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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This will be a long one. Since there are so many newbies on the board I went into more detail explaining things. Sorry it’s so long, but I think this is easy for a newbie to follow.
Take your time and pay attention to what you're doing. Do this on a day that you don't have any plans, and get a box of snickers because you won't be going anywhere for a while. For your average DIYer’s this is roughly an 8 – 10 hour job, for the veterans who probably don’t need this write up 4 -5 hours. I did this job for routine maintenance and for the "rattle" noise on a cold start up. Turned out my problem was the tensioner. The chain, guides and sprockets looked great at 90k.
There will be a lot of parts laying around. Do whatever you have to do to keep up with them. I oriented parts in my bed with the mating bolts/nuts attached. Example - the oil pump uses 4 mounting bolts - 2 long and 2 short. Store them with the long/short bolts in the correct holes so you don't goof something up later.

Oddball tools needed - (Other than your normal stuff)
27 mm socket for Crank
24 mm socket for cam sprocket
½” drive torque wrench (or one good to 130 ft lbs)
inch pounds torque wrench (not necessary if you have one that goes to down to 5 foot pounds or if you can go by feel)
Metric Flex head ratcheting wrenches (not necessary, but they sure help)
Large puller (I used and 8-10 inch)for crank pulley
small puller (I used 4-6 inch) for oil drive gear/ crank sprocket.
Drain pan for anti freeze
Propane torch
Large zip ties
Timing light

Other supplies needed to save yourself a trip

Form a gasket (I used permatex "The Right Stuff")
1 gallon of AntiFreeze or 2 gallons of 50/50 mix
5 quarts oil and filter (one extra quart for soaking parts)
Can of brake cleaner or gasket remover
Razor blades (only if you have this style gasket scraper)
Anti Seize (not necessary, just my way of doing things)
If your belts are old, now is a good time to replace them.
Now is a good time to replace the water pump and thermostat if old. (I’ve never seen a Nissan water pump go bad)

First of all do this while the truck is cold. Let it sit overnight.
OK, here we go.....Disconnect negative battery cable. Chock rear wheels and or use parking brake.
Get out your new timing chain and tensioner. Soak these in new engine oil until we’re ready to install them.
Put front end on ramps or use jackstands on framerails. If you use jackstands be sure to push it around a little bit before you get under the truck to make sure it’s stable.
Remove splash guard from underside(six 10mm bolts)
Drain oil/ remove oil filter.
Turn the heat on it’s highest setting, and remove radiator cap.
Position your AF drain pan under the radiator drain plug. Turn the knob to drain radiator (you may need pliers to turn knob).
From the top remove air cleaner assembly (AITC sensor must be unplugged, disconnect the vacuum line under the air cleaner, and remove the vent tube from the right rear of the cleaner assembly - by the rear of the valve cover)
While you're at it remove the vent tube from the valve cover(I think I cut a factory zip tie to remove this)
Next I covered the throttle body with a plastic grocery bag. (not necessary, just a little insurance not to get any dirt in the engine)
Now remove the 2 brackets holding the air intake tube. They are on both sides of the hood latch. After removing these it should be hung up near the driver side headlight, wriggle it off.
Remove all three drive belts, be sure not to mix them up. AC tensioner is accessible from the underside, PS tensioner is accessible from the top driver side, and the ALT tensioner is on the alternator. Don’t forget to loosen the alternator adjustor bolts.

Remove radiator/fan assembly.
By now the radiator should be done draining. Close the drain and put the pan under the lower radiator hose. Disconnect the overflow tube from the radiator. Disconnect the upper radiator hose at the radiator. Hold it to the side while you wrestle your arm down to the lower radiator hose. I used an 8mm or a 10mm (can’t remember) ratcheting flex head wrench to loosen up this clamp. Be sure your drain pan is under the hose!!! Remove the hose and let the remainder of the coolant drain out.
Note: the AC Condenser (just in front of the radiator, and it looks like a small radiator) will not be removed. While working remember it’s there, so be careful not to damage it!! Now for the shroud. There are 4 bolts holding this in. 2 at the top and 2 on each side. I used a long Phillips head for these. Slide the shroud back towards the engine and let it hang on the fan. Now there are only 2 bolts at the top of the radiator holding it in. Remove them and carefully slide it out. Put this is a place where nobody will damage it. Now slide the shroud towards the front of the truck and slide it out. Now get a 10 mm wrench and remove the 4 small bolts holding the fan in place. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the 4 washers. Slide the fan off. Now you have a little room to work with.

Power Steering Pump Removal
Now on to the power steering pump. There are 4 bolts holding the pump on. From the front of the PS Pump pulley there are holes to access 3 bolts @ 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, and 6 o’clock. Use a 12 mm deep well socket to remove the bolts. Remove the 14 mm bolt at the top right hand side of the pump (it will be beside the head). Now the pump only attached by the hoses. Bend the hoses (don’t kink them) towards the throttle body, and zip tie this thing out of the way. Now the PS bracket can be removed. The PS bracket is a two piece bracket that wraps around the front of the head. Remove all bolts and the pulley/tensioner assembly. Remember to keep up with these bolts and get a feel for how tight they are.
Remove the alternator bracket. It is held in by 2 bolts going into the front cover.

Number 1 TDC
Now set #1 piston on Top Dead Center on the compression stroke. Number 1 piston is always the one closest to the crankshaft pulley. Start by removing the spark plugs (this will make the motor easier to turn over). On the crank pulley there are 6 tick marks representing -5 , 0, 5, 10, 15, and 20 respectively. Notice a small pin on the front of the block just above the crank pulley. It will be slightly on the passenger side. Get your 27 mm socket out and turn the crank pulley clockwise until the 0 tick mark on the pulley is aligned with the pin. Get a flashlight and look down the #1 spark plug hole, you should see the top of the piston.

Oil Pan. Distributor, and Oil Pump Removal
Drain the Oil. Put the oil plug back in so you don’t lose it. There is a square crossmember that goes from motor mount to motor mount. It has 4 bolts. Remove 3 of them, leaving 1 in either far end. This will allow the crossmember to swing down. You may have to tap them out with a drift. Now remove the 10 mm bolts holding the oil pan in. Odds are it isn’t coming off without a little persuasion. Use a rubber mallet/DBH, hammer and block of wood, whatever. Hit it from different sides until it falls out. If you choose to wedge a pry bar in there, remember you can damage the sealing surfaces or bend your oil pan. While you’re down there, remove the oil filter.
Next the Distributor and Oil pump comes out. Disconnect the 2 wiring harnesses on the distributor. Remove the two screws holding the distributor cap on, leave the plug wires attached. Now get a Sharpie/Grease pencil and make a line across the distributor flange and where it mounts into the front cover. Also make note of which way the rotor is pointing. If you done it correctly the rotor will be pointed towards #1 on the distributor. Each ”firing pin” on the distributor is numbered be each pin. Now remove the 2 bolts that hold in the distributor. Slide it out without turning the rotor (if you do don’t worry about it, it just makes it easier later). Look in the distributor hole and you can see the oil pump shaft. Make note of it’s orientation. The top of this keyed shaft should be pointed at approx. 11 o’clock and the bottom should be pointed towards 7 o’clock.. OK, get back on the ground and remove the 4 oil pump mounting bolts. It is located at the bottom passenger side of the front cover. Slide it out in the direction it’s oriented. Beware it is full of oil, so keep your eyes clear of it.

Valve Cover / Cam Sprocket Removal
Now remove the twelve 10 mm bolts holding the valve cover. Four of these bolts hold brackets. You may have to cut a zip tie or 2 to get them out of the way. A couple of these will be hanging in the way, zip tie them somewhere out of the way. Now the best way I found to remove this thing without bumping the rockers is…. Tilt the passenger side of the cover up. Once the rockers are cleared on that side, you can pull it straight up. At the front of the head there is a small seal shaped like a semi circle. Pull it out, now you can access the cam sprocket bolt. If you have a manual transmission put it in gear and be sure the parking brake is on. Also it’s a good idea to jam the cam sprocket with a socket extension. Use a 3/8” extension and jam it though one the sprocket holes and the side of the rocker rail. Don’t let it rest on a rocker, just the rail. Get your 24 mm socket out and break this bolt loose. Don’t remove it yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Crank Pulley
Get your 27 mm socket out and a large breaker bar. It will take some oomph to break the bolt loose. Now get out the large puller and grab what you can grab on the pulley. I used a 8-10 inch 3 jaw puller and a small socket in the middle pin to make it work. Remember not to damage the AC condenser!!

Front Cover
Finally after all that the front cover can come off….There are several bolts holding it on. Keep up with which bolt goes where, some are different lengths/sizes. It’s aluminum so treat it gently. Be gentle with the top of the cover, it mates with the head gasket. If you damage the head gasket, it’s a whole nother write up.

Observe
Now take a look at everything, see how it’s put together. Note the cam and crank sprockets are keyed, if you set your #1 piston at TDC correctly both keys on the sprockets should be pointed vertical. Note the two silver links on the chain. They are aligned with a notch on each sprocket. When you reassemble everything it should look like this. Nissan does not use marks on the block/head, these notches are your timing marks. Note which way the oil drive gear and oil slinger are oriented. They must go on the same way when reassembling. It is very important not to move the crank or cam while the chain/ sprockets are removed. If so you can easily bend a valve and then that’s a whole nother write up and some more cash/time.It takes a little force to move them so don’t worry about it too much. Take note of the 2 oil seals below the tensioner, if you bought a timing kit it should have included these 2 seals.

Timing Assembly Removal
Ok, here we go. Start by removing the tensioner. It’s the small black box on the passenger side, just below the cam sprocket. Be careful as you remove it, it has a strong spring that keeps the chain under tension. Now remove both guides. Tension side (driver side) has two bolts, and the slack side (passenger side) has one bolt. Note how this guide will move from side to side. It must be like this when you reassemble it. Now carefully remove the chain. There should be enough slack to remove it without moving the sprockets. Remember – until we get the chain back on don’t move the cam or crank!!!
For the following (oil slinger, oil pump drive gear, and crank sprocket) take note of which way they are oriented. Slide the oil slinger off. Get your puller out to remove the oil drive gear and crank sprocket.

TAKE A BREAK
This is a good stopping point. Get a samich , cup of coffee or whatever. Sit down for a few. If you noticed anything that needed replacing or you damaged something (valve cover gasket, plugs, dialectric grease, oil pump gasket, belts, ect), now is a good time for a parts store trip.

Timing Reassembly
OK, back to work. When reinstalling sprockets, make sure the timing mark is facing the front of the vehicle so you can align this with the silver link on the chain. Now everything on the crank is a pressed fit so… Wipe off the crank shaft end. Apply a light coat of clean engine oil on the shaft. I can’t remember if the crank sprocket was pressed or not, if so…Hold the crank sprocket with a pair of needle nosed pliers. The center hole should be facing vertical. Use the propane torch to heat up the sprocket. DO NOT HOLD THE FLAME ON THE SPROCKET. If you overheat the gear (it will turn blue), you will weaken the steel. Hold the flame 6 – 8 inches away and keep it moving in a circle. This will expand the diameter of the hole to make it easier to get on. I done this for app. 2 minutes. Now hold the sprocket with a rag (It’s on the warm side….) and put it back on the way it came off. Remember to align the key. You may need the use a brass hammer or DBH to get it going, but it will go back on. You will have to do the same heating procedure for the oil drive gear. A note on heating up the gears for installation - There may be a better way to do this, but it worked for me. You can use an oven at 200 degrees for a few minutes if you can get it past the Mrs….. Now slide the oil slinger back it in the correct direction.
OK, the cam sprocket will slide right on – notch facing you. If everything is correct the keys on the sprockets will be facing vertical, just like before you took them off. Wipe off the threads on the cam sprocket bolts. Install it finger tight – just enough to hold it in place. Be sure not to turn the sprocket. If you bought a kit it should have came with 2 small oil seals that go below the tensioner. They should easily pull out. Clean the area off with brake cleaner on a rag. Where the tensioner was there should be a hole/galley. Liberally spray brake cleaner through this hole and clean out any gunk visible to the tensioner galley. It will come out at the oil filter mount. You can put the old filter back on to keep the mess down if you want. Remove the oil filter if necessary then blow out the galley with and air compressor if you have one If not just be sure it’s dry before installing the front cover. Apply clean oil to the 2 new seals and install them.
Back to the chain – Hold up the chain (Don’t install it yet) and get the 2 silver links on the drivers side and hold that side firmly so the chain doesn’t sag. . The timing marks on the sprockets will align on the center of these 2 links. Put it on – don’t turn the sprockets, if done correctly all slack will be on the passenger side and your silver links will be aligned with the 2 timing notches on the sprockets. Install the timing guides. Torque the bolts to 9 – 14 foot pounds. Be sure the slack guide will move from side to side. I had to reuse the factory bolt on this guide to make it work. The bolt with the kit locked the guide down. Now the tensioner- there should be a little pin installed into the front of it. Leave it there for now. Torque the tensioner to 55 – 75 inch pounds (5 foot pounds = 60 inch pounds). Now you can pull the pin. The spring should release and the slack will come out of the chain. Double check the silver links – timing notches. If somehow they moved, this must be corrected before going further. Jam up the camshaft sprocket with your extension and torque the camshaft sprocket bolt to 101 – 116 foot pounds. From here on out – if done correctly – it’s OK if you accidentally turn the sprockets.

Grunt Work

Now it’s time for the nasty work. Look over the front cover and block sealing areas carefully to note where sealant was applied. Where you see a bead of old sealant, you gotta reapply new (except for the bottom of the front cover. Sealant will be applied to the oil pan later) Get out the brake cleaner or gasket remover and apply (If you are reusing the old front seal, be sure to cover it up. Brake cleaner could damage the seal). Then it’s time to get out the gasket scraper and use elbow grease. Remove all remains of the old gasket on both surfaces – the font cover sealing areas and the block sealing areas. The front cover is aluminum, so be gentle. If you gouge it up, it may not seal correctly. A brass wire brush or razor blade gasket scraper works well. The same procedure must be done for the oil pan and the block’s oil pan sealing surface. It’s also important to clean the threads of the 2 alternator bracket bolts. Lastly spray some brake cleaner/and or compressed air into the cover and oil pan to wash/blow out the gasket remains(You don’t want this stuff in your engine right?). If you’re not replacing the front seal, don’t get any brake cleaner on the seal. Just use compressed air to clean out the gasket remains. When you’re done, apply brake cleaner to a rag and wipe off sealing surfaces one last time. Finally if you are installing a new front seal, do this last. Clean the sealing area thoroughly and apply clean oil the new seal and be sure to install it in the correct direction.
Before we go any further, THE WORST IS OVER!! It’s not so bad from here on out. Take another break, get a snack, make a trip to the parts store, or whatever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Let’s put it back together!!
Now we’re on to making seals. Now you know how much is involved to get to these seals, you don’t want to do it again do you?? Do it right the first time. A second set of hands is a real help on this step. There are 2 studs in the front block that will mate to the front cover. Take note of where these are so you don’t make a mess installing the front cover. If you smear the gasket too much, you have to reclean it and start over with new sealant. Apply sealant to the front cover (except the bottom) per the sealants instructions (use a good sealant!! Nissan recommends Genuine “Liquid Gasket”, I used Permatex “The Right Stuff”). In regard to the head gasket, it’s best to hold the front cover slightly downward and then come up to the head.. Torque the front cover bolts to 55 – 75 inch pounds (I hope you kept up with which bolt goes where). This is app 5 foot pounds. One thing I have learned about gaskets/sealants is you can overtighten them. If you do this you can squeeze most of the sealant out, and a lot of times it doesn’t seal because of this. With a gasket it can warp if you overtighten it.So…. My own rule of thumb is to tighten them down until the sealant starts to pooch out a little bit. Remember this is a seal, so start out finger tight (Working opposite sides), then app ½ the required torque, and increase until correct. Install the alternator bracket into the front cover. It’s important to do this now because the bolts go through some sealant. If it dries, it can be a bear to get the bolts back in. Same procedure goes for the oil pan. It’s easiest to have a buddy hold it up in place while you get a few bolts finger tight. Same torque spec as front cover bolts. I’ll try to attach a pic of the bolt sequence. If not, same as the front cover. Work opposite sides and torque it down slowyly. While you’re down there install the crossmember you removed to access the oil pan and install a new oil filter. Do not put oil in at this time, let the gasket dry for a while (Normally at least 45 minutes)

Install Oil Pump and Distributor, Valve Cover and Crank Pulley
Clean the inside and outside of the crank pulley shaft. Apply new oil to the surfaces you just cleaned. This helps the pulley slide on easily and keeps any dirt from damaging the front seal. Align the key on the crankshaft with the slot on the pulley. If it doesn’t go completely on, don’t worry. The bolt will take care of the rest. Torque the crank bolt back down to 105 – 112 foot pounds. Check for #1 TDC again. If it’s off, turn the crank clockwise until piston #1 is at TDC.
The valve cover is next. At the front and rear of the head there are 2 half moon shaped seals. You pulled the front one out earlier for the camshaft bolt. Pull the rear seal out. Use a rag and wipe off any remaining sealant on both sealing surfaces. Apply brake cleaner to a rag and clean the sealing surface of the head. Now apply sealant to the half moon side of the seals. Push these back into place and make sure the top of the seals sit flush with the head. Wipe away any sealant that is oozing out onto the valve cover sealing surface. Use a clean rag and wipe off the valve cover gasket. This is the reverse of removal. Try to set the drivers side down first, and then the passenger side should clear the rockers. I’ll try to post a pic of the tightening order, but it not it’s the same as other gaskets mentioned earlier. Torque spec is 61 – 95 inch pounds (app 7 foot pounds). There are four bolts that hold various brackets. These are last in the torque sequence. Fill up with oil!!
The oil pump consists of two parts, the pump and a spindle. Each has a notch these must be aligned when installing.. Pour some clean oil into the ports and turn the spindle. See how it works?? Wipe off both sealing surfaces with a clean rag. You shouldn’t need a new gasket unless you damaged it. Now pour some more oil in the ports to prime it and slide the assembly back in. You may have to work the spindle a little bit to get the gears to line up, but it will go. If done correctly the key on the end of the spindle is pointing from 11 o’clock to 7 o’clock. You can see this from above where the distributor goes. This must be correct!!
Now to install the distributor. Wipe out the shaft sealing area and apply clean oil to the bore. Slide the distributor into the shaft while lining up the marks you make earlier (if you didn’t, don’t worry). If done correctly the rotor should be pointing at the #1 mark on the distributor. It may be hard to see, but all 4 are marked from the factory. If all looks snug up the two distributor bolts (don’t fully tighten them yet), install the distributor cap and hook the two wiring harnesses on the distributor back up.

Almost there!!
Before we go any further be sure the transmission is in neutral (Chock the wheels and use the parking brake!!). Get out your 27 mm socket and a big ratchet and turn the motor over by hand. It should turn over fairly easily. Now I like to put a few drops of clean oil in the spark plug holes at this time. This is to lubricate the piston rings while the air in the oil system is being purged out. An oil can is great in this situation. If you wanted to triple check your work you could perform a compression test at this time. If your compression is off, you could have bent a valve or damaged a head gasket. Now there are two ways to do the next step, which is to prime the oil pump, and get as much air out of the system as we can before we fire the engine. Before you do this, remove the plastic bag you placed over the intake. If not, it could get sucked in. Also if there are any tools/parts laying under the hood that could fall or get in the way of a moving part, clean them out.
Method 1 - Get your 27 mm socket out and a large ratchet and turn the motor over several times by hand. Let your arm wear out.
Method 2 – Hook the battery back up. Get in the cab and pull the fuse panel(under the turn signal). Remove the fuel pump fuse. Turn the key into the ON position for 10 seconds. Turn the key off and repeat. This releases the pressure in the fuel system, and keeps you from pumping fuel into the cylinders while we don’t want it yet. Make sure the spark plug wires are hanging in a safe place. They will produce a spark!! – something could catch on fire or melt something! Now turn the key over and let the starter do the work!! Don’t do this for more than 30 seconds or so, otherwise you will overheat the starter. It will sound funny, but don’t worry about it.
Ok, if you have a spark plug holes are nasty, clean them with a spark plug thread chaser. If you don’t have one, don’t worry about it. Clean the threads of the spark plugs the best you can. Install the spark plugs and wires (be sure to get the wires in the correct order. Factory wires are numbered and distributor caps are numbered for you). If you didn’t hook the battery back up yet, now is the time. If you pulled the fuel pump fuse, replace it and hold the key in the ON position for a few seconds. This will pressurize the fuel system. Now Cross your fingers and turn the key…..It should be really noisy for a few seconds. Make sure the red oil light goes away in a few seconds, otherwise shut it down. If the oil light goes away, let it run for a few seconds (not long, you don’t have any coolant put back in yet). It may still sound terrible, but it’s air in the system that has made it’s way the the hydraulic lifters. If your compression test was good (and you put oil in it), you should have nothing to worry about.

The Rest
I’m not going into much detail on the rest of the assembly. It’s just the reverse of what you’ve already done.
Power steering bracket – assemble this loosely until all the bolt holes align. Then tighten everything down.
Fan/Shroud/Radiator – Remove negative battery cable!! – Just in case the motor accidentally got turned over while you where in there. I would imagine the fan or getting a finger caught in a belt would really mess someone up. In this order Install fan, then let the shroud hang over the fan. Install the radiator and hoses, then slide the shroud back into place. Install belts and don’t forget to tighten down the alternator adjusting bolt.
Air intake assembly – Replace the intake tube, the L shaped brackets on both sides of the hood latch, and the air cleaner assembly. Attach the vacuum line, AITC sensor wiring harness and the tube that runs from the valve cover to the air cleaner. When attaching this tube orient the clamps so they don’t rub against another wire. Replace any wire ties you cut loose. I cut one at the back of the valve cover and at the front (Just above the belts, there is a bracket just for this purpose). Be sure no wires are resting in danger of any moving parts(belts, fan), and not resting on anything too hot(head, exhaust manifold).
When I replace the splash guard, I use anti-seize these bolts. They are exposed to the weather and can be a bear to get out.
Replace the coolant – remember 50/50 mix unless your climate dictates otherwise. You will not get all coolant back in just yet. The thermostat has to warm up enough to open up. So after you let it run for several minutes(make sure the temp guage goes up to it’s normal operating temperature for a few), let it cool down for at least 20 minutes and then you should be able to add more coolant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Final Touches
Your lifters may be very loud for a while. It sounds terrible!! Hydraulic lifters use the engine oil to hold their tolerances. If air gets in the system (when we pulled the oil pump) it can work it’s way into lifters. The loud lifters are caused be the slack the air creates. The FSM says to let the engine run at 1000 RPMS for up to 20 minutes to bleed the lifters. Mine took a little longer. After it got good and warm I revved it up to 1500 rpms and then it quieted down shortly after that. Don’t drive it until it sounds normal again. After it sounds normal and is hot, get out the timing light to check your ignition timing. For this engine it should be 10 degrees BTC, +/- 2 degrees (Remember the marks on the crank pulley we talked about earlier?). Check the sticker under your hood to be sure. If it’s out of spec, rotate the distributor clockwise to advance, or counterclockwise to retard. To see the timing marks I aimed in just to the left of the radiator cap. You can barely see it, but it works. When it’s right, tighten the distributor bolts.
When we were removing the old gaskets and cleaning the oil galleys we didn’t get all of the trash out – especially in the oil pan. So I recommend doing an early oil change. Let’s say 300 – 500 miles. Look at your oil when you do so to make it isn’t mixed with any coolant. This could indicate damage to the head gasket. Pay attention for leaks the first few times you drive it. You may drip a little if you had a spill, so give it a few trips to see if the leak continues.

If all goes well, you’re good to go for another 120k or so miles. Hope this helped you out.
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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Nice thorough right up! Three things I might add:

-pour some oil into the oil filter before you mount it.
-there is an air bleed on top of the intake near #1 cylinder that makes purging the air out of the system a lot easier. I usually remove the bleed screw and add the coolant until I get a clear coolant stream out of it (engine cold & not running) and then put the screw back in and hand tighten it. After the cap is installed and the coolant is hot, I crack the screw open a bit to bleed out any air bubbles and retorque the screw to spec.
-since you talk about leaving it sit overnight prior to working on it, it would be a good time to drain the fluids. This way they have all night to drain out.
 

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haha well i am in the middle of this project and is sure is a fun one... i do have a possibly odd question or statement concerning setting TDC: ...So i got my wrench on the crank and turning it around and around and around... i do not see anything as far as timing marks on the crank pulley!! there is however three drilled holes in a row aprox 1/4 inch diameter on the pulley, they are all close together in a row. Are these the timing/tick marks??? i turned the crank at least 8 - 10 times, and put a wire brush to work on the pulley to see if it was just dirty and covering the marks. found nothing, only the three holes. does anybody have any ideas on that?? thanks!
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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The drilled "dimples" are created when Nissan balances the crank pulley. On the rear lip of the crank pulley, there should be a red painted mark to indicate TDC. You may want to try turning the engine by hand with the valve cover off until you see both the intake and exhaust valves closed, to put you in the general area of the pointer on the cover.
 

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smj999smj said:
The drilled "dimples" are created when Nissan balances the crank pulley. On the rear lip of the crank pulley, there should be a red painted mark to indicate TDC. You may want to try turning the engine by hand with the valve cover off until you see both the intake and exhaust valves closed, to put you in the general area of the pointer on the cover.
OK foot in mouth is now in effect...
 

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Hmmm, I just realized that your description must be for a 2wd truck. I always forget that there are 2wd trucks. The oil pan removal appears to be much more involved on a 4wd. You have to remove the front dif, separate the engine and transmission, and lift the engine - according to Haynes. Glad I'm not doing it myself. I don't have the time, space, or equipment for that, not to mention skills. Great job on this write up though. Thanks.
 

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You probably don't need to do anything. If I had just read your "car" information, I would have noticed no 4X4. Where I live, you almost never see a 2wd Nissan or Toyota truck - or anything else for that matter. No fault on your part, I just wasn't paying attention.
 

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"Edit feature back"? You should be able to edit your own posts by clicking the "Edit/Delete Message" link at the bottom right side of each post.

Good stuff, man! Thanks a lot for the write-up. I'll pin it for everyone to see. ;)
 

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I did this job for routine maintenance and for the "rattle" noise on a cold start up. Turned out my problem was the tensioner. The chain, guides and sprockets looked great at 90k.
that doesn't surprise me, my timing chain and gears had hardly any wear at all when i changed them (during an in car overhaul) - the teeth on the gears were still sharp and the chain had no bow - and they were the original parts too. This engine had over 250,000 on it when i did this work (in 2000). But just like yours, my tensioner was chewed up but ultimately was really the only part that absolutely needed changing -

Same procedure goes for the oil pan. It’s easiest to have a buddy hold it up in place while you get a few bolts finger tight. Same torque spec as front cover bolts.
Or you can tie the gasket onto the oil pan with sewing thread through the bolt holes. And rip out the thread once you have the bolts started in the holes.
 

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Good writeup. Looks like I will be tackling this soon myself. Popped the valve cover off my 90 KA24 and while the chain/gear looks great, the tension side guide is gone. As in totally missing. Only 221,800 miles on it, the last ~100K or so have been tad noisy due to chain rattle at startup......
Oh well. My buddy always said Nissan trucks are like a sore peter, unbeatable.
 

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Great write up. I wish I found this before I started on mine.

I've got a 91 Nissan 2wd Pickup with the same motor. The head was warped, I had it plained and the valves done. I put everything back together, Lined up all the timing marks, and it won't start. My timing light says everything is bang on. It turns over really hard and I'm not sure what to try now short of hauling it to a certified mechaninc.

I need help. Any suggestions?
Thank you
Darcy Stobert
 

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Great write up. I wish I found this before I started on mine.

I've got a 91 Nissan 2wd Pickup with the same motor. The head was warped, I had it plained and the valves done. I put everything back together, Lined up all the timing marks, and it won't start. My timing light says everything is bang on. It turns over really hard and I'm not sure what to try now short of hauling it to a certified mechaninc.

I need help. Any suggestions?
Thank you
Darcy Stobert
When i did the in car overhaul of the 1988 Z24, i had this problem. Al lthat work and it just cranked but wouldnt start! But i thought for a bit...got my tools, removed the distributor and rotated it 180 degrees. Next turn of the key she started right up - i had put the distributor in 180 degrees off! (Always make punch marks when removing the dist).

Some other things that could be wrong:
1. You forgot to connect an important wire or component
2. Spark plug wires installed wrong and not in proper firing sequence
3. You forgot to reattach the ground cable to the frame (i cant remember where it is)
4. One or more valves too loose or too tight. You did check the valve adjustment didnt you? You may want to add .002 to the factory settings when picking your feeler gauges for this chore, since the engine will be cold and the settings are usually designed for a hot engine.

You will have to rotate the crank with a breaker bar and socket on the crank pulley (DO NOT turn backwards turn it clockwise only, facing the engine! I bent valves turning it backward once!)

There are many complicated instructions you will find to adjust the valve clearance and but just remember this: All you have to really do is to adjust the clearance of that particular valve, when the camshaft is on the base circle! (rocker arm not touching cam at all and free to move, not under camshaft pressure).

5. do a compression check. Maybe the valve job got botched by the machinist. If so, you need to know this.

6. Some other things that could cause this condition: worn out ignition switch (sounds weird but this actually happened to me - new engine, started intermittenly, it turned out to be the switch.) - worn out cap and rotor, broken distributor shaft (rotor should NOT turn freely when engine is off, if it does the shaft is broken - again, this happened to me too).
 
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