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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A little background. I have a 2006 Altima 3.5SE with about 85k miles. Car has been running fine but for the last two years we've had the dreaded timing chain tensioner failure noise. We were concerned about chain failure so we decided to go ahead and do the whole job, basically the complete Evergreen kit. And while we were in there, thought doing the plugs, PCV valve, and belts would be a good idea. I have a good deal of experience wrenching on VW's and some Toyota's but never done anything like this on a Nissan.

Started breakdown last week Thursday. Had my sister helping me so things moved smoothly. We took our time and made sure to track parts, screws, nuts, bolts, etc. The timing cover was probably the hardest part of the whole thing being that you have to remove so many things to get to it, slide it out through a narrow space, clean all of the gasket material off (now for the second time), re-apply RTV, and then slide it back in without messing up the gasket bead.

Got to the chains. Made sure I was at TDC of compression by using a compression gauge on cyl. 1, verifying the camshafts on bank 1 (rear) are pointing up and slightly inward toward each other, making sure all of the lines on the camshafts were pointing up and dots on left outer sprocket facing back with dashes on right cam sprocket facing front and the line on the crankshaft matched up with the one on the block as per the manual. Compared the new chains to the old ones before removing and took old parts off (I stupidly did not mark any of the old pieces and I know better, and I should have counted the number of links between the camshafts and the crankshaft before taking off. If anyone knows this number, that would be appreciated.). All of the new parts went on easily and everything appeared to line up. The secondary and main chains all had colored links that matched the appropriate markings on the camshafts and crank. I triple-checked all of the markings, hand tightened the bolts, and then spun the crank to make sure it moved smoothly. I did not see the chain jump and checked the mark locations again with TDC on compression. No issues.

Finally finished on Monday morning. Re-installed everything and no start. Will crank but almost never even feels like it's going to catch. I went through all connectors and hoses and could not find any loose ends. Checked spark. Almost non-existent. Could smell fuel on plugs and spraying carb cleaner into the intake made it sputter a little better but not much. Getting good compression. So the only possibility left is the timing jump, the kit is defective somehow, or I messed up and didn't do it correctly. I'll eliminate the kit since every other part was a match.

If the timing jumped, would that prevent the plugs from showing good spark?

I read the service manual, watched just about every youtube video on this job, and read several forums before even ordering the parts. I am pretty sure I did it correctly the first time but it wouldn't be my first mistake.

Going to start re-do tomorrow. Just want to know if there are some things people can recommend that will make the process easier and help prevent any more issues. What can I do to make sure the chain doesn't jump after I release the tensioners? How can I make sure the chain is as taut as it's going to need to be? Does anyone have a good diagram specifically for the 2006 showing the layout of the timing chain setup with marks? The ones in my manual are for a different version of the 3.5 so it looks similar but slightly different. Does anyone know what the count should be between the links on the camshafts and between camshafts and crank using the timing marks?

I don't think I could do this a third time and not going to pay the dealer to do it. All of this because of a $30 part that (based on my research of how common the problem is) should have been covered by a recall.

Thanks for any help provided!:smile
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One thing I forgot to mention. The manual says to never let a magnet touch the sensor ring on the front large camshaft sprocket that houses the VVT mechanism or you will get a no-start condition. My car's version of the VQ35 does not have the sensor ring with teeth on it. However, when I had a bolt fall into a crack near the camshaft, I used a magnetic extension to pull it out. And when pulling it out, it briefly touched the VVT housing for not even a second. Again, my car does not have the sensor ring so should I be worried? If this would have an effect, what would the effect be and how would it be remedied? If I did the timing correctly the first time and it hasn't jumped, this would be the only other thing I can think of.
 

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Wonder if you need another ecu reset ( at dealership )because of some magnet issues that you have . Or have to swap that faulty part .
 

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With this engine and specifically this repair, you do NOT need to mark anything IF you are replacing the chains, and tensioner. The old color marks wont be visible because of the years of oil circulating around these parts. Though not difficult, this job can be a real pain if you forget something small. You have to ensure every single plug is reinserted, all sensors, etc before trying to start after completion or it may jump a tooth. Nissan techs have even done this, so if this is the case, dont be to hard on yourself..even the "pros" mess up on these engines. You have to make 100% certain the secondary chains are on and aligned with the cam sprockets. Their marks are on the back of the sprockets and difficult to see but it can be done. I'll review your post above in a lil while when I have more time and see if I can help more.....You'll get it. Just dont get discouraged and frustrated or you will make some really bad choices and mess things up.
Lawrence
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. Any help is appreciated. Can I post pics directly to this forum or do they have to be hosted on another site? I'll take pics of the timing marks and everything before and after I remove the chains.

Let's suppose that one of the camshafts/secondary chains jumped a single tooth. Would that totally prevent the car from running or giving spark? I would at least expect it to run rough but the electronics are so sensitive in newer cars that maybe the camshaft position sensor is off enough to prevent a spark?
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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You can upload images as attachments to your post. You can then link them into your post to have them show up full size instead of thumbnail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All fixed. The rear bank 1 camshaft sprockets had moved about 2 teeth counterclockwise. Found the coil pack plug not fully engaged. Stupid mistake. Running good. No CEL's. Now hopefully no leaks.
 

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How did you determine the bank 1 camshaft sprockets had moved?

When you say the coil pack plug was not fully engaged, do you mean it just wasn't plugged in all the way?

How is it holding up after a few months? I need to do this job on my pathfinder soon and i'm highly consdiering using the Evergreen kit from tiawan purchased on ebay as I really only want about a year or so out of this SUV. Has it held up? quality okay to your experience?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
How did you determine the bank 1 camshaft sprockets had moved?

When you say the coil pack plug was not fully engaged, do you mean it just wasn't plugged in all the way?

How is it holding up after a few months? I need to do this job on my pathfinder soon and i'm highly consdiering using the Evergreen kit from tiawan purchased on ebay as I really only want about a year or so out of this SUV. Has it held up? quality okay to your experience?
I had to tear it all down again. When I removed the timing cover and spun the chain to where I could see and match the marks, the bank 2 (front) marks matched the notches while the rear was off by 2 links. Removed the chain and re-aligned.

Yeah, the coil pack wasn't completely all the way in. It has to "click".

Seems to be running good but had one possible issue. The motor is a VVT and the fluid channels run through a metal piece on the engine side of the timing cover. There is a tiny little screen filter in it that comes as part of the kit. I think I used a little too much RTV when re-installing this piece and may be blocked the fluid channel because we are getting a code that the timing advance for bank1 is not correct. The only way to remedy it would be to tear the motor all down again. The bolts for this piece are located behind the camshaft gears and cannot be accessed unless you remove the sprockets and chain. No thank you. The only other thing has been the motor seems to be using oil and coolant more quickly than it should. There are no leaks and no signs of one in the exhaust. I was thinking possibly the water pump seal was letting some coolant escape but I don't see any in the oil and that wouldn't explain the concurrent oil loss.

If you need any more assistance. Let me know.
 
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