gen. I engines that the timing cover and timing tab match the
diameter of the front balancer and the TDC location on the damper. You need to determine this
before final assembly of the motor. If you are not careful here you may have a mismatched setup that
makes it difficult to correctly set the initial ignition timing.

Two dowel pins are used to help position the timing covers on Gen. I engines. If you need them, the
block dowel pins for the timing chain cover are (PN-10105879).

If you need the little camshaft dowel pin, it is (PN-12554553). A .015" thick shim (PN-3975949) is
available to fit behind the cam sprocket if you need it. Camshaft bolts (PN-9424877) are 5⁄16"-18 x
0.75". Using a roller cam, without a cam thrust plate, requires an aluminum cam thrust button listed as
Two-piece timing cover sets are sold on the aftermarket. They enable you to remove the timing cover
without having to lower the oil pan and or break the gasket seal between the oil pan and timing cover.
They are very handy if you are changing the cam or are changing the cam timing.
Timing Sets
A number of the timing sets available today come with a crank gear that has multiple keyways. These
different keyways allow you to advance or retard the cam timing in relation to the crank. Generally
speaking, advancing the cam timing may increase engine power at the low end of the rpm scale, while
retarding the cam timing may increase the top end power. It depends on the rest of the engine
combination. Some aftermarket timing chain systems have adjustable cam gears that allow for cam
timing changes without resorting to offset dowel pins. However, I suggest if you are unfamiliar with
these types of cam timing changes and what can result to your particular engine and cam
combination, you use the stock “0” setting on the crank timing sprocket keyway.
Late model cover with pointer welded on Double roller timing chain
This timing cover has a welded-on tab
mounted towards the center of the cover along
with a small tube to mount a diagnostic sensor
probe. This timing tab will match the later
model dampers that have the TDC timing mark
moved to its new location.
Double roller timing chains are a popular
choice. Many come with crank sprockets, which
enable you to install cam timing either straight
up or 4 degrees advanced or four degrees
retarded. Look very carefully at the timing
marks on these multiple keyway crank
sprockets when you install them. It is very easy
to mix up which slot you are using and you may
set the cam timing incorrectly.
A few cams are ground with a certain amount of advance when they are made. Other cams are
ground straight up. Check with the manufacturer and the cam timing card you receive when you
purchase the cam. Any changes you intend to make can be made when the cam is degreed in. Some
of the engine dyno simulator computer programs can help you determine whether cam advance or
retard will make more power in your situation. Specific cam timing can be entered into these programs
and then you can advance or retard the cam timing from the manufacturer’s specs on the computer.
When you actually build the engine make sure that there is adequate clearance between the valve
and piston deck. Changes to the cam timing can affect the point where the valve comes closest to the
piston as it approaches and passes over TDC.

Different types of timing sets are available. Chevrolet has used a stock, production silent link chain
with metal gears, which have plastic teeth on the large cam sprocket and metal teeth on the crank
gear. These timing sets are quiet, inexpensive and dampen crank vibrations transmitted to the cam
gear. However, the chains stretch quickly with use and cam timing then changes because of chain
slack. Many racers use these chains but they must be replaced frequently because of stretch.
Double roller timing chain
Double roller timing chains
sets are often used. They
give good service and, with
the metal gear sets, long
wear. However, after time, the
chain stretches.
Single roller chains with metal cam and crank gears offer more durability, but chain stretch can still be
a problem. Double roller chains offer more strength, have metal teeth on the gears, are a little noisier,
but still stretch with use. True roller chains have increased strength and larger solid bushing rollers
that roll as they pass over the gear teeth. They do not stretch as much and provide accurate cam
timing for thousands of miles. Some manufacturers are using pre-stretched chains.

Aftermarket suppliers make a number of variations of three or four types of gear drives for regular
rotation camshafts. These gear drives are noisy and transmit crank vibrations to the cam. However,
since there is no chain to stretch, cam timing stays relatively accurate.

Aftermarket belt-driven timing sets are the ultimate in cam timing and this is reflected in their price.
They use a flexible cog-belt and matching gears to drive the cam. No crank vibrations are transmitted
because the vibrations are absorbed by the belt. Cam timing adjustments can be made easily without
the use of offset dowel bushings. Some of these belt drive setups fit on the outside of a timing cover
and some fit under a timing cover. These sets are strictly for race applications.
Gear drive
Gear-driven timing sets are
available from aftermarket
suppliers, such as Pete Jackson
or Edelbrock. There is no timing
chain to stretch, however, these
gear sets are noisier than a
chain setup.
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This has been a sample page from

Chevrolet Small Block Parts Interchange Manual Chevrolet Small Block
Parts Interchange Manual
by Ed Staffel
Beginning with the earliest small block and carrying through the
very latest "Gen III" models, CHEVROLET SMALL BLOCK PARTS
INTERCHANGE MANUAL provides complete factory parts
interchange information, allowing the hot rodder to custom-build
his own high performance version of the famous Chevy "Mouse"
motor from off-the-shelf parts. Includes factory numbers, casting
marks, production histories, suppliers, component performance
capabilities, etc.

Temporarily Out of Stock - More On their way!

This is a great book and one that any
enthusiast will love!
View Sample Pages
Engine Blocks
2) Crankshafts
3) Oil & Lubrication System
4) Timing Chains & Covers
5) Cylinder Heads
6) Intake Manifolds
7) Ignition Systems
8) Gaskets
9) Exhaust Manifolds
Condition: NEW
8.5 x 11-inches
144 Pages
300 B/W Photos
Item: SA55P
Price: $22.95
Click here to buy now!

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