VG33E V6 Timing Belt Replacement

Well, here is a little picture history of the Job. It's not a detailed how-to. It's just my own experience on changing the timing belt. I should have taken more pics. Did it back in May and have put 7k on since the work was done.

Timing Belt Kit from ($262) Includes:
Timing Belt
2 camshaft seals
1 crankshaft seal
Water pump & gasket
Tensioner, tensioner stud, & tensioner spring
3 drive belts
Tube of Red Silicone gasket sealant (Used on the metal to metal contact on the thermostat housing)

2 gallons of coolant ($15)
1 Tube of permatex form a gasket 2 (Used on the water pump gasket $3 - Use what you prefer here - I didn't use the red silicone gasket sealant here as permatex says that their brand is not designed for use on a solid gasket. I'm assuming the stuff in the Nissan tube was identical but I'm not sure. The old water pump gasket showed no signs of leaking and it used something other than the red silicone and then that was only between the gasket and the block. There was no sealant between the gasket and the water pump. I barely loosened the water pump bolts and the coolant started flowing! I'll keep an eye on this and let you know if the form a gasket 2 was a mistake.)

Total in parts: $280

Major Tools:
Metric Sockets from 8mm - 14mm
Compressor and 1/2" impact wrench
Impact Socket - 27mm for crankshaft pulley
Large Size 3 jaw puller for crankshaft pulley - I used Autozone P/N 27078
Small blade screwdriver for popping out camshaft/crankshaft seals or seal puller
White paint pen for marking the alignment marks
Torque wrench
5mm Allen Wrench for Tensioner adjustment

Notice part of the bottom of the shroud comes off to allow you to pull it out with the fan still in. Notice those two 'clips" on the bottom of the upper part of the shroud. They hold one of the trans cooler lines. I found it was easier to leave that line connected to the radiator (it will be on the driver's side) and to remove the trans cooler hose on the passenger side from the radiator for radiator removal. I also left the lower radiator hose on the radiator. Much easier to pull out that way.

Then you can get the radiator, fan, drive belts and drive belt brackets out.

Here is a pic with the upper timing belt cover removed and the old belt still on. I forgot to get a pic of it with both covers off. Sorry, my bad! The heat was getting to me (good excuse huh?) Big Grin

OK, I added a pic from a '92 Pathy VG30 V6 with the lower cover removed. Found it over at Nissan How-To Section. Not exactly the VG33E but very close. You get an idea of what the belt looks like with both covers removed and the Tensioner on.

I took a good look at the alignment marks as the RH camshaft alignment mark was about a half notch off. It really doesn't show in the pics. The manual for some reason tells you to make sure the LH (Drivers side) camshaft mark is lined up and the crankshaft mark is lined up but nothing about the RH one. Hmmmmmm... Also, there was no alignment mark on the oil pump housing for the crankshaft pulley to align to so I had to mark it myself. I took allot of time here to make sure I got it right!

I left the old belt on and held the crank pulley bolt (27MM - wow - :shock: )so I could loosen the camshaft pulley bolts - they were freakin' tight!
Here are pics of the old seals and the new seals I put in. Very easy to do!

New seal. Also notice I have the thermostat housing off and the water pump out. Scraping that gasket was a bitch!

Here is a pic of the crankshaft seal. The gear will slide right off the shaft after you get the crank pulley off. I would have replaced this too but it didn't come as it was back ordered but it looked fine so I'm not worried. OK, if you have to pry the gear off, the thin plate behind will have to be replaced as you will destroy it. Cyclemut over at XOC says it's called a slinger. You should pre order it to be safe.

Well, then it was a matter of taking the old belt and tensioner off and putting them back on. I didn't get pics here for some reason. I was preoccupied worrying about the alignment marks. Sorry. Anyway, it all went back together fairly easy. One thing, I didn't have was a belt tension gauge so I marked the location of the hole in the tensioner that uses a Allen wrench to turn it when you're adjusting the tension. I marked the location of this hole in relation to the block. Then when I put the new one on and tightened it, it came back almost to the same spot and the belt tension felt good (whatever that means) so I went with it.

Also, the new belt comes with lines on it to match up with all the alignment marks and arrows showing which way to face the belt. This was very helpful. Also, on the V6 there will be 40 cogs between the camshaft alignment marks.

Also, the new water pump comes with studs for mounting the fan.

Also, as I found out, new studs are really meant to be only hand tightened in. Also, use loctite on them. Don't turn the shoulder into the threads. Here is a good article on that!
Installing Studs

Make sure you put the thermostat back in properly as it has a marking showing the top.

Well, I unplugged the connector to the distributor and cranked it a while to make sure the lifters had oil again. Plugged it back in and she fired right up very nicely!
Original Post
There are marks on the new belts that you line up with the dimples on the camshaft gears... that plus getting the correct number of teeth between the gears (40 between the camshaft gears as you said, and 43 between the RH camshaft gear and the crankshaft gear) takes care of it (so you don't need to really worry about those marks on the timing belt cover.

Everyone should replace the little bypass water hose while they are doing this job. It is nearly impossible to get to without tearing everything apart and removing the rear timing belt cover.

The hose (note: we had to put the upper clamp on the other way so the screw piece was back behind after taking this pic because it hit the rear timing belt cover):

How did you pry out the camshaft seals (do they just pop right off)? I had new seals - but I didn't want to get in a situation where I couldn't get the old ones off but I'd messed them up trying... and since the old ones weren't leaking I just left 'em.

Nice writeup!

Also - there are several different sizes of timing belt cover bolts and if you don't pay attention when taking them off (or look very carefully at the FSM) you'll have a hell of a time getting the right ones back in the right holes (And several people I know have messed up putting that bottom smallest one on and have had various problems because of it... Nissannut's motor threw sparks at his first startup after the change because the wrong bolt was in there and it was hitting the balancer).

I took the super-anal route and printed out the pic from the FSM - and then put each bolt on the pic as I took it off - so each bolt went back EXACTLY where it came from.
Good point on the bypass hose. I did NOT replace it unfortunately. I wish I had.

On the seals, I used a small blade screwdriver and was very careful not to scratch the camshafts. I just pried them out. I was worried to. I was very gentle and at first they wouldn't come off but I finally worked them free.

I was very careful while pulling off the timing belt cover and paid close attention to where each bolt went. Great idea on what you did!
Thats a nice writeup. I did my vg30e and my vg33e this year. I just use the factory marks and marks on the belts, cam, shields and crank gear.

I also noticed if you line up both cams and crank pulley with aligment marks. The engine is at TDC.

You can varify by looking at the plug 1 in the cap.

I also noticed the thermostats are date stamped by Nissan. My 93 truck had a date stamp of 12-94. On the timing cover some one scribed new t belt 12-94. Obviously they threw in a new thermostat 12 years ago. Has 171k now.

I still ahve never changed a cam seal on any of my VGs. Done 6 vg3x motors so far.
Thanks! Smile

Actually, all three of the seals looked fine and none were leaking so I guess I could have left them alone. I just decided while I was in there I might as well. I wish I had the crankshaft seal also but it was missing from the kit so I left that one.
Good info!! I have a question that maybe you or someone can answer. I just had my timing belt changed on my 87 Pathfinder, didn't want to do it because I just got done putting in a clutch in my 300ZX. Well when I got my Pathfinder back from Goodyear it runs fine when it is cold but when it reaches operating temp. It runs like crap. I talked with Goodyear they say that it a preexisting problem but it wasn't. I looked at my ECU and in Mode 5 it's showing a crank angle problem (3 red flashes). My question is it possible that the have one of the cam gears one tooth off?? My next step is to take it apart myself to check and how to prove that screwed up and maybe get back some of my $575.00 back. Any thoughts. Thanks Coop
Probably best posted in another forum. But anyway, I'm not to familiar with the Pathys but I suspect if the belt was off a tooth you would notice it cold or hot. Does it have a camshaft or crankshaft position sensor? If so, where are they located and could they have been disconnected or damaged during the timing belt install. How about a little more info on the code?
Guys is it really necessary to replace the seals? After removing the timing belt are they usually in good condition?

I'm at 94K getting ready for a timing belt install. Is it worth my time replacing the seals?

Next question. Has the first 2 posts been moved to the How-to section for future reference?
My feeling was that it was such a big job getting in there and I wouldn't need to go back for another 100k miles, why not go ahead and replace them. I had already did the hard part. Replacing them wasn't that difficult.
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