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I was driving home from work and as soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I heard a rattle in the engine. Sure enough, the timing chain broke off. It only traveled about 30 feet after it broke before parking it indefinitely. Would it be better to replace the chain or should I swap out the entire engine?

2014 Nissan Sentra S 1.8L 6 Speed Manual
 

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Witch ever is easier and cheaper for you....do that one.
 

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Hello; I do not know the answer for sure. Much will depend on if the valve train is an interference type. Meaning when the chain broke the cams stopped moving and were stuck in place. Some of the valves will be at or near full extension into the combustion chamber. While the valves are stopped the pistons will keep moving up and down. In an interference engine the top of a piston will hit the extended valves. This can bend valves and damage the engine.
Some engines are made with plenty of clearance so the pistons cannot hit the valves even if the timing chain breaks. I just do not know which arrangement your engine has. If it is a non-interference engine you will not have the problem and likely can replace the timing chain only.

Of course some will depend on the other conditions of the engine. If it is a high mileage engine with other issues it may be cost effective to get a replacement engine. A timing chain repair will cost something and you will still have the rest of the old parts.

Good luck
 

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Don't you love the "1 post wonders" who register to pose a question then never respond again?
 
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Don't you love the "1 post wonders" who register to pose a question then never respond again?
Hello; Well I did not post very early. The initial post was over 20 days ago. I have seen on forums when an OP does not get a reply in moments they will "bump" there own post. Very likely the OP had discovered the bad news.
I have known of Nissan engines with a timing chain to last well over 200 K miles, so would have been interested in the history of the engine
 
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