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Timing chain and gears for Rover V8's

by David Huddleson

There are several options for owners of Rover, Land-Rover, Triumph TR8 and other Rover V8 powered vehicles when it comes to the timing chain and gears. For those of us in North America, I think the easiest choice is to tell your favourite Performance Auto Parts "counter jockey" that you own a 1975 Buick Skyhawk with the 3.8 "Odd-Fire" V6. This engine uses the exact same timing set-up, and is more likely to be found in their parts books (or computer database) than some funky "Rover" V8...

As to actual gears and chains, I consider that there are several options:

  • (1) Original "link" chain with steel crank gear and nylon-wrapped camshaft gear. Just as good as original... ho hum! Nylon can crack and disintegrate over time, and the link chain tends to stretch, altering the timing (albeit only small amounts...)
  • (2) Steel gears (both!) with link chain. Less chance of failure since there is no nylon to wear/crack. Supposed to be a bit noisier (huh! I can't hear over the exhaust noise anyway!) The link chain is known to stretch over time more so than the roller chains (see 3 below).
  • (3) Steel gears with roller chain. Better setup and retains accurate timing much longer. There are variations which include the so-called "true-roller" chains such as the Cloyes brand name. These are the ultimate, but you should weigh the cost to your budget.

I went with option #3 but didn't go to the expense of the true-roller chain. My Skyhawk timing chain and gears were not in-stock at my local Speed Shop, but they had them next day and at extremely affordable prices! Try asking for Rover V8 parts and see what happens!

Reprinted from the OVLR Newsletter, January 1998
Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified September 23, 2007.
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