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I have been struggling with my 96 Sentra (I have posted previously about setting the timing chain) after replacing the head gasket. I have had the engine back together again but it would not start. I went back to the timing chain to see if I set them incorrectly. My checking indicated that I did it correctly.

Here is what I found to be the problem. When I took the head off, several of the caps came off the lifters. I tried to put them back in the same locations... but I am sure that some were not placed in their original locations. After my car failed to start, I began to investigate this as a possible reason. I checked valve lash for all of the lifters and I found one that was way off. It was an exhaust lifter and the lash read .021 when the shop manual indicted that .016 should be the maximum. All of the other readings came within specs. To test to see if this was truly a problem, I ran a compression test with the engine cold (I couldn't run it warm since I couldn't get it started). I found that the compression reading on the "bad" cylinder was 70#, while the others read about 140#. BTW, I realize that the readings are kind of low overall because the engine was cold. I should also mention that I pulled the fuse on fuel pump before running the test.

Here is my question.... What is the best way to find the correct shim (which is likely on the wrong valve) to put on my poorly running valve? I have measured the valve lash on all of the valves, and they are all within specs. I know that using a very accurate caliper to measure the shims is the best way... Is there another? I would appreciate suggestions.

Also, do I have to get the tool shown in my shop manual to change out the shims, or will I just have to remove the camshafts once again?
 
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