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1997 Nissan Sentra Base 4dr Sedan Manual

1997 Nissan Sentra
Trim Info:
Front Wheel Drive, 4 Door Sedan, Subcompact
29 mpg city / 39 mpg hwy
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March 16, 2013, 6:15 am

Ronald J

Question: timing problems

i replaced a head gasket on a 2004 nissan sentra 1.8 engine the car was manufactured in may03 but i cant get the timing to set right

March 20, 2013, 8:34 pm

Tyler O

CAUTION: After removing timing chain, do not turn crankshaft and camshaft separately, or valves will strike piston heads.
When installing chain tensioner, oil seats, or other sliding parts, lubricate contacting surfaces with new engine oil.
Apply new engine oil to bolt threads and seat surfaces when installing camshaft sprocket and crankshaft pulley.


Disconnect battery ground cable.
Drain engine coolant. Be careful not to spill coolant on drive belts.
Drain engine oil.
Remove the following belts.

Power steering pump drive belt
Alternator drive belt

Remove power steering pump from adjusting bar.
Remove alternator.
Remove front RH wheel.
Remove front/right-side splash undercover.
Remove center member.

Remove front exhaust tube.
Disconnect vacuum hoses for:

EVAP canister
Brake power booster

Remove ignition coils.
Remove spark plugs.
Remove rocker cover.
Remove oil level gauge.

Remove gusset.
Remove rear plate (lower)(A/T models).
Remove oil pan and oil strainer.
For safe operation, and to reduce load to mount insulator, install center member.
Remove RH engine mounting and RH engine mounting bracket.

Remove any parts that make it difficult to remove RH mount.
Support cylinder block bottom surface with a transmission jack.

CAUTION: When positioning jack, use a wooden block to avoid damage to the oil pan mounting surface.

Separate and remove engine mounting bracket and engine mounting.

Remove cylinder head front cover.

Remove auxiliary bolts of cylinder head.
Set No. 1 piston at TDC on its compression stroke.

1.8L (QG18DE)

Turn the crankshaft pulley clockwise, and align the pointer to the timing mark on the pulley.

1.8L (QG18DE)

Make sure the camshaft sprocket mating mark is in the position shown in the figure. If the mating mark is not in position, turn the crankshaft pulley once more and position it.

Remove crankshaft pulley as follows.

Secure crankshaft counterweight with the handle of a hammer, and loosen crankshaft pulley bolt.

CAUTION: Take care to prevent foreign material from entering the engine.

Remove crankshaft pulley using crankshaft pulley puller.

CAUTION: Hook tab onto back of crankshaft pulley only.
Do not remove crankshaft pulley bolt. Fully loosen, and then use it as support point.

Remove water pump pulley and idler pulley bracket assembly.

Remove front cover as follows.

To ease front cover removal, pull oil pump drive spacer out through front oil seal. Pull it straight out using long nose pliers or two flat-bladed screwdrivers.

CAUTION: Be careful not to damage side of oil pump drive spacer and front oil seal lip.

Remove power steering pump adjusting bar.

Remove front cover carefully. Remove mounting bolts A - E shown in figure.

NOTE: Bolts C and E have been removed in step b.
CAUTION: When removing, be careful not to damage or bend front end of cylinder head gasket. Also after peeling off contact surface between front cover and gasket, their surfaces shall be smooth. If cylinder head gasket is damaged, replace it with a new one.

Remove O-rings from front cover and cylinder block.

Pull two dowel pins for front cover out of cylinder block. Heat them sufficiently with industrial dryer, then pull them out using locking pliers.

If front oil seal is to be replaced, remove it from the front cover. Insert a flat-bladed screwdriver in notch on oil seal mounting point, and pry out oil seal.

Set the intake camshaft sprocket to the most advanced position.

CAUTION: Do not remove the chain tensioner before performing this step.
CAUTION: Removal/installation of the intake camshaft sprocket is required to maintain the most advanced position because of the following reasons. Therefore, follow the procedure exactly.
Sprocket and vane (camshaft in front) rotate and become offset within the specific angle range.
When engine is stationary, the vane is located at the most retarded position. The vane is fixed to the sprocket by an internal lock pin. Therefore, it does not rotate.
If the camshaft sprocket mounting bolts are turned under the above circumstance, the lock pin will be damaged by lateral load (shear stress). It may cause non-standard operation.
NOTE: "Rotating direction" means direction viewed from the engine front side.

Using a wrench, hold the hexagonal part so that the intake camshaft does not move.

Using an air gun, apply air pressure to the intake valve timing control solenoid valve advance side oil passage on the top surface of the No. 1 camshaft bracket.

Compression:.....................300 kPa (3.06 kg/cm2, pressure 43.5 psi) or more

Keep applying air pressure until substep d is completed.

CAUTION: Be careful not to damage the oil passage from interference of the air gun tip.
Thoroughly wipe off the oil before applying air pressure. When applying air pressure, cover around the air gun using a rag. Wear protective glasses if necessary.

Slowly turn the intake camshaft in direction A (counterclockwise: intake manifold side).

CAUTION: Be careful not to dislocate the camshaft retaining spanner.

During the above step, an operating click (a sound indicating internal lock pin is disengaged) is heard from the inside of the intake camshaft sprocket. After hearing it, slowly turn intake camshaft in direction B (clockwise: exhaust manifold side), and set to most advanced position.

Perform while applying air pressure.
When the vane rotates solely against sprocket, lock pin is disengaged even if operating click is not heard.
If the lock pin is not disengaged, jiggle the camshaft with a wrench.
If the lock pin is not disengaged with the above step, tap the intake camshaft in front with a plastic hammer.

The following status indicates that the most advanced position is achieved: vane starts rotating on it own, then the sprocket also starts rotating when camshaft is turned. When above status is achieved, this step is complete. The most advanced position is confirmed when the stopper pin groove and lock pin breathing groove are aligned.

Stop the air and insert stopper pin [approximately 3 mm (0.12 inch) dia., length of inserted part is approximately 15 mm (0.59 inch) ] into pinhole on camshaft sprocket to fix the most advanced position.

CAUTION: Load (spring reaction force) is not applied to stopper pin. Pin is easily detached. Therefore, secure it with vinyl tape to prevent detachment.
NOTE: In the figure, an Allen wrench [a/t 2.5 mm (0.098 inch) , short part: approximately 20 mm (0.79 inch) , long part: approximately 50 mm (1.97 inch) ] is used for stopper pin as an example.

Remove the chain tensioner. Remove in the following order.

Press the plate down and release the stopper tab.
Insert the plunger into the tensioner body until it stops.
Secure the plate by passing the stopper pin (such as a hard wire) through the plate hole and body hole. (Plunger is also secured.)
Remove the mounting bolts and remove the chain tensioner.

While holding the hexagonal part of the camshaft with a wrench, loosen the mounting bolts and remove the intake and exhaust camshaft sprockets.

CAUTION: Avoid securing the camshaft at other than the hexagonal part and loosening mounting bolts by utilizing tension of timing chain.
After this step is completed, do not rotate crankshaft and camshaft separately in order to prevent interference between the valves and pistons.

Remove the timing chain, timing chain slack guide and tension guide.
Remove crankshaft sprocket.

Check for cracks and excessive wear at roller links. Replace if necessary.


CAUTION: Use a scraper to completely remove all liquid gasket adhering to mounting surface. De-grease and clean mounting surfaces.
After installation, wipe off any protruding liquid gasket.

Install timing chain and its related parts as follows.

Refer to figure for proper alignment positions for the sprockets, timing chain and their related parts.
Install each sprocket with its mating mark facing the engine front side.

Install timing chain and crankshaft sprocket. Make sure that the crankshaft key points straight up (No. 1 cylinder is at TDC).

Hook timing chain on front end of camshaft so that it will not fall off.

Install timing chain slack guide and tension guide.
Install the camshaft sprocket.
Install the chain tensioner.
Make sure that mating marks are properly aligned.
Temporarily install the oil pump drive spacer, crankshaft pulley and crankshaft pulley mounting bolt so that the crankshaft can be rotated.
Rotate crankshaft clockwise several times to make sure it rotates normally.
Remove parts installed in step f.

Install front oil seal to front cover.

Install it so that identification letters on oil seal will face toward front side of the engine.
Using an oil seal drift, press oil seal in until it is flush with end surface of mounting position.
Make sure that oil seal outer circumference is free from damage and burrs.

Install front cover as follows.

Install O-ring to cylinder block.
Apply a continuous bead of sealant to the positions shown in the figure between the cylinder head gasket lower surface and the cylinder block. Use Genuine RTV Silicone Sealant, or equivalent.

Apply a continuous bead of sealant to the back surface of the front cover as shown in the figure. Use Genuine RTV Silicone Sealant, or equivalent.

CAUTION: Do not apply sealant to groove A shown in figure.
Be especially careful of amount of sealant being applied in locations indicated with a in the figure.

Apply sealant to the top surface of front cover lightly and evenly. Use Genuine RTV Silicone Sealant, or equivalent.
Install O-ring to back surface to front cover.

With socket oil pump inner rotor placed on crankshaft top surface (clearance between front cover top surface and cylinder head gasket lower surface is secured), move front cover close to cylinder block.
Lift front cover at an angle and install it to mounting position so that front cover will come in contact with both cylinder head gasket lower surface and cylinder block front surface at the same time.

CAUTION: Be careful not to damage cylinder head gasket.
Make sure both sealing surfaces are contacted at the same time to ensure proper sealant adhesion and location.

Install the front cover with mounting bolts temporarily so that front cover will not move.
Press fit the dowel pin into the cylinder block through the front cover.

Tighten the front cover mounting bolts temporarily.

A [M6 x 20 mm (0.79 inch)],
B [M6 x 40 mm (1.57 inch)],
C [M8 x 70 mm (2.76)],
D [M6 x 73 mm (2.87 inch) ]
Bolt C also secures the power steering pump adjusting bar.
Bolt E [M6 x 12 mm (0.47 inch) ] is for installing power steering pump adjusting bar.

Tighten the cylinder head auxiliary bolts (M6) temporarily.
Tighten the front cover mounting bolts and cylinder head auxiliary bolts to specified torque.

Install oil pump drive spacer.

When installing, align with flat of oil pump rotor.
If they are not aligned, rotate inner rotor with a flat-bladed screwdriver to align them.

CAUTION: Be careful not to damage oil seal lips.

Install water pump pulley and idler pulley bracket assembly.
Install crankshaft pulley.

When installing it, make sure that front oil seal lip is not inverted and garter spring is in position.
Secure crankshaft counterweight with the handle of a hammer, and tighten crankshaft pulley bolt.

Install cylinder head front cover.

Apply Silicone RTV Sealant to cylinder head front cover in the specified thickness, as shown.
Use Genuine Silicone RTV Sealant or equivalent.

Install engine front mounting bracket.
Installation of the remaining parts is in reverse order of removal.

In order to allow sealant to cure, perform inspection at least 30 minutes after the last step involving sealant is installed.

With engine warmed up, check each part for engine oil leakage.

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