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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
HowTo: Fix Multiple Timing Chain Noises - W/pics & vids

Does your timing chain make noise? An intense rattle on startup, or when the car is really warm at low RPM?

Mine made an intense rattling upon cold start. It also would rattle under load below 1000 rpm when the car was really warm. Here's the noise I am talking about.



Here's another rattle I had, it was much less consistent, but only happened below 2500rpmish. It went away more as you put more load on the engine. I believe what this noise turned out to be is the upper timing chain guide. Its hard to hear, but its a random rattle that sounds sort of hollow. You can hear it really well towards the end of the video after the AC compressor turns off and the idle changes

When your timing chain tensioner does not keep enough tension on the timing chain, the slack in between the cam gears will come in contact with the upper timing chain guide. Scroll down below to identify if this is happening on your motor.

The repair for this is to replace the timing chain tensioner. If you want to go all out, and replace your chain, guides, and tensioner, go right ahead. I am on a budget, and I've never personally seen an SR20 chain break. There is a possibility of stretch, but nissan does not consider this a "wear item" therefor there is no replacement interval, and thats good enough for me. Instances where we would replace timing chains at the dealership were when a guide wore out to the point that the chain was rubbing on metal. If none of your guides are down to the metal, you shouldn't need to replace your chain (but you can if you want to!). Inspect your guides and make sure they're not completely worn out!! Mine were great (except the upper, but still not down to the metal)

Nissan updated the timing chain tensioner in the later engines, and the early one is no longer available. Talk to a parts guy at a nissan dealership and he'll tell you that the part has been superseded a few times, and there's only one you can get now. I bought the timing chain tensioner and gasket from a NISSAN dealership for my INFINITI.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not responsible for you screwing up your own car, I'm just trying to help. I'm not a genius, but I have been a mechanic for 7 years, and a nissan technician for 3 years. I've rebuild 1 RR SR20, and 1 FWD DET motor. So I am no guru, but not an idiot.

I did not find a write-up in my searching, so hopefully this will help somebody. If this has been explained before in this detail, I'm sorry! I'll delete it if that's the case.

LETS GET STARTED

STEP ONE:
GET PART

It looks like this! Part number for tensioner (I'll edit) Part number for Gasket (I'll edit)
USE STOCK TENSIONER - its only like $75. Trust in OEM parts



STEP TWO:
Remove plug wires and set them aside. Remove valve cover nuts, washers, and seals. PUT THEM IN A CONTAINER OF SOME SORT. They're very easy to lose if you leave the washers/seals on the VC. Ask me how I know. Remove hoses going into valve cover. Unclip your throttle cable and move it out of the way/ziptie it out of the way.


STEP THREE:
Here's your upper timing chain guide. REMOVE IT. I believe the engines that came with the updated tensioner from the factory did not have this guide at all.


If it looks like THIS, it might be best to take it off. I've heard you should NOT take it off if you're still going to use the old timing chain tensioner. I'm replacing the tensioner, and mine looks TERRIBLE, so its going in the trash. I didnt bother replacing the timing chain tensioner and keeping this on to see if the noise still went away, it seemed like a waste of time.


I believe this was causing the noise in video #2

STEP FOUR:
Remove oil filter. See the nut and the back of the tensioner behind where the oil filter goes?


STEP FIVE:
Remove timing chain tensioner. Its 2 10mm nuts.


Old one with old gasket on the right. New stuff on the left (Already compressed)

Hold the little ratcheting mechanism and compress the tensioner. Put the hook over the pin so it remains compressed.

STEP SIX:
Install tensioner and new gasket. Clean both surfaces, RTV is not necessary, and it will just make a mess and make the job look janky. I also think there is a level of risk using it because you will probably get RTV on the tensioner. I would be worried that RTV would possibly get where oil goes in the passage. It might be a long shot, but just dont take the risk. Nissan didnt use RTV, so unless your surface is damaged, you dont need it either!

Here's what it looks like installed, and after I SLOWLY cranked the motor BY HAND, CLOCKWISE, about a half a turn. The hook releases itself.


STEP SEVEN: (Optional, for safety)
Check cam timing! I did not look up how to do this, I just used my common sense. The reason I'm checking cam timing, is because you had a problem with timing chain tension. If your engine skipped a tooth, or skipped while you were replacing the tensioner, dont you want to know about it?!

Rotate the crank with a ratchet by hand to TDC compression. This mark on the crank pulley will tell you CYL#1 is at TDC.


This screwdriver in the spark plug hole will tell you also, as it moves up, stop rotating AS SOON as the handle stops moving up, you're at TDC. This isnt very precise, but it will tell you if your crank pulley marks are correct (I've had SR crank pulley's fail before)

This is what your cams/gears should look like at TDC compression

NOTE: position of the dots on the cam gears, and the position of the cam LOBES. They are facing away from each other. Rotating the engine clockwise, the INTAKE valves have just closed and the EXHAUST valves are about to open. This is TDC compression, and it is where cam timing is set. If everything's good, move on...

STEP EIGHT:
Get one of THESE! Seriously, is a genuine nissan filter like $1 more than an aftermarket? They're probably much higher quality than aftermarket, plus they've got cool JDM writing on them sometimes.


Go back and do STEP TWO in reverse (install valve cover, hoses, throttle cable, plug wires, etc.)

CHECK YOUR OIL! If you drained your oil, make sure to fill it back up! If you just removed your oil filter, make sure to check it and top it off if needed!

Start your car and enjoy RATTLE FREE DRIVING!

I know I am!!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
For those of you who don't know me (I'm assuming everyone), I just posted an intro thread in the intro section.

I have a million problems with my g20, and I've always regretted not documenting my repairs for others to benefit from... So I'm trying to get off to a good start with this car/forum.

I hope this is of some value to the G20 community!
 

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I just removed my upper timing guide and replaced the tensioner. Was your timing chain noise completely eliminated? I still get rattles, but not nearly as bad as it was.

Nice write up and pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You know, I've actually been noticing some minor rattling as well. Its about 5% of the noise level of what it used to be, and not nearly as frequent.

I would imagine if I did the entire job (new chain, and guides), this wouldn't be a problem.
 

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awesome write up! sticky! i come from the honda forums where this type of post was more common so info was more readily available. the video was great! i have that same problem as video 2 and it only confirms for me that the timing chain is the problem. i described the sound to a mechanic friend of mine and fellow g20 owner and he had no idea what i was talking about and was skeptical it was my timing chain. probably due to poor explanation and my g20s reluctance to make the noise in the presence of a mechanic hahah

also, i have a 99t which is non rr i believe. what year is your motor? i ask because im curious if my tensioner is the old version or updated and whether or not i even have the guide. i assume if i dont have the guide and i have that same sound that would be even worse right?
 

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Please, this should be stickied, for the cam timing information (something EVERYONE should have immediate access to) Never risk timing, if you lost count of teeth, count again until you're 300% sure! Lost my first engine due to timing failure, very sad night.
 

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Sometimes, on a lot of older cars, the rattle on startup noise is the Rod bearings. Just as the engine wears they create more clearance and the oil pressure drops which does effect the tensioner. So if the noise is not 100% fixed with the tensioner then it could be mine bearing wear.
 

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Any guide or replacing the timing guides? I had the right one snap on me
This probably doesn't help, the only write-up I saw before was written all in Spanish, and a few years ago, there were actually some really good step by step pictures in there. Guy even finished the job with basic hand tools with the engine in the car.

https://www.g20.net/forum/showthread.php?93511-Cambio-de-cadena

Only other place you may get the info you need is from an FSM. Not sure if it recommends taking the motor out of the car or not. I changed the chain and guides on my last P11 with the engine in. Took about a good solid weekend of,

1. Removing lower cross member and exhaust downpipe
2. Removing upper and lower radiator pan (whatever you do, do not miss taking out 2x 10mm nuts that hold the middle of the upper plate on the transmission side of the motor, many people have cracked/destroyed their upper pans before)
3. Remove the front pulley (get a tool that allows you to pull the crank pulley out from the center, using the claw design puller, you can destroy/separate the pulley itself)
4. With the valve cover off, remove all of the bolts holding on the front timing cover, there are some bolts hiding inside the head "chain valley" that need to be removed too, also recommend using multiple zip ties to hold the chain in place, if you are not going to replace the chain, and want to avoid mechanically resetting the timing, keep that chain tight.
5. Now you have access to both guides, stay away from the all plastic guides, and if you have plastic guides and are upgrading to the newer style metal w/ plastic inners, I believe you are going to need new guide/bolts for them too.
6. Make sure you get some decent grey rtv, clean off all the matting surfaces and reverse the process.

Its time consuming but it can be done.
 

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I had that rattling of the chain due to a failed chain tensioner, so I have the front cover off and am replacing the tensioner and both slack- and tension-side guides. I'll be removing the top guide.
The old, tension-side guide (exhaust cam/ radiator side) on the p10's was replaced by the Nissan part # 13085-1N500. Infiniti/ Nissan apparently used part # 13085-1N500 from 7/1999 until 1/2001. This part was superseded by part # 13085-1N501, which was used beginning in 1/2001.
The strange thing is that you can no longer buy the later version, as only 13085-1N500 is available. (another example,13085-1N500)

In my case, this is confusing because part # 13085-1N500 allows for movement of the plastic part of the guide upon its metal base and is now the only one that can be ordered. But it came BEFORE the later version, 13085-1N501, which did not allow for movement of the plastic. Both parts appear identical, except for the movement of the plastic on its metallic base. I am assuming that 13085-1N501 did not allow for movement of the plastic.

The question is, Is the movement of the plastic (1/8 inch) in the -1N500 guide an improved design?
If so, why would Infiniti/ Nissan opt to use the non-moving -1N501 part after it had already introduced the -1N500 guide that allows for movement of the plastic?
I have been told by Infiniti and Nissan parts personell and technicians that the shifting in the plastic is considered an improved design, as it serves to alleviate/ dampen the stress the plastic experiences due to chain making contact upon acceleration and start-up. I have also been told by Nissan technicians that there should not be any movement of the plastic portion of the chain guide.
The oddest thing is that the "better" design, -1N500, actually came BEFORE the non-moving design,-1N501.
Also odd is that when I recently removed the guides from my p10 (which had had guides replaced around 2002), I found the NON-MOVING version (13085-1N501) .
Courtesy told me that it is correct that part # 13085-1N500 has movement, that this is its proper functioning, that they ordered a second part to compare it to and found that it to had movement in the plastic portion.
Why would Nissan "improve" a part, use if for several years in their production and then opt to use an inferior design for later versions of the car's production?
The movement of the plastic was concerning to me, and I initially believed it to be a defect in the part, given the actual shape and fit of the plastic is the only way the plastic fits to its metal base. This, not to mention both chain guides I am replacing have plastic that has begun to break free or has broken free of their metal base.

Movement of a plastic portion of a chain guide being ideal was a difficult idea to understand as being a positive aspect of the 13085-1N500 chain guide's design, given that my old parts had plastic that with further movement, would have continued to break apart. However, I can see how a slight shift in the plastic might dampen the abrasion or impact of the chain on the plastic beneath it.
 
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