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We recently rebuilt the e16 engine in our 1987 Sentra GXE. Its harmonic balancer simply sheared off and the replacement balancer and timing gear literally ate up the end of the crank. Its all rebuilt and with a new timing gear, guide disks and balancer it seems to run when it feels like it! However we've noticed a seal behind the timing gear that doesn't actually seal anything! There is an end plate casting that mounts to the block around the crack shaft, in it is a seal behind the timing gear and the timing belt guide disk (which is also loose and rattles). The seal looks like it should contact the crank shaft or a sleeve on the crank but there is, and was, nothing there. Could we be missing some part that secures the timing belt guide plate behind the timing gear and that would take up the 1/4" radius to the inside diameter of this seal? I've only noticed a very minor drip of oil that looks like black graphite grease. The crank's main seal is further into the engine and is in place. This odd non sealing seal seems usless, but I don't think the timing belt guide disk should be loose and rattling.
 

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WHOA!! Looks like you should be talking to a Nissan mechanic about that. I don't think anyone here is going to know, but someone might.
 
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We don't have a decent Nissan mechanic in the area, or at least they don't seem to tell a straight story twice in a row...
 

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It's going to be expensive, but you might want to go to the dealer.
 

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Hello fellow E16'ers. I am surprised no one knew this. Yes indeed there is a part missing. On all E-engines, there is a steel sleeve, that serves the purpose of providing the sealing surface for the front crank seal. After the seal has been tapped into the aluminum cover [seal holder], slide the sleeve over the crank's snout, and engage it into the keyway. Then the crank timing gear slides on. When installing the crank damper, make sure the big dowel on it, goes into the bigger of the two notches in the crank gear. Then torque down the 19mm crank damper bolt. Hope this solves your dilemma.
 
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I couldn't believe the loose fit

Thats what I was afraid of, it simply didn't make engineering sense. The funny thing is that the sleeve has never been there since we got the car. Thank you for confirming my belief - it explains a lot of what my son's currently experiencing. If nothing else ever comes of this he's learned to listen to his engine and know what's normal and what isn't. It'll take another 4-5 years to realize Dad aint' as stupid as he thinks!

Guess its time for another timing gear and to locate this missing sleeve.

I believe the timing gear needs to be replaced each time you pull it from the crank? It seems to be a press fit going on and if reused it runs too loose and rattles to pieces!
 
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