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WetSocks 09-23-2021 01:13 PM

Over heating following timing chain replacement
1997 ka24e 4x4 130k mi manual transmission

Summary of work:

Had start up rattle so I decided to do everything. Nissan chain, cam and crank sprockets, aftermarkets guides and a Martin Industries ratcheting tensioner. When reattaching the front cover, I bent over head gasket (yay.. didn't pull the oil pan, given the 4x4), ended up cutting the gasket flush with the block given it's not sealing out pressure or coolant at that location. No issues there, but I do have a very slight oil leak at the cover/oil pan meeting (SciFi, I used permadex ultra black, not the aviation #3, sorry)

I had replaced the thermostat with a Gates months ago when I did a flush and it was working fine. This time, I added a coolant leak sealant to the new coolant (had a coolant leak the first time I reinstalled everything and didn't want that to happen again!), wondering if that is affecting the thermostat. Also replaced the coolant sensor and sender with Beck/Arnley parts.

Just last night, I drove 30 min to a buddies to use his timing light. First problem was my temp gauge was not moving at all. Second problem, upon arriving, my engine was very hot, rad and upper rad hose very hot, lower hose only warm - probably just from the heat of the engine bay. I squeezed the lower hose and thought I heard bubbles (water pump?).

I did burp the system when filling with coolant, but not after I replaced the sensor and sender.

Using the timing light, I realized timing was way off, probably 20 deg BTDC. I couldn't get it to 10 BTDC, rotated CCW as far as it could go - probably at about 13 BTDC. Running much more smoothly, starting well, all-in-all, timing greatly improved. Before adjusting timing, I unplugged the TPS per the FSM, but did not set up the test with an OBDII scanner.

Drive back, still have the overheating issue.

I'm going to start with ordering a Nissan thermostat (not buying original was a mistake), but I am perplexed by the gauge not working. I can't imagine this would be because the thermostat failed, I would still be getting a hot reading. I have the original sensor and sender that I will put back in to see if that changes things.

Other new parts & fluids - NGK iridium IX plugs, NGK wires, using Mobil 1 high mileage full synthetic (no lifter tick), prestone green coolant. I have been losing coolant which I wasn't before all this. No leaks detected (haven't done a pressure test), and I'm not blowing white smoke.

Any thoughts?

Reserector 09-23-2021 02:13 PM

Sounds like your oil pump (which drives the distributor) is a tooth off. Need to remove that, rotate in the desired direction, and re-stab it. That's how the Z24i is, and I assume the KA24 is the same in that regard.
You likely have two temp sensors. One is for the ECU and one is for the gauge. You can test the resistance of the sender according to the FSM to determine if it is good or not. More likely to be a connection, but a multi-meter will tell the tale.

WetSocks 09-23-2021 02:47 PM

Man, I thought I got that oil pump lined up perfectly (11:45), but I guess that would explain why I can't quite get to 10 BTDC.

I'm assuming its a connection issue, given its a brand new part, will start with swapping the old parts back in to confirm.

Reserector 09-23-2021 03:20 PM

The twist in the gear makes it tricky.
It may not be hot. Use a temp gun aimed at the thermostat housing to get the real story. If you don't have one, it's one of the most entertaining and cheap toys at Harbor Freight.

WetSocks 09-23-2021 03:41 PM

Oh yeah, I was doing by best to work with the twist, really thought I had it. I'm just tired of draining fluids lol.

I look into a temp gun. Any idea of a temp range? Tstat housing, valve cover, rad hoses? It really is noticeably hotter than before this job. I really can't touch anything around the engine after a few minutes of running. Open the hood and I get a wave of hot air.

The #1 spark plug was like a hot potato when I took it out to jury-rig the timing light setup.

Reserector 09-23-2021 05:26 PM

The hottest spot should be where the thermostat goes. I would say no hotter than 195.

If you installed a 185 t-stat it should be at or below 185.
I suppose it is possible that you put it in backwards. That is possible on some vehicles. Causes the stat to open late.

WetSocks 09-23-2021 05:33 PM

It was a 170 tstat and I'm positive I installed it correctly, right side up and everything.

Going to have to pull it anyways most likely to get to the bottom of this.

WetSocks 09-28-2021 12:31 PM


I swapped out the new sender and sensor for the old ones and I was getting a reading again, I guess they were just bad parts, the sender at least.

I also installed a Nissan tstat. I'm still getting hot with a low coolant reading. Even more strange, when I open the bleeder, nothing is coming out. Coolant doesn't appear to be flowing either.

The heater works. The highest I could get my temp gauge was maybe 1/4 of the way up. valve cover, radiator and upper hose very very hot to the touch, lower hose was just warm from the heat in the engine bay.

What else can I check?

Cusser 09-28-2021 02:51 PM


Originally Posted by WetSocks (Post 553620)

I'm still getting hot with a low coolant reading.

The highest I could get my temp gauge was maybe 1/4 of the way up.

So you state both "getting hot" and "1/4 of the way up", doesn't agree to me.

As far as I know - in the 17 years I've owned my 1998 - mine does not have a "low coolant reading"; what do you mean by that. I've got 260K on its 4-cylinder engine, always jack up the front end and run, adding coolant until it won't accept anymore (like 20 minutes). And I have used the air bleed screw on mine.

WetSocks 09-28-2021 03:13 PM

Doesn't make sense to me either. Coolant gauge never went above 1/4 and it would typically sit just below 1/2. And everything except the lower radiator hose gets hotter than it did before all this.

Maybe corrosion is causing an improper reading on the gauge, but it give it a cleaning.

I did drive it to get it warm, but maybe I just need to drive it longer. I will also try jacking up the front end. I really don't get why noting is coming out of the bleeder.

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