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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone has this problem on their L31 Altima? It's strange that the 2002 & 2003 model years are not affected (not shown on the TSB).

From the reading I've been doing, it sounds like the Frontier trucks had quite a few with this issue. Sounds like not all are affected, so not sure what the root cause was on this problem.

TSB: NTB07-042
Description: VQ ENGINE; BUZZING / WHINING NOISE FROM TIMING CHAIN AREA
There is a buzzing / whining noise coming from one or both secondary timing chain /camshaft sprocket areas. The noise may increase with engine speed (RPM).
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
On the 3.5s like yours, MOST likely it has a broken timing chain guide!
Yes, I have the TSB and I'm aware of the issue ... the chain tensioner guide slider for the two secondary cam-chains wears out very quickly, and the cam-chain starts chewing on the metal plunger and backbone of the tensioner. See this thread for some photos, page 1 and 3.

wierd engine whine noise - Maxima Forums

My question is - are the Altimas just as susceptible? It's very strange, because on the Altima boards there is hardly any talk about it. Yet, on the Maxima and Frontier boards there is all kinds of talk about it.

I talked to a couple Nissan dealer service departments, and they've never even heard about this problem. I think it takes about 60K miles for this to show up, so maybe there will lots of owner's who suddenly have this issue, and will notice it by the whining made by the cam-chain when it finally eats down to the metal on the tensioner. This issue seems to be a pretty hot topic on the internet too if you search for "NTB07-042".

I want to know what the hell Nissan was thinking. They have had cam-chain tensioner problems since the first generation Altimas (1993) and they yet haven't figured out a good design? I did notice the technical bulletin does NOT include 2002 and 2003 3.5L VQ V6s for some reason. I'm thinking they must have tired to save 5 cents per tensioner and switch to some junk plastic starting in 2004.

I just bought a used 2004 Altima 3.5 SE with only 18,500 miles on it and figured it was going to be trouble free after talking to the dealers and they claimed that motor was "bullet proof". Unfortunately, the power train warranty on the car was over Oct 2008.

I think Nissan is going to in for a rude awakening when all these VQ engines start whining in the next year or so. I'm assuming they all will eventual eat down the tensioner slide block ... unless there is something I don't know, like was it only a few bad batches of tensioner that made it into production? Anyone know? Since there is no VIN beak in the technical bulletin, I'm thinking every one listed in the bulletin is a ticking time bomb ... including mine.

I'm going to write Nissan about this ... there should be no excuse for such shoddy engineering. They should have their cam-chain system perfected by now on all their vehicles.
 

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Just had my car in for service and they replaced it under powertrain warranty, they are now using "updated" parts that should't have the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
^^^Yup! Pretty much any year and any Nissan with the VQ in it.
Ouch ... so do you ever see any higher mileage VQs that do not have the cam-chain whine? In other words, does or will it happen to EVERY VQ on the road at some point, or was it a hit or miss deal dependent on if there were bad parts installed at the factory?

Supposedly, the cause of the tensioner blocks getting worn down is because the backside of the cam-chain that rubs on the block has sharp edges on it; probably from when the links were cut out of sheet metal before they were put together to make the chain.
 

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There are actually 2 problems with these VQs!
1 - A rattle from the timing chain area. Broken timing chain guide, that now has slid down and now the tensioner isn't positioned where it should be!

2 - A whining or buzzing sound from timing chain area. Becomes more high pitched when rpms get higher! This is the worn camshaft tensioner guides. This problem is MORE labor intensive!


Problem 2 is notorious on the newer 4.0 engines, found in the new bodystyle Pathfinders, Xterras and Frontiers!
 

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I've got a 2005 Altima 3.5 with about 84,000 miles on it. Whining noise very loud at this point, and since its out of warranty, the dealer wants $1800 to repair it for this TSB issue. And all efforts to get Nissan to do something (anything) for "customer satisfaction" have failed. Never, ever, again. This is my third Nissan in a row, two Altima's and a Maxima. And the Maxima is over 125,000 and due to be replaced and they still won't help. Very frustrating. They're losing a long term customer, and really don't seem to care in the least.

It seems like this should really become a recall. It's not a safety issue in the sense of the wheels falling off, or the car bursting into flames, but I'd still rather not be in the left lane of my favorite interstate and have one of the chains break. It would not be fun to have the trailing traffic start rear-ending when the car comes to a sudden stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
^^^Yup! Pretty much any year and any Nissan with the VQ in it.
There are actually 2 problems with these VQs!
1 - A rattle from the timing chain area. Broken timing chain guide, that now has slid down and now the tensioner isn't positioned where it should be!

2 - A whining or buzzing sound from timing chain area. Becomes more high pitched when rpms get higher! This is the worn camshaft tensioner guides. This problem is MORE labor intensive!


Problem 2 is notorious on the newer 4.0 engines, found in the new bodystyle Pathfinders, Xterras and Frontiers!
What's the lowest mileage VQ you have seen with these problems?
 

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^^^Miles so low that the cars are still under the powertrain warranty!

I just did this job on an '05 Altima, with the 3.5 in it and it had 138K miles on it!
 

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can it happen again?

There are actually 2 problems with these VQs!
1 - A rattle from the timing chain area. Broken timing chain guide, that now has slid down and now the tensioner isn't positioned where it should be!

2 - A whining or buzzing sound from timing chain area. Becomes more high pitched when rpms get higher! This is the worn camshaft tensioner guides. This problem is MORE labor intensive!


Problem 2 is notorious on the newer 4.0 engines, found in the new bodystyle Pathfinders, Xterras and Frontiers!

Hello Metro273, I just finished the reparation on my Quest 07 for the point number 2 (NTB07-042) and the whinning noise has finally gone:), but my concern is: can this issue be present again with the new parts (tensioner, chains, etc)?

Thank you in advance for your comments.

J.Leal
 

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I have a 2005 Altima with the 3.5 engine. At about 60,000 miles it started developing a whinning noise. The noise has become steadily worse and has been identified as the timing chain problem described in NTB07-042. Nissan will repair the problem for $2000. I have asked them if this is a safety issue and is it safe to drive the car. They will not reply. The service manager would only say that none of the timing chains have failed "to his knowledge".
I don't mind the noise that much, but don't want to drive the car if it's an accident waiting to happen.
Would appreciate advice.
 

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I have an 05 3.5L Altima and I just took my car in to stop this whine, and I just got the car and well the whine is still there. What would the reason be for this?
This is what they replaced so I'm sure they caught everything. Main timing chain, chain tensioner, chain guide, water pump, timing cover seal. Any advice would be helpful
 

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I have an 05 3.5L Altima and I just took my car in to stop this whine, and I just got the car and well the whine is still there. What would the reason be for this?
This is what they replaced so I'm sure they caught everything. Main timing chain, chain tensioner, chain guide, water pump, timing cover seal. Any advice would be helpful
what exactly does this whine sound like? like a power steering pump going bad?? or like a a/c pulley going bad or a serptine belt whining?? is it substantially loud or on the quiet side??? please be more specific because there are quite a few things that can whine when faulty on a car

or is it like a slight high pitched clicking that raises with engine speed raised and decreases when engine speed is decreased??
 

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Makes the noise on startup while idle. Also on accelerations. It does not make the noise while holding a steady speed. It is not as noticeable since the repair, however it still exists so I would say its has gone from a loud really noticible noise to one that isn't as bad. Prior to this fix I did have my alternator and power steering belts replaced.
 

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what exactly does this whine sound like? like a power steering pump going bad?? or like a a/c pulley going bad or a serptine belt whining?? is it substantially loud or on the quiet side??? please be more specific because there are quite a few things that can whine when faulty on a car

or is it like a slight high pitched clicking that raises with engine speed raised and decreases when engine speed is decreased??
To me, I describe it as a supercharger whine. I've done so many of these bullatins I can have them in and back out in half a day.
 
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