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Here's how I checked, and found my timing chain BAD, on my '87 3.0L Vulcan in my wagon.

Grab hold of the serpentine belt, or the crankshaft pulley if you want to get underneath. Rock the sucker back and forth to see if there's any play without the
valvetrain trying to move.

I had about 5 degrees of timing chain slop; I could get about an inch or so of movement - that's back and forth, at the serpentine belt as it went around the alternator pulley.

If there's any noticeable movement, it needs to be replaced.

After changing mine, I noticed about 3 mpg improvement and it would pull the hills without downshifting, or me having to floor it. Made quite a difference.

BTW, if you go in that far, change the water pump too! It's not that expensive, and you sure don't want to do THIS job twice!!!!
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