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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I know this topic is talked to death but an admittedly quick search pulled up chatter but no suggestions on a parts kit to replace the timing chains and guides with better parts. I assume there are kits out there that have improved timing chain guides, as that is the part that fails. I have put together a project list including replacing these parts on RockAuto.

2006 NISSAN FRONTIER 4.0L V6 Timing Set | RockAuto

I've decided on the Cloyes kit PN: 90719S but am not sure if the picture is accurate. One of the guides looks like it has a plastic surface and can't tell with the two larger guides.

Dealer quoted me $1,300 for parts and 18 hours of labor...~$4,300!!! I asked how much a long block ran, he wasn't sure and I wasn't buying anyway.

2006 Frontier, 100,600 miles. Only major repair so far was a new radiator, no complaints.::smile::
 

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Dealer quoted me $1,300 for parts and 18 hours of labor...~$4,300!!!
That is a "go away" quote because they do not want to do the job by inflating that 3X what it should be.
 

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A new long block VQ40DE from Nissan is around $7000, not including tax, labor, fluids, filter, intake gaskets, etc. So, that question is answered!

The upper chain problem doesn't occur because the plastic tensioner faces weren't made good enough, as they aren't much different than the ones used in other VQ engines that have been around since 1995 in the US. The problem was caused by poor quality control of the upper timing chains, which were made by Borg-Warner. What happened is that the tooling would wear that stamped out the link plates of the upper timing chains. As that tooling started to wear, it would stamp out chain links with sharp edges; the more wear on the tooling, the sharper the edges. These sharp edges on the links would cut through the plastic faces and the fact that there are different levels of wear on the tooling depending on how many links it stamped out is why some VQ40DE engines have no chain problems, some don't have them long after 100,000 miles and some can have them as early as 25,000 miles. If the upper chain links were properly manufactured from Borg-Warner, likely non of the VQ40DE's would have timing chain issues. The current replacement upper chains you get from Nissan will not have this problem. So, the idea that you are going to get better parts on the aftermarket than the ones you can get from Nissan probably isn't true.
Now, the gears really don't wear much and should not be in need of changing. The primary chain will also probably be fine and is not recommended for the repair by Nissan, although, I usually change them because it is easier to identify the colored links on the new chain which line up to the timing marks. Most of the time, even the plastic guides with a lot of mileage on them often don't show any wear on them unless the tensioner faces were worn down to nothing. One thing you should know that in order to replace the whole, upper tensioners, you have to remove the rear timing cover. There is usually nothing wrong with the tensioners other than the plastic tensioner face which is all that Nissan replaces during the repair. The Nissan TSB on the repair lists all of the parts for the repair, which is basically the upper chains, two tensioner faces, a number of cover seals and a front crank seal, coolant, oil and filter and RTV sealant (personally, I would skip what Nissan recommends and get a caulk tube of Permatex Ultra Gray Rigid High-torque RTV sealant; you'll be laying down a lot of sealant on the front cover and using a caulk gun is the easiest way to do it!). I think the warranty labor time is 6.0 hours, IIRC. Now, this is using what has been coming a hard to find ring gear tool, which you will need if you want to torque the cam gear bolts without removing the upper intake plenum/timing actuators/valve covers. If you don't have the tools, you will need to R&R those parts so you can use a wrench on the flats of the cams to hold them in place. The ring gear tools allows one to torque those bolts using the timing chain to hold the gears and keep the cam from turning. It also makes it easier to remove and torque the crank pulley bolt if you don't have an air impact gun.
The typical repair cost in an independent shop is $1200-$1600, parts & labor, depending on the shop's rates and whether Nissan or aftermarket parts are used. However, that price can get higher depending on the "add-ons." The "add-ons" are parts that some people will want to replace while in there, such as the primary timing chain, guides, primary chain tensioner, thermostat and water pump. I would replace the water pump if it's original and has high miles on it; it's just so much easier to replace at this point. This all said, the $4100 quote from the dealer is absolutely ridiculous! You could print off the TSB and ask them how they came up with a labor rate amount that is three times higher than what the Nissan warranty time is for the job (most labor guide, retail hourly rates are usually around 1.4 times the warranty labor time). As far as the Cloyes kit, it should be fine, it's just that it's overkill in my opinion and you'll have to make the decision of just using the tensioner faces off of the tensioners (and try not to damage them trying to remove them) or install the whole tensioner and add a whole lot more work in removing the rear timing cover...or, just buy a set of tensioner faces to use and not use the tensioners in the Cloyes kit. Decisions, decisions!! ;)
 

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Dealer quoted me $1,300 for parts and 18 hours of labor...~$4,300!!!
That is nearly $167/hr...though I'm not figuring sales tax IFF that is part of the ~$4300.
What is the dealer labor rate these days?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey - nice write-up, thanks! Looks like I'll have to pull my service manual and that TSB and see what I really need to get done to stay on the road. Then I can explore buying the genuine parts from Nissan.

-G
 

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Shop labor rates vary by region and by shop. It's not uncommon to see rates of $100/hr or more at shops in and around New York City, for example, nor rates closer to $25/hr around parts of Mississippi. I live in central VA and the typical shop rate is around $60/hr at the independent shops and around $90/hr at the local dealer. I attached a copy of the timing chain TSB below. Reading the TSB again, I see the warranty labor rate time is 4.6 hrs, so the retail or "customer pay" time should be around 6.5 hrs.
 

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if you buy the new tensioners with shoes on them you dont need that other tool. and if you use just a bar with a bolt on it to ram it into the flywheel you dont need the other tool either lol.
 

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For OEM parts, Courtesy Parts was hard to beat price wise. That is where I ended up buying all my parts for this when I had to do mine.

I got lucky when mine were due since I found a guy locally that worked as a Nissan tech and did old jobs on the side at his house. He had done a few of these jobs specifically before and has since done more than a handful of other members. Only charged me $400 for labor and he did the whole thing while I watched, took pretty much all day but he is a super cool guy. Might be worth asking around for someone similar in your area.
 

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if you buy the new tensioners with shoes on them you dont need that other tool. and if you use just a bar with a bolt on it to ram it into the flywheel you dont need the other tool either lol.
If you want to install those new tensioners, however, you have to remove the rear timing cover because you can't get to the bolts for them...which adds a lot of labor to the job. You don't need the tool to install the tensioner faces to the tensioner plunger. Some people have been able to install them by hand. I use a pair of Channel Lock pliers with a rag between the pliers and the top of the tensioner face to prevent marring it. As far as jamming a bolt into the flywheel, I guess you could do that, but if you end up breaking a flywheel tooth in the process, again, you add a whole lot more labor (and cost) to the job.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
All,

Thanks for the replies. I purchased what I believe I need off Rock Auto last night and picked up the ring gear lock tool off Nissan Techmate for $98 + S&H. I did NOT get the other recommended "essential tool" because I'm going to replace the tensioners, not just the face. Thanks for that tip. I did pick up a set of tensioner pins made by OTC off Amazon for about $13. I'll probably sell the ring gear lock tool for a minor loss after I'm done.
 

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All,

Thanks for the replies. I purchased what I believe I need off Rock Auto last night and picked up the ring gear lock tool off Nissan Techmate for $98 + S&H. I did NOT get the other recommended "essential tool" because I'm going to replace the tensioners, not just the face. Thanks for that tip. I did pick up a set of tensioner pins made by OTC off Amazon for about $13. I'll probably sell the ring gear lock tool for a minor loss after I'm done.
Well, if you are going to go though all of the work to remove the rear timing cover just to replace the whole tensioner assemblies (you cannot access the bolts without removing it), then you might want to consider replacing the rear timing cover with a new one because some have had issues with a gasket failing on the back side causing low oil pressure. If you re-use the rear cover and it does fail later, you will have to tear the whole thing apart, again.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
smj,

The plan is to evaluate the existing tensioners to see if the pistons are damaged. If I can get away with not replacing them, then I won't. When you say replace the rear timing cover - did you mean a whole new rear timing cover or just the gasket?
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Hi all,

I'm elbow deep in this project right now. Started yesterday at 1:00 PM and still haven't exposed the timing chain.... Had a heck of a time getting the power steering pump bracket off until I realized I could get at the rear bolts by removing the alternator first then using a set of offset box wrenches to remove.

Right now I'm in the midst of an perplexing problem. I'm trying to set #1 cylinder to TDC on the compression stroke as outlined on page EM-157 of the shop manual. As I understand it, TDC of the compression stroke is achieved when the single unpainted timing mark on the crank pulley lines up with the bump on the lower chain cover and the noses of the cams around the #1 plug shaft more or less point at each other.

Thing is, the noses of my cam lobes point at each other about 1/4" turn before the timing mark hits the bump on the cover. I checked this by putting a screw driver into the #1 plug hole to ride the piston. It starts to go down before the timing mark lines up.

What am I missing? It's definitely on the compression stroke, air is coming out/pressure builds on my hand. It starts to suck air back in before the timing mark on the pulley meets the mark on the cover. Essentially, it's hitting TDC before the manual says it should.

This has held me up for over an hour...

Confusing wording in the document isn't helping either:

**being***
15. Obtain No. 1 cylinder at TDC of its compression stroke as follows:

Note: When timing chain is not removed/installed, this step is not required.

***end***

When timing chain is not removed/installed? What does that mean!?

Thanks for the assist all.
 

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Something jump a tooth or teeth?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I doubt it. The engine ran fine, it was just whining likely due to timing chain guide issue. That's why I'm digging into this - preventative maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey all, while waiting for a resolution to this weird timing issue I went ahead and starting pulling the starter motor. This was a pain, the rear facing bolt was easy. The one forward facing was a pain. I ended up connecting a bunch of extensions together until I could get my 1/2" drive ratchet to swing in front of the engine. It still took some elbow grease. Upon inspection of the bolt I removed, looks like it may have seized at some point. I'm waiting for a neighbor to bring a metric thread chaser set over (I need to get one of my own!!) but I'm hopeful it didn't trash all of the threads in the transmission on its way out.

The real reason for my post is this. I was pulling the starter to set my ring gear lock tool in place. However, and this is what I want everyone else to watch out for, that procedure is called for only if using ring gear lock tool J-44716. The tool in the NTB is listed as tool J-48761. I caught this when looking at the NTB and noticed the picture of it mounted didn't look like where the starter went. Sure enough, there was an access panel on the transmission opposite the starter. A single bolt removed with a 10mm socket and then panel falls out. Tool J-48761 mounts here, using the removed bolt as the attachment. Took less than 5 minutes to set. I have a manual 6spd transmission, but the NTB says "Figure 1 shows J-48761 installed on an AWD vehicle." I'd bet other variants have this panel too. Bottom line - check to see if you have this panel BEFORE buying your tool!
 

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Dealer quoted me $1,300 for parts and 18 hours of labor...~$4,300!!! I asked how much a long block ran, he wasn't sure and I wasn't buying anyway.
I live in the S.F. Bay Area which has the highest cost of living in the U.S and high sales tax, and brought in a 2007 Nismo w/ 44k miles to the Dealer. I got the timing chain + new radiator + new water pump + 7.5k service + the dash climate control knobs light (old bulb burned out) done for a total of $3,166.11. It took 1.5 days. I brought in one of those "we missed you" $100 coupons, and they let me use it twice.
 
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