There are four basic types of timing sets, and each have different pros and cons attached to them.
The timing set that will work best for you is largely dependent on your particular vehicle application. In today’s video, COMP Cams’ Brandon Flannery will give you an overview of each type to help you choose the best timing set for your engine.
A Quick Overview of the 4 Types of Timing Sets
1. Link Belt
These are the most basic timing sets and can be found on daily drivers, where they mostly work fine. The problem that can arise with the link belt design is that it can generate a lot of heat and drag, which can turn into a significant problem in performance applications.
So if you’re looking to upgrade your timing set, you’ll want to consider one of the following:
2. Roller Chain
They look similar to a bicycle or dirt bike chain, and are a step above a link belt in terms of their performance capabilities. There’s a lot less drag with a roller chain set, and you can get them in either single-roller or double-roller sets.
“For a lot of your street applications and high-mile to high performance applications, a double-roller chain is going to be the way to go,” Flannery said.
3. Gear Drive
Uses gears, as the name implies. The problem with a gear drive set is that they can sometimes transfer some of the harmonics from the crankshaft into the valvetrain, and make a lot of noise.
Also, the engine block might need to be modified for a gear drive timing set to fit.
There are two styles: Dog bone, and Idler style.
One of the best qualities of a gear drive timing set is that they are very rigid, and once set, will keep your timing intact.
For the most part, they’re a good choice for most high-rpm applications, Flannery said.
4. Timing Belt
The biggest drawback of a timing belt drive system is that they can be expensive, and like the gear drive sets, might need some engine block machining work done for proper fitment.
You’ll find timing belt sets on many higher-end race applications. They’re common in NHRA Pro Stock and NASCAR.
There are two styles: Tension fit, and Idler pulley.
Timing belt sets are very precise, very accurate, and ideal for racing applications, Flannery said.