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Originally posted in wrong section - OOPS! I bought this '02 Sport Trac 4wd from a family friend with 60K. He bought it new in '02. Now has 150K. PO had never driven it in snow or salt, as he had his BMW shipped from WI to FL each winter. The truck sat in the garage during winter! It is the cleanest Sport Trac you've ever seen!! Over the last few months I have noticed a very quick rattle on the first startup in the morning. No more throughout the day. What is suggested at this point? Religiously change oil every 5K. There is so much written about this problem with the 4.0's, but it is also very confusing. Part of me thinks I should just keep the oil fresh and roll the dice. Some suggest the least painful thing to try is to change the tensioners. I have been pushing the pedal to the floor and cranking before starting, and that seems to make it better/quieter. Love this truck, but don't want to get involved in replacing the engine if the timing chains break.
 

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There are two sets of timing chains front and rear on the 4.0L SOHC engine. If it's starting to rattle now the tensioners are starting to get loose allowing the chains to make more noise until they get oil.

I've heard of temporary fixes from running thicker/thinner oil, additives and even just turning up the radio.

I've also heard of some using a tensioner from a UTV (side-by-side) replacing the factory units with slightly stiffer springs (I think) that maintain tension for longer.

Unfortunately in the long term you will at a minimum have to replace the tensioners, but depending on the damage that may have occurred to the timing chain guides (known as "cassettes") you may need to replace those as well; given the mileage you mention, it'd be good preventative maintenance to do so.

This thread on another forum I frequent goes into much better detail than I can explain and provides a better starting point for you: How to: - Timing chain rattle resolution process - SOHC V6

Ford has used V6 OHC engines in this platform (Rangers,Explorers/Mountaineers) from 1997 through 2010 (making improvements along the way, most issues were resolved by 05') so it pretty much all applies.
 
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