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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased a 94 Altima GXE with 105k miles on it, automatic. Runs great but about 3 days after I got it I pulled it into the garage and it leaked coolant all in the floor. My dad and I looked at it and the leak is up above the water pump. He took it to a local Nissan dealership and they said it was the Intake Gasket (PN# 14302-1E400). The gasket costs $4.18 but an estimated $530 in labor. The coolant looked brown, so I think someone may have tried putting stop leak in it or something. We used radiator flush, then put Super Stop Leak in it, but it only slowed the leak down...So I have a few questions:

1. Does this sound like it could be the problem?
2. Does anyone have instructions on removing the head and replacing the gasket?
3. What else should I replace while I'm doing all this (other gaskets, timing belt, etc)?
 

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Rockin the Le Bra
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if youre going to replace the head gasket, i think you have to get the block and head machined down so the mating surfaces are flat because the head may have some warpage, but isnt youre problem the intake gasket anyway?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, but according to what I've been able to find out you have to remove the head to replace the intake gasket because of the way everything is mounted together.
 

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Rockin the Le Bra
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i really doubt that you have to remove the head from the block just to replace the intake manifold gasket. i dont know why nissan would make an engine that troublesome. maybe someone else can confirm this.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You might not have to, I'm just going by what the Haynes repair manual says. I'm also thinking that's why the dealership quoted me 7.5 hours of labor to do it. I have a friend with a modified 240SX. Since he's done engine work on his I'm hoping he will be able to shed some light on it as well.
 

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Rockin the Le Bra
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you might be right since ive never dismantled the engine, but i think haynes shows it that way to make things easier for the do-it-yourselfer because i know from what people have said on here that you need small hands to reach the intake manifold bolts.
 

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I just did a head swap on a altima and I dont think theres anyway possible to remove the intake with the head on the motor. The intake bolts are hard to get to with the head out the car much less still on the motor. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #8
waltonjr1 said:
I just did a head swap on a altima and I dont think theres anyway possible to remove the intake with the head on the motor. The intake bolts are hard to get to with the head out the car much less still on the motor. Good luck
Are there any hints/tips/tricks you could share that might help with the process?
 

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I can tell you what worked for me(never worked on a foreign car but pretty mechanicaly enclined) The first thing I did was bought a pack of five different color paint markers to mark every hose and plug i disconnected (life saver). Bring number 1 up to TDC 2nd mark from the left on the balancer, remove valve cover, distributor and wires, altenator and brackets also get the overflow jug out the way. Next I removed the upper motor mount(keep a small jack under the motor) also I forgot to mention the car should be put on jack stands and remove the passenger side front wheel, now I removed the upper timing chain cover. Take note of your cams, the notch in the intake cam gear should be at 9:00 and the exhaust at 12:00. I colored in the chain links that lined up with the dots to make sure it goes back the exact same way. Okay, removed the tensioners and then the cams. Make sure to mark all your caps and dont get the cams mixed up, once your cams and upper timing chain is removed take the bolt out the center gear, push the tensioner in with a screw driver and slide the gear out the head. mark and disconnect all hoses and plugs, remove air box, injector rail, throttle cables. Theres a black bracket under the intake on the passenger side that needs to be removed and under the throttle body. I pulled the head w/ the exhaust still on but learned it would have been alot easier to remove it first. Theres two bolts that hold the thermostat housing on the block, get it out the way then disconnect the evacuation tube that runs from the exhaust manifold to the intake, then you should be able to remove the exhaust. Now take the 10 head bolts out. I used an engine hoist to lift the intake and head from the engine that way I could keep an eye on everything. Theres probally something I missed but this should help you out with the project, when your ready to reinstall every thing is reversed but once you have your cams and timing chains back on turn the engine to 20 BTDC(last mark on balancer) and point the distributor rotor at the #1 terminal on the cap and your timing should be real close. Sorry so long hope this helps. Good Luck
 

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Also the cheapest head gasket kit I found was 90 bucks at speedycarparts.com it comes with everything you need. While you have everything apart I would change the water pump and thermostat also.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you for the detailed info. Hopefully mine will be fixed by this weekend. Hopefully this isn't something I will have to do again...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well I had a mechanic replace the intake gasket and it still leaks. They tell me it is the head gasket and want about 12 hours labor to replace it to the tune of about $700. So much for a "cheap ride." I am wondering if I could accomplish it myself with the info posted above...Anyone near Greensboro, NC wanting to assist :)
 

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Rockin the Le Bra
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$700? i think you'd be better off getting a low mileage used engine and replacing it. if you can do it yourself, youd save some money, or you can get someone to help you out.
 

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I dont see how they changed the intake gasket w/o removing the head, but maybe its possible. I would try another mechanic first b/c A headgasket dont usually cause coolant to leak from between the block and head, its just not likley. I willing to bet your coolant leak is far more simple than you think.
 

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Rockin the Kasbah
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I'm gonna guess its' the upper radiator neck on the head...located 'behind' the alternator...right where the upper rad hose connects to the block...check that for leaks...

I can't think of anythign else near the waterpump that may be leaking on that side of the motor...It could be head gasket too...if it's ripped/tore near a water jacket uptop, it could sqeak out the head....i mean it's about impossible but ya know
 
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