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1973 Continental Timing Chain Questions

Hi Bill,
This is Steve again.I checked my thermostat in my ’73 Lincoln Continental and I saw that it was stuck in the open position. I just replaced it last year. Now I replaced it again and it works fine. I have another question: My 73 Lincoln has 96,000 miles on it and I wonder if there is a way to find out if the timing chain was ever replaced on it, or if I need to replace it at all. Is there a way to check if it’s worn out without taking it apart? I heard something like you have to turn the crankshaft by hand and watch if there is a dead play compared to the distributor rotor. It’s a big job, that’s why I ask. If I’ll have to, is there a timing chain kit brand that you recommend?
Hi Steve –
We’re really pleased that you have found and repaired the cold engine problem. The timing chain and gear concern is a topic that has many opinions…. Some will advise that one should “not even drive” an older recently purchased car without tearing the front cover off and replacing these parts. It has been my experience however that a vehicle that has been maintained properly and driven in a non aggressive manner will not require immediate replacement simply because of the experience of other car owners. Vehicles that have been idle for years with old acidic oil sitting in their engines as well as those that have been exposed to heavy acceleration may indeed require replacement (or not). If you are embarking on a long journey with your car, and are really worried, or strongly suspect a problem in this area, then a replacement might be a good choice. The brand name of a good kit can also be a matter of opinion but I would definitely not buy on price. I would want to buy a “made in the U.S.A.” product from a trusted supplier. We hope that the above helps you with the correct choice.

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