1997 Nissan Altima • 4 cylinder FWD Automatic • 193,000 miles


I have a 1997 Nissan Altima GXE. KA24DE 4cyl engine. The timing chain has been making noise for a few months now. The common solution is to remove the timing chain guides. This car had a new timing chain put in about 2.5 years ago (it was not my car at the time) at a local mechanic to the owner.

After removing the valve cover I saw the upper guide was already removed. I then removed the upper timing chain cover. The 2nd guide was also gone but I noticed that there was a circular pattern in the dirt of the cover, it appeared to be made by the bolt that goes through the idler and camshaft sprockets. I touched the bolt with my hands and found it to be loose. I hand tightened it as best I could but it would come loose again if I turned it too much, as if it were stripped. I did not want to pull the bolt out to be sure it had threads, so I'm assuming it is a bolt. Not being able to find any answers I tightened the bolt by hand as best I could get it and put everything back together. The timing chain is still making that rattling noise.

There is an oil leak that appears to be coming from the center of the engine and/or also from the oil pan cover. There could be an oil pressure problem but I have not had that tested. Acceleration seems to drag especially from a stop.

I do not drive this car much but would like to to run better than it is. Any ideas on how to fix this issue? Could I replace the bolt (is there a part number?), Taking precautions so the timing chain system does not collapse, or is the issue likely to be more costly?

Please help in any way you can and thanks much.
January 14, 2011.

You will have to carefully remove the bolt and see if it has thread on it, if it doesn't have thread replace bolt, and if it does have thread then I'm sorry to have to tell you that you may have to replace the camshaft, unless you know of someone that can repair the hole in the camshaft.

Feb 22, 2011.
Thanks for the answer. At some point I'll go back in there and check it out. Hopefully its just the bolt that needs replacing.

Feb 28, 2011.