What year Frontiers had the timing chain problems? - Nissan Frontier Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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What year Frontiers had the timing chain problems?

Was it just 05-07 Frontiers that had the issues with the timing chains and tensioners? I just bought an 09 Frontier with the 4.0 and was curious if I need to budget to fix this problem?

2009 Nissan Frontier LE
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 03:00 PM
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i think over the years they have changed the part number and maybe updated it 1-2 times? but either way the guides will eventually wear down and need replaced. when is a matter of opinion for some. and others think the truck will explode the first sign of them going out.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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What mileage do these start having issues usually? Mine only has 52k miles on it. I see a lot of people reporting issues in 05-07 models but not much of anything in 09-10 based off carcomplaints.com

Wanted to see if this held true on here

2009 Nissan Frontier LE

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 04:06 PM
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good luck. im not sure about the issue but yr in the right place, the guys here know these trucks and their stuff.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Yea I just bought the 09 Frontier and am getting scared stupid about the SMOD coolant trans issues and now the timing chain issues? My truck only has 52k miles but after reading this stuff it makes me feel like it is going to go kaboom at any point... Just trying the get real answers if it was limited to early model years and I am safe at 09? I really want to keep the truck a long time but not at insane costs of repairs...

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 04:25 PM
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my guides on my 08 started whining around 30k miles. my guides on my 05 were loud and clunky at 100k miles and im at 165k now with no issues and ive only done oil changes and put my foot on the skinny pedal.
i have an 07 with 130 on the motor and that thing is quiet and doesnt make any noise at all.


in my honest opinion its hard to tell exactly when it happens and what particular driving style or outside elements cause it to start happening. or they could just be from a bad line of them and they get put in random year trucks until they run out.

i dont believe im a good authority on when they need replaced because ive still never seen a case where someones chains snapped or jumped timing. although it would be a good idea to eventually change them if they are gone lol.
i wouldnt worry anytime soon.


i have seen some people in the 2010s have cross contamination though, i would look into getting an aftermarket radiator installed so it can alleviate the factory issue.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 01:40 AM
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Here's what happened: Borg Warner made the timing set on the VQ40DE. The chains are multi-links and during the process of stamping the links of the upper chains, the dies would start to wear and not properly stamp out the links, leaving a sharp edge on them. How much of a sharp edge would depend on how much wear was on the dies that was stamping out the links. The upper chains that had links that were not properly stamped would cut through the plastic tensioner "faces" (or "feet," depending on whose terminology you prefer). Eventually, the chains would cut through the upper tensioner face until it starts riding on the hardened steel tensioner plunger. While this wear is occurring, the "whining noise" will occur and gradually get louder. If left unrepaired, the upper timing chain could jump timing, resulting in potential damage to the valve train and/or pistons, cylinder head and even the block.
The issue affects 2005 through 2010 Pathfinders/Xterras/Frontiers with the VQ40DE engine. Whether it will happen or not, or at what mileage it may occur, really depends on what condition the links are on the upper chains. If the chain links were stamped properly, there shouldn't be a problem. If the links were stamped at a very late stage when the dies had considerable wear, the problem would occur at a very low mileage. This is why we see some failures occurring at relatively low mileage while other occur over 100,000 miles...and on some, there are no timing chain issues. On my 06 Pathfinder, the noise started at 80,000 miles; on my 2008 Pathfinder, the chains started making noise at 130,000 miles. In most cases, all that is really required is replacement of the upper timing chains and the tensioner faces of the upper chain tensioners (and necessary seals, sealant and fluids required to do the job). Primary chains stretch very little and the chain guides typically show little or no wear. However, when the engine has a lot of mileage on it, most will opt to replace the primary chain and tensioner, all of the chain guides, water pump and thermostat. Most would replace the upper tensioners, but, that requires removing the rear timing cover because there is no access to the upper tensioner bolts unless the rear cover is removed.
So, I guess the bottom line is unless the chain is making noise, don't worry about it until it does..."if" it ever does.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 02:04 AM
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See told ya these guys know their stuff! Even tho I'm the FNG they still give great and helpful advice.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 02:14 AM
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I moderate at TheNissanPath.com. They have a lot of R51 members and there have been a lot of discussions on 4.0L timing chain issues and radiator cooler failures!
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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I bought a foreign truck to not have major issues under 100k miles. I am starting to regret my decision with all of these major potential problems with engines and trannys... I thought I was safe in 09because I did not see a lot of problems reported, but maybe I was wrong...

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