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Your car will not have a timing chain, it will have a timing belt. This is situated at the front of the motor (pulley side) and involves considerable know-how to replace as it involves aligning all the gears in the system and any misalignment can result in poor performance or even bent valves.
I would check to make sure its the timing chain they normaly don't go first on that engine. The crank shaft pisition sensor or the disturbtor shaft can look like the timing is the problem.But if you have broken a tooth on the gear or something you need to remove the radaitor the water pump the timing cover you can unbolt the upper gear the lower one you have to pull. Set the engine up so # 4 cylinder is at the top of the compression stork. install the gears so the mark is down on the upper gear and up on the lower gear and they line up in the middle # 4 is the front right hand side when faceing the engine from the front and the vehicle be on correctly timed.
YEP THE 2.4 ENGINE YOU HAVE TO REMOVE TIMING CHAIN TENSIONER AND TIMING CHAIN.THIS JOB NOT EASY OR HARD BUT IF YOU NEVER DONE ANY KIND AUTO MECHANIC WORK BEFORE JOB WILL BE HARD.IF YOU WANT TO TRY IT.BUY A HAYNES REPAIR MANUAL READ THROUGH IT.THAT WAY YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO REMOVE AND REPLACE WATER PUMP.
You can check yourself at this link. There is an estimator that indicates labor will be from $450 to $570. Then you can check out mechanincs in your area.
This is a big job. The water pump is driven by the timing chain and it involves taking everything off the front of the engine. Don't be surprised if the mechanic also recommends replacing other items while in there. If you have more than 100,000 miles, maybe even the timing chain(s). As long as it's apart . . .
I am familiar with that vehicle but generally with timing chain replacement, the engine needs full access for pulley and cover removal and in some cases the cylinder head requires removal. Generally timing chains last so that they only need replacement at engine overhaul and it is not an economic proposition to have to replace a chain unless some relative degree of engine work is also required at that time.
Engine timing chains generally have a tensioner on them which maintains tension, but some chains can wear significantly and cause timing cover to be "ground away" because of "slop". If the engine is making the noisy rattle of the timing chain against the cover etc, I would schedule a top overhaul (head, machine, test and valve grind) with the chain replacement dependent on mileage with the degree of action. Some simple simplex timing chains (type of chain similar to motor bike chain) may be replaced without dismantling the engines but I would expect your chain would be a "duplex" dual sprocket type, these are most common. These chains are not generally expensive but replacing them can involve a fair amount of work.
Good Luck and hope this helps, Others will have different ideas.
i had the same problem. had a knocking on the engine and let the vehicle sit until i had time to look for the problem. my unknowing mom took the car without permission and the car broke down on her. as it would turn out the upper timing guide rail broke off and damaged the cam gears and broke the upper timing chain along with damaging both the right and left lower chain guides, and the tensioner was also damaged. i would recommend that u inspect the lower chain to make sure that everything is good.
no... the 97 crown vic has a timing chain not a timing belt...it involve 7.4 hrs book time to replace with gears ...parts to include front gaskets and timing kit about 200+ in parts and at 75 an hr ..555 in labor..guessing less than 1k to do the job ..(here in california)