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98 Altima Timing Chain replacement needed Forums > > 98 Altima Timing Chain replacement needed 98 Altima Timing Chain replacement needed
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  #1  
Old 09-16-2009, 06:51 AM
rediranch
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Default 98 Altima Timing Chain replacement needed

Hi all,

I searched the forum for a write up on an Altima timing chain replacement, but could not find one. Does one exist?

My timing chain guides have been chewed up on my 1998 Altima SE which has 130K miles on it. I just got off the phone with a shop who quoted $1250 in parts and labor, most of it labor. We have enough vehicles that the Altima can be down for repairs for a while, so I'm going to take a shot at it. I think I'll replace the water pump too, unless someone convinces me otherwise, I'd hate to have to dig into the front again if that fails.

I have a few questions maybe some of you can answer?

1. What parts do I need to do this replacement? I looked at the following from Napa:
Timing Kit
Timing Chain Tensioner (dont think it's included in above)

2. I have large hands, and peeking into the front of this engine, I dont have confidence in getting things undone easily. Would it be easier to hoist the engine/tranny out of the vehicle to do this replacement? I have an engine hoist and a stand. Time is on my side, so I'd rather do more work than have more frustration....

3. Any special tools required? I have a pretty good assortment, including impact tools, and maybe even a pulley puller onhand.

4. Anyone who has done this replacement - do you have any tips you can pass along? Where did you have issues and how did you get around them?

ANY information you can provide would be very much appreciated.

Last edited by NissanTech; 01-23-2013 at 06:44 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2009, 04:58 PM
streamcast streamcast is offline
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Are you sure it is the timing chain that is making your noise. Have not seen many or any timing chains go on this model. Not saying that yours is not. Before I do change it I would check the idle pulleys main and the one for the A/C they make terrible noise as if the timing chain is rattling. Hate to see you go through that trouble for an idle issue.
Parts required would be the tensioner, gears, chain and guides. Would not replace the water pump unless it is leaking.
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  #3  
Old 09-18-2009, 05:13 PM
rediranch
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The plastic timing guides came out in pieces in an oil change.

It's my assumption that without the guides the chain is slapping around.

And since I HAVE to replace the guides, will be doing the chain as well.
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  #4  
Old 09-18-2009, 07:47 PM
deeznuts
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The first part kit shows to have both tensioners included, so you should be fine with that. I would make sure it comes with the upper tensioner gasket. You will also need a valve cover gasket, silicone (I only used nissan at the dealer), new guide bolts (should be three), t-stat with coolant (if you're changing the w-pump), and of course oil. I also always added an oil filter to the list, seeing as how replacing that makes it a full blown lof.
You don't need to remove the engine in order to remove the cover. You simply remove the upper mount and lower cross member, and let the engine hang down. Trust me, no one has small enough hands to remove the cover without dropping the engine down. But to answer your question, no it would not be easier to remove the entire engine assembly.
The only special tool you would need is an impact to take off the crankshaft bolt, and maybe a puller if the crank pulley is stubborn.
As far as tips, make sure you get all the bolts out of the cover before you start to pry on it, including the top and very bottom (inside oil pan). That and the guide pins tend to rust up from time to time, which makes the cover feel like you left a bolt still in.
If you have any more questions, shoot me line.
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  #5  
Old 09-21-2009, 05:38 AM
rediranch
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Deeznuts,

Thanks VERY much for your response, looks like a lot of good info.

I'm not sure when I'll be starting on this project, I've already figured that it will be an all winter project with all the other things I have going on. So you may get some questions a month from now, etc.

Thanks again.
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  #6  
Old 06-07-2010, 05:18 PM
Cousin_Fred
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Hi, I have a very similar problem. I have a 1998 Nissan Altima and took it to a mechanic as we we had noises when slowing down or sometimes idling.
The mechanic took off all the belts. Then by use of a stethascope found the noise to be coming from behind the timing cover. So he thinks it would either be the timing chain and /or the chain tensioner guide. So he recommends removing the timing cover, which he said would take about nine hours and cost us $1300 as they will have to pull the engine!
My questions are these: Do you think I will have any trouble finding a cheaper mechanic if he removes the upper motor mount and cross member?
Also; What would you say the hazards are, if any of continuing to drive it if the noise is coming from behind timing cover?
Thanks..........I will appreciate any advice you can give me.
............Fred
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  #7  
Old 06-07-2010, 05:43 PM
rediranch
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I have to be honest here - I chickened out after reading an article in Popular Mechanics where a guy bent a piston or a rod because he put on the timing chain wrong.

I took it to a mechanic. Actually two.

The first quoted me $1200 last fall when I called him, which is what started turning me to doing it myself.

After sitting on it for 5 months, I finally took it to that mechanic - who then quoted me $1800!

I told him to not do any work on it b/c the price had changed. I called around and found that his pricing was accurate - but there are two ways to do it.

The cheaper way - the $1200 - is to do it while the engine is in the car.

The more expensive way - $1800 - was to pull the head on it.

Both the places I talked to said they could start out with the intention of the $1200 quote, but if the mechanic thought that there were pieces of the guide in the engine (I think this was the reason), they would have to pull the head and hence the cost would go up.

I ended up taking it to the 2nd place, b/c they gave me a 3yr/36K warranty, where the first place only offered 6 months.


So....

What I would suggest, and this could be done by yourself and cost you just an oil change (unless you can tow it to the auto service). Drain the engine oil, then pull the pan - you have any plastic pieces in the oil? You may be able to tell this w/o pulling the oil pan too - check the oil coming out for plastic pieces. That's how I found out my problem, the guide was in pieces in the bottom of the oil pan.

That would tell you if the guides are gone or not. If the chain is getting too much slack and slapping the PLASTIC guides, the guides will be destroyed.

If you drive it and the chain breaks - you could be looking at a new ENGINE.

I would stop driving it. Drain the oil, check for guide pieces, and/or drop the pan. If you break that chain, you'll have a much larger bill.


When they were putting ours back together, they saw that the harmonic balancer was coming apart, and that's probably what caused our chain to have issues - that and we have 131K on it.

They replaced the harmonic balancer for another $200 (parts only). We also had them replace the water pump at the same time.
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  #8  
Old 06-07-2010, 08:15 PM
deeznuts
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rediranch; sorry to hear that you chickened out, but don't feel bad. The important part is that you worked within your comfort zone, and that's crucial. At least it's done, right.

Cousin_Fred; $1300 may be just about what the going rate is. With his estimate, you should be able to tell how much is parts vs. labor. It's been a while since I have done one, so I don't remember what the parts for that job cost. I do know that it is an expensive repair, and that is why so many opt out of it for such an old vehicle. For the time being noise will be your main concern, but like rediranch stated it will eventually lead to the chain possibly breaking. The noise you hear is the slack and rattling against what chain guides you have left. Either way it's not good for the engine.
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  #9  
Old 09-28-2010, 03:54 PM
cobradb
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After abt 95 model the tensioners were durable for many miles,, mine is going on 300k and quiet as new.
what was the oil service on your 98 with bad tensioner?
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  #10  
Old 09-28-2010, 05:24 PM
rediranch
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I changed the oil on a regular basis - 3-3500 miles. The problem, the shop told me, was the harmonic balancer started coming apart, and it caused the timing chain to get loose.

It's suggested to change every 60K, and this was my first change around 120K.
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  #11  
Old 01-30-2012, 11:08 AM
michcedar91 michcedar91 is offline
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Default 99 nissan altima GXE timing chain guide replacement

I did this job successfully in a driveway without an engine hoist. Not recommended for anyone not experienced with cylinder head removal and setting timing marks. The 2.4L engine uses two timing chains and they both have to be aligned perfectly to complete this job. The main reason the engine crossmember has to be removed is to allow the secondary oil pan(aluminum) to be removed because two bolts on the bottom of the lower timing chain cover have to be removed to get the cover off. I did it with two floor jacks to support the engine and tranny. Also note that there are two more of the same two bolts on the tranny side as well to get the secondary oil pan off.
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  #12  
Old 01-23-2013, 06:26 PM
Harryjames Harryjames is offline
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Hello Everyone
I have a 1999 Altima with the KA24 engine in it. I have been trying to find an accurate diagram which shows me how to fit the upper chain and line up the two cam sprockets. The information which comes from downloading the service manual, does not show where to line up the four cam sprocket marks on the 1999 model. The chain broke and it was not possible to mark anything when dismantling it for future reference. All the information online and in "manuals" dont show an accute diagram. I know that I am close, however I want to know that it is correct. Thanks Harry

Last edited by NissanTech; 01-23-2013 at 06:45 PM. Reason: Remove email address to avoid spam.
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  #13  
Old 01-23-2013, 06:48 PM
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NissanTech NissanTech is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harryjames View Post
Hello Everyone
I have a 1999 Altima with the KA24 engine in it. I have been trying to find an accurate diagram which shows me how to fit the upper chain and line up the two cam sprockets. The information which comes from downloading the service manual, does not show where to line up the four cam sprocket marks on the 1999 model. The chain broke and it was not possible to mark anything when dismantling it for future reference. All the information online and in "manuals" dont show an accute diagram. I know that I am close, however I want to know that it is correct. Thanks Harry
There is good information in the "Engine Mechanical" section of the service manual on how perform the chain installation. Information starts on "Page 22" of the section.

You can download the section free from here: 1999 Nissan Altima Service Manual - Loose Sections - Free with Registration - Nissanhelp.com
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  #14  
Old 01-23-2013, 06:58 PM
Harryjames Harryjames is offline
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Default re: upper timing chain alignment marks

Hello Sir
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my query. I have downloaded the engine manual pgs 17 to 23, before I wrote my first message tot he forum and it does not show any alignment marks. It does say that you should mark the chain and gears on disassembly, so that you can reassemble using these marks. However that was not possible, because of the broken chain. I thought that Nissan would have published a diagram showing the alignment of the two cam sprockets, in relationship to the keyways and the four marks which are clearly displayed on the two cam sprockets. Is there such a diagram available?
Thanks
Harry
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  #15  
Old 01-24-2013, 12:27 PM
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bennyb53 bennyb53 is offline
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The cam sprockets has a mark. Simply line up the gold color link on the chain to the mark. At the bottom the color link will also line up. A minor wiggle here and there in lining up the marks.
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