1989 Nissan Sentra 4 cylinder from North America
Great car, but be leary of the timing chain
Timing Chain problems, twice already.
Changed Muffler once only.
This has been a good car overall. My only peeve is the timing chain. 2 years ago I had a rattling noise. The timing chain/rails were loose. I had these replaced for approx. $700 ($500 in labor). A year later, the same problem surfaced. I had the same maintenance done again by the same mechanic for nearly the same amount. A year later, which is now, the timing chain is acting up again. If it was'nt for this, this car would last a very long time. Don't think it's worth again to mess with the timing chain. I plan on selling the car for this. The timing chain situation could have been better engineered. Otherwise it's been a very good car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th February, 2005
6th Sep 2005, 15:05
I have had a 1989 Sentra for the 8 years. For the first two it was very reliable. I loaned it to my sister for college, and she ended up blowing the head gasket. I milled the head, and replaced the rings, bearings, oil pump, and timing chain/ guides. It ran for another 2 or so years, and the timing chain started rattling again. I again replaced the timing chain/ guides and tensioner. I got another few years out of her, and again! the timing chain rattled. Three weeks ago I found out why. When I milled the head six years ago, I went too far, resulting in the valves hitting the pistons, lightly. Also when I replaced the timing chain tensioner I used RTV Silicone, which it says not to do if you read the instructions. This in return stretched the timing chain, so it started to rattle. The pieces of ground up metal got sucked into the oil pump, and scoured up my main bearings. When I replaced it again, I did not know this. It made the oil pressure at idle drop too low so the tensioner could not keep the chain tight. Now I have done a COMPLETE overhaul of the engine, and it runs perfect with over 175,000 miles.
I now know that most of the recent problems were a result of my Ignorance. This is a very reliable car (If you don't try to fix it yourself) I plan on putting another 150,000 miles or so on it... I guess I will see.