How to Reset a Timing Chain on a 1985 Nissan Pickup 2.4L

The timing chain in your Nissan truck's 2.4-liter engine is very important for the proper running of the engine. The timing chain is turned by the crankshaft and controls the position of the camshaft, which opens and closes the valves. If the timing chain slips a tooth, engine performance will suffer because the intake and exhaust valves won't be able to open and close at the correct times during the engine cycle. Problems with the camshaft timing should be fixed as soon as possible.

Tools Used: Drain pan, Radiator drain pan extension, Sockets, Ratchet, Extension, Wrenches, Spark plug socket, Gasket scraper, Torque wrench, Straight screwdriver, RTV Blue sealant, New coolant, Water pump gasket, Timing chain cover gasket (where applicable)


Push down and turn the radiator cap counterclockwise by hand to remove it. Position the radiator drain pan and extension under the cooling system drain and open the drain by turning it counterclockwise by hand.

Rotate the bolts securing the fan shroud to the radiator counterclockwise with a wrench or socket and ratchet, and remove the bolts and shroud. Rotate the worm gear on the clamp securing the lower radiator hose to the water pump and remove the clamp and hose.

Rotate the two bolts securing the alternator and power steering pumps to their brackets and loosen and remove the belts. Mark the belts with a pen or piece of chalk to show what accessory they drive and which direction they rotate.

Remove the four bolts securing the cooling fan to the water pump snout by turning them counterclockwise with a wrench while holding the fan by hand. Remove the cooling fan and pulley.

Remove the bolts securing the water pump to the engine by turning the bolts counterclockwise with a wrench or socket and ratchet. Remove the water pump and clean the old gasket from the pump mounting points (engine and water pump side) by scraping with the gasket scraper. Make note of bolt size while removing the bolts.

Turn the bolts on the timing chain cover counterclockwise with a ratchet and socket and remove the bolts and cover. Make note of where the various sizes go.

Twist and pull the plug wire from the number one plug. Turn the plug counterclockwise with the spark plug socket and ratchet and remove the plug. Hold a finger over the plug opening and bump the engine over until compression is felt. Turn the crankshaft pulley clockwise using a socket and ratchet until the timing marks on the sprockets and engine line up.

Rotate the bolts securing the camshaft sprocket to the camshaft and remove the sprocket and chain. Make minor adjustments to crank and camshaft positions to fine tune timing mark alignment. Replace camshaft sprocket and chain by holding sprocket in place and installing securing bolts, turning the bolts clockwise by hand. Torque this bolt to between 87 and 116 foot-pounds with the torque wrench and socket.

Squeeze a light bead of RTV Blue on the cover and block where the timing cover sits and install the new gasket (where applicable) Rub a light coating of engine oil on the crankshaft front seal and hold the timing cover in place. Install the bolts, turning them clockwise by hand until finger tight. Torque the cover bolts to approximately 20 foot-pounds.

Squeeze a small bead of RTV blue on the water pump mounting points on the engine and pump and place the gasket(s). Hold the water pump in pace and thread the bolts by hand, turning them clockwise until finger tight. Torque the small bolts to between 3 and 7 foot-pounds and the larger bolts to between 7 and 12 foot-pounds. Reinstall the lower radiator hose and tighten the clamp by turning it clockwise using the screwdriver.

Place the water pump pulley over the snout and hold the fan in place. Start the fan bolts by turning them clockwise by hand. Torque these bolts to approximately 20 foot-pounds using the torque wrench and socket.

Replace the drive belts, paying attention to routing, direction of rotation and accessory. Pry the accessory (alternator or power steering pump ) away from the engine to tension the belt and tighten the 2 bolts. Replace the fan shroud. Thread the spark plug into the appropriate hole, turning it clockwise by hand. Torque the plug to approximately 15 foot-pounds. Replace the plug wire, pushing until a solid clicking sound is heard and felt.

Refill the cooling system with clean coolant. Start the engine and check for oil and coolant leaks. Refill the cooling system as needed.

Tips & Warnings

OEM timing chains may also have timing marks requiring alignment. Most aftermarket chains won't.

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