Dang thats pretty steep! How many hours do you think it would take to remove everything, replace the set, and put everything back on? In general? I have a reliable and trustworthy mechanic that charges by the hour. Just trying to get a ball park figure on what it would cost. Thanks guys
I did mine while I was changing the water pump last fall (92 F150, 5.8L). Broke a water pump bolt off, so I had to pull the timing cover to get the stub out. I spent all day, but I detailed everything while I had it apart. Degreased all the parts, and re-shot the front of the engine. It all looks nice now.
The timing set was only like $15 at O'Reilly for a double-roller steel set; ridiculously cheap. The gasket set was about the same price, if I remember correctly.
I could bang through the project in about 4 hours, if I didn't worry about cleaning/detailing. A beginner should be able to knock it out in a day; no problem. Definately get a FSM or at least an aftermarket manual as guidance.
Like others have said, it's not a particularly difficult job. If it's your first time, take lots of digital photos, tag and bag everything, and lay it all out in order on a large surface where things won't get disturbed until it's all back together.
The money you'll save is nice, but the self-satisfaction is priceless...