How do you replace a timing chain gasket on a 1996 Ford Windstar LX 3.8?

The manuel says you have to pull the motor. The timing chain cover can be removed without removing the motor,but its alot of work. You have to remove the passenger side frnt wheel to get access to some of the lower bolts. Remove the serpentine belt and the harmonic balancer and crank shaft drive pully.You will have to remove the camshaft position sensor.Take a scribe and mark the casting and timing chain cover so it can be properly aligned for reinstallation.Remove the retaining nut to the camshaft position sensor and remove carefully. Remove all the nuts and bolts that will clear the frame rail on the timing chain cover and water pump. The water pump will have to be removed. In order to remove the water pump the the front motor mount will have to be released and the motor raised . Use a block of wood on a hydralic jack and place on the oil pan. Slowly jack the motor up until the motor will go up no further.The water pump and pulley can now be removed. Make sure the pulley is free from the water pump before trying to remove. There should be just 4 studs coming out on the engine block through the timing chain cover. Now is the tricky part. Use a pair of visecrips to turn out the studs. Be very careful and take your time when removing. You might have to re-tap the studs before replacing them. Once you get all the studs removed gently pull the timing chain cover away from the engine block . It will take some work, you will have to work the timing chain coverfree and then pull it down and out between the frame rail and the lower contol arm on the suspension. Congradulations you have removed the timing chain cover and hopefully no bolts have broke or nuckles have been busted. Reassemble in reverse order. Make to pack the oil pump gears with grease before reinstallation.

This is a very difficult job and dangerous at times. If you do not have the proper equipment or training "do not attempt this at all".

Alot of work is right! I completed the timing cover gaset replacement over the weekend two full days! I'm sore! Take your time, use plasic bags to hold the bolts, parts, etc. for each of the components you need to remove. In order to remove the harmonic balancer you will need a puller available at Sears or any autoparts store ($20). You will also need to lock the engine so the crank doesn't turn while you remove the retaining bolt on the crane pully. I locked the engine by pulling the starter and wedging a tire iron between the flywheel and the casing. Major torque is need to remove the crank bolt. Use a cheater bar extension to your strong arm or rachet. Also, I used the two nut method to remove the studs that go through the timing cover. Simply screw one nut on to the stud until you are close to bottom of the threads. Then screw a second nut on to the stud until it is back to back with the first nut. Tighten the two nuts against each other. Now you should be able to back out (loosen) the stud by turning the first nut counter-clockwise. I also found that dropping the oil pan slightly helped to break the seal between the oil pan and the timing cover. You don't have to completely remove the pan, just loosen all the oil pan bolts about an 1/8 of an inch so it can drop down just a little. Also, There is a bolt behind the power steering pump pulley that is powered by the serpentine belt. You have to slide a 15mm in between the pulley and the pump and have fun turning 1/4 at a time :).