Compressing the tensioner

Got the heads back on. Painful time getting rid of the protective film on the Payen head gaskets.
Maybe these were very old stock, the film kept sticking to the gasket even after breaking up with application of 3 different solvents. In the end had to carefully scrape the remnants off with a brass bristle brush - nearly 3 hours work.

Unlike the last head gaskets I used to rebuild an HE engine, these ones did not have a bead of sealant around the water jacket area. It did not look convincing the gasket would seal that area just by itself. To make sure I applied a thin film of a Permatex non hardening sealer.

Not sure how everybody else does it, but getting the sprocket back on the end of the camshaft is not dead easy. You need to compress that tensioner nearly flat in the process. The ROM has a tool that pulls up on a hole in the end of the tensioner mechanism to flatten it, and I fabbed one up when I rebuilt the old pre HE engine that was the coupe’s original engine. It did work but is a bit dangerous because it can snap the end off the plastic part of the tensioner bore that fits over a steel pin next to the oil pump. I have a tensioner given to me with such a breakage.

To flatten the tensioner I put a screwdriver in the hole and twist the release slot. To keep it there add a vicegrip and a bit of wire. Stick a really long screwdriver down behind the sprocket so it jams between the chain and a chain guide spacer. Lever on this screwdriver to compress the tensioner. Use another screwdriver and suitable packing piece to lever the sprocket the last mm onto the camshaft.

Problems doing it this way ? It is much kinder to the plastic part of the tensioner. You need to be careful to put the end of the screwdriver on the chain to apply force, and not on the plastic. The end of the screwdriver should be close to the jackshaft centre for maximum effect. You can add a 2nd screwdriver if needed to get a bit more leverage. Having somebody else to help makes it quicker, but it can be done single handed.

Anybody has a better way ?