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i just picked up an 88 sentra 2dr 4spd manual with 284***km's on it. has a bit of valve noise but has a bad knock when you first fire it up for about 2 seconds then goes away until mid RPM's then returns with a vengance. sounds like its coming from cyl #2, around the top of the block or lower head area (hard to tell) im suspecting a rod bearing. ripped apart the oil filter and is super shiney, looks like copper. timing belt was done at 247*** and other than that everything else seems to be good. replaced the plugs, were super black.
so i need some input and can find shit online about repairs on the car. want to know if i can drop the pan and replace the bearings with the motor still in the car if thats the problem.
 

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You can (in theory) do just that... drop the pan and replace the rod bearings. However, I'd suggest pulling the engine and doing it on an engine stand. This eliminates possible contaminants, as well as allows you to check clearances and tolerances much easier. Plus, let's face it, it would be much easier! Pulling the engine on a B12 is easy enough, even if you've no experience. Also, when you do rod bearings, you need to check the crank lobes and make sure they are in good shape and not scored, otherwise you'll be doing the bearings again in no time.
 
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