Info : My car current is sitting at 101,800 miles and going up every day as I daily drive it.
Background: I began to develop a sporadic P0011 (VVT Bank 1 performance) code. It would come up maybe once a week and trip the SES light. I had done some initial troubleshooting including
1. Check the resistance and operation of the VVT Solenoid
2. Remove the B1 secondary timing cover and inspect the 3 fiber O-rings
3. Check Oil Pressure/Change Oil & Filter
While the cover was off, I noticed that the chain tensioner seemed to be out all the way. I could physically wobble the chain while the engine was at rest. Here is a video of that symptom.
I could also see physical difference in the intake cam readings shown here by the AccessPort. Note the B1 readings are retarded by 10 degrees.
At this point I decided that I would just make sense to replace all of the timing chain components. Here is a parts breakdown of all that I ordered to do the job
Part Name Courtesy Nissan Part #
Primary Timing Chain – 13028
Exhaust Timing Chain (x2) – 13028+A
Slack Side Chain Guide – 13086
Tension Side Chain Guide – 13085A
Upper Timing Chain Guide – 13085
Exhaust Chain Tensioner B1 – 13070M
Exhast Chain Tensioner B2 – 13070MA
Primary Chain Tensioner – 13070
Oil Pump Chain Tensioner – 13070+A
Oil Pump Chain – 15041N
I also replaced the two timing cover oil seals, in addition to the secondary timing cover metal gaskets, VVT Oil Filters, and the carbon fiber O-rings
VVT Oil Filters – 15200N
Timing Cover O Rings (x2) – 13035HB
B1 Secondary Cover Gasket – 23797X
B1 CF O Rings (x3) – 13042N
B2 Secondary Cover Gasket – 2379XA
B1 CF O Rings (x3) – 13042NA
Here’s a picture of all the goodies
Before we begin, here is a picture of the common torque specs used for this job
DISCLAIMER – This is not an exact step-by-step procedure and the service manual should be followed. I take no responsibility for anything that happens to your car as a result of not following all service manual guidelines.
Step 1 – Get the car up in the air and remove the splash shields. I have a small lift in my garage which made this job much easier but there is no reason it can’t be done on jackstands.
Remove all of the 10mm bolts and plastic clips. Some bolts are hidden underneath the rubber caps. I chose to remove all 3 of the shields which includes the front lip.
Step 2. Remove the radiator cap (WHEN THE CAR IS COOL) and drain the coolant from the bottom of the radiator. I also drained my oil at this time
Step 3. Remove the expansion tank and the associated lines. Remove the upper coolant hose.
Step 4. For ease of accessing the camshafts, I chose to remove my upper and lower intake manifolds. Remove the IC to TB piping. In this step, I also crimped off the two soft power steering lines, capped the hard lines, and removed the PS reservoir.
Step 5. Remove the IC pipe from the driver’s side, and disconnect and remove the coolant soft/hard lines from the intake plenum. There are several DIY procedures on how to remove the upper plenum. Remove the lower plenum afterwards and remove the 3 bolts securing the coolant pipe to the timing cover. Remove the coolant pipe.
Step 6. Remove the serpentine belt by releasing tension. This is done easily by setting a small screwdriver in the tensioner alignment pins. This keeps the tensioner loose allowing easy removal for the belt.
Step 7. Remove the 2 bolts securing the PS pump and move it out of the way
Step 7. Remove the PS bracket bolts, and remove the large bracket on the front of the engine that secures the belt tensioner. Both brackets will come off together.
Step 8. Remove the Crank Pulley. This is a little difficult because you cannot get an impact on it. To get the bolt loosened, I used a 3 ft breaker bar along with a 19mm socket. I rested the breaker bar against the garage floor, and engaged the starter. It took 2-3 engagements of the starter to break the bolt loose. You will need to make sure the injectors are unplugged to not inject fuel. Also, the 2 ground cables bolted to the front timing cover will need to be secured. After this is done, you can disconnect the battery again.
Step 9. Remove the secondary timing covers. Remove the bolt securing the dipstick tube and remove the tube from the timing cover. It will take some twisting/pulling.
Step 10. Loosen the alternator lower bracket (12mm bolts) and remove it. It will also be attached to the intercooler piping. Slide the alternator out of the way of the timing cover. Also remove the 2 long bolts attaching the AC compressor to the housing. This will be enough to remove/install the cover
Step 11. Remove all of the bolts securing the timing cover. There will be 3 different sized bolts (M6, M8, and M10s.) Now here is one of the trickiest parts of the procedure. Removing the timing cover. I used a large pry bar and gently worked my way around the case making sure I did not twist it too much. It will take some cuss words to convince it to separate.
Step 12. Check to make sure you have the engine around TDC. I removed my spark plugs to make turning the engine over by hand much easier. You can re-thread in the large crank pulley bolt and tighten it to allow you to turn the engine over by hand. Here the engine is close to TDC (factoring how much slop my timing chain had) Below I used a long extension to watch the location of the piston in relation to TDC
Step 13. Remove the coil pack wiring, coil packs, and then remove the valve covers.
Step 14. Carefully remove the primary tensioner, and guides. There will be tension on the B1 side of the chain so place an adjustable wrench on the camshaft on the B1 side and hold it in place. This will keep the B1 side camshafts from snapping forward or backward. Once the tension is off the primary chain, you can remove it.
Step 15. Use the same adjustable wrench to loosen the large bolts securing the intake cam sprockets. This will allow you to remove the exhaust timing chains
Step 16. Use an adjustable wrench to secure the hex portion of the oil pump drive, and loosen the 14mm nut holding the gear on. Remove the oil pump chain and tensioner.
Step 17 - Remove the 3 10mm bolts securing the water pump. You can use larger M8 bolts from the timing cover to remove the water pump easily. You can see in the picture below the water pump holes are threaded exactly for this purpose. When removing the water pump, be careful not to allow coolant to drain to the bottom of the cover where it could enter the oil pan. A few rags could work here.
Step 18 - Clean the water pump with a scotch brite pad
Step 19. Note that the two large O rings supplied with the water pump are different sized. You can see the blue dot O ring is smaller. It goes on the water pump groove closes to the back of the car. Lube the O rings for easier install into the block.
Step 20. Install the water pump and torque appropriately
Step 21. Remove the front most cam caps. There will be 4 bolts holding each side on top, and 3 bolts each side that go through the front of the cover. This allows access to the exhaust chain timing tensioners. Remove the exhaust timing chain tensioners and clean the seating surfaces
Step 22. Install the new tensioners and keep the pins holding them depressed installed to make the chain installation easier.
Step 23. Thoroughly clean the camshaft caps and apply new RTV to the correct areas to allow a good seal. Ensure to also clean the back part of the timing cover as well. My choice of RTV comes in a Cheeze-It style container. It makes applying RTV so much more easy
*NOTE - I added assembly lube to the cam journal surface since I had cleaned all of the oil off
Step 24. Install the exhaust timing chains and intake cam sprockets simultaneously. There is an indexing mark on both the sprockets and the chains to make this foolproof. You can see the colored part of the chain mates with the marks on the sprockets. B2 you need to match the oval dots up. B1 you need to match the circle dots up
NOTE – There is a dot on the back side of the intake sprocket to allow sight to the colored link
Step 25. Install the oil pump chain, tensioner, and bolts. Torque to the appropriate spec
Step 26. Install the primary timing chain. Some find adjustments may be needed to the camshafts to get the marks on the timing gears to match the colored timing chain links. After the chain is installed, remove the slack on the B2 side by turning the engine over slightly clockwise
Step 27. Install the timing chain guides and torque all bolts appropriately. Once all the guides are installed, install the primary tensioner and remove the retaining pin to unlock the tensioner.
Step 28. After the chain and tensioner is installed, rotate the engine over by hand several times to verify the timing marks match up. Before turning the engine over, I used a paint marker to verify where the sprockets should sit after being rotated. NOTE – the colored timing chain links will no longer match up with the marks on the sprockets. Only concern yourself with the dots on the cam gears
Step 29 – Remove and install the new 2 small O-rings
Step 30 – Clean the valve cover gasket area, and apply fresh RTV to the 4 mating corners of the cam caps
Step 31 – Reinstall the valve covers
Step 32 – Now comes a very time consuming step. Thoroughly clean the mating surface of the timing cover area. Do not miss the two small circles in the middle
NOTE – My timing chain was so loose, it was actually rattling against the timing cover. I noticed this upon cleaning the timing cover. This was also causing my car to register knock sums in odd spots of acceleration
Step 33 – Thoroughly clean the timing cover and wash it afterwards
VERY HELPFUL TIMING COVER INSTALLATION TIP
I haven’t seen anyone do this, but go to the hardware store and buy some threaded rods in M6x1.0, M8x1.25, and M10x1.50. Insert these into the rear timing cover. This will be extremely helpful when it comes to lining up the timing cover and installing it since you do not want to mess up your fresh RTV. I installed them at several mounting locations
Step 34 – Test fit the timing cover before you apply RTV. This will help you determine if anything will be in the way before installing the cover.
Step 35 – Apply the RTV in the appropriate spots. The service manual has a good diagram of where to specifically apply the RTV. Again, don’t forget the two small holes in the middle
Step 36 – Carefully slide the timing cover over your guide dowels and work it into place. You will need to massage the AC compressor a bit to get the timing cover to clear it. Hand tighten some of the bolts and then remove the dowels. Follow the service manual for the tightening sequence of all timing cover bolts!
Step 37 – Install the new “oil filters” into the timing housing. These are for the VVT oil circuit
Step 38 – Reinstall the secondary timing covers and follow the torque sequence/specs
Step 39 – Reinstall the PS pump bracket, Idler/Tensioner Bracket, the alternator bracket, and install the PS pump
Step 40 – Reinstall the dipstick tube, Crank pulley, and serpentine belt. I was able to get my powerful/small impact to tighten the crank pulley bolt.
Step 41 – Reinstall the lower intake manifold. Clean the gasket/mating surfaces free of oil before install. Reconnect injectors
Step 42 – Follow the reinstall procedure for installing the upper plenum, TB,s and IC piping. Reattach the coolant hard lines, reinstall the PS reservoir and expansion tank
Step 43 – Double check all of your electrical harnesses have been re-installed, and all vacuum lines are secured and clamped
Step 44 – Add in your engine oil and add in some coolant. Do not overfill the coolant or it will shoot everywhere – Ask me how I know!
Step 45 – Fire the car up. Initially the chains/tensioners will make some noise until they get oil pressure but it shouldn’t last longer than a second or two. As the car warms up, ensure the coolant level is topped up.
Step 46 – Verify the car’s vitals. I am happy to report that my cams are now synced and after ripping on the car last night, everything is still working perfectly.
NOTE – If I have forgotten anything, please mention it and I’ll try and edit my original post