I think the tensioner has a couple of lines on it to gauge how far it is extended. Verify water pump shaft is not flopping around (bearing failure). And yes - could be worn chain.
If tensioner is dry, its internal spring can extend it, but the spring is not strong enough to stay extended against camshaft valve spring torque. It has to fill with oil to be stiff.
It’s not oil pump pressure per-se that stiffens the tensioner, rather it takes in oil supplied to it thru it’s ball check valve port and pumps itself up exactly like a lash adjuster (AKA valve lifter) does.
'98 LXi - Later Concorde gages (black w/ chrome rings)/'99 LX - LHS gages (white) - HIR bulbs
Last edited by peva; 07-02-2019 at 11:31 PM.