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Old 12-14-2010, 11:26 AM   #1
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Nissan Sentra?

Still doing research on a possible commuter car (as described here: http://www.gassavers.org/showthread.php?t=12799.)

Saw a late-90's Sentra on the road this morning. Nice looking car. Anyone know anything about them? Known weak spots? One CL post mentioned a timing chain - apparently they don't have a belt on the 1.8 or 1.9l motor? Any real world experience regarding MPG and reliability?
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Old 12-14-2010, 05:19 PM   #2
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Re: Nissan Sentra?

My father-in-law had the timing belt break or the timing gears slip on a late '90s or early '00s Sentra. I cannot recall the year, but they ended up selling it for parts.
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Old 12-14-2010, 05:28 PM   #3
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Re: Nissan Sentra?

Mpg with the 1.8L engine should be comparable to a Toyota Corolla. You should be able to average 45 mpg pretty easily with one (manual) with some hypermiling effort. The 2.0L engine was a little thirstier. I managed 38 mpg for 20,000 miles with the 50% larger (2.5L) engine in my SE-R.

As you've noted, Sentras (since 1994, IIRC) use timing chains, a vastly safer and more reliable system (ergo, less expensive) than the timing belts used in some other compacts (Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi).
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Old 12-14-2010, 06:18 PM   #4
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Re: Nissan Sentra?

Fetch is wrong. Sentra engines since 1990 have all used timing chains, not belts.

My '96 SE-R used the SR20DE 2.0L engine, which has a timing chain. Nissan started using that engine in B13 Sentras in 1991, and continued using it in the B14 (1995-1999) and B15 (2000-2006) Sentras.

Likewise the base GA16DE 1.6L engine used in Sentras from 1990-1999 has a timing chain.

B15 Sentras (2000-2006) used the QG18DE (1.8L) as a base engine. It uses a timing chain.

In 2007, the base engine for the B16 Sentras became the MR20DE, a 2.0L engine with (of course) a timing chain.

The optional engine in B16 Sentras (2007-present) is the QR25DE, the same optional engine offered since 2002 in the B15 Sentras. That's the engine in my SE-R that I've gotten 38 mpg in over 20,000 miles. The QR25DE uses a timing chain.

Nissan engines are excellent. I've owned half a dozen Nissans, and consider them easily equal to Toyotas and Hondas.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:25 AM   #5
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Re: Nissan Sentra?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SentraSE-R View Post
Fetch is wrong. Sentra engines since 1990 have all used timing chains, not belts.

My '96 SE-R used the SR20DE 2.0L engine, which has a timing chain. Nissan started using that engine in B13 Sentras in 1991, and continued using it in the B14 (1995-1999) and B15 (2000-2006) Sentras.

Likewise the base GA16DE 1.6L engine used in Sentras from 1990-1999 has a timing chain.

B15 Sentras (2000-2006) used the QG18DE (1.8L) as a base engine. It uses a timing chain.

In 2007, the base engine for the B16 Sentras became the MR20DE, a 2.0L engine with (of course) a timing chain.

The optional engine in B16 Sentras (2007-present) is the QR25DE, the same optional engine offered since 2002 in the B15 Sentras. That's the engine in my SE-R that I've gotten 38 mpg in over 20,000 miles. The QR25DE uses a timing chain.

Nissan engines are excellent. I've owned half a dozen Nissans, and consider them easily equal to Toyotas and Hondas.
I could not remember if it used a chain or a belt. All I had to go off of was what my father-in-law told me, as the car was sitting dead in the side yard when I first visited his ouse. The car was sent off to auto-heaven at least 3 years ago, so I could not remember what he told me: either the belt broke (obviously, that wasn't it) or the gears slipped. The chain must have slipped on the gears. I do remember clearly that it was a timing-related issue, and that it hopelessly crippled the valvetrain.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:32 AM   #6
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Re: Nissan Sentra?

... and I'm not saying that all Nissans are junk. My in-laws had two or three of them, and this was the only one that did not go for 200,000 or more miles (it died with around 145,000). I sold my brother and sister-in law a Sentra when I worked for Nissan in 2007. I wouldn't sell junk to family.... well, most family.

In my time at Nissan, I grew to hate the 3.5L 6-cylinder models because every one of them I sold seemed to develop problems within the first month or so... I must have seen six or seven CELs on Maximas and Muranos, and two of them had the air conditioners quit. Still, I had no problems with the 4-cylinders.

I am still a Honda guy. I have sold a Fit, an Accord Coupe, a Civic Si, Del Sol S, Civic VX, and an ancient Accord (412,000 miles) to friends and family.... without a guilty conscience. I admit my mindless bias but stand by an honest answer I gave to the question.
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Old 11-15-2017, 01:42 AM   #7
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For a very long time I was looking for information on this topic. Thanks to all!
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Old 11-15-2017, 04:11 AM   #8
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I've seen 4 cylinder Nissans with chain driven camshafts that reached 550,000 miles, with no internal engine repairs, not even a head gasket, when maintained decently. The same era Hondas had belts and they were interference engines, meaning that odds were a broken belt meant bent valves with the potential for much greater damage.

Non interference engines just stop running when the timing belt breaks. Many Toyotas were non interference but later they were not and you need to research the specific model to determine if they are or aren't interference types.

The first chain driven engines in Nissan Sentras were the 91-94 models and they were superb little cars, easily capable of 40 MPG at 65 mph in manual versions. After 1992 they came with 4 speed lockup automatic transmissions.

One real sleeper that uses the same platform is the NX 1600 and 2000 of the 91-94 model years, with the 2000 being a real sleeper rocket ship. It had a gleason torsen differential that could actually still provide power to one wheel when the opposite side was actually in the air, with no road contact. One of the untimate autocross vehicles of it's time. With t-tops, a very slick body style and superb reliability, if you can ever find one in really nice shape they would be a real nice car that would be inexpensive.
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Old 11-26-2017, 10:36 AM   #9
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For a very long time I was looking for information on this topic. Thanks to all!
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Old 11-30-2017, 12:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.I.D.E. View Post
I've seen 4 cylinder Nissans with chain driven camshafts that reached 550,000 miles, with no internal engine repairs, not even a head gasket, when maintained decently. The same era Hondas had belts and they were interference engines, meaning that odds were a broken belt meant bent valves with the potential for much greater damage.

Non interference engines just stop running when the timing belt breaks. Many Toyotas were non interference but later they were not and you need to research the specific model to determine if they are or aren't interference types.

The first chain driven engines in Nissan Sentras were the 91-94 models and they were superb little cars, easily capable of 40 MPG at 65 mph in manual versions. After 1992 they came with 4 speed lockup automatic transmissions.

One real sleeper that uses the same platform is the NX 1600 and 2000 of the 91-94 model years, with the 2000 being a real sleeper rocket ship. It had a gleason torsen differential that could actually still provide power to one wheel when the opposite side was actually in the air, with no road contact. One of the untimate autocross vehicles of it's time. With t-tops, a very slick body style and superb reliability, if you can ever find one in really nice shape they would be a real nice car that would be inexpensive.

That's some impressive mileage! I hope I get that much out of mine!
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