94 Nissan d21 timing belt

Howdy folks
Brand new member here with a couple of questions.
I have a stock 94 Nissan SE V6 with 190,000 miles. She’s my rough lovin baby.
Anyway it’s time for a new timing belt. I was wondering if this is something that I can do myself? (I do my own breaks and oil changes, but that’s about it)
If I don’t do this myself, how much am I going to spend? Is there anything else I should have done while I’m in there?
Also, I have an exhaust leak, it’s pretty embarrassing, but is it hurting anything? What should I expect to spend on a new exhaust?

Thanks guys and gals.

Timing belts are usually not that hard, except on Honda’s. It would be best if you have a friend that has done at least one help you. If not, have a good manual for your vehicle and follow the instructions exactly. If you don’t get that belt on exactly right, you will have a problem.

You will probably need to pull the radiator first, then all the other belts and finally the water pump. The biggest obstacle for most beginners is getting the front pulley bolt loose. One way most use it to put a breaker bar on the bolt and brace it against the frame, then just bump the starter for just a second.

Exhaust systems from the cat back are pretty easy for a competent DIYer, check at rockauto.com or autopartswarehouse.com for prices.

Wow Keith. That sounds dangerous! haha. I have the chiltons(?) guide for my truck. Do you think it could be done in an after noon?

Read it carefully and decide for your self. They will recommend sticking a screwdriver in the flywheel gears to hold the engine while loosening the pulley bold, I have never got that to work for me but you can try it. I have never had an issue using the starter, except you can’t do that on a Honda because the engine turns backwards.

Interesting. Do you know what the cost would be if I had a mechanic do it? Or, what a reasonable price would be anyway?


Get estimates. Get one from the dealer as well as some dealers have good deals on timing belt service.

If your only experience with DIY work on your car is oil changes and brake pads, I wouldn’t recommend this as a DIY project unless you have somebody there with you to help who has done it before. It’s a big job and if not done properly will cause you no end of grief and a poorly executed job may in fact damage your engine severely. I think on a V6 where the front of the engine is the front of the car you don’t have to deal with engine mounts (as you would with a transverse engine) so that’s a plus. But draining the coolant, removing the radiator, checking/replacing the idler, positioning the new belt, and making sure the timing marks line up properly, re-installing the radiator, probably a new water pump, and refilling the coolant system is a very challenging and time consuming job. If you are still considering after reading what I said, it’s a “leaner” in other words, good on you for not backing down from the challenge. If it were me, here’s how I’d decide: If the timing belt goes over a single camshaft sprocket, do it yourself. If the belt goes over two separate camshaft sprockets, give this job to a pro."

Do you think it could be done in an after noon?
If you've never done it before, budget a full day. If you get done sooner, great but don't underestimate this job. Go slowly, label your nuts and bolts. Read the manual and size up the job regarding parts and tools needed. If this truck is a daily driver and you need it the next day, this might not be the best time to learn this job, otherwise there is a first time for everything.

the word break is spelled brake by the way

No, break is spelled break and brake is spelled brake. The first is what yoy do to a car and the second is what stops it.

I live in a small town so I called up the only shop and they want $680 for the timing belt with a water pump. That seemed high to me, so I called some other places in the next town over, of the one who has gotten back to me they want $550 for the timing belt with out a water pump.
Do these seem reasonable?

PS. I can speel really I pormiase, I just don’t not always prooofe read :smiley:

I’m a back yard mechanic and I’ve done a couple of Honda belts. We just had this discussion today.

The belt isn’t that difficult. The problem is access. Without a lift it’s difficult to do.

But if you have the inclination…and want to do this as a learning process…GREAT. But keep in mind it could be a bear because of lying on your back or bending over from the top.

Try taking a look at one or two Youtube videos about replacing the Nissan D21 timing belt. They will give you a good idea of what is involved and you might be in a better position to decide if you can tackle the job and if you have sufficient tools.

Great idea Alan. Thanks.

I found a really good video and ordered the parts, looks like I’ll save $560 doing it myself. I won’t be able to do it until Sunday after church but I’ll let you all know how it goes.


Good plan

I’d advise to you also replace the cam seals, crank seal, idler pulley, and the tensioner. If the accessory drive belts are marginal, might as well do them also. If you’re doing the water pump, you’ll want to think about doing the thermostat and radiator cap also.

If you’re taking off the timing cover, you might as well make sure everything under there is fresh and good to go for several years.

That’s my philosophy, for what it’s worth.

Make sure you have that bolt grip puller handy. Almost every balancer I ever removed was so tight that I needed the puller.

The prices you were quoted, $550-$650, are about what is costs these days for a timing belt and water pump job.

Okay, let us know how it went. Also, if you run into any snags along the way, you can always post them here for help.

I got started yesterday afternoon. Aside from having to use cut down deck screws to pull the harmonic dampener, everything went pretty well so far. I’ve got the new water pump in and the new belt on and the timing looks to be correct, so it’s just a matter of putting everything back together.
Thanks for the help.

Keith! Thanks for the tip on loosening the front pulley bolt. Worked great. And I didn’t even need to pull the radiator.

Yep I got her all wrapped up this evening. Everything went really well. I did learn that carb cleaner, or maybe it was break cleaner, eats Styrofoam. I used an old single use cooler to drain my radiator, and left it under there while I sprayed down the pulleys with the cleaner. Ended up with a shop floor covered in coolant. :frowning: Thanks for the help everyone.