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Done it both ways. One truck I replaced the intire system because of broken guides. The other I just replaced the phasers. Phasers are pretty easy as long as you get the 4 dollar cheese wegg to lock the timing chain from dropping off the crank sprocket. Replacing the vct selinoids are prudent also.
I have a 2011 with bank 1 code now. Sel light on and total lack of power until 4500 rpm and 7mpg. Going to get a pair of Dorman phasers. My chain is not showing as stretched on scan tool graph. Lose chain shows a variation in timing floating around. My case I'm solidy stuck 15 deg dif between bank 1 and bank 2. No movement during acceleration or by activating the vct.
Now if you suspect a bad chain then it's a gamble to keep driving it. Slip one tooth = poor running. Slip several teeth = smashed valves and new short block.
All my phasers I replaced had the stop pin sheared off. Mine is stuck 12 advanced. 5 hour job as long as you don't have to remove ac line to get passenger valve cover off. Not for the amateur. If you drop the chain off the crank sprocket your tearing down the whole front.
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