Loss of power, burning oil, rough idle...
I have a '94 Sentra XE with the DOHC model (I believe that's the GA16 model, correct me if I'm wrong!) and I just drive it on a daily basis. No mods, no nothing, but I really need some help and I found this forum! Hopefully you guys can point me in the right direction...
When I start my car, the idle is extremely rough (to the point of shaking parts) and feels like it's going to stall out (it never does). When I rev the engine, there are awful sounds coming from the engine compartment - very uncharacteristic! When driven, there is a huge loss of power throughout the band, but mainly terrible problems getting it off the line at a stoplight or any stopped position. There is a noticable oil burning problem with the car. This all happened suddenly one day - it didn't build up!
It can't be the headgasket, because there isn't leaking coolant or oil anywhere. I don't think it's the IAC, because no codes are being thrown (no check engine light is on). The idle speed adjustment can't be it, either - there's no way it would have been thrown out of whack so quickly! The transmission is less than a year old, so that's not it either.
After conversing with people at the local Autozone, they said it was probably the valve cover gasket, which would cause a drop in compression (and thus power across the full band, most noticable at idle / start), engine knocking due to lean out (there is some), and burning oil due to blow-by.
Does this sound right? And if so, are there any good articles you can direct me to that show how to replace a valve cover gasket? If any of you have previous experience doing such a repair, any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated - most of my experience is on Hondas, particularly the B16 series of engines. There are some similarities, but it's been a long time since I've taken apart a head and looked at gaskets and seals!
Thanks a lot in advance, guys!
(P.S. While reading some other threads on here, it could seem like the problem is the fuel pump - that's also a brand new part, as are the plugs, wires, cap, and rotor!)