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Old 08-08-2009, 05:17 PM
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dezurtrat dezurtrat is offline
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Default How-to: VG33E Timing Belt Replacement

Here is a picture history of the Job. Should have taken more pics. I Did it back in May of '06 and put 25k on it before trading it in for my '08 OR.
These are the parts and prices at the time of the job.

Intermediate (Mechanic know-how suggested and some special tools required)

Parts:
Timing Belt Kit from xterraparts.com ($262) Includes:
Timing Belt
2 camshaft seals
1 crankshaft seal
Water pump & gasket
Tensioner, tensioner stud, & tensioner spring
3 drive belts
Thermostat
Tube of Red Silicone gasket sealant (Used on the metal to metal contact on the thermostat housing)
2 gallons of coolant ($15)
1 Tube of permatex form a gasket 2 (Used on the water pump gasket $3 - Use what you prefer here - I didn't use the red silicone gasket sealant here as permatex says that their brand is not designed for use on a solid gasket. I'm assuming the stuff in the Nissan tube was identical but I'm not sure. The old water pump gasket showed no signs of leaking and it used something other than the red silicone and then that was only between the gasket and the block. There was no sealant between the gasket and the water pump. I barely loosened the water pump bolts and the coolant started flowing! I'll keep an eye on this and let you know if the form a gasket 2 was a mistake.)
Total in parts: $280

Major Tools:
Metric Sockets from 8mm - 14mm
Compressor and 1/2" impact wrench
Impact Socket - 27mm for crankshaft pulley
Large Size 3 jaw puller for crankshaft pulley - I used Autozone P/N 27078
Small blade screwdriver for popping out camshaft/crankshaft seals or seal puller
White paint pen for marking the alignment marks
Torque wrench
5mm Allen Wrench for Tensioner adjustment

Pics and Details
Notice part of the bottom of the shroud comes off to allow you to pull it out with the fan still in. Notice those two 'clips" on the bottom of the upper part of the shroud. They hold one of the trans cooler lines. I found it was easier to leave that line connected to the radiator (it will be on the driver's side) and to remove the trans cooler hose on the passenger side from the radiator for radiator removal. I also left the lower radiator hose on the radiator. Much easier to pull out that way.



Then you can get the radiator, fan, drive belts and drive belt brackets out.





Here is a pic with the upper timing belt cover removed and the old belt still on. I forgot to get a pic of it with both covers off. Sorry, my bad! The heat was getting to me (good excuse huh?)


OK, I added a pic from a '92 Pathy VG30 V6 with the lower cover removed. Found it over at sadik.net Nissan How-To Section. Not exactly the VG33E but very close. You get an idea of what the belt looks like with both covers removed and the Tensioner on.


I took a good look at the alignment marks as the RH camshaft alignment mark was about a half notch off. It really doesn't show in the pics. The manual for some reason tells you to make sure the LH (Drivers side) camshaft mark is lined up and the crankshaft mark is lined up but nothing about the RH one. Hmmmmmm... Also, there was no alignment mark on the oil pump housing for the crankshaft pulley to align to so I had to mark it myself. I took allot of time here to make sure I got it right!



I left the old belt on and held the crank pulley bolt (27MM - WOW!!)so I could loosen the camshaft pulley bolts - they were freakin’ tight!
Here are pics of the old seals and the new seals I put in. Very easy to do!



New seal. Also notice I have the thermostat housing off and the water pump out. Scraping that gasket was a bitch!


Here is a pic of the crankshaft seal. The gear will slide right off the shaft after you get the crank pulley off. I would have replaced this too but it didn't come as it was back ordered but it looked fine so I'm not worried. OK, if you have to pry the gear off, the thin plate behind will have to be replaced as you will destroy it. it's called a slinger. You should pre order it to be safe.


Well, then it was a matter of taking the old belt and tensioner off and putting them back on. I didn't get pics here for some reason. I was preoccupied worrying about the alignment marks. Sorry. Anyway, it all went back together fairly easy. One thing, I didn't have was a belt tension gauge so I marked the location of the hole in the tensioner that uses a Allen wrench to turn it when you're adjusting the tension. I marked the location of this hole in relation to the block. Then when I put the new one on and tightened it, it came back almost to the same spot and the belt tension felt good (whatever that means) so I went with it.


Also, the new belt comes with lines on it to match up with all the alignment marks and arrows showing which way to face the belt. This was very helpful. Also, on the V6 there will be 40 cogs between the camshaft alignment marks.
Also, the new water pump comes with studs for mounting the fan.


Also, as I found out, new studs are really meant to be only hand tightened in. Also, use loctite on them. Don’t turn the shoulder into the threads. Here is a good article on that!
Installing Studs
Make sure you put the thermostat back in properly as it has a marking showing the top.
Well, I unplugged the connector to the distributor and cranked it a while to make sure the lifters had oil again. Plugged it back in and she fired right up very nicely!
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Last edited by dezurtrat; 02-18-2012 at 08:51 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2009, 06:33 PM
Daggerdoggie Daggerdoggie is offline
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This is the best timing belt write-up anywhere. Thanks for putting it here.
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:03 PM
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dezurtrat dezurtrat is offline
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You're welcome.

I need to find someone doing a timing belt job and add a few more pics!
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:52 AM
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RIXterra RIXterra is offline
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I've got a ways to go before I do this but this write up is great!!
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:19 PM
Daggerdoggie Daggerdoggie is offline
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I dunno, Gene. I've only got 40k on my blue X and I'm thinking about it in the next year. It's not the mileage, it's the age at this point.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:55 PM
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RIXterra RIXterra is offline
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Yeah your probably right Scott..
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:17 AM
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dezurtrat dezurtrat is offline
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I thought there was a time limit like 5 years along with the mileage limit. I'll check it out.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:30 PM
Svendog Svendog is offline
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That is a great write up.
I will need to do this next year as I'm about 65k and 5 years since my last timing belt replacement and I'm sure it's about time from both perspectives.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:54 AM
e207 e207 is offline
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For those of you planning on doing their belts, dont forget while your ordering your parts, you might want to consider ordering the water bypass hose . look at Pix #12 , in the middle on the right hand side, its a small hose, cost around 12 bucks or so. Its better to do it while your in there, than have it bust a few months later.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:48 AM
fuzzytek fuzzytek is offline
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Awesome write up. I need to do mine in a month or two. It's got 175k miles on it and it hasn't been done yet according to the previous owner. I'll try to get some pics as i do it.
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