97 Ka24E Timing Chain - Nissan Forum
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#1 Old Feb 28th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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97 Ka24E Timing Chain

This is my third Nissan PU. The other two had the Z24 engine. That engine had the big double timing chain that Nissan said never had to be repalced. I have run 2 of them past 250K with no problems.

I now have a 97 with the Ka24e. I did not realize until today that it has only a single chain. It has 122K, and rattles very briefly as the oil pressure comes up on a cold start. My question, that I don't seem to be able to get a straight answer from Nissan about is, does this chain have to be replaced at a specific interval like a Toyota? Opinions?

Thanks

mm
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#2 Old Feb 28th, 2007, 07:24 PM
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My 89 has the Z24 engine and the previous owner had replaced the timing chain because it broke. It currently has 180,000 on it and I am in the process of replacing the head gasket and had some work done on the head. I can see where the valves collided with the tops of the cylinders when the chain broke on the previous owner. They are scarred where it crunched the valves. So, he either got a new head or just replaced the valves and reconditioned the head some. I can't really tell. It must have been a lot of money though.

I don't know if the chain is supposed to be replaced at certain intervals like timing belts. If you are sure the chain is loose though and is rattling causing timing problems, you might want to go ahead and replace it and the tensioners because it could do more damage should it break. I don't know if the Ka24e an interference type engine (valves collide with cylinders when the chain breaks) like the Z24. Someone else on this board may know that. If it is, it might be good to get that taken care of-provided the rest of the truck is okay (it is worth it). If not and the chain breaks, when the engine winds down it could possibly damage the head--and the repairing or replacing the head can cost quite a bit.
#3 Old Feb 28th, 2007, 07:34 PM
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I'm not having any timing problems at all. It just rattles a little for about a second on a cold start. Everything I've heard and read says that is not that unusual. I was just wondering if anyone new if there is a specified interval on that engine.

I'm surprised to hear your Z24 chain broke. We have been driving these trucks since the mid 80's and that is the first Z24 chain I've ever heard of breaking. I once talked to a guy that had been a Nissan mechanic for many years and he had seen one, but it had 280K+ on it when it happened. I'm just still trying to figure out what the differences are with this engine.

Thanks for the reply.
#4 Old Mar 1st, 2007, 06:06 PM
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I changed my timing chain at around 170,000 and it looked like it was still brand new. Yours has 122,00 and you mentioned a Nissan mechanic saw one go at 280,000. I would say, let yours get into the 200,000 range and change it then. My motor now has 209,000 and makes valve noise for a second or two when I start it cold, even with the new chain and tensioner.
#5 Old Mar 1st, 2007, 06:42 PM
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Humanure, is your truck a Z24 or a KA? Yeah, BTW that truck (my wife's) actually only has 115K on it.

Thanks for all the input.
#6 Old Mar 2nd, 2007, 04:46 AM
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Mine is a ka24e.
#7 Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 01:49 PM
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witht he ka24E engine i have one but its a 90 and i know for a fact that you gotta be careful with that sound cuz the guides that the chain runs on is made of plastic and if you start gettin loss of power and water in the oil the most likely cause is the timing chain went through the timing cover like it did on me but i went ahead and replaced the chain and since i took the head off i went and had it machined so but i talked to my nissan dealership and they said the chain is usually good but what it sounds like is that you have a chain tensor goin bad thats what started all of my problems
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#8 Old Mar 16th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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yeah, i've also got a 97 ka24e with the timing chain noise, on startup it would rattle for a couple of seconds and be fine; i just changed my oil a few days ago and the chain has been rattling just about ever since, while idiling and driving. the oil is full, 5w30. not the first time i've changed the oil either, using a fram filter. anybody got any ideas on this??
#9 Old Mar 16th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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yeah it could be the guides that are lettin the chain hit the cover or it could also be the tensior also. when was the last time you had the chain or guides replaced?
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#10 Old Mar 16th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97HardBody
yeah, i've also got a 97 ka24e with the timing chain noise, on startup it would rattle for a couple of seconds and be fine; i just changed my oil a few days ago and the chain has been rattling just about ever since, while idiling and driving. the oil is full, 5w30. not the first time i've changed the oil either, using a fram filter. anybody got any ideas on this??
Quit using Fram filters and get a Nissan filter. Mine does the same thing with aftermarket filters. OOPS! My advise is just for startup but might apply.

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2577101
01 Sentra SE 97,000 miles
97 Hardbody XE King Cab 220,000 miles
94 Sentra LE 250,000 miles RIP
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#11 Old Mar 16th, 2007, 06:51 PM
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When i first got this truck I was told that Fram filters were not so good, I had used them for years, and that Nissan filters, or NAPA filters/Big A filters (both made by wicks) were much better. I switched. I was also told that Nissan filters had a built in check valve that would hold oil pressure against the tensioner and eliminate the chain rattle problem. I have found NO DIFFERENCE as far as the rattle goes, but I'm convinced because of other information that these filters are still much better filters.

I have run 5W/30, 10W/30, and 5W/30 synthetic oil. All seem about the same as far as the rattle goes. I have talked to many Nissan mechanics now, all of them say that until it rattles for 3 or 4 seconds on start up, it isn't a problem. I'm not too comfortable with that, but for now I'm not going to fix it.
#12 Old Mar 16th, 2007, 06:54 PM
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Sorry to double post, but I forgot to mention that several of the Nissan mechs. said that eventually the chain will make noise at an idle, and that is another indicator that it is time to repair it. Mine has never done that.
#13 Old Mar 17th, 2007, 10:45 AM
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All I can tell you is that on my truck if I use aftermarket oil filters it rattles when I start up. If I use Nissan filters, it doesn't. Because of my high mileage I only use 10w30 (Havoline and Max-Life) and I've never tried synthetic because it doesn't seem worth it at this point. I only use synthetic in my spoiled Sentra and synthetic blend in my daughters CR-V.

You gotta go with what works for you.

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#14 Old Mar 17th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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The ol' Z24 and the KA24 are two entirely differant animals. While I have seen a couple of Z24 chains fail during my time with Nissan, it was very rare.

The NAP-Z engines used two fixed guides with a tensioner foot at the bottom of the chain and the double row timing chain. The KA24E started off with a plastic, fixed timing chain guide and a metal backed "slinger" guide that was pushed by the tensioner to take up the slack in the single row chain. (The GA16i engine used in the 89-90 Sentras/Pulsars had a similar design and similar problems.)

Initially, the first of the KA24E engines were recalled and the tensioner and "slinger" guide were replaced to a modified design .

The next issue started when people started hearing chain rattle during start-up. What happens is that debris can sometimes enter the oil feed channel to the tensioner and restrict the flow and pressure. Once the engine was running, there was sufficient oil pressure to the tensioner to properly tension the chain. However, at start-up situations, the chain would remain "slack" and rattle and would eat away at the top of the fixed, plastic chain guide. In worse cases, the fixed guide would break apart so bad that the timing chain would start cutting into the back of the front cover and could cut into the coolant jacket behind the water pump! Nothing like aluminum shavings and coolant for your engine bearings!

Eventually, Nissan finally smartened up and designed a fixed guide with a metal backing. This didn't necessarily address the main problem, but did keep the fixed guide from breaking apart and making the situation worse. 1995 models and up have the updated guide. 1994 models and earlier have the plastic guides unless they have been replaced with the updated parts. The twin cam, KA24DE, also had a similar design change on the lower chain guide, but they didn't really suffer from the problems that the KA24E did. The KA24DE did suffer from the same problem of sludge build up (usually behind the timing main gear) which caused upper chain rattle, which was "fixed" by eliminating the fixed guides of the upper chain (not really fixing the problem...just the noise).

The KA24E engine would also encounter jumped timing in some cases when the guides failed and the chain slacked. This would also retard the ignition timing as the distributor ran off of the camshaft. This I would usually see on U12 Stanzas and B12 Sentras and generally one tooth seemed to retard the timing about 8 degrees. One tooth jumped, the engine would run, but have little power. More than a few teeth would often result in bent exhaust valves.

As stated, the chains actually held up pretty well. They do not have a recommended replacement interval, like timing belts. Personally, I have a 97 H-body (which came with the KA24E and new style guide). Conventional 5W30 oil was used and Nissan filters with maintainance performed by the factory schedule. I have 200,000 miles + on the engine, which has never been apart and have no chain rattles (knock on wood) so far. I highly recommend the Nissan filter (and recommend you NOT use the Fram) and keep up on the oil changes (3000-4000 miles).

If the chain is rattling for 3 to 4 seconds at startup, it is NOT normal unless the oil has just been changed or the vehicle sits for an extended period of time (several weeks). If it is rattling that long of a period, I would recommend new guides and a tensioner. When the tensioner is removed, one can see the oil port. Remove the oil filter and clear out the port by spraying brake cleaner into the tensioner port until it sprays out of the oil filter adapter. Follow that with compressed air, if available. If there is a lot of mileage on the engine, to me it would be foolish not to replace the chain and gears while the cover is off. Obviously replace the old filter and oil prior to startup. 5W30 is recommended, regardless of whether you prefer dino oil or synthetic. It is better for the tiny ports of the hydraulic lifters, which is sometimes another problem with the KA24E engine (valve tap).
#15 Old Mar 17th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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smj999smj, Thank you so much for that information. that is more insight than I have gotten from several lengthly conversations with Nissan service people. My truck is a 97 so presumably has the updated guides. It does rattle slightly (less than 1 second) on a cold start or when it has been sitting for over 2 hours. Other than that, it runs very well. I have always intended to continue using the Nissan filters, but I did not get the benefit of no rattle from them that I hoped I would.

I have this other issue with a seep of oil aparently from the head gasket at the rear drivers corner of the engine. If and when I fix that, I will replace chain and guides at the same time.

I use 5W/30 also because I live at 8000' in Colorado. Winter mornings are frequently below -20 to -30, and summer afternoons rarely above 85. We do make some long trips to desert climates once in a while, and I will use 10W30 for those.

Thanks again, you really helped me understand what I have. When I got this truck, I didn't know the engine was so different from the Z24's I have had.
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