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Timing-chain adjustment.



Got a nasty ticking/knocking sound coming from the engine?

It may well be the can timing chain if it has not been adjust recently. Unlike modern cars, on 1600 and older 1700 Nivas the timing-chain has a manual tension adjuster which needs to be adjusted every 10,000 kms or it will eventually start to eat into the engine's head and do terminal.

Luckily, adjusting the timing-chain is an easy five minute job...

At the front right-hand side of the engine (above the alternator) is a 13mm nut (sometimes 14 mm) on a short tube. It should look just like this, but dirtier:

Timing chain adjusting nutment bolt

Undo the bolt a little bit, then using either a socket or spanner on the crank pulley nut, or the cranking-handle*, turn engine continuously for 1.5 to 2 turns in the direction the motor runs**. Give the tensioner cap a gentle tap with a hammer, and re-tighten the bolt. Chain adjusted.

If you're in any doubt over these instructions download the manual from and follow the full instructions.

* If you don’t have something to turn the engine over, pop the car into in top-gear and push it forward manually a couple of metres (you can pop the spark plugs out first if you can't push it easily). Best done with 2 people so that you can make sure ** doesn't happen.

** Make sure you don't let the engine spin backwards while the nut is loose, or the timing-chain may jump a tooth (and then possibily damage valves). For this reason you should not use the starter to turn the engine over during adjustment.


Niva timing chain adjustment and slipper pad



If that doesn’t work:

You might need to replace the plastic slipper pad (see image above). A new pad is cheap enough, but can be a bit of a pain to fit.

And if that doesn’t work:

It's probably new chain and tensioner time.



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