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#2256177 - 05/09/11 06:47 PM Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier
Boomer Offline


Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1649
Loc: Pennsylvania
Had the Fronty at the dealer to replace the two secondary timing chain tensioners (warranty) at 36,000 miles! They are almost completely eaten through by the secondary timing chains, a problem that Nissan Frontiers with the VQ40 engine have been having. It manifests itself as a siren like noise as the chains eats through the plastic and hits the metal underneath. Looking at the old part, it appears to my eye to be a nylon part but I cannot swear to that.

I have used only Mobil 1 in the engine and there was no visible varnish or color on any of the metal parts. But I am curious...does anyone here know of a relationship between oil type and this kind of sliding wear? I know from Frontier boards that all types of oil has been used where this failure is found so I don't think there is but I would likie to hear your thoughts, please.

Thanks in advance.
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#2256180 - 05/09/11 06:49 PM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
Bluestream Offline


Registered: 09/13/03
Posts: 3920
Loc: Waterloo, ON
The oil has nothing to do with it; its a design flaw.

Same as Ford 4.0 SOHC engines from 1997 to 2002
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#2256198 - 05/09/11 07:18 PM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Bluestream]
MNgopher Offline


Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2969
Loc: Lakeville, MN
Ditto bluestreams comment. The type of oil used has little or no bearing on that failure, particularly in that timeframe. I say that as an owner of a 97 Ford Explorer with the 4.0 SOHC engine. That engine has the same issue for the earlier years (97-01 ish) that manifests itself as a terrible rattling noise.

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#2256210 - 05/09/11 07:27 PM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
caprice_2nv Offline


Registered: 12/04/05
Posts: 485
Loc: Ontario Canada
I had an 04 Nissan Quest with 3.5L in for an oil change and check a noise out. Sounded like timing chain tensioners were coming right apart and I found a tsb for the problem. This one was actually knocking though. Oil was sludgy and appeared very under maintained though.
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#2256225 - 05/09/11 07:41 PM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 12518
Loc: Chicago, IL
36k is pretty nuts. There's a very slim number of guys with Audi's 4.2L 40V V8 that have this problem. No real pattern to it yet. Even guys who ran VW-approved oils at the proper change intervals and babied the cars had it happen, but it's only a handful of cases out of thousands of motors made.
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#2256241 - 05/09/11 08:11 PM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: dparm]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1694
Loc: Houston, Texas
I have an 05 frontier. Does it have the same problem? 38,000 miles. Doesn't make any noise. How common is this?


Edited by motor_oil_madman (05/09/11 08:15 PM)
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#2256257 - 05/09/11 08:26 PM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
zyxelenator Offline


Registered: 01/24/11
Posts: 1340
Loc: Louisville,KY
Try adding can of moly, maybe it will slow down eating tensioner.
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Lubro Moly 75w90 synthetic hypoid oil,with Moly

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#2256269 - 05/09/11 08:42 PM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
FL_Rob Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 1378
Loc: gulf coast FL.U.S.
Nissan engineers screwed it on this one,using plastic(of some variety)is just cheaping out,Ford did it too,Amongst others.How about this brainiak engineers ,A roller sprocket.. spring loaded, and torque adjustable.TA-DA. duh

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#2256284 - 05/09/11 09:01 PM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
Boomer Offline


Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1649
Loc: Pennsylvania
Madman, all Frontiers can have this problem as can any Nissan with the VQ40 engine. On some, it never happens. On others like mine, kaboom. It is covered by the power train warranty (5 years, 60,000 miles???). After that, on your own.

Also, some Frontiers have the auto trans cooler inside the radiator fail and put coolant in the trans. Requires a new trans in many cases. They have extended the warranty on this for 8 years, 80,000 miles, I think.
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2003 Saturn L 300 117,200 miles
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#2256329 - 05/09/11 09:41 PM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
Spazdog Offline


Registered: 09/06/10
Posts: 5492
Loc: Arlington
shrug It happens:

VR6 Volkswagens are notorious for this. The tensioner guide is plastic. Usually lasts 100-120k mi. Not much better than a timing belt.

Early ecotecs had similar problems (Saturn L-Series)

Mercedes Benz 380s puked out timing chains....though I think they just underengineered the timing chain. Not because of plastic guides. the warranty replacement chain was a double row chain

It's unfortunate at 38,000 miles. I only hope the replacement parts are of better quality than the originals
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#2256351 - 05/09/11 10:10 PM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
morris Offline


Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 3681
Loc: ks, wichita
non American cars with a design flaw , na i cant beleave that.

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#2256511 - 05/10/11 02:50 AM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
There might be some oil or moly additive which would have allowed you 5-10,000 more miles before failure.
But be glad it failed early enough for a warranty repair!

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#2256573 - 05/10/11 06:35 AM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
rg200amp Offline


Registered: 02/10/08
Posts: 3127
Loc: Phila,PA
If the chain ate through the plastic down to the metal base of the tensioners, I would want a new chain aswell. . .
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#2256621 - 05/10/11 07:54 AM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Boomer]
Hokiefyd Offline


Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 11286
Loc: North Carolina
Nissan's KA-series engines also experienced this issue. I took the valve cover off my KA24E with 175,000 miles on it just to inspect the chain guides. They were pristine; they had to have been replaced before. The engine still rattled when it started, but was otherwise as tight as a drum.

I think all VQ-series engines (not just VQ40s) are prone to this.
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#2256662 - 05/10/11 08:49 AM Re: Worn Out Plastic Chain Tensioners on 2007 Frontier [Re: Hokiefyd]
Spazdog Offline


Registered: 09/06/10
Posts: 5492
Loc: Arlington
Originally Posted By: Hokiefyd
Nissan's KA-series engines also experienced this issue. I took the valve cover off my KA24E with 175,000 miles on it just to inspect the chain guides. They were pristine; they had to have been replaced before. The engine still rattled when it started, but was otherwise as tight as a drum.


The cause of the start-up timing chain noise on KA-series Nissans is often the tensioner itself. Seems like it takes awhile to receive oil pressure like the oil port is sludged but it happens on well maintained engines too. shrug
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