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1988 D21, Z24I, 2WD. Stock.
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everybody,

My Name is Noah. I'm not new to forums, or asking for help, but I am new to these "older" Nissans. I'm planning on rebuilding my GF's hardbody engine, and probably paying a local shop for transmission rebuild as I know that's out of my capabilities with winter closing in. I'm not going to be a "single poster" as I know how annoying that gets for the normal members to come help out the new guy, and then never hear back from them. I'll upload pictures, and ask questions accordingly.

So a quick run down on what's wrong with her truck:
  1. It's got white smoke coming out of the tail pipe upon start up, and idle. Currently, I don't know about under load as we haven't been driving it because of the trans leak I mention below.
  2. I believe the transmission has a leak somewhere. I know the transmission is leaking as I've had to top it up a handful of times, or the engine is consuming the ATF. Currently, I'm not sure 100%.
  3. It's got a worn Pittman arm according to the local raben tire, and some of the brake components on it are going out. The the single piston calipers up front.
I'm pretty good at all things mechanical, but I've never tackled a full engine tear down, and rebuild. This is basically the extent of my working area. As you can see, it's not "Ideal." I won't be able to pull the engine, and put it on an engine stand. I'll have to do everything in the truck as best that I can. Hence why I'm coming here to get help, guidance, and ask questions. I'm hoping this forum isn't as dead as tundrasolutions.com, of which I am also a member. All of my build threads are on Tundras.com though. I'll attach links to those down at the bottom of this post.
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So, currently... I have no pictures of her truck on my phone or on this computer I'm using, but its a spray paint grey, 1988 D21 King Cab. Similar to this image I stole from here, but bone stock. No lift kit, no aftermarket wheels, nothing except what it rolled out of the factory with in 88. Bone Stock.
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The reason I put a question mark after the Z24I in the thread title is because I'm unashamedly unfamiliar with these engines, and I saw some two different types of Z24's online. I assume her engine is the fuel injected version being an 88. Again, I'm unfamiliar, and that's why I'm here. I cannot wait to learn from you guys, and be able to bring you guys/gals along on this journey that Her, and I are about to start down together. I want to do as much to it as possible to ensure this truck will be with us for a long, long time. We'll see how she feels about it. It's her truck, and I won't do anything that she isn't comfortable with.

Thanks for having me, and reading this far if you did!

Anyways, so you guys, and gals can get a gauge on my mechanical abilities, here's some links below of my build threads from Tundras.com.
 

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The z24i has 8 spark plugs, so it's easy to spot verses the newer ka24i that started around 1991 or so. The z24i has a throttle body injection system.

White smoke is usually a blown head gasket.

And it's called a King Cab.

Come here and post a picture:

 

· Registered
1988 D21, Z24I, 2WD. Stock.
Joined
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The z24i has 8 spark plugs, so it's easy to spot verses the newer ka24i that started around 1991 or so. The z24i has a throttle body injection system.

White smoke is usually a blown head gasket.

And it's called a King Cab.

Come here and post a picture:

I always wondered why the 4 cylinder had 8 plugs. Anything special to note about the TB injection? My gut instinct was a head gasket. I'll edit the original post with the correct cab name in a second.

I also registered for an account at the site you linked.
 

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I think the 8 spark plugs was an attempt at cleaner burning. I remember it was a big selling point years ago, but newer techniques made it obsolete quickly.

It is easier to get more power out of the newer KA24e (KA24i above was a typo) because it was the same engine used in the 240sx. A lot of those parts swap.

But the Z24i is rock solid. It is a better motor.

The only issue you might have would be with the throttle body system. It is reliable, but it isn't made anymore and nobody can seem to find an aftermarket substitute.

A lot of owners have swapped the TBI for a Weber carb when they have issues. I think those are around $600, and the government won't like it if you live where they check emissions.

So keep your eyes out for used ones. Having a spare is great. If you ever get rid of the truck, you can easily get your money back by selling it.
 

· Registered
1988 D21, Z24I, 2WD. Stock.
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think the 8 spark plugs was an attempt at cleaner burning. I remember it was a big selling point years ago, but newer techniques made it obsolete quickly.
Interesting, so when I do a compression test, I need to do both the intake, and exhaust spark plugs? I've never seen that before. Pretty neat. Are the intake/exhaust plugs the same?

It is easier to get more power out of the newer KA24e (KA24i above was a typo) because it was the same engine used in the 240sx. A lot of those parts swap.
Pretty neat! I'm not looking for more power per se, just a rebuild. I will keep that in mind though about the 240sx. Do you know offhand what years for the KA24e/240sx?

But the Z24i is rock solid. It is a better motor.

The only issue you might have would be with the throttle body system. It is reliable, but it isn't made anymore and nobody can seem to find an aftermarket substitute.

A lot of owners have swapped the TBI for a Weber carb when they have issues. I think those are around $600, and the government won't like it if you live where they check emissions.
The solidity of the motor was something I found out in my quick research. People literally just run these things in the dirt, and keep driving them. Damn shame about the throttle body stuff, but pretty neat about the Weber Carb. In Western Ky, where I live, there is no emissions testing of any kind.

So keep your eyes out for used ones. Having a spare is great. If you ever get rid of the truck, you can easily get your money back by selling it.
I'll keep a look out on Ebay. I doubt we'll get rid of it unless I can't fix it. Are there members here who would be interested?
 

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Interesting, so when I do a compression test, I need to do both the intake, and exhaust spark plugs? I've never seen that before. Pretty neat. Are the intake/exhaust plugs the same?

Pretty neat! I'm not looking for more power per se, just a rebuild. I will keep that in mind though about the 240sx. Do you know offhand what years for the KA24e/240sx?
Man, not really. Mine is the V6. I'm just giving you information that I learned by listening to the 4-cylinder owners.

I'm decent with a wrench, though. For a compression test, you should only remove one plug. Your compression testing tool will thread into whatever spark plug hole you empty. And I think you can use the same spark plug in all cylinders. I think the specs are slightly different if you look them up in the Service Manual.

Below is a link to the 1989 Service Manual. It should be almost identical to your 1988. The main sections you'd want to familiarize yourself with are General Information, Maintenance, and EF-EC (Engine Fuel and Emissions Control).


That is my personal Drop Box account, so save that to your computer. You never know when Drop Box is going to stop letting me share files like that.

I do know that the KA24de (D for dual overhead cam, maybe) was also used in the 1st generation Frontier trucks. It's the same block, and owners have swapped those in when their tired, old KA24e died. It isn't quite a direct swap, but pretty close.


I'll keep a look out on Ebay. I doubt we'll get rid of it unless I can't fix it. Are there members here who would be interested?
This is a good site, but there are definitely a lot more Hardbody owners on Infamous Nissan. You can create an intro thread there and you will get a lot of responses.

Also, they have a build log section. It may seem silly now, but it's a great place to have a diary of your truck. You can write down notes about when you bought it (like the owner's name and such), and write down your odometer mileage when you change oil, filters, or plugs. Maybe post a link you found for a good Weber Carb swap. Everything you'd want to keep up with about your own truck. However, unlike this forum, Infamous Nissan runs on a tight budget, so they do not have photo hosting like this one does. You would need to put your pictures somewhere like www.imgur.com, a free image-hosting website. It has a slight learning curve to it, but it is simple once you get the hang of it.
 

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JPCode is right on the dual plugs. At low rpms, the dual plugs both spark to help ignite the fuel/air mix. At higher rpms, there's enough f/a velocity to drop one bank out. I think it's the intake that stops (been too long since I had to deal with this). Anyway, this happens somewhere around 2500 rpms (mine didn't have a tach so it's an approximation). The actual coils are the same, they use different ign modules.

So if you pull only one bank of plugs to perform a compression test, bear in mind the other set of plugs will spark along as usual. Either pull the fuel pump relay, or disconnect the ign modules (both of them).

I don't have it anymore (but still check in here occasionally). It was an 1986.5 STD cab, manual, we had since new in 1987. It was a tough little truck.

Good luck with your rebuild!
 
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