I'm pulling the head off of the Solstice (2006, 2.4L Ecotec LE5), and would prefer not to have to remove the timing chain cover to get the timing set correctly. The last time I did this, the engine was out of the car. I would prefer not to pull the engine just to replace the head gasket, and getting the front cover off with the engine IN the car will be nontrivial.

Any suggestions on a way to keep the chain tight against the crank sprocket / guides / etc. while the head is off of the engine? I see the EN timing chain tools - $150 for something that looks like it should cost $20 - mentioned in the service manual. I have the OTC GM 4-cylinder cam tool set, which has timing chain holders, but the illustrations indicate that they're braced against the head. Which is coming off.



For those that are curious, here's what the GM chain holder tool looks like: enter image description here

I think it would work well if just doing some cam work, but wasn't helpful at all when removing the head. The threaded rod goes into the plastic clips, which have teeth that engage the timing chain. The whole thing gets wedged between the timing chain and the upper chain guides. enter image description here

Way overpriced (over $100 USD).

  • As long as the bottom end doesn't move, there shouldn't be an issue, should there? Or are you worried the chain will come off of the lower sprocket and you'll not be able to fit it back on easily? The chain itself is fairly irrelevant in the deal, it's the relationship between the cams and the crank which is what matters. All that said, I'd still have the timing chain cover off so I could ensure everything is aligned prior to first startup. May 4, 2017 at 0:56
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Yeah, that's what I'm thinking, unfortunately. Also, I just noticed your user icon thingy - Z28? We have an 02 SS, would love to get my hands on something older. (Flagrantly violating the mv.stackexchange policy here probably)
    – 3Dave
    May 4, 2017 at 1:18
  • If you have a spring loaded tensioner that can't be easily collapsed you might have a problem trying to reassemble. Just something to think about.
    – Mobius
    May 13, 2017 at 13:27
  • @Mobius thanks. I wound up just taking the front cover off and am the process of putting it back together.
    – 3Dave
    May 13, 2017 at 13:56
  • Thanks guys --- Im gunna do it---head off, timing cover stays on ! my 80 series Landcruiser is a pig to remove the timing cover so . My idea is to split the timing chain tdc and hook ends to shed roof via wire and bungees and carefully raise head and carefully grab wires either side and bend wire to hook on either side of the block . Why wont that work ? A No 6 valve is burnt . Apr 21, 2018 at 1:30

1 Answer 1


I would use wire (welding rod is a good candidate) or small springs to "hook" the chain either side - obviously the top part stays loose but the bottom part around the lower sprocket stays firmly in place.

  • That's a good idea! Thanks. I guest the worst case is that it slips and I have to take the timing cover off. It's not a terrible process, just not fun to remove the belts, harmonic balancer, chassis brace, hood, etc.
    – 3Dave
    May 4, 2017 at 13:15
  • 1
    Been there, done that, with appropriate swearing...
    – Solar Mike
    May 4, 2017 at 13:35

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