Timing Chain Noise May Lead to Timing Chain Failure on Nissan Sentra

Problem Description and Possible Solution

Excessive timing chain noise, a rattling or ticking, on higher mileage cars may lead to timing chain failure, which can cause engine damage. There are upgraded chain tension guides with a steel backing to improve durability and a modified repair procedure no longer requires the removal of the cylinder head to replace the timing chain. Maintaining proper engine oil level and frequent oil changes are important to ensure the long-term durability of this engine.


Problem Data
RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 169,949 (87,000–249,100)
Engine affected: 1.6L 4 Cylinder
12 model years affected: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, more1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005
29 people reported this problem
Viewing 1 - 13 of 13 comments
quit running had noise sound like chain was rattlind does it bend the values in the head
upper timing chain . how to fix it
Engine stalling and low on power. Also noisey in timing chain area. Mechanic checked and says timing chain guide has failed and because cylinder needs to come off, it will cost $1700. to repair. Car is not worth it, will have to junk out ): .
Followup to previous report:

I took my '98 Sentra to my friend's cheap mechanic who does well with old American cars. He said the noise was "normal for Nissans that age" and not to worry about it. It also had low power on acceleration.

I took it to a friend at TechShop who used to be a professional mechanic, and he changed out the timing chain guide. The plastic layer had worn down to the metal, causing the clicking noise. However, I had followed up on the noise before the friction damaged the timing chain itself. The parts were $50 and he charged less than $200 total to fix what the pros said was a $1200-2000 problem.

Car runs great again.

I don't know if my friend's mechanic is just ignorant about this issue and the cheap fix, or if he's hoping he can get to charge for the full timing chain replacement or a new engine in a few months. Telling me to ignore the noise is negligent when it indicates damage to the timing chain.
My mechanic told me the clicking noise from my engine was the timing chain tensioners and it was common on Nissans this age. It's been low on power too. He wants $1200 to replace the chain and tensioners.

Since there's a repair procedure that doesn't involve pulling the head, I think it's worth getting a second opinion.
Replaced timing chain guide
same as above
High miles need replacement
I've yet to replace the tensioner (ordering this week)
it's been making noise (rattling) for about 12K miles (I'm averaging 41mpg on my110 miles/day commute)
I had the upper timing chain tensioner replaced as well. It cost $50 for the tensioner and $200 for labor. The old tensioner had a plastic pad that is pushing against the chain all worn out to the metal. The engine sounds MUCH better now.
There's been a rattle in my car for nearly two months. Two separate mechanics have told me it's the timing chain. Just two days ago, the sound increased, and I think my water pump went because steam came out of the hood, but the engine still starts. Could they be related?
Wish I had known sooner. If you have this vehicle, get the upper tensioner changed immediately. No need to do the chain also, unless it's making noise already. The tensioner and repair are both relatively inexpensive, I did mine myself. Mine failed and the chain slipped and bent the valves, ruinining the engine.
Loud timing chain noise and loud engine knock. It bent my valves and now i need a new engine