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The function of the timing chain is, as with the timing belt, the driving of the camshaft or camshafts, which then operate the intake and exhaust valves again.
The timing chain is a single or double chain that runs over the gear of the crankshaft and over the gear or gears of the camshaft (s) due to the connection in the engine the pistons are operated, which then turn the crankshaft and that through turn the camshaft (s) of the timing chain, and open and close the inlet and outlet valves. The timing chain is tight around the gears by means of a chain tensioner.
It is important that the timing (time) of the chain is correct. The reason for the timing is that the inlet and outlet valves must open and close at the right time. You understand if a valve is down the piston can not come up. The chain tensioner that keeps the chain on tension is in most cases a hydraulic chain tensioner. The timing chain runs in comparison with the timing belt due to the engine oil.