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Discussion Starter #1
Tried to do a search for this, but no luck, so hope someone can offer some insight.

My daughter went to start her car yesterday, but the car she no start (lol).

I turned the key and the engine cranked, sorta, but it wasn't the same crank as usual. Reminded me of when my Escort tossed a timing belt and the car would crank but there was less "load" on it since the top half was disconnected from the bottom half, so it sorta "free-wheeled", as they say.

Well, I looked at the serp belt on Kelly's 1.6 as she turned the car over. The serp belt and top pully did turn, which they wouldn't do if the timing chain were broken, right? They would be "disconnected" from the crank. There was also a "whirring" noise in the vicinity of the starter/solenoid. So one might suspect a bad starter or solenoid.....

Then I wondered; if the starter wasn't engaging due to a bad starter or non-engaging solenoid, why then is the serp belt/top pulley turning? It shouldn't be, right?

Any help that any of you can offer would be appreciated. Thanks.

Signed,
Frazzled Dad
 

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You are right. If the starter wasnt engaging the elt wouldnt turn. But the belt would still turn if the timing chain was broken. Not much else I can offer for ya though.
 

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how many miles, history of the ca r?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
'95 200SX stick, about 115k, no major problems. There has been a little noise for a short while that indicates the upper guides may need to be looked at (very nice info here on that, btw!) and with a new job I simply haven't had the time, but the car ran fine and didn't leave her stranded anywhere. The problem occurred when she went out to start it in the morning.

What's the likelyhood that a timing chain failed, do they fail very often on these motors? Short of pulling a valve cover and seeing if the cams move, is there another way to check for a timing chain problem?

My gut feeling was that it was a non-engaging stater, but like I said, when she turned the car over as I looked at the front of the motor, I definitely saw the serp belt turning, so at least the crank was turning, right? That should mean that the starter IS engaging, I would think? And assuming there was a timing chain issue and the starter worked fine and turned the crankshaft via the flywheel, wouldn't the crank pulley force the serp belt to also turn the cam pulley?

The more I try to think this through, the more my head hurts! I don't want to just throw money at a starter/solenoid in guessing, but I don't want to tow this to a garage just to have this end up being a starter/solenoid that I could have changed relatively cheaply myself in my own driveway.

Thanks for your help, all.
 

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The serp would not force the cams. Cams are only connected to the timing chain. Checking for spark would be my first thing.
 

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Well the chains turn the cams independently of the pulleys turning the belts at the front of the motor, if you understand what i mean, if the chain broke the belts would still turn.
No this does not seem to be common at this mileage.
Well the distributor is on the end of the camshaft, so if the rotor still turn the chain is not broken.
Try removing the cap, check the rotor is still attached ok with the screw, look for Oil ( shouldn't be any), check it rotates when you give it a quick crank.
If this is OK, is there a chance to got flooded ? was the car started cold and moved 20 - 50 ft and then shut off ?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for a little common sense; I should have remembered to check the rotor and see if the distributor is turning!

I read a few threads yesterday on flooding, seems to be a common problem with these motors and someone suggested cranking the car with the fuel pump fuse pulled. I'll look for that thread again and try tomorrow. I'll also try to find the time to pull the cap off as well.

Responses like these are what makes this such a great forum. Thanks guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay, in the interest of trying to rule out flooding, I went outside and cranked the car while holding the gas pedal to the floor. The car cranked and cranked a bit, then suddenly heard a "clunk" and it stopped turning over. I turned the key off, waited a few seconds, and it cranked over again, then again I heard a "clunk" and it stopped turning over. Now when I turn the key, it doesn't turn over, I just hear the "clunk". Feels very much like a starter/solenoid problem. I'll give it another try in the daylight tomorrow before I head off to work. If I can get it to turn over again, I'll also check the rotor.

Used to be you could jump a starter by crossing the poles with a screwdriver on an older American car; is this possible on a 1.6 Nissan?
 

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actually if you think its flooded (and not due to leaky injectors) the
Nissan service advisers told us when both of our cars were new to hold the gas pedal down to the floor then crank it till it starts. It works, and i have done this several times with the 1.6 and my daughter with the 2.0
(I think the people that had to remove the fuse had other issues as well.)
 

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Sounds like the battery may be going flat ?
well the starter terminals are hard to get at and this is a pre - engaged starter, but in principle the same as the GM pre-engaged starters. Since Its hard to get at, messing with the terminals when its live could get exciting.
If its the starter and the battery is fine, when it wont work tap it with a hammer on the body with a nice solid blow, if it starts right up its the starter.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
She bought a new battery about a year ago. I appreciate the help, fellas, it's just hard to find the time for doing this when I started a new job hat requires me to leave the house about 8AM and get home around 7PM (getting dark earlier, too!). Thank goodness my daughter is off Wed. and Thur. this week and works with my girlfriend, as I'malso working 6 days a week right now (I was laid off in July, so I'm happy just to be working again, though!).

Sounds like it might be the starter and probably not a solenoid (since AutoZone and the largest foreign parts company around didn't even have one for a car as popular as a 200SX/Sentra in their warehouse, I'd assume they don't fail too often?)

I'll try tapping on the starter tonight when I get home (used to do this on our GM starters, I recall!).
 

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The Solinoid is attached and part of the starter so you get a new/rebuilt one with the starter.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, Ian; that explains why no one carries one seperately, I guess?

Went out this AM (brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!) and tried tapping it with a hammer, no luck. Doesn't mean it isn't the starter, doesn't mean it is. I'll pull it out and have it tested at the parts store on my next day off (next Tues.) and take it from there. Wish I'd have been able to pull the distr. cap while it was still cranking, just to check to see if the rotor was turning.

Appreciate the help.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Okay, I was off today and it wasn't pouring, so I tackled the starter.

Pulled the old one out - wasn't too bad to do - and found that the drive gear was in the "out" position, and not retracted. Figured that was the problem (one problem, anyway). It tested fine at AutoZone, but that drive still didn't retract.

Bought a new one and should have had them test that one too, because when I installed it, still no good. Took it back and that one tested bad. They picked another one up at a second store and that one tested fine and the drive gear DID retract. I installed that one, and still the same thing happened initially - it "clicked", but didn't crank. By now it was getting pretty dark. After a bunch of turns of the key, it started making noise like it was spinning, but the car didn't feel like it was "cranking".

Tomorrow morning before we head out to work, I'll have my daughter turn the key while I watch to see if the lower pully is turning. If it isn't, I'll assume the starter isn't engaging still and we'll re-group. If the lower pully IS turning, I'll watch through the fill cap to see if the cams are turning.

Changed that starter three times today; I've got it down pat now!

BTW, it isn't her battery; I put mine in her car and it did the same thing, then put hers in my car and it started right up. Last thing: somehow I wound up with a decent sized vac. line that I con't figure out where it goes .... comes off the top of the transaxle, under the brake cable bracket, and seems to clip to a plastic clip that goes around the back of the intake hose which goes to the throttle body. Moved that line all around the places it COULD go, and have come up empty; haven't seen an open fitting for the other end it should go into, either.

On the plus side, I found another '95 200SX in a boneyard down the street! (Automatic though).
 

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The drive retracts using a spring, so the spring was broken or something jammed or broken.

Well suggestions.
Check the flywheel teeth, take a look and see if you have a striped section.

if it clicks and doesn't spin with a good battery suspect a bad connection somewhere, probably at the battery clamps.

that rubber hose might just be the vent from the transmission, goes to a clip and free space !!!

good luck !!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
OK, the bad news:

Had Kelly turn the key this morning while I watched the motor. Sure enough, the serp belt turned, so the new starter was engaging. I looked at the cams through the oil filler hole and the cam was clicking (moving about 1/4" back and forth, it looked) but not turning.

Looks like a timing chain problem to me (though the starter was shot as well, maybe as a result of trying to crank it over last week). So now the big question is: how tough is it to do a timing chain in these engines?????

I'm not off again until next Tues/Weds...... aaarrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Did a quick search and found some very helpful threads on changing a timing chain, including this one:

http://www.nissanforums.com/ga16de-1-6l-engine/141638-ga16de-timing-chain-replacement.html

Seems it's gonna be about a grand to have a shop do that (forget that idea!) and takes about 8 hours to change it yourself. I have no garage, car is outside (brrrrrrrrrrr) and would have to jack it up on jackstands and get underneath, laying on the cold ground (brrrrrrrr).......

damn.
 

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Before you spend anything i would try and find where the problem is.
IF the chain has slipped you may have damaged the engine and valves.
So i suggest taking off the top timing chain cover and inspecting there.
This is a low mileage car so its possible this is something unusual.
normally the top chain tensioner and guides go first around 150,000 miles and get noisy before anything nasty happens. At this stage others have reported the chains and sprockets are fine. at 220,000 approx serious trouble seems to be more common.
So inspect the top chain and sprockets, and if you need to take off the valve cover to see where the break in the cam drive is.
(I haven't taken a Nissan down this far and my experience is limited to other OHC cars with chains and belts, so I am sorry if I cant offer specific instructions.)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the replies, Ian. I'm going to have to do a search on this topic; I forgot these cars have two separate chains and need to find out what is involved in removing that top timing cover. How will I see if the valves were bent, by the way? Do I need to remove the valve cover or take off the head?

The car ran fine up to her parking it in front of the house that night before, it simply wouldn't fire in the morning. Didn't sputter or mis-fire, just kept turning over "freewheel" type. She didn't notice and unusual noises (like the valves banging the tops of the pistons), but again, when I looked through the oil fill hole, I could see the cam wanting to turn but just "rocking" about 1/4 inch.

I'm off Tues/Weds, and will have to have it figured out tonight or tomorrow night so I can get to work on it ASAP.
 

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did you download the factory service manual ? (FSM)
its free for personal use at phatg20.net
if you do, get the 96 as well as the 95, the 96 was available here on the forum first a long time ago and can be used as a reference for page numbers.
I did not get into the engine on my 971.6 and its sold now, i still have the 2.0 (daughter purchased new) and the 3.5 pathy. but I will look at the FSM.
 
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