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Hello all, it's been quite some time since I've visited the forum.

The timing belt in my 03 XE broke Friday evening. The truck has 144k miles on it and the original belt. I know it's quite a bit over the 105k mile suggested time to replace but a poorly timed motorcycle accident and then my inability to remember **** lead to it being neglected.

After it broke I did a bit of Googling and found out that the motor is listed as an interference motor. I also found quiet a few people who broke a timing belt and managed to get lucky and not have any damage. With that in mind $100 for a timing belt kit(water pump and tensioner included) and some sweat on my end didn't seem to bad of a gamble.

Saturday afternoon my wife and I tore into it in my driveway and had the water pump out by 8:30 but it was too dark to continue. Work had paused for a couple when I had to run back out to AutoZone for new power steering and alternator belts, and a new thermostat. I also went by a friend's to borrow his impact gun and ran by Harbor Freight to grab a 3 prong puller.

Sunday at noon we were back at it. Things went smoothly putting it back together, including the idler pulley brackets and drive belts. Feeling pretty confident I started it and it fired right up. There was a noise though... The bottom timing cover bolt! Which having looked through the forum this morning and seeing a thread based on that very issue made me feel stupid for not having visited here earlier this weekend. No big deal though as it only took about ten minutes to pull the drive belts back off and then the crank pulley to swap out the bolt.

Bolt swapped and belts reinstalled, we fired it up one more time and let it run for about a minute. Happy with the results we moved on to the radiator, shroud, fan, and hoses. I let it sit 24 hours before filling it with coolant as I wanted to give the rtv its full cure time.

Monday afternoon, properly filled with coolant, I took it for a drive and it seems to run better than I can remember it running in the recent past.


I wish I had taken a pic of the belt, but it had sheared the teeth of at the crank.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Can't believe I forgot that info

You didn't specify what the truck was doing when the belt broke.
Idling at a stop light. I was actually low on fuel and initially thought it might've run out, but in hindsight it shut off as quick as if you turned the key, and not the stumble running out of fuel usually has. I did try to restart it but noticed right away that the engine was turning over very fast and thats when I realized that the belt broke.
 

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My neighbor was lucky when his daughter's Xterra broke its timing belt too, no other damage.
 

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That confirms my assumption. Pretty sure a compression test would reveal some slight valve damage, but had you been in motion at the time the belt snapped your engine would almost certainly be toast. Amazingly lucky. Very glad to hear everything worked out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That confirms my assumption. Pretty sure a compression test would reveal some slight valve damage, but had you been in motion at the time the belt snapped your engine would almost certainly be toast. Amazingly lucky. Very glad to hear everything worked out.
That makes sense. Definitely lucky.
 

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That's typical. If they break at low RPM, most usually get by without valve damage. However, if they break while cruising down the highway, then they usually bend valves. FYI, it's not just 105,000 miles, but also 6-years, whichever comes first. So, it was not only overdue on mileage, but also about 8-years overdue on time! Sounds like you got lucky!
 

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This Frontier I bought has 140k on the clock. The water pump and everything else was OEM when I removed them, so logic dictates that the belt was as well. It barely looked worn when I removed it. Just saying.
 
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