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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, new here, but not so new to Nissans. I have a 92 Stanza XE with a manual transmission. The engine still runs great at 140k miles, except for a timing chain rattle at certain rpms. It started to rattle about 25-30k miles back and over the past couple of months the rattle is progessively getting worse. I've been told by a couple mechanics that the chain will outlast the car but I've also read online that the chains do go out which causes the valves to bend and costing you more money in the long run. But it's not really the fear of it going out, it's more of an annoyance on how loud it has become.

I'm by no means a mechanic, however, I have done some minor work on this vehicle such as; swap out the radiator, alternator, chang the breaks, replaced the valve cover gasket.

My question is this, with my limited experience would it be wise to dive into replacing the timing chain myself? I've read over the Chilton numerous times, and I must say it is a bit intimidating, however I am very eager to dig in and get this taken care of, only cause some of the quotes I've recieved from mechanics have ranged anywhere from 500-1200 just to replace the chain, and I know you can buy a kit(chain+guides+tensioners) for around 100-150 on the net. The chilton says that I have to drop the engine to replace this, is that accurate? Only reason I ask is because I have heard some say it does, and some say you don't, and I would really love clarification on that. How long does this job normally take with someone with a good amount of experience? And also are there any more guides I could follow that would help me out in getting this done that is similar to a chilton?

One more question. My CV Boots went out a few mths back, and I replaced them with those quick-boots that allow you to put them on without having to disassemble the axle, however, those do not seem to be panning out to well as they still appear to be leaking grease out the creases of the boot where you tighten them together. I was wanting to attempt changing these out the correct way by taking the axle apart and puttin on an OEM boot, however, the Chilton once again has me intimidated.

Am I looking to deep into all this and just scaring myself away, or are these jobs really meant for someone with a lot of experience. Like I said, I am pretty eager to get under the hood and get to work, I just don't want to get in over my head.


Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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sbishop said:
Hey guys, new here, but not so new to Nissans. I have a 92 Stanza XE with a manual transmission. The engine still runs great at 140k miles, except for a timing chain rattle at certain rpms. It started to rattle about 25-30k miles back and over the past couple of months the rattle is progessively getting worse. I've been told by a couple mechanics that the chain will outlast the car but I've also read online that the chains do go out which causes the valves to bend and costing you more money in the long run. But it's not really the fear of it going out, it's more of an annoyance on how loud it has become.

I'm by no means a mechanic, however, I have done some minor work on this vehicle such as; swap out the radiator, alternator, chang the breaks, replaced the valve cover gasket.

My question is this, with my limited experience would it be wise to dive into replacing the timing chain myself? I've read over the Chilton numerous times, and I must say it is a bit intimidating, however I am very eager to dig in and get this taken care of, only cause some of the quotes I've recieved from mechanics have ranged anywhere from 500-1200 just to replace the chain, and I know you can buy a kit(chain+guides+tensioners) for around 100-150 on the net. The chilton says that I have to drop the engine to replace this, is that accurate? Only reason I ask is because I have heard some say it does, and some say you don't, and I would really love clarification on that. How long does this job normally take with someone with a good amount of experience? And also are there any more guides I could follow that would help me out in getting this done that is similar to a chilton?

One more question. My CV Boots went out a few mths back, and I replaced them with those quick-boots that allow you to put them on without having to disassemble the axle, however, those do not seem to be panning out to well as they still appear to be leaking grease out the creases of the boot where you tighten them together. I was wanting to attempt changing these out the correct way by taking the axle apart and puttin on an OEM boot, however, the Chilton once again has me intimidated.

Am I looking to deep into all this and just scaring myself away, or are these jobs really meant for someone with a lot of experience. Like I said, I am pretty eager to get under the hood and get to work, I just don't want to get in over my head.


Thanks in advance for any help.

I can't help you much on the timing chain cause I haven't worked on a ka24e...although I've gotta say they don't give you much room to do much in the car. But if you decide to go through with it it'll be a good project for you.

As for the boot it's working fine. A boot isn't to keep grease from leaking so much as to keep dirt out. And by the time that the original boot has torn up you're better off replacing the whole axle. You're looking at about $80 for a new axle and it's a better deal cause it'll last longer and it's easier.
 

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Timing chains are notorious for breaking down in the KA24E. I would replace the tensioners and chain as soon as you can. They go out after about 130-140k miles all the time. My 92 stanza was a prime example. I bought it from the dealer with about 130k on it. Drove it about 3 months and bang! no more tensioners and bye bye valves... i ended up pulling the head off and taking it to a machine shop and replacing the tensioner and chain myself. wasn't too hard since i had the haynes book. The best advice i can give you is give yourself time for this project. Also take the time to label everything that comes off the engine, bolts, wires, vacuum hoses, etc. This will save you so much time when you put everything back together. Other than that. good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses. I see quite a bit of mentioning of the Haynes repair manual, more so than the Chiltons. Should I head out and grab one of those isntead of using this Chilton I have?
 

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sbishop said:
Thanks for the responses. I see quite a bit of mentioning of the Haynes repair manual, more so than the Chiltons. Should I head out and grab one of those isntead of using this Chilton I have?
Personally I don't like haynes cause they're british and don't always have the right information. It wouldn't hurt to have both though to have a comparison. Chilton's is very good and for the most part Haynes is very good too.
 

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Gsolo said:
Personally I don't like haynes cause they're british and don't always have the right information. It wouldn't hurt to have both though to have a comparison. Chilton's is very good and for the most part Haynes is very good too.
If you can try to get a nissan service manual from the dealership. They are a little more spendy but go into a lot more depth on diagnostic procedures and stuff. If you are planning on owning the car for a while this might be a good idea. Otherwise a cheap haynes manual will probably get you by... My only complaint with them is haynes and chilton's usually have many other engine examples so it gets kind of confusing when looking up torque specs and stuff like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I plan on keeping the car for a while. I bought it brand new in 92, and have been the only owner/driver. I did teach someone how to operate a manual on it once and about 6mths later I had to replace the slave cylinder(was still under warranty at the time), but other than that the only real problems with it have been minor like the alternator, radiator, etc..

I'd really be interested in knowing if you do indeed have to drop the engine to replace the timing chain. That's the only thing that worries me since I've never done that before and don't feel comfortable doing it.
 

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sbishop said:
I plan on keeping the car for a while. I bought it brand new in 92, and have been the only owner/driver. I did teach someone how to operate a manual on it once and about 6mths later I had to replace the slave cylinder(was still under warranty at the time), but other than that the only real problems with it have been minor like the alternator, radiator, etc..

I'd really be interested in knowing if you do indeed have to drop the engine to replace the timing chain. That's the only thing that worries me since I've never done that before and don't feel comfortable doing it.
No... i meant a service manual. Like the factory Nissan book. Anyway, you don't have to drop the engine. You just have to disconnect the motor mounts on the timing chain side. Just put a jack under the transmission, disconnect the mounts, and jack the <engine> up a little. This will allow you to take the oil pan off, which you will have to do to disconnect the oil pump which is in the timing chain cover. I pulled the head when i did mine too. I can't remember if you have to pull it when you do the timing chain or not. But i had to, to replace the valves. I would just pull it anyway so you can check the valves and stuff while you have everything else torn apart.
 

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scafidipro said:
Timing chains are notorious for breaking down in the KA24E. I would replace the tensioners and chain as soon as you can. They go out after about 130-140k miles all the time.
Yes, it's true that timing chains do fail in these cars, and I have changed many of them. But the common thread I have found is that those cars usually haven't had oil changes regularly. That is the real problem. The tensionsers get gummed up and let the chain slap around which in turn breaks the plastic chain guides eventually. That's the rattling sound you are hearing. If you let it go too long, the chain will wear a hole through the backside of the timing cover into a coolant passage. Then the cost of the parts for this job almost doubles because timing covers are big bucks new. That's because they house the oil pump too. No, you don't have to remove the engine, but it's tight to work on. There are some overlapping brackets on the fron tof the engine for the pulleys. Look at them carefully before you take them apart. They can go back together wrong and you will know there are on wrong when you find that one of the belts is rubbing and running about two groves off of it's pulley. The other thing to watch out for is not to accidently wrinkle to bottom of the head gasket when reinstalling the timing cover. I dull the sharp upper edge on a wire wheel to avoid this. Good luck. :)

BTW, I have a '90 auto Stanza with 245-K on it now. Working at a Nissan dealer years ago and replacing chains on the 240SX's Pickups and the Stanza's I was sure I would need to replace the timing chain and guides on my KA24E at some point. So I bought all of the factory Nissan replacement parts about back then, with the upgraded metal backed guides and all. I still have them on the shelf. I never needed them as my chain is still perfectly quiet and the tensioner has never allowed the chain to slap to this day. The only reason I can come up with is because this car has never missed an oil change every 3,000 miles since new. I dropped the oil pan once to reaseal a leak and it looked as clean as a new engine inside. I never used any special synthetic oils. Just plain old Castrol and Pennzoil, whichever was on sale that week.

This U12 Stanza is an amazing car. Anyone need a full factory Nissan set of timing chain components? ;) I'm sure I won't be needing them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
well, I took off the valve cover today, and there was a big piece of plastic on the timing chain side not attached to anything, just freely sitting next to the tensioner. the timing chain itself had about an inch of play in it, so the rattle is definitely my chain.

Here goes nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
well, 8 hours into it and I still have yet to get the timing cover off. The only thing in the chilton I skipped was taking the oil pan off. Is it absolutely mandatory that I take that off? That timing cover just does NOT want to come off. Of course it did help a bit when I found that bolt on the upper top left hand corner of the cover, but even still, the fkr just don't want to come off.

I decided to not replace the chain with a new one to save some cash and only purchased new guides and a tensioner. I'm hoping that tomorrow I can finish this bad boy up and have a ride to work Monday. :cool:
 

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sbishop said:
well, 8 hours into it and I still have yet to get the timing cover off. The only thing in the chilton I skipped was taking the oil pan off. Is it absolutely mandatory that I take that off? That timing cover just does NOT want to come off. Of course it did help a bit when I found that bolt on the upper top left hand corner of the cover, but even still, the fkr just don't want to come off.

I decided to not replace the chain with a new one to save some cash and only purchased new guides and a tensioner. I'm hoping that tomorrow I can finish this bad boy up and have a ride to work Monday. :cool:
HA!!! I did the same thing when changing mine. YOU MUST TAKE THE OIL PAN OFF! The timing cover will not come off unless you drop the pan and un-bolt the oil feed tube which stems from the timing cover and bolts to under the block. Be careful when you take it off to support the timing chain cover since it is probably only going to be held up by that one bolt from the oil feed tube and strainer... I did the same exact thing and the chain cover fell on my dad's head!!! maybe just put some of the top bolts back on the cover so it doesn't fall off after you unbolt the oil feed tube. Good luck. You're almost done!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Finally got the oil pan dropped. I had to do all sorts of stuff to drop that out. Removed the center brace, both motor mounts(front and rear), drop the front part of the exhaust, and removed a bracket that was stopping me from gettin to the last bolt of the oil pan.

Finally got the timing cover off, then as I was breakin the allen bolts that hold the guides my hand slammed right into the very sharp part that the harmonic balancer connects to. Swelled up like a golf ball and could see the layers of skin open wide up while the blood gushed out like a faucet. Went to the doc, he stitched me up and numbed it good with some medication. That lasted about 2 hours, but once it wore off, I couldn't finght the swelling anymore, and had to stop. Not to mention Autozone gave me the wrong gasket for the oil pan, so I had no choice but to stop.

8 hours yesterday, 10 hours today, 18 hours total.. Almost had that puppy whipped in 2 days, oh well.. Tomorrow I should have it wrapped up.

have to admit, this was a much bigger job than I figured it would be. So many hidden steps is what got me.
 

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Sorry to hear you are having so much trouble, especially injuring yourself. :(
I have never done this job without a lift. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must be to do on the ground. I've never used an aftmkt. oil pan gasket. I always used what the factory did, the Nissan orange liquid gasket in a tube. In fact, other than the tensioner gasket, I can't remember using any other gaskets, maybe a valve cover, but that's about it.

Yes, the oil pan part of the job adds to the time and workload, but there's no way around it. It sounds like you will prevail in the end though. Good Luck! :)
 

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Dude, it sounds like your having as much fun as i did when i changed mine. Sorry about your hand. My dad was under the timing cover when i finally un-bolted it and it slammed down on his head... i still laugh when i think about it to this day! He he he... I got him a t shirt later that read: It's always funny until someone gets hurt... Then it's hilarious!!! He wears it all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
woohoo.. All done, no more rattle. Want to say thanks to all of you who responded to my post. There was some info that I used from here that helped me out.

I was able to strip out a valve cover bolt and a bolt that mounted my tension rod. Other than that, the car started right up but ran real rough for about 60 seconds(I was trippin thinkin I screwed up the timing) But it all cleared up. And NO extra bolts layin around!

Thanks again for all your input, I appreciate it.
 
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