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Old 01-20-2003, 11:04 AM   #1
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How to fix timing chain rattle

Ok guys & gals & anyone in between , I've had a couple of emails on how to fix that timing chain rattle on '95 & '96. Not sure if it relates to later models, but here goes:

The gist of it is that I ordered the "Chain guide SLA" kit ( part number is 13091- 31U26) which comes with the tensioner (that actually pushes out a plunger), a timing chain guide (which you can't install through the access panel and maybe a couple of 10mm bolts ( I think). The kit cost me $45 Canadian, which is like $5 USD these days

I think the following steps will be a lot easier if the engine mount is removed and the engine pushed upwards for better access. I, however, have small hands and being lazy, didn't do that. I have the bruised knuckles still to prove it.

Ok, here's what I did:

1. Removed the access panel held by 4 bolts, from the timing chain cover. It's a tight fit, but not impossible.

2. The actual tensioner contains the plunger that exerts pressure on the chain guide. This pressure is derived from the engine oil at start-up. The original tensioner was either faulty from the outset, allowing engine oil to drain out when the car has been idle for awhile, or just fails with age. I think the Sentra's of our vintage suffered the same malaise.

Anyway, back to the point of the tensioner removal. There are 2 10mm bolts holding the tension. Before removing these, it's very advisable to somehow push the plunger back into the tensioner and by inserting a thumb tack or some such into the little pin hole, keep it there. If not I guarantee you that it will fall into the timing case. I know, it happened to me :eek. I just prayed that it didn't fall between the chain & the bottom gear and it didn't, judging by the lack of any drama on starting up.

So after doing this, remove the 2 bolts and out she comes. The chain guide will flop backwards, but that's ok as there is no tensioner there.

3. Prepare new tensioner by inserting said thumb tack to keep plunger inside. You may struggle a bit to align the two bolts as the timing chain will be exerting pressure against you and you can't see what's going on there, just be careful & don't drop them (the bolts) inside the timing case.

4. Replace access cover , use some sealant, I didn't and it's sweating oil there now.

5. Fire up Betsy and drive away with a smile on your face & a purring VQ once more under the hood.

Also, a picture is worth a thousand words, try to get a shop manual it'll save you loads of cash and make sense of what I was babbling about.



Good luck !
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Old 01-20-2003, 11:54 AM   #2
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Re: How to fix timing chain rattle

Quote:
Originally posted by 95bluse
There are 2 10mm bolts holding the tension. Before removing these, it's very advisable to somehow push the plunger back into the tensioner and by inserting a thumb tack or some such into the little pin hole, keep it there. If not I guarantee you that it will fall into the timing case. I know, it happened to me :eek. I just prayed that it didn't fall between the chain & the bottom gear and it didn't, judging by the lack of any drama on starting up.

So you left that piece in the timing case?

Great write up!
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Old 01-20-2003, 01:09 PM   #3
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Re: Re: How to fix timing chain rattle

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Originally posted by njmaxseltd

So you left that piece in the timing case?

Great write up!
It was fingers crossed when I turned the key , but at least my mechanic was close by. He doubted that this would fix the rattle, so I had to show him . I think that little plunger is sitting at the bottom of the timing case out of harms way. It better stay there

Thanks for the props, just sorry I can't scan the relative pages from the FSM.
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Old 01-20-2003, 06:18 PM   #4
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Re: Re: Re: How to fix timing chain rattle

Thanx for the help and your great writeup. Unfortunately I don't have the time so I'll have to explain to the dealer to just replace this one part w/out milking me out of a lot of cash. We'll see.

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Quote:
Originally posted by 95bluse


It was fingers crossed when I turned the key , but at least my mechanic was close by. He doubted that this would fix the rattle, so I had to show him . I think that little plunger is sitting at the bottom of the timing case out of harms way. It better stay there

Thanks for the props, just sorry I can't scan the relative pages from the FSM.
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Old 01-20-2003, 06:58 PM   #5
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Re: Re: Re: Re: How to fix timing chain rattle

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Originally posted by petemo95se
Thanx for the help and your great writeup. Unfortunately I don't have the time so I'll have to explain to the dealer to just replace this one part w/out milking me out of a lot of cash. We'll see.

PM

No problem, but why not take it to an "approachable" mechanic? Some one who can listen to you as you describe the procedure? I think it would work out better that way, less hassles & you may walk away with more cash in your pocket.
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Old 04-30-2003, 07:39 AM   #6
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Chain Guide SLA Prices.

Hey 95bluse, thanks for the post. I was ready to start tearing apart this car (like using the timing chain procedure via haynes) to replace the guides, tensioner and chains while I was at it. So I deeply hope this takes care of the rattle at startup.

Questions to anyone:

I'm being quoted 71-73 USD in West Texas for the Chain Guide SLA. $20 USD for the tranny pan gasket. Am I being ripped off or is this normal?

What is a good jack point under the engine to lift it? My on-site mechanic used the oil pan as a jack point, but that was on my 4cyl stanza. I think that the weight of this 6 cyl. might crush or otherwise damage the pan doing it this way. What is a safe lift amount of the engine without damaging anything (I'm just going to remove the passenger side engine mount)? 4", 8"?

I just purchased this max, and had to transport it from another city (aka drive it). I went to jiffy lube and they changed the oil with Pennzoil 5-30, and with a regular oil filter. Since then I've used a Pennzoil PureONE oil filter and full-syn Pennzoil 10-30, and did an engine flush. My question is, do the PureONE oil filters compare well with the Nissan OEM filters? The PureONE's supposedly have a silicone back-valve. I've also noticed the timing rattle upon startup has reduced from 2 seconds to 1 seconds in doing this.

Thanks in advance,

Izzy
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Old 04-30-2003, 10:49 AM   #7
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how long did it take to do all of this? WHile i have my car torn apat, this would be a great time to do this. I found a tranny!
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Old 04-30-2003, 12:43 PM   #8
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Re: Chain Guide SLA Prices.

Quote:
Originally posted by izzydig
My on-site mechanic used the oil pan as a jack point,

Don't ever use that mechanic again please.....
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Old 05-11-2003, 11:26 PM   #9
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Hey BTW, I did this about two weeks ago, and it *almost* (80%-90%)eliminated the rattling at startup. The easiest way to get to that tensioner, is by removing the Power Steering Canister. Just disconnect the rubber hose from the canister that connects to that steel hose (and catch PS fluid). Slide PS Canister upwards, then Bend canister that still has a big rubber hose attached to it, towards firewall. Voila...you have a helluva lotta space to play with, without removing an engine mount. That takes 5 minutes.

Secondly, the box (part no. 13091-31U26) of two parts I got from nissan technically has a mismatched tensioner compared to the original one. You need to replace both tensioner and guide to get best effect. The angle in which the plunger hits the guide is mismatched. But I said %!@ it, and it seemed to work. The alignment of course wasn't 100% off (between tensioner and guide), or the plunger would have shot into crevaces of the timing chain area.

Thirdly, to easily push the plunger back into the tensioner when you remove the old one: remove the top bolt first, and loosen the bottom one a bit (or vice versa..loosen bottom, then remove top). This will cause the tensioner to rotate upwards...the guide will snap/rotate towards the rear of the car, yet the plunger on the tensioner will not fall out. Then take a long flat-head screwdriver and push plunger into tensioner (now it's easy since you have clearance), then take a thumbtack or whatever and keep the plunger in there. Remove second bolt and the tensioner can be removed without tensioner shooting out. I used some aluminum foil to seal up the crevaces in which the plunger could possibly fall. That was my guarantee though. Oh yeah, and I removed foil when I was ready to seal up the cover.

Hope that makes sense.
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Old 05-12-2003, 06:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
I used some aluminum foil to seal up the crevaces in which the plunger could possibly fall. That was my guarantee though. Oh yeah, and I removed foil when I was ready to seal up the cover.
That is definately a great tip!
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Old 05-11-2004, 10:28 AM   #11
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what happenes if u dont fix this? can i just keep driving with this noise?
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Old 05-18-2004, 04:38 AM   #12
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Bump, has this tread gone to the How to's?
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Old 05-18-2004, 06:23 AM   #13
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does anybody have any sound clips of this rattle?
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:02 AM   #14
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yeah whats happens if you dont have this fixed for a while ??
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Old 03-14-2005, 05:55 AM   #15
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I've had this problem on my 95SE since 1998. The problem gets worse during startup when the car has been left outside for hours on a cold day. My car is garaged, so I only hear it for about 1-2 seconds at startup (rattle) it then disappears at idle. However, around 2K RPMs, I can hear it if the car is immediately put under load UNTIL the car warms-up. Once the car warms-up (say the Water Temperature needle is above the "C" line), the sound disappears. So on extremely cold days, the problem is worse, but it always clears itself once it's warmed up.

BTW, I've used Mobil-1 Synthetic since 20K miles. I am going to try Lucas Oil Synthesizer on the next oil change to see if this helps any. At $12/qt, it better. ;-)

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Old 03-14-2005, 09:16 AM   #16
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i bought the tensioner and guide
67 .00 bucks in dallas
so your not getting wedged to hard on the price
the canadians got it cheap like 45 bux usd
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Old 05-22-2006, 09:49 PM   #17
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I am having timing chain noise symptons on my 1995 SE (it takes longer and longer to stop rattling on cold starts; makes a continuous rattle when cold at 2000-3000 rpm). The car has almost 200,000 miles and I'm going to keep it for several more years. I sold my last Maxima, a 1990, at 287,000 miles and still running well.

My questions are for those who have installed a new timing chain tensioner:

First, is the old style tensioner (possibly part number 13091-31U00) available anywhere?
It seems that everyone lately has said that only the new style (13091-31U026) is available. The new one, according to Nissan's TSB on the subject, must be installed with the new guide due to the redesign of both parts.


Second, does the new style tensioner fit through the access cover?
There was some question about that in a recent post. Firsthand information only, please!


And last, does the new tensioner fix this problem in the long run?
I don't mind fixing problems at all, and I am a very exerienced mechanic. I'm probably old enough to be the father of most of you on this board! However, I have little spare time and I don't want to do this over and over for the life of the car. I'd rather pay the stealership to do a complete guide/tensioner repair, even at high $$$, if the new tensioner doesn't last with the old guide, misaligned as it is.



Thanks for any help -- I need to get this taken care of soon.
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Old 05-23-2006, 03:09 AM   #18
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I just did this last weekend. I bought the new style tensioner and guide. Then I tossed the guide in the trash.

I removed the spring, plunger and o-ring from the new tensioner and installed them into my old one.

Works like a charm.

Also, if you turn the crank about half a turn clockwise, you'll get the slack on the guide side of the chain and make the whole process a bit easier.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:25 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mzmtg
I just did this last weekend. I bought the new style tensioner and guide. Then I tossed the guide in the trash.

I removed the spring, plunger and o-ring from the new tensioner and installed them into my old one.
Do you happen to have the part number you bought? That would be very handy!

Thanks for the reply, mzmtg.
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:31 PM   #20
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I just finished the job (finally) this afternoon. The correct part number is 13091-31U26 -- list price $67.06. Do as mzmtng says (use only the new plunger, o-ring and spring from that part). The suggestion to turn the crank clockwise is a good one as well. Gives you more room and less chain tension to battle.

After you re-assemble, there will be a HORRIBLE loose chain noise until the air is purged from the tensioner. Keep the engine above 3,000 RPM until it stops making that noise (it may take 1-2 minutes, a very long time). Once the air is purged it will be quieter than ever.
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:53 PM   #21
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congrats. how long did it take you? 9 months? just joking.
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Old 03-04-2007, 07:12 PM   #22
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hey jsouth -- could you compare/contrast your timing chain rattle to this audio clip...
http://media.putfile.com/VQ30-Start-up-knock2

I'm looking for someone who knows TC rattle to tell me if that is it.

how long did the job take? any chance you could post an audio clip of your VQ post-TC repair?
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Old 03-04-2007, 07:18 PM   #23
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my vote goes to TC rattle......
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:51 AM   #24
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Wow..holy..my thread is still alive!
Well looks like my rattle has appeared again, so I'll be doing like mzmtg & using the guts of the new one on my old-style tensioner
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Old 03-05-2007, 03:38 PM   #25
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Good info sticks around for a long time. Love the sound clip.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:49 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sky jumper
hey jsouth -- could you compare/contrast your timing chain rattle to this audio clip...
http://media.putfile.com/VQ30-Start-up-knock2

I'm looking for someone who knows TC rattle to tell me if that is it.

how long did the job take? any chance you could post an audio clip of your VQ post-TC repair?
Sky Jumper,
The job probably took an hour start to finish. The sound clip sounds like your case is a little more severe than mine was, but it does sound like that's it. (And remember I was hearing mine from inside the car, so it could have been just the same) Does the sound disappear above 2,000 rpm when cold and totally (at any RPM) after the engine warms up? Mine did.

I can't record my new sound, but it is totally different. Much smoother -- I may get 1 second or 2 seconds of rattle at start up but it goes away immediately, like it did when the car was much newer. I;d swear the engine actually runs better all the time.

And 2damizzax, you're a funny (and observant) guy. Yeah, it took a while for me to find time to do it. The job itself wasn't so bad. I actually did most of it twice. My dealer got me the wrong part the first time, and I had to button everything up and order another to exchange.

In addition to draining and moving the power steering reservoir, I also moved an A/C line out of my way. Disconnect its bracket (10mm bolt) and push it over the top of the timing chain cover. Clear shot to the tensioner access port. Still cramped for fingers, but easier to see and access.
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Old 03-31-2007, 07:48 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mzmtg
I just did this last weekend. I bought the new style tensioner and guide. Then I tossed the guide in the trash.

I removed the spring, plunger and o-ring from the new tensioner and installed them into my old one.

Works like a charm.

Also, if you turn the crank about half a turn clockwise, you'll get the slack on the guide side of the chain and make the whole process a bit easier.
is this the same kit for a 97se? 13091-31U26?
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Old 03-31-2007, 10:14 AM   #28
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Vq30DE block = Vq30DE block...... it's the same thing man, just did mine.
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Old 03-31-2007, 10:30 AM   #29
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like whoa! My freinds car must have had the tensioner replaced at some point because I saw that mismatch when assembling my 3.0 timing components last night, I wonder if the guide was updated at the bottom as well to not be free floating? Anyone have one of these updated guides laying around and willing to take a measurement for me? http://forums.maxima.org/showthread.php?t=516523
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:18 AM   #30
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Yeah, I had that same 'death' rattle. It eventually ended up me going to the mechanic and having the chain and tensioner replaced!! $1600 AUS!!!! Noise started to come back, though not as loud, so I took off the tensioner cover and re-torqued the two bolts to 1 kg.m. Haven't started it yet. Have to wait until the silicone sealant dries. Hope it stops the rattle!! If the chain wears out again, I think I will have to seriously consider selling my car!!! OH NO!
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Old 04-07-2007, 02:11 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRRZ350
like whoa! My freinds car must have had the tensioner replaced at some point because I saw that mismatch when assembling my 3.0 timing components last night, I wonder if the guide was updated at the bottom as well to not be free floating? Anyone have one of these updated guides laying around and willing to take a measurement for me? http://forums.maxima.org/showthread.php?t=516523
Bump, anyone?
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:33 AM   #32
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Bumping!

Now I am being told I need a new timing chain. I am at 237K miles. This is a very expensive job and no one really wants to do it. Is it possible I can get around replacing it and just fixing it? The car runs fine, just making some noise.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:57 PM   #33
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First off, Thread from the Dead.. Your 1 Hour late for Halloween..

Don't waste your time, your tensioners whats broken not the chain.. and No, you dont need to change the tensioner.. Its a Piss waste of time..

Im at 430K miles.. My tensioners been bad for 230K of it..

Don't Waste Your Time.

Worst case scenario drop in a new engine when this one blows up 200K from now.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:22 PM   #34
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How Ironic that this thread be bumped just before I was about to do some searching on the Timing chain rattle. Mine Rattles pretty bad on cold start until the car is fully warmed up. My VQ is at 252,XXX miles.

Does it really not matter if you replace it or not? Sometimes I feel like the whole chain is going to snap. If I can save myself a mess of problems down the road by spending $70.00 to fix a tensionor now, I'd rather do that then spend $200.00+ later.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:58 AM   #35
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200 later?? Try 2000.... unless you do it yourself and yes replace the tensioner will extend the life of your timing chain...mine is due also and ill be doing it shortly also so good timing for the bumped thread
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:35 AM   #36
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$2000 later?!??!? you must go strictly to the dealer
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:36 PM   #37
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How much?

Can anyone give a estimate of what it will cost to have tensioner replaced?

Thanks.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:56 PM   #38
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tigersharkdude tigersharkdude tigersharkdude
a **** ton of money at the dealer
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:21 PM   #39
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Purolator pureone. Try some Mobil1 0W-40, might help with the rattling.
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Since then I've used a Pennzoil PureONE oil filter and full-syn Pennzoil 10-30, and did an engine flush. My question is, do the PureONE oil filters compare well with the Nissan OEM filters? The PureONE's supposedly have a silicone back-valve. I've also noticed the timing rattle upon startup has reduced from 2 seconds to 1 seconds in doing this.

Thanks in advance,

Izzy
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:47 AM   #40
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crazy! thanks
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:47 AM
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