Timing chain tensioner, take two...

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ShipFixer
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Timing chain tensioner, take two...

Postby ShipFixer » Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:02 pm

My engine is making the dreaded vacuum cleaner noise at 174,000 miles. Nissan repaired it once under warranty back in 2009. This time I get to pay :roll:

If I hadn't have just put new shocks, springs, air bags, and a windshield in...


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Postby ShipFixer » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:15 pm

The local dealership (who did a Pathfinder tensioner job the day before) doesn't think that's the sound. It is quieter than last time and I do have the newer parts. Still...I hear something. I don't hear anything obvious with the stethoscope. Here's a video if this works:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/rfb7dzhqrjFrcS75A

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Postby disallow » Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:47 pm

Is it the whining noise you are refering to? I could kind of hear that. Otherwise, seemed fine, though a little loud. do you have an aftermarket exhaust? Do you have an exhaust leak maybe?

Put a mechanics stethoscope on any of the bearings in the belt drive, alternator, tensioner, ac compressor... did you do the water pump when you did the timing chain?


t

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Postby ShipFixer » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:03 pm

It's the whining noise that sounds kind of like a failing alternator or something. It's nothing driven by the belt, I sure hoped it was. It's inside the front cover near the passenger side cam shaft.

It's quieter than the original-part tensioner fail noise. Local Nissan thinks it could be the tensioner and guides wearing again, but since the new design parts are much more robust with metal backing they do not believe it's going to fail. Just normal wear and tear.

Quote for this work in 2019 is $3K but this dealership doesn't think it's necessary yet (their opinion). I'm about to drive a couple thousand miles in the next two weeks, guess we'll see how robust the new design is.

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Postby ShipFixer » Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:52 pm

I'm 1,000 miles away in Arkansas...Seafoam in the crank case and fuel didn't make the noise go away, I'm more sure now it's the passenger side secondary tensioner shoe now. I found the receipt from the first time in my glove box, and it was done at 41K miles. Noise started again at 174K miles so I guess the new design shoes will last around 120-130K miles.

Otherwise, this is the first long road trip I've put in since swapping out shocks/springs/windshield/steering damper/radiator/etc. It's never driven this well on the highway and is completely solid aside from the tensioner noise.

I'll admit I did test drive some new things over the last couple weeks but I'll probably just have Nissan fix it again. If it's an 8-10 year fix, that's not so bad.

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Postby smj999smj » Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:07 am

It wasn't the tensioner shoes that were the problem. The problem occurred because of tooling issues that occurred when Borg-Warner made the upper timing chains. As the link plates were stamped, the tooling would wear and create sharp edges on them. It was because of those sharp edges that they would cut into the plastic tensioner faces. How quickly they cut through, if they did at all, depends on how much wear was on the tooling when the link plates were stamped. The current replacement parts aren't "more robust," but just made correctly. As an example, the ol' VQ30DE engines used in the mid-90s Maximas had a similar design as far as the upper chain tensioners and we never hear of issues with them. You didn't say when you had the job performed, so if it was 2010 or earlier, you may have received another poorly made, upper timing chain that is causing your current issue, or perhaps an old stock chain if it was done after 2010. Once the upper chains and tensioner faces are replaced, they "should" be good for the life of the engine.

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Postby ShipFixer » Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:22 pm

smj999smj wrote:It wasn't the tensioner shoes that were the problem. The problem occurred because of tooling issues that occurred when Borg-Warner made the upper timing chains. As the link plates were stamped, the tooling would wear and create sharp edges on them. It was because of those sharp edges that they would cut into the plastic tensioner faces. How quickly they cut through, if they did at all, depends on how much wear was on the tooling when the link plates were stamped. The current replacement parts aren't "more robust," but just made correctly. As an example, the ol' VQ30DE engines used in the mid-90s Maximas had a similar design as far as the upper chain tensioners and we never hear of issues with them. You didn't say when you had the job performed, so if it was 2010 or earlier, you may have received another poorly made, upper timing chain that is causing your current issue, or perhaps an old stock chain if it was done after 2010. Once the upper chains and tensioner faces are replaced, they "should" be good for the life of the engine.
Quite possible. I just checked the receipt and it was done in November of 2009. The dealership that did it (now gone, unfortunately) told me Nissan was dealing with it in real time, and sent them three different sets of parts to figure out.

More interesting...I do not see new chains on the receipt, although if Nissan was sending them parts directly for me maybe it wasn't included. But if they re-used the original chains and only changed the tensioners (which are on the receipt) then that would explain everything. It does reference the correct TSB I think: NTB07-042A.

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Postby ShipFixer » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:58 pm

Truck is at the dealership getting fixed again...

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Postby ShipFixer » Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:31 pm

Truck is back up to a full 4.0 liters of awesome! One tensioner shoe was almost completely gone. More later, but plenty of indications the repair might not have been complete or correct in 2009 by a now defunct dealership.

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Postby ShipFixer » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:49 pm

Ok, here's the rest of the story. Passport Nissan in Alexandria, VA fixed it this time and did a great job. They did the full TSB fix plus a couple other things. They found one of the tensioner shoes was nearly worn through again, and the guides were worn. But additionally, they found the previous repair work didn't seal the engine covers properly and several bolts were missing or mismatched. This explains why the front of my engine was almost always covered in light oil sludge even though I could never find a significant leak.

A few years ago I finally figured out where a clunking noise in the front of my truck was coming from. My power steering pump was loose; one of the three bolts holding it in place was sitting in stripped threads in the engine block, and the other two were working loose. I tightened it as best I could (no way for me to fix it with everything in there) and it mostly went away. I assumed at the time I must have stripped the threads trying to tighten it and didn't think much of it.

Finally put two and two together...only real way that would have happened was when they were removing the pump for the timing chain job. I asked Passport to helicoil it if they could while the cover was off, which they did. Knock noise is permanently gone, but sure would have been nice for the guys who did it to fix it at the time.

The dealership that did the fix in 2009 is long gone, so no way to go look into this (even if they were here, it was ten years ago). But I still have the receipt and it doesn't list replacement chains, only tensioners. And the write up was "tensioners misaligned" and some other stuff. Early in the cam chain/tensioner issue days, but still.

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Postby CRC11007 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:07 pm

Nice write-up! I’m at 165k on the original set, so knock on wood. What did the job cost you the second go-around? And on a side-note, how do you like the intake manifold spacer?

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Postby palmerwmd » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:22 pm

ShipFixer wrote:Ok, here's the rest of the story. Passport Nissan in Alexandria, VA fixed it this time and did a great job. They did the full TSB fix plus a couple other things. They found one of the tensioner shoes was nearly worn through again, and the guides were worn. But additionally, they found the previous repair work didn't seal the engine covers properly and several bolts were missing or mismatched. This explains why the front of my engine was almost always covered in light oil sludge even though I could never find a significant leak.

A few years ago I finally figured out where a clunking noise in the front of my truck was coming from. My power steering pump was loose; one of the three bolts holding it in place was sitting in stripped threads in the engine block, and the other two were working loose. I tightened it as best I could (no way for me to fix it with everything in there) and it mostly went away. I assumed at the time I must have stripped the threads trying to tighten it and didn't think much of it.

Finally put two and two together...only real way that would have happened was when they were removing the pump for the timing chain job. I asked Passport to helicoil it if they could while the cover was off, which they did. Knock noise is permanently gone, but sure would have been nice for the guys who did it to fix it at the time.

The dealership that did the fix in 2009 is long gone, so no way to go look into this (even if they were here, it was ten years ago). But I still have the receipt and it doesn't list replacement chains, only tensioners. And the write up was "tensioners misaligned" and some other stuff. Early in the cam chain/tensioner issue days, but still.
Passport Nissan in VA has a good service Dept. Not cheap but quite good I think.
Feel free to give them a shout out in our Dealer Experiences forum:
viewforum.php?f=18

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Postby smj999smj » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:56 pm

ShipFixer wrote:Ok, here's the rest of the story. Passport Nissan in Alexandria, VA fixed it this time and did a great job. They did the full TSB fix plus a couple other things. They found one of the tensioner shoes was nearly worn through again, and the guides were worn. But additionally, they found the previous repair work didn't seal the engine covers properly and several bolts were missing or mismatched. This explains why the front of my engine was almost always covered in light oil sludge even though I could never find a significant leak.

A few years ago I finally figured out where a clunking noise in the front of my truck was coming from. My power steering pump was loose; one of the three bolts holding it in place was sitting in stripped threads in the engine block, and the other two were working loose. I tightened it as best I could (no way for me to fix it with everything in there) and it mostly went away. I assumed at the time I must have stripped the threads trying to tighten it and didn't think much of it.

Finally put two and two together...only real way that would have happened was when they were removing the pump for the timing chain job. I asked Passport to helicoil it if they could while the cover was off, which they did. Knock noise is permanently gone, but sure would have been nice for the guys who did it to fix it at the time.

The dealership that did the fix in 2009 is long gone, so no way to go look into this (even if they were here, it was ten years ago). But I still have the receipt and it doesn't list replacement chains, only tensioners. And the write up was "tensioners misaligned" and some other stuff. Early in the cam chain/tensioner issue days, but still.
Back in 2009, I believe the TSB fix for the problem was to only replace the upper timing chain tensioner faces and not the chains, which were later discovered to be the cause of the problem and the TSB was later updated (I believe in 2010?) to include the upper timing chains in the repair. So, that would explain why they didn't replace the chains and why you had to do the repair twice. That, of course, doesn't excuse the missing/mismatched and stripped bolts!

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Postby ShipFixer » Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:42 pm

CRC11007 wrote:Nice write-up! I’m at 165k on the original set, so knock on wood. What did the job cost you the second go-around? And on a side-note, how do you like the intake manifold spacer?
It's possible your upper chains were always good, so may never be an issue. Cost quote was $3K (next nearest dealership wanted $4K). I paid around $3.5K to add a water pump, the helicoil repair, and most expensively a new rear cover just to get the seal off it (not provided separately by Nissan, highly recommended by the dealership for high-mileage VQ's).

Love the spacer. It adds some volume so when you tip in the throttle there's not such a big increase in vacuum/sudden drop in power that the engine downshifts. Before I installed it I found myself going easy on the throttle on on-ramps to avoid a downshift/upshift event. Not it just pulls smoothly all the time and downshifts a lot less on throttle transients.

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Postby ShipFixer » Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:51 pm

On the road trip just before my repair, the best I could get was 18.5mpg. Just drove to Middleburg and back and saw 19.5.

One downside...in the rain last night, I got SES/VCD Off/Slip lights all at once. Cleared about 20 codes for steering, camshaft position, 4WD, fuel, etc. and they haven't come back. I suspect something in there is loose and shorted so I'll have to ask them what they disconnected during the job.


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