How to set the timing?

Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 NISSAN SENTRA
  • 1.6L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 232,058 MILES
I got a new distributor. I am picking up from the mail. Hopefully it contains the solenoid can shaft adjuster. Never set timing before and don't have a timing light. Nor the funds to rent one. Need to know the procedure for setting the timing. Hopefully this will solve my vehicle not turning over issue. It cranks but wouldn't turn over. I just know the injectors are not pulsating. They have power just nor pulsating. Replaced crankshaft sensor. I noticed there was no seal around sensor for crankshaft.
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Saturday, March 13th, 2021 AT 9:29 AM

28 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

To fine tune the timing, you do need a timing light. First, if you watch the video below, it shows one being installed in a larger engine. However, the procedure remains the same.

https://youtu.be/El1H0_6IYxQ

Here are the directions specific to your vehicle. The attached pics below correlate with the directions.

__________________________________________

1998 Nissan-Datsun Sentra L4-1597cc 1.6L DOHC MFI (GA16DE)
Procedures
Vehicle Powertrain Management Ignition System Distributor Service and Repair Procedures
PROCEDURES
For distributor removal and installation, refer to the following images.
Timing Mark For No.1 Cylinder TDC (Compression Stroke)

pic 1

pic 2

pic 3

pic 4

Hold down bolt torque: 16 - 19 ft. lbs.

_________________________________

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions.

Take care and God Bless,

Joe
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Saturday, March 13th, 2021 AT 10:03 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
Car almost turned over but didn't. I took the distributor cap off and found rotor facing top left. Turned crankshaft till rotor faced bottom right.
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Monday, March 22nd, 2021 AT 4:18 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
But checked the fuel injectors first injector by taking the harness off and using a test light and got power to it, but checked for pulse no pulsating on injector.
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Monday, March 22nd, 2021 AT 4:46 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

You have power to the injector all the time? The ECM supplies a ground to the injector circuit. That is what allows the circuit to be energized. If you have power all the time, you either have a constant ground (short) or the ECM is bad. Do me a favor. Disconnect the battery and then the ECM. Check if there is continuity to ground on either of the injector wires.

_________________

I attached the wiring schematics for the entire powertrain management system. Use this as a guide. Also, here is a link you may find helpful:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-wiring

____________________________________

Let me know what you find.

Joe

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Monday, March 22nd, 2021 AT 6:25 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
My buddy used my test light and said it has power but didn't blink with for the pulsating on the wiring harness for the injector.
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Monday, March 22nd, 2021 AT 7:14 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
I also bought a used ECM and checked and matched the part number for the ECM I have on the car. I swap those and purchased a new relay for the ECM. Still wouldn't start. It almost turned over when I had to turn the crankshaft clockwise till the rotor was pointing at the first spark plug wire bottom right. When we tried it again it didn't change.
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Monday, March 22nd, 2021 AT 7:17 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

When you set the rotor to the number one position, was the crankshaft on top dead center (TDC)? Is it possible for you to record it cranking so I can hear it?

Let me know.

Joe
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Monday, March 22nd, 2021 AT 8:16 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
I can do that for you.
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Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021 AT 10:29 AM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
My neighbor had a fuel pressure tester and while he was checking everything else had me turn the crankshaft to be TDC. When he turned it he noticed some noise underneath the valve cover and had me remove it. Sure enough the chain had too much play and the center sprocket hardly had any teeth left. I have a timing kit when I replaced the upper tensioner but didn't change anything else. But I believe that was the one sprocket that didn't come with the kit which is the variable timing sprocket. Which I just ordered.
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Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021 AT 3:53 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
My fuel pressure is good so it isn't the fuel.
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Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021 AT 3:57 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

My biggest concern at this point is if the timing jumped. This is an interference engine which means internal damage can occur if the timing is wrong.

I'm going to provide the directions for the removal and replacement of the timing chain. See the pics below for directions and pics to help guide you.

Let me know if this helps or if you have other questions.

Take care,
Joe
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Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021 AT 6:24 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
When I took the camshaft cover off. That's where I saw the upper tensioner that I had replaced 8 months ago. I guess the vibration backed the two 10mm bolts out and it was pushing the chain against the idler sprocket wearing down the teeth. I looked at the upper tensioner still good but I did have to re thread one the bolts and was wondering should I use the blue for vibrations lock-tite? I also have the timing kit the chains etc, in a bucket of new engine oil till I finish taking off the harmonic balancer. Hopefully I don't need to take the water pump off or housing to replace the lower tensioner. It looks like I can.
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Monday, March 29th, 2021 AT 12:07 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

It will not hurt to use Loctite. I would. Did the engine jump time? If so, were you cranking it like that?

Joe
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Monday, March 29th, 2021 AT 6:49 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
More likely so since I was unaware of the situation till I took the camshaft or the upper timing cover off. That's when I saw the upper tensioner laying there. Luckily it didn't get jammed or broke into pieces clogging the components. Since the timing is off and I want to replace the lower tensioner and idler sprocket. How would I go about correcting and being able use paint or white out markings on the sprockets and chains? So far I am at where the valve cover is off and loosen the 10mm bolts that hold down the crankshafts and removed the 19mm bolts that bolt into the sprockets. I don't have the replacement bolts or washers that are heat treated in order to replace the head gasket but hopefully I can get those from AutoZone that way I don't have to wait for through the mail. Definitely need to replace the idler sprocket since that upper tensioner either pushed the chain against the idler which is why the teeth are all grinded down. For everything else so far looks good. I haven't taken off the oil pan in order for me to remove the timing cover to also replace the two oil seals and timing cover gasket.
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Thursday, April 1st, 2021 AT 9:42 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

If the timing has jumped, we may have an issue. Cranking the engine without out it running can damage things. At this point, the best thing to do is get it back together and timed correctly. We may need to check for compression once it's together. I should be able to tell if there is a problem by hearing it crank. So, if you have concerns, record it when it is cranking with the starter and upload it for me to hear.

As far as the chain, it should already be marked. Check for a different color link.

Joe
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Thursday, April 1st, 2021 AT 6:26 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
Ah yes, I see the chain is marked and the sprockets are marked as well and it had to have jumped the timing since those markings are not lined up with each other. I know I installed a new distributor and the neighbor helped me with the crankshaft manually with the timing even though we couldn't get it to start because of the upper tensioner being off and the chain around the camshaft was too loose due to the upper tensioner. And the idler sprocket having hardly any teeth left. How can I replace the idler sprocket. I'm assuming I need to replace that I. Order to get the car to turn over along with the upper tensioner put back in. Quick question can I put Loctite the blue color for the vibration on those two 10mm bolts that hold the upper tensioner in?
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Thursday, April 1st, 2021 AT 7:23 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

Absolutely. If you have concerns that something may come loose, Loctite is a great idea. I can't remember the colors exactly. Just make sure it is okay with oil and heat.

Joe
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Thursday, April 1st, 2021 AT 11:12 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
I had loosened all the camshaft cap bolts. Since I needed to make sure it is on TDC before going any further. As I was putting the bolts back on and tightening up according to the tightening procedure. I had snapped off the Intake #4 bolt and the Exhaust #4 which are both the first two bolts to start tightening up. I was able to get the broken part out of the block. But now I have to order those two bolts before I can proceed anything. I know the torque specs stated 52 lbs and it hadn't even gotten close and it snapped. When I do get those replaced. I will turn the crankshaft manually clockwise till both lobes towards the front of the engine the lobes are almost facing each other and the rotor is facing on 1st spark plug or the down right plug on the distributor cap. Then I can proceed to remove the components when I am on TDC the book states between 6 or 8 degrees. Or do I place it on the second notch on the harmonic balancer when its on 0 degrees.
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Friday, April 2nd, 2021 AT 12:09 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Just follow the manual. Once you have the chain links aligned with the timing marks, it will be correct.
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Friday, April 2nd, 2021 AT 7:04 PM
Tiny
AZDANNO04
  • MEMBER
Unfortunately, the Haynes book doesn't go into detail for a lot of the steps and procedures. My favorite, when you have to remove or come across something that requires more attention and care. It will just state take to a dealership or someone professional to handle the situation. If I had the funds, I would. Hence I am working on my car. Don't like that on the Haynes books. I prefer and like how 2CarPros provides knowledgeable mechanics like yourselves and how you and many other mechanics on here even provide images, video and input.
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Friday, April 2nd, 2021 AT 11:23 PM

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