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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, my daughter has a 91 nissan maxima. It overheated and quit on her. Apparently ran out of water. It didn't blow water out of radiator till it quit. They added water and it started and ran for just a little bit.

I went back last night and added more water and it still won't start. It is doing two things. 1. It almost tries to start but won't and almost sounds to me like a timing belt type problem because it tries to fire. 2. It blows the water under high pressure back out the radiator cap while cranking. I push down to seal the cap better and it blows water out the hose by the clamp at the top radiator connection. The engine turns over easily so it doesn't appear to be seized.

What does this sound like? Thanks for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Engine overheated

Hi, Upon further reflection I would guess that the high pressure on cranking through the radiator indicates a blown head gasket. However there was no water in the oil when I checked it. Would that also account for the failure to start? Also, is there much of a problem with warped heads on these Nissan's when they overheat? Also how much of a job is it to change a head gasket?

Thanks for your help.
 

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Taking off the head would be an all day project; not very easy, but doable. Just take off the intake manifold and start working your way down. The heads are aluminum, so warping is just as much threat as it is with any engine. There is no way of telling, probably a 30% chance of warping. It is the head gasket because the compression is leaking through the gasket and blowing bubbles in the antifreeze (i guess you already know that though). I would look at the milage, and if it is over 160K, i would go to a salvage yard and grab a newer engine for a couple of hundred (prices do seem to vary), and if your not mechanicly gifted or patient, pay to have it put in. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice. The engine has 200K and I only give $1500 for it a couple years ago. It may be headed to the junk yard unless it is fixable for a couple hundred bucks and then I still may sell it.

Years ago, I used to pull my 57 chevy under a tree and have the motor out in 30 minutes. I'm not sure I have the patience to deal with all the peripherial items to get to the heads. I looked at the manual last night. You have to remove the fuel injection, intake, and then the rocker arm assemblies to get at the heads. The manual says to start with a compression check and then I can find out which head and cylinder is the problem. A dealer quoted me about $1200 to change head gaskets and then more if the heads ares cracked or warped.

I may have nothing to loose by tearing into it before going to the junk yard though if it is nice on Sunday. I know it needs other things like a timing belt. It never did really burn any oil. It leaked a little. I was also leaking power steering fluid. Removing all the little items and keeping track of bolts, hoses, etc. is not easy and time consuming.

I am not too familiar with removing a fuel injection system. If you can help with that email me. I don't live to far from you here in Kansas. Maybe I could call with a question.

I ended up changing out a motor on a 93 geo metro a few years ago. I didn't have a hoist and just pulled out the little 3 cylinder engine with my bare hands. Put it back in that way also which wasn't easy and then I had to take it out one more time to get it to line up right.

Thanks for your help.
 

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No problem, the engine relatively easy to replace with a rented hoist. I live in Tulsa, and i can get a warrantied engine for $130 without the old one,and $105 with the old one, but that's cheap. Just take the axles off, label everything electrical and hoses, and unhook. The only trick would be with removing and reattaching the tranny, it's not a good idea to take the tranny out of the top.Let me know before going to a junkyard. I've changed an engine too, and it takes a lot of patience, but you will have a solid car after doing so. (there's also a shop here that will change them for 400.) You'll get 100 or less from a salvage, so it's in your interest to at least pay to have a used engine swapped and sell the car. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi again, I am going to tow it home today and start tearing into it. I guess I will start by removing one spark plug at a time to try to identify which cylinder or head is the problem although I'm going to pull both heads. Then I will leave it with cylinder # 1 at top dead center to help when replacing the timing belt and the distributor.

With 200K on this engine, I may just consider a run to Tulsa to pick up an engine unless they ship. Can you identify the salvage yard that has the motor you are talking about. I will private message you with my email and phone number to see if I need to contact you further on small details.

And since I started on this forum, I will provide updates on the progress of this saga.

Regards
 

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I called today, and All Parts (918) 587-6655, has four engines they are "dying" to get rid of. $100 with core exchange. IM at streetracer2nite if you can catch me on. I'm ussually on from 12am to 2am. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, I'll wait to see if I need one yet. I got it home this afternoon and started tearing into it.

First problem, How do you remove the plastic spark plug boots. I broke two off down by the plug. I can't even get a socket onto the plug because there is still some plastic boot over it. I don't even think that needle nose pliers will get it now. The manual doesn't even say anything about these newer style boots.

Thanks for any help.
 

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I don't know of any boot on spark plugs, are you talking about the plug wires? With a firm tug they should pop off. Take off the manifold before trying to get a socket on the plugs; it will be much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah, it is a plastic boot extension (about 4 or 5 inches) on the end of the spark plug wire where it goes down to the plug. I will try some WD40 on them. They will twist and turn but won't pull up.

Also when I remove the hex head(allen wrench) bolts holding the air intake manifold, will all of that come off in one piece including the big air intake hose going to the filter? There is some type of module with electric wires and vacuum lines on the right front. Does it come off with the manifold also?

Thanks for the help.
 

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WD-40 is awesome, but won't help the situation out. The boots are meant to protect the plugs from outside disturbances (ie the wd-40 wouldn't even get in the right places.) You'll have to take off the vacume hoses and electrical connections to take off the manfold. You also need to dissconnect the big air intake hose. The module comes off with the manifold, and once again, the plug wires should pop off with a little force.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, I got the intake, fuel injector rails, and the intake manifold off this afternoon. It is a pain to do. Some of those rubber hoses are stuck on and I've torn a couple on the end. I usually spray them with WD and then twist them with pliers to break them free before pushing them off with a screwdriver. Any pointers would help. After those came out, then I got the spark plug boots pulled when I could get some leverage on them. Only broke 3 of them. Also broke the dip stick end when I bumped it. I think I'm ready to pull the front head. It has hex head bolts and I'm not sure of the size. (maybe 10mm). I'll have to go buy a socket for them. Also have to pull the exhaust manifolds yet. I don't know if I have to pull the distributor or not. I'm not sure how to pull it out. It turns after I took the bolt out but it didn't pull up unless it needs to be pried on. I assume I will have to pull the timing belt covers, etc. I haven't pull them or even taken the belts off yet. I also not sure if I have to unbolt the A/C compressor or not. It may be a couple days before I get back to it.

Thanks for any help.
 

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I've never taken off the head. The timing belt will come off. The tensioner will have to be loosened and all that other goodstuff. Look at the plugs and find out which head to tear apart.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
91 Max engine saga

Hi guys, I finally finished tearing the engine down and pulling the heads. I had some cold weather for a while and other plans going on but finally got to it this weekend. I didn't have a chain wrench to take off the crank pulley but finallly got an impact wrench and it came right off. Got the timing belt covers off, pulled #1 plug, found TDC, (I was close), and the belt and pulleys all seemed to be lined up. I got the distributor to pull up and out with a little prying. It seemed to have been stuck before.

I had a heck of a time with the camshaft pulleys. The books says to stick a stubby screwdriver in one of the holes and unbolt it. But there is nothing for a screwdriver to hook onto. I finally used a short extension and held it in there until I could break the bolt loose with a breaker bar. I may have to buy a chain wrench yet to put them back on.

I pulled the heads and exhaust manifolds which wasn't too hard once the other stuff was already taken off. It is basically torn down to a short block. I found water on the # 2, #3, #4, and #5 cylinders. I wiped that out. Still no water in the oil. The heads appeared flat when I ran a straight edge across them. Except for some head gasket material sticking to the block in a few places, I didn't see any obvious blowouts of the head gaskets or anything that would indicate a leak but I assume they must have since I didn't see any cracks in the heads. I did have 4 exhaust manifold studs shear off in the head so I guess I will take the heads down to a machine shop to shave the face and drill out replace the studs.

I also found where water had been running out the weep hole in the water pump so I will replace that.

I probably have 15 to 20 man hours in this job so far. I'm doing this outside and some of it in the dark.

Cost estimate so far is $28 a piece to shave the heads plus extra to replace the studs, probably a hundred. Gasket kit at auto zone is $118. I still have to get a new water pump, timing belt, plugs, oil, and antifreeze. Probably another hundred or so. I'll check with the junk yard for the 3 spark plug wires and the oil dip stick I broke while taking it apart. Some of those spark plug wires just didn't want to come loose. I have also been good about putting the bolts back when something comes off so I won't have to worry about what goes where. And like the manual suggested I got some cardboard and punched holes with a screwdriver to match the head bolt and timing cover bolt layouts so they can go back in to the right place. I couldn't get the two middle head bolts out of each head and I didn't want to remove the rocker arms just to do that.

That is it for now, if anyone has any pointers, let me know. I guess I will try to fix this one before replacing the engine. Thanks for any help.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
91 Nissan saga over

Well, its over. I learned that the heads were warped real bad and had 3 burnt out valves. They thought it must have something else must be wrong to make the valves burn out such as running to lean. So, I towed it to the salvage yard and said adios. I decided not to mess with changing engines.
 
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