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Timing Chain Questions

1971 Views 17 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  CMax03
I've been searching and reading alot in these forums to try to determine whether or not to mess with my timing chain or if I should attempt to do it myself. Just have a few questions.

1. I've read the sticky about the timing chain writeup for the 97 hardbody.... Does this procedure apply to my 93 4x4 or is the procedure done differently on my truck?

2. I only hear "noticeable rattle noise for about 1.5 to 2 secs after cold startup. Wasnt till today that I noticed a chattering/tickling noise when I had my truck running and was walking in front of it. Its not really loud and you gotta kinda try to listen for it to hear it but the sound is definitely there. My question is, Would I definitely "KNOW" if the timing chain was in really bad shape? I mean, would it be alot louder and annoying? Im just trying to figure out if I need to tackle this problem really soon, or can this wait awhile till more audible sounds tell me its gotten to where its about to become a BIG problem?

I really want to get this done but right now I'm one of those lucky americans who have been on layoff (supposedly temporary) and want to make the most of the money I have. I know I'll have to do it sooner or later just wanted to know if ya'll thought this sounded like a "NOW" kinda situation. I love my truck and dont want it damaged either though. I've heard about the chains eating into the water-jackets and definitely dont want that kinda situation on my hands.

I appreciate all the info already posted on this subject. This forum and everyone contributing knowledge to are awesome... Any input and opinions are appreciated

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For about $14 and an hour of your time you can know for sure if your timing chain is the problem. Take your valve/rocker cover off and you'll have a good view of the tensioners to see if they're warn/cracked or not. If they're not, replace the valve cover gasket and put it back together and you're done. If they are, you can decide to continue taking things apart or put it back together and tackle it another day. Either way, you'll know for sure and it doesn't require any more effort than 8 bolts and any more cost than a new gasket.
Thanks! I've never really dealt with internal engine probs. I know how everything works and love to fix things on my own. I do my own oil, brakes, lines, hoses, and basic external repairs. I had someone do my clutch for me a few weeks ago, but I think that doing this repair could be something I might be able to tackle on my own. I just dont really have alot of tools which is why I didnt do the clutch on my own.

I think I will do what you suggested and take a look inside the valve cover. But I'm one of those types of guys that if there is something wrong, I WILL NOT just put it back together once I know there's a problem. If I did it'd just eat at my concience.
I'll post a pic of it when I take it off tomorrow to see what you guys think.
Thanks for the input and more is always appreciated.
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If you don't have a lot of tools, you'll either need to buy some special ones or leave this job up to a professional. At the very least, you'll need some odd sized sockets to take the cam gear off I think.

It's not a "complicated" repair but it is the kind of repair that can be disastrous for your engine if done wrong. Be very very careful reassembling the timing chain or you'll destroy your valves, pistons and engine.

If you have the time and patience then it's certainly going to be cheaper doing it yourself. I think the timing chain kit is about $100. A mechanic would probably charge $500-600 for this job.
I've done some looking around and at they have OEM parts. The cost will total a little over 200 bucks for the tensioner, chain, and both guides tension side and slack side. I'm guessing OEM is the way to go on this one or so I've heard from zanegrey's posts. I definitely dont wanna have to go back in anytime soon after I do this. Things are getting pretty expensive with this truck though and this project may have to wait a bit. I'm pretty sure its not terribly bad and in desperate need of attention just yet. (hopefully)
I would have to agree. I don't mind aftermarket parts for a lot of things but not for something as vital as a timing chain.
This might be a silly question, Should I only buy the parts from a dealer or places that sell dealership stuff like Cuz I've seen other places online claiming that their products meet or exceed OEM standards and they're quite a bit cheaper. I'm guessing these are the parts everyone is saying to stay away from cuz their aftermarket right? just wanting to clarify that they arent the same ones the dealerships sell.

Thanks guys.
There are a handful of online places to get REAL nissan parts. One of my favorites is Genuine Nissan Auto Parts, NISMO and Nissan Accessories - Their website is extremely handy too. Their prices have always been lower than my local fact i think they ARE a dealership.

As far as meeting or exceeding OEM quality...sometimes that's true but sometimes the parts don't fit quite right. It's not a quality issue, it's a "this new OEM piece is a hair bigger than the old one and some other piece is in the way" kind of issue.
Do you think I need to replace the crank gear and cam sprocket too or do you think thats something I should'nt worry about?
Personally I don't think that's necessary unless there are obvious signs of wear or damage which isn't likely. I would definitely change the chain and tensioners though if you're going to go through with this. Some people change the tensioners but not the chain which may be asking for trouble.
thanks alot for the input cj I plan on taking off that valve cover and taking a look as soon as I get a chance. The weather here in ky has been pretty crappy the last few days but I do wanna at least take a look inside when I get a chance. I might post some pics when I do. that website you suggested had some pretty good stuff... they had a bundle that included the belts, gaskets, water pump and thermostat for 326.00 CourtesyParts. I'm not sure I need all that though or if I can get certain things cheaper elsewhere. Some of the other OEM kits I've found on other sites like include everything I need and they also Include both crank and cam gears. So I'm still undecided about which one I'm gonna go with yet. If anyone has any suggestions that might make it a lil easier to decide I'm all ears... once again thanks for the help cj.

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I would recommend a Nissan Oem timing chain only, tried that aftermarket (Cloyes) and it was a POS! Lasted 50,000 when the original was problem free for 271,000 miles...changed it cause I was rebuilding the motor!
Ya I've spent hours looking to find deals on the OEM kits. Its definitly cheaper to go through an online dealership than local. I was tempted to go with the beck/arnley kit but decided I'm not gonna take a chance when it comes to internal engine repairs that are as in depth as this; plus it was only bout 20 bucks cheaper than OEM. I'm definitely going OEM on this one... I've read numerous forums from places like nissanoffroad where people on there (even a moderator) bought their parts from ebay and such and in as little as 3 to 5k down the road are having timing problems again. So its a no-brainer I'm going tomorrow to buy a OEM oil filter as I've heard they reduce the rattle at initial startup. I'll prabably continue to use them for the duration of the trucks lifespan. Its amazing the kind of info you find just reading through forums.
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OK, this could be a long one. I GOT PICS.
took the valve cover off today and now I'm wondering if I'm just paranoid or something. I didnt see anything that looked bad or abnormal but maybe you guys can tell me what you think.

This is an overview

This is the timing chain tensioner guide on left

This is the right side guide, (I'm pretty sure this is the plastic one)

This is a view of both...(they look fine to me, no signs of wear on either side as far as I can tell)

This is the only thing that I see might be a concern. This is a pic of the right side guide. I put a screwdriver on the backside of the chain to show the slack that's there. You can see how the chain is pushed out a bit from the guide (from the screwdriver being wedged behind the chain)... I'm not sure if this poses a problem or not but the guide seems to be in good shape with no visible signs of wear.

I'm not sure if I'm being paranoid about this whole timing thing or not. I am pretty sure the right side guide is plastic though, but there doesnt seem to be any grooves etched in it or anything. I'm just concerned if the slack is normal. Do you guys think this looks normal or am I possibly missing something? On the right side guide, its supposed to just be plastic with no metal over it right? Or is the plastic just the backing of a metal piece thats supposed to be there??? I'm new to this so any help or insightful clarification is greatly appreciated.


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Looks like mine does...I'm no expert but i don't see much need to replace it. Some slack is normal...Just as long as it's not slapping around in there...

Here's the thread with the pics of mine...
thanks, I think I looked at your thread a lil while ago, the first guy who responded to yours (dj) said something about seeing if the right guide moved around a little bit. My right guide did move around a little bit but wouldnt come out or anything. Think thats normal? as for slapping around in there, I dont think i've ever heard anything slapping around.
Also I am going add that I WILL NEVER use a fram (extra guard) oil filter ever again. During the research I did on my timing chain I came across a few studies done on oil filters and they have been proven to have poorly constructed drainback valves which allow the oil in the oil filter to drain back into the oil pan causing DRY STARTS (which is terrible for an engine) and that rattle I was hearing at startup. Its just a crappy built oil filter all together... the tough guard ones are said to be OK but I probably wont use any fram oil filter again. After reading this info I went and changed the fram filter I had on my truck with a WIX filter and I will tell you, there was 100% difference. No more rattle at startup. I tried to get an OEM filter but the dealership was out of them, plus I've read that WIX is about the same thing. Just thought I'd add this info to this thread and maybe someone will find it useful. Here's a link to one of the study's I came across
Engine Oil Filter Study

Opinions and Recommendations - Oil Filters Revealed - MiniMopar Resources

Fram oil Filter Recall
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as long as the guides aren't worn down or broken (mounts), and as long as you can't move the chain to the next tooth your good. Boy am I glad, I've got the double roller chain.....
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