2003 Suzuki XL-7 Q&A
2003 Suzuki XL-7 Question: When is it necessary to replace the timing chain?
The car began making a faint clicking sound about two or three weeks ago, and it has gotten a little louder, on and off. Took it to a family member/mechanic who is out of work and needs the money. He looked into the car, placed his stethoscope and was "fairly certain" it is the timing chain, and that he will have to spend about 11 hours digging into the vehicle to replace the chain--which isn't exactly inexpensive either. I'm wondering: 1) is this car safe to drive and for how long? or should I not drive it at all? 2) does it sound like it is definitively the timing chain? Could it be something else? 3) Could the fact that it was towed behind an RV around the US for several cross-country trips have anything to do with it? 4) could the fact that it was once towed for 15-20 feet or more in PARK (just found that one out) have anything to do with this (even though that happened two years ago) 5) should a mechanic who has never worked on a Suzuki (mostly Chevys, etc) even try to tackle this? Thanks so much! lb - Lindybee73
In general, timing chains don't go bad unless there is outside influence that causes them to go bad. But the guides that the chain run along and the tensioner(s) go bad. It's fairly common to have to replace these but as for the chain.... not so much. Towing the vehicle wouldn't cause the chain to go bad, and towing the vehicle in Park can cause a TON of issues. But chances are that if it was towed in park years ago and you haven't had an issue since, then you got lucky and the issues are unrelated. Bottom line is that there are many factors that can create a noise that will sound like it's a noise in the timing cover but the noise is actually coming from another place. I would try to run the vehicle with the belts off and see if the noise is still there. That will eliminate the chance of any accessories giving you a noise. It is always best to have someone that knows your vehicle work on your vehicle. It's a horrible site to see when a customer comes in with a box of parts that their "friend" left off their vehicle because they didn't know how to put them back in. Noises are difficult to diagnose without actually hearing them in person. Let me know if I can help any further - J4242