Nissan Almera (2000 - 2006) - 53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query?  
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - johnnym4
Hello,

Wonder if someone can help me here with some advice.

My car has approached the 54,000 mile indicator and last time out, had a P3 service. I noticed in the warrenty schedule, that after 5 years, both the cambelt and the platinum spark plugs should be replaced. My car has always performed very well so my questions are :-

1. Should the cambelt still be replaced?
2. Does this vehicle have a cambelt anyway ? Is it cam-chains instead?
3. If I should go ahead anyway, what is an average cost (parts and labour) for this job I should be expected to pay?
4. Is it essential to proceed with thhe spark plug change?

Any input would be very welcome. I have a young family and wonder if it would be cheaper in the long run, just to look at selling /exchanging the vehicle instead.

Many Thanks in advance.

Edited by johnnym4 on 18/05/2008 at 16:00

Tags: owning maintenance and servicing dealers cam belts

53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - andyp
It is a cam chain engine, i dont know if there is a recommended change interval for chain replacement, but i have read several reports of chain stretch on this model causing poor running. Not a cheap job to replace it though.

Despite new technology and what the manufacturers say, i still believe that after 12000ish miles or one year, spark plugs are still "past their best" !
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - johnnym4
Thanks for the reply AndyP.

The fact this is a cam chain and not a cambelt, does this make it an easier (quicker) job to replace or not?

Does anyone think it is worth just putting it in for a service (P1 scheduled) to see if it gets picked up or should I automatically be flagging this up as possibly being in need of replacement? Is the Nissan Warrenty record just being over cautious here?

As I say, the car has been regulary serviced by a Nissan dealership and is in excellent working order. Are there any symptoms I should be noticing if the cam chains are on the way out?

Thanks again - car maintenance is not an area of strength for me or anyone in the family so I always struggle to get sound advice I can trust.
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - bathtub tom
I think you've grabbed the wrong end of the stick.
The cam chain does not have a service replacement period. What AndyP was saying is this engine is renowned for needing the cam chain replacing due to failure. It's a thousand quid job!
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - johnnym4
£1000 - BLIMEY!!!!

Do the camchains have to replaced every five years then? Is there anything I would notice in the performance of the car if they were on the way out, so to speak? I am just concerned that a mechanic may say I have to get them changed when in reality, I could keep going for another year or two.

Maybe I did not study old vehicles in much detail but my wife had a 1996 Micra that we sold on after 8 years and we did not replace anything like that on her vehicle, with about 83K miles on the clock!

Thanks again - really appreiciate the information with all this.
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - bathtub tom
>>Do the camchains have to replaced every five years then?

I will iterate:
The cam chain does not have a service replacement period.

What happens is the chain wears, the camshaft and crankshaft sensors detect this, and throw up a warning (they think they're out of sync). Eventually the engine fails to start. Nissan used to replace the sensors, but this didn't sort the problem. It was supposed to be improved after a certain engine number - I don't have the details to hand, but IIRC it was before 2003. I've got a '53 reg. and it's supposedly one of the later, better ones. Regular oil changes are supposed to delay the problem. The state of the timing chain wear can be easily checked by removing the cam cover and measuring the protuberance of the tensioner. Do a search for more details.

I've done a timing chain job on a Micra. I wouldn't want to repeat the experience.
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - pyruse
As Tom says, a cam chain should normally last the lifetime of the engine.
Just make sure the oil is changed at the recommended intervals.

However, there was a problem on early model 1.5 Almeras where the chain stretched.
I believe it was sorted with later models (and it doesn't affect the 1.8 engine); in any case, it doesn't snap as a belt would, but the engine starts sounding odd which alerts you to the problem.

If your car is running well, it does not need anything doing to its timing chain.
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - johnnym4
Thanks for the information bathtub tom and for putting my mind at ease a little, Pyruse.

Just as a matter of interest, the £1000.00 rough cost - would that be to do the job if the chains actually snap or just the cost to replace them, prior to them wearing out?
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - bathtub tom
It's the main dealer cost to replace the chain and ancillaries. If it breaks, then it'd be the same as a cam-belt going on a cam-belt engine. I've never known a cam chain to break, they rattle, I've seen one so loose it's worn a hole in the chain cover.
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - Lud
Yes, they make a noise for a long time before showing any other symptom. The usual reason for changing them is to stop them rattling, or because the rattle indicates impending (although not necessarily immediate) failure. On the whole they are more difficult to change than belts because they are inside the engine, unlike belts which are outside to keep them dry.

Unless the chain is making a noise johnnym4 there is no need to suspect it.

Edited by Lud on 19/05/2008 at 14:28

53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - Screwloose

The QG has Morse inverted tooth chains; they are not known to rattle, just flag cam/crank sensor codes and misfire at any time after 25,000. All the QG engines do it, on any year, right up to the last of them.

The identical K12 Micra chain is a scandal; I've seen one go at 5,000 - how they ever sell one is a mystery, surely people must know by now?
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - johnnym4
Thanks for all this very useful information. It's been a great help.

I was looking at some other forum subjects and come across this one www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/index.htm?f=2&t=58...9
which relates to obtaining an engine number to see if you have got one of the earlier Almera models, generally affected with the camchains problem.

Can anyone advise me as to how I can obtain this number? Is it something as simple as a code on the engine itself?
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - Screwloose

The engine number should be on the logbook.
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - Optimist
screwloose said >> The identical K12 Micra chain is a scandal; I've seen one go at 5,000 >>

Is the timing chain a potential problem in your view on all K12 variants?

Thanks.
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - Screwloose

Yes; on everything but the DCi.
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - bathtub tom
Well I think Screwloose has scared all us Nissan owners with chain-cam engines ;>)

Has anyone here actually experienced a cam chain failure?

My '53 Almera has now done 20K and seems OK.

I did my daughter's '96 K11 Micra at about 60K, but it had no apparent service history. The noise when cold was driving me mad, although it sounde fine when hot.
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - pyruse
No cam chain problems on our 54 plate Almera, but it's a 1.8 (now done just over 30K)
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - flatcap
My 03 1.5 has done 49k and no probs with the cam chain. Drive belts needed replaced recently though

My mates 05 K12 Micra has done nearly 40k and has no problems
53 1.5S : 5 year cambelt change & service query? - GregSwain
Has anyone here actually experienced a cam chain failure?


No. Current car is an old-model Almera with a GA-series engine. It's done 87k on its original chain and the engine still runs very quietly. Previous car (Nissan Sunny) did 115k on its original chain, by which point it was 16 years old, and at the end of its life.

My mum has a 54-reg Almera 1.8, and that runs as good as new (although It's only got 20k on the clock). The key is regular servicing, and using decent semi-synthetic oil (preferably 10w40).

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