Q: I have a 1989 Nissan 240SX SE hatchback with 120,000 miles on it and I was curious what the concensus is on timing belt replacement?

A: First off, it's a chain, not a belt, so it's not a wear item.

Q: I have had some mechanics tell me that I don't need to worry about it as long as I haven't been "abusive" to the engine. And I have had others tell me that you should just have it done at 60 or 80k. So I have three questions:
Q: 1) is the '89 240SX SE an 'interference' engine (timing belt goes, valves and pistons crash catostrophically) or not?

A: Yes. If your chain breaks (never happens) or starts jumping teeth on the gears (more on this later) it can munch the valves.

Q: 2) what is the recommended replacement interval?

A: Doesn't apply.

Q: 3) what is the going rate for such a repair?

A: It typically costs $500-$700 to have the chain, sprockets, tensioner, chain guides, and front-cover seals replaced.

Q: PS- also do I have a chain or belt? and does it make that significant a difference in change intervals, cost etc?

A: There's a technical service bulletin out for most of the 240SXs (can't remember the years, but yours is *definitely* one of them) which recommends replacement of the chain guides and chain tensioner.

Here's what I told Tony, the other guy who asked about this today:

> Tony Iannarelli wrote:
> >
> > What are the symptoms of the Timing Chain going bad?
> Well, it's not so much that the chain goes bad, but the tensioner
> gets weak and the guides break into little bits. This is a Nissan
> technical service bulletin, which means it's a known problem and
> there are upgraded parts available to correct it, but it's not a
> recall, so you have to pay to have it done.
> The usual symptoms are that the engine rattles like hell when you
> first start it (chain flapping around) and lacks power (slack chain
> causing camshaft timing to drift around unpredictably).
> It's a 10-12 hour job for your typical do-it-yourselfer, but it's one
> of the more annoying jobs I've done on my car. If you can afford it,
> I would advise you to have a shop do it -- and the independent shops
> do just as good a job as the dealerships, for less money.
> You can even order the parts at discount from Brown & Brown Nissan
> of Arizona -- http://www.brownandbrown.com, or via their 800-number
> in the back of Car and Driver or other car mags.

Hope this helps.


Q> Does a 1993 240sx se have a timing chain or is it a belt???

A> It's all chains. All KA24E/DE have timing chains along w/ SR20DE.  Belts are found on the VQ/VG engines.


$5 solution to the DOHC chain rattle problem

I found a $5 solution to the chain rattle problem!!!! Well, at least *our* chain rattle problem.

Background: We got a DOHC engine with 53k miles on it from a junkyard, where it had been sitting on the rack for about 1 year or so. It had the nasty chain rattle problem that was always present not matter if the engine was hot or cold.

The problem that I found was the tensioner was *frozen* and was not fully extending and keeping tension on the chain. The burnt on oil/sludge gunk was keeping the tensioner from moving freely in the bore. Here's a quick rundown on how to fix this problem. Of course, if your chain is stretched and the guides are worn, this won't help you.

Tools needed: 10 and 12 mm wrenches, long screwdriver, timing light (very helpfull, but not totally necessary), tube of RTV, WD-40. A big socket to fit the front crank bolt is also helpfull but not required.

1. Put the engine at TDC (with #1 cylinder firing) because you'll be pulling the distributor out and you don't want to play guessing games on how to put it back in. Pull the cap from the distributor and make a note of where the rotor is pointing. Also make a scribe mark on where the distributor is adjusted so you can get the timing real close when you restart the car. If you don't have a socket to fit the front crank bolt to turn the engine, put the car in 4th gear (sorry slushers), and roll it back and forth until the engine is at TDC.

2. Remove the valve cover. You may need to remove the fan, depending on the amount of room you need. Remove the 3 small bolts (10mm head) holding the upper timing cover the lower cover. Remove the other 5 or 6 bolts (12mm). Carefully remove the top cover. If it doesn't just pop off, make sure all of the bolts are removed, otherwise you'll crack something!!!!

3. With the top timing cover removed, you can now access the top tensioner and the bottom tensioner. If found that both were a bit sticky, with the bottom one being the worst. It was jammed inside the bore and wasn't moving at all. As a result, the chain was just flapping in the wind.

4. Use a flat bladed screwdriver or other instrument of choice, to pop the tensioner out against the chain. Then, push it back into the tensioner housing until it bottoms. When you let go of the tensioner, it should pop back out and put full tension on the chain. If it doesn't pop it back out. Push in, pop out, push in, pop out, etc.... Do this until the tensioner is moving freely. I used a bit of penetrating oil (rusted bolt remover), to help disolve the gunk and get things moving freely. Check both tensioners.

5. Clean the cover, removing all of the RTV sealant. Clean the other mating surface and put the cover back on with new RTV. Replace the valve cover.  Put the distributor back in, making sure it lined up as before. Fire it up,check the distributor timing, and enjoy the silence.


Take a look at the guides while you're in there. Look for grooving and wear.

The little swinging latch on the tensioner is for holding the tensioner when you change the chain. Just ignore it and let it hang down.

When you're putting the bolts back into the front cover, go easy on the tightening. They are threading into aluminum and they are pretty easy to strip.

If the car won't start or runs like crap, put the engine back at TDC (with #1 cylinder firing) and double check that you got the distributor back in right.

When you're poking around at the tensioner and cleaning off the old RTV, make sure not to drop goobers (bits of RTV and gasket material) down the front cover.

| Dave Balingit - Data Tech Racing
| 240SX NASA Pacific Coast Touring Car
| Nissan/Infiniti Speedvision Cup Car
| [email protected]  : [email protected]
| http://www.garlic.com/~datatech

Timing chain rattle

I was told by some that a rattling noise from the engine could mean the timing chain needed to be replaced. I found that might be true sometimes but I think the real thing that makes the timing chain rattle is simply a metal plate that runs across the two cams.   When talking to a mechanic he said the dealerships solution for fixing the rattling sounds were to simply remove the metal plate. To do this all you need to do is take off the valve cover and remove the two bolts holding it in. Hope this makes someone happy.

Email: [email protected]

Timing Chain Part Numbers for SOHC:

To you who are interested, I called up NissanAutoParts.com and put in a quote for the necessary stuff to change a timing chain. Here it is:
NissanAutoParts.com QUOTE!!!
(1) Qnty: 1 Part#: 13028-8B000 ---->Total Price: 30.60
Description: chain
(2) Qnty: 1 Part#: 13070-40f06 ---->Total Price: 17.26
Description: tensioner
(3) Qnty: 1 Part#: 13085-40F10 ---->Total Price: 7.13
Description: slackl side guide
(4) Qnty: 1 Part#: 13075-40F10 ---->Total Price: 1.46ea
Description: bolt for s guide
(5) Qnty: 1 Part#: 13091-40F15 ---->Total Price: 7.26
Description: tension side guide
(6) Qnty: 1 Part#: 13510-53F10 ---->Total Price: 4.82
Description: frt crank seal
(7) Qnty: 1 Part#: 15066-5E500 ---->Total Price: 3.34
Description: frt cover seal
+ Shipping & Handling:
=======>TOTAL: $71.87 USD
I don't think that's too bad myself!
Brent Lykins
[email protected]

Timing Chain Rubbing Against Valve Cover!


I just recently brought my '92 SE into the local dealership for some warranty work - Timing Chain making a strange rubbing sound but not quite a rattle, as well as replacing the tranmission seals for major leaks. I was surprised that the chain has no exact replacement "time frame". The people at the Nissan dealership basically said that it is not considered a wear item and that the  chain is only replaced if it actually is damaged itself! They then explained that the cause of the sound was the main guide on the top of the timing chain - A part that has been deleted from the Nissan inventory! It has been recommended that this part is nolonger necessary and  should simply be removed. With the guide gone the chain no longer makes any "strange" noises. Also, my terrible warranty people initially denied to pay for the guide's removal but when I demanded that Nissan provide them with the documentation indicating that this was a part no longer needed but not a recall they immediately ! reviewed my case and are going to reimburse me for that "repair". Once I get a scanner I post up that   Documentation. This only applies to the DOHC 240's.

Email: [email protected]