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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. Recently acquired an old run down 1988 Sentra. I've been sifting through the archives on this forum and found lots of helpful info before I made the purchase.
I've been looking for some time for a more economical car to replace my 84 Peugeot 505 STI. I'd probably keep it if it had a 5spd tranny but that 3spd auto really kills the performance(great car for anyone with young new drivers in the house :D ). My stock 5spd sentra with 3/4 the horsepower feels like a formula one car in comparison :cool: . How's that for low performance standards? :crazy:
So anyway on to the questions.
The sentra has 292000 KMs on it. The car came with no service history. the engine is very noisy. Sounds like a diesel engine when idling. As far as I could gather from the history check it has been a city driven car all its life. Also, from the exhaust makes a popping skipping sound like the engine is missing at idle(it idles ok though, doesn't stall). I figured the engine was cooked when I did the test drive, but the body is in fairly good shape so I figured to do an engine swap this spring/summer. But for now I'm hoping this one will at least get me through the winter. could the noise just be the valves need adjusting maybe? I did this once on my Peugeot and it wasn't too hard. It sounds kinda like it did on my peugeot(the tapping sound) but alot louder on the sentra.
Another thing, it takes quite a while to warm up. highway driving, takes at least 5-10 mins to get to normal temp(-20 here now but still I think thats longer than it should be). This is probably just the thermostat eh? or somethin else? Seems to be hurting my gas mileage. I'm down to 2/3 a tank and have only driven 110kms.
And, this is my first car with a timing belt. Are there any warning signs when its gonna fail? I don't know when the belt was changed on this car last so would it be wise to change it ASAP or could I take my chances and wait till I do the engine swap?
I hope to get another E16i(rebuilt or used) to swap in. Like I said, I'm quite happy with the performace of the car, just want something reliable, fuel effecient, and easy to work on, why? because I'm cheap :D
I would like to do a few cheap mods though. Really like that custom air cleaner whatisname did. would like to do that for example.
But anyway I've blabbered on enough. Thanks for any info suggestions guys and thanks in the for the archived stuff, been really helpful.
 

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welcome aboard JonnyB, seams your in the cheap and reliable just like most other people that own a b12... except some kids that are at they're first car :D and still think they can do mustang killers with a b12 lol... anyway (its been done already lol)...

If your really concerned about the state of you engine (wich i might be if its still running but crappy) take leak down test and compression on it... this will tell mostly of how well its been treated. I suggest you have a good tune-up done on it if everything seems ok (compression/leakdown)... since the dealer ask for a timing belt each 100k km, id make them change that too... you got any leaks ?? hows the rust under the oil pan/over exhaust ??... if those looks ok and the car desnt smoke, a costy tune-up (the big one) should bring the car back to like new... but the EGR valve mostly all the pcs needed for the tuneup can be bought relatively cheap. pvc valve/thermostat/radiator flush/belts/cap rotor wires....

P.s IMO it is normal that i would take a few minute to the engine to warm up at -20... i live in montreal and i know wath you mean... if i let my car idle in the parking i just wont heat at all... but on a sunny day a quick 0-100km/h with the turbo get the to normal :S... but thats not your case... is it the reading that says so or the heater core that might be gooed and doesnt do is job ??

Hope you like the car as much as i does like mine :D
 

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welcome to the wonderful world of b12's... for the heat problem, i just changed mine with a oem nissan thermostat.. now i let my car warm up for 5 mins ( im getting command start put in this week so it'll be nicer :D:D:D:D:D:D ) and ive got some heat.. this was true during the -40 we had teh other day too.. Nice to see its at 292k. My car just went over 166k yesterday. I'm hoping to get it way up there as well.


Welcome and happy posting
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well looks like a compression test is in order. BTW I'm hoping to do most all the work myself on the car. I only paid $1000 for it at a small town used car dealership(called "skips car sales"). I guess I kinda got ripped off but these cars with 5spd are very hard to find for sale here(lots people drivin em though). Its almost easier to find a Peugeot for sale than a nissan sentra around here :D
For the compression/leakdown test do I just need a compression gauge? was lookin at those at canadian tire. is that all I need? any other tools special tools that might be handy for work on this car? as for the tune-up, i'm gonna change the oil as soon as it warms up a bit or I can find a warm place to do it. :)
, the cap, rotor and wires look like they're brand new(the guy who sold me the car said the other dealership that sold him the car said he did some work on the car). I got a quick look at the oil pan and it is kinda oily lookin, leakin a bit, doesn't look rusty though. And lastly I'll do the thermostat and may as well do rad flush while I'm at it. Oh and I just installed my first cosmetic mod. Sylvania Silverstar headlights :cool:
My last 2 cars I did most of the work myself too. First car- 1990 Ford Tempo GL. That one was pretty reliable, but had to maintain it frequently. Plus it had an annoying electrical problem. stalling on acceleration. had to keep one foot on the gas and other on the brake when driving in the city. Then my peugeot I did the rear shocks, did some minor mods(like remove the quirky pollution control stuff), and the tie rod ends, etc. Some things I haven't done on cars is stuff like change brakes pads, etc, cause I've only owned each of these cars for a year. I'm hopin the sentra will be my first car to surpass one year of service.
I'm still learning,(took me 6 hours to change a steering geer boot the other day :eek: ) but with my trusty haynes manual in hand, anything is possible. :D
 

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Viva el iPod
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The clicking noise (which makes it sound like a diesel) is probably the hydraulic lifters, common problem to 80s Japanese cars (at least everyone I've seen), and the noise level varies; like mine does it only a little bit, and you have to have the hood open to hear at all.

As far as cold starting, a thermostat change is a good idea, but since you said it an 87, is it carb'd? That makes cold starting a drag. And while your at it (doing a tune-up and all) get a multi-weight oil that will help improve cold weather startup (look for a low first number, sythetics can be had at 0/5). Sythetics are awesome, but if your engine has old seals, they may leak, so it may not be the best way to go, you can try a blend of conventional/sythetic, also good.
 

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no its a 88, yea fix those lifters and as for the stalling to me it sounds like a spark issue still and idk about how many kms u normally get to a tank but in my 88 i got around 260 miles to the tank and i drive like a jerk. as for cheap mods.. theres a right up on how to put the ga16i throttle body on and idk how much that would help should run it by someone else. also i stayed up to late and saw the infomercial for the TORNADO FUEL SAVER once installed it wont rust bend or brake the AMAZING TORNADO ..... i hate informercials but i heard they actually work but i personally wont get one until someone i know does first
 

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at first i was thinking diesel sounds and bad gas mileage....is the o2 sensor installed?? or installed correctly? If theres a hole right in the manifold like that it can sound like a john deere at idle and when you let off the gas it'lll pop and crackle like rice crispies.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
-update on my engine troubles-
I also should mention I've noticed a some antifreeze/coolant on the valve cover. It doesn't seem to be leaking from the valve cover gasket(looks sealed pretty good). it's dripping on the valve cover between spark plug tubes 2 and 3. I can't tell where it's coming from. any ideas what this could be?
 

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from the top? ummmm never heard of that gotta happen when its highley pressureized... is it on the underside of the hood maybe its pissin strait up from somewhere and dripping in that area
 

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Viva el iPod
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Slacky said:
no its a 88, yea fix those lifters and as for the stalling to me it sounds like a spark issue still and idk about how many kms u normally get to a tank but in my 88 i got around 260 miles to the tank and i drive like a jerk. as for cheap mods.. theres a right up on how to put the ga16i throttle body on and idk how much that would help should run it by someone else. also i stayed up to late and saw the infomercial for the TORNADO FUEL SAVER once installed it wont rust bend or brake the AMAZING TORNADO ..... i hate informercials but i heard they actually work but i personally wont get one until someone i know does first
Stay away from that tornado please, we carry those, someone at work actually bought on, invest the $60 towards a proper tune-up, including O2 sensor change, who knows how old it is.

As far as coolant, I'm confused, is it in the valve cover or on top of it? Pull the oil cap, is the oil milky colored? If so you have some bigger problems, like a head gasket blown, but again, I'm confused by your post.
 

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First things first do a leak down test and a compression test those will be better if done at a shop leak down testers are not cheap and part houses rarely rent them this will tell you if your valves , rings, and head gasket are good. Also have a coolant pressure test done. this will tell you where the antifreeze is coming from. Is the oil whitish or milky looking if so you have a bad head gasket. also smell the oil if it smells gassy then you are washing your rings with to much fuel and will burn them up soon. if all this is good then check the codes in the ECU if it is TBI I am not sure about canadian models if all 88's were E16i's. if codes come up with nothing then do a major tune and replace the cap and stuff the other guy put on there they may just be cleaned up used crap it has happened in the past. if it is the i engine then replace the thermostat coolant temp sensor and the O2 sensor along with plugs wires cap rotor fuel and air filters and the PVC valve and last but not least the timing belt they have no warning sign of when they will fail they just break also a LOF is in order as well document all this work in your haynes manual with mileage and date so you know for sure when it was done and keep the receipts so if you sell the car you have proof of what you have done this all should fix the problem or point you to where you need to spend your money.
 

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Yeah I almost forgot congrats on your purchase you should like it and what body style is it the two door hatchback (Sport Coupe) or a coupe or sedan (trunkers :thumbdwn: )
 

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bII said:
The clicking noise (which makes it sound like a diesel) is probably the hydraulic lifters

The E-series engines never came with hydraulic lifters, they are adjustable and the clearance should be checked if the "clicking" noise sounds like it's coming from the upper end of the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Man I'm loving this car already. Started up this morning with very little complaining at -26*C :thumbup: . Didn't have it plugged in either. Just noticed too I'll need to splice in a new block heater outlet. couple of the prongs are busted off.
Its the 4 door sedan bare bones base model(manual steering, etc). I'm probably the only unmarried 20 year old who prefers a sedan over a coupe. :crazy:
actually its only a 3 door right now. The back passenger side door just quit working :( . Not a super emergency. I can deal with that later.
So anyway, I just took a closer look at the things leaking under the hood. The oil is black and smells like oil so that seems good. now the antifreeze I was talkin about was not leaking on the valve cover like I thought. looking in my haynes manual I'm pretty sure now its leaking from the front middle cylinder head bolt, as thats where its collecting and during driving I guess it sprays a little on the cylinder head(which I initially thought was the valve cover :loser: ).
Also, below the cylinder head part there is oil leaking all around the gasket area.
I'll take it to the mechanic asap and get a compression/leakdown test done and post the results.
After all that hopefully I can just drive/pray and hope this engine gets me through the winter.
 

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JonnyB said:
Man I'm loving this car already. Started up this morning with very little complaining at -26*C :thumbup: . Didn't have it plugged in either. Just noticed too I'll need to splice in a new block heater outlet. couple of the prongs are busted off.
Its the 4 door sedan bare bones base model(manual steering, etc). I'm probably the only unmarried 20 year old who prefers a sedan over a coupe. :crazy:
i would allways get a 4 door over a coupe.....i think i would rather have an altima se-r over a 350z (and im 18!) but the rear drive would most likely sway me. :rolleyes: i kinda like the style of the b12 though, its rough i like it :thumbup:
 

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1.6pete said:
i would allways get a 4 door over a coupe.....i think i would rather have an altima se-r over a 350z (and im 18!) but the rear drive would most likely sway me. :rolleyes: i kinda like the style of the b12 though, its rough i like it :thumbup:
I've driven the altima se-r and the 350z.......trust me you'd be happier with the se-r. it may be front wheel drive and a tad heavier, but it's useable. And it's more comfortable than the Z.
 

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That sounds like the headgasket may be blown or should I say leaking in your case yeah post the results of the tests. Good luck
 
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