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First step when you're unsure of how something works is to put the wrenches down & chill out. Then think about it, read what you can & figure out how it's supposed to work.

When you don't understand how it's supposed to function is when you can get into trouble, as you won't realize there's a misunderstanding of the procedure you are trying to follow.

I learned this early & fairly cheaply on a "simple" job, removing the wheels from an older Willys 4WD wagon (Jeep). Lugs were rusted & not easy to turn, when I got to the second side it didn't seem like they would come off at all. Large "X" wrench gave me the torque to remove one - by BREAKING the stud right off! Lack of knowledge, assumed they all turned the same way & that was WRONG for that vehicle as the right side was reverse thread. If I'd investigated when it didn't seem to work right I'd have saved the PITA of replacing the broken stud.

On this one you're probably lucky, if you'd turned the cam to a hard stop on a zetec in an SVT Focus you'd probably have bent a valve or two & the next step would be pulling the head for a rebuild. NOT finding a hard stop on your model is the saving grace. (no interference)

To set timing with a VCT gear include in the setup, the cam needs to be in the right position as well as the VCT gear. VCT gear outer turns relative to the inner part that attaches to the cam & it has a limit in each direction. To time it, it needs to be against one of those limits, and amc49 has been trying to describe how to ensure that it is. Spring loaded in one direction, it SHOULD go to the proper setting when loosened but this doesn't always occur - hence the instruction on making sure that it's where it belongs before tightening in position.

Review all the comments you've read here & elsewhere for a full understanding before trying to get it right & you can get it done properly with a minimum of difficulty.

Cheers
 

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Bud's BMW V8 with VANOS (their name for the VCT) is tougher in some ways. Besides locking cams & setting the VANOS pulleys right (two banks) it takes a special tool to set the sensor trigger plates on the ends of the cams in the correct position. Also a special tool to replace the chain tensioner for mechanical tension while servicing it.

Wacky setup with a "U" shaped slider to carry the chain down & up between cylinder banks (plain pin & link chain). One main hydraulic tensioner & two for the separate chains to the exh. cams from the VANOS pulleys. Chain sliders have oil feeds as well.

Four Banger with only one odd adjustment is much simpler.


P.S. - liquid cooled alternator is a bit different to see as well!
 
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