Replacing a timing chain cover on 1999 Infiniti G20


My dealer says it will cost $1600 to replace the timing chain cover on my 1999 Infiniti G20 because it takes 12 hours of labor. The cover itself costs $75. He says it must be replaced because it is leaking oil. huh? Does this sound right? I’m not expert but just getting some feedback


Well, if someone is going to go in on a 9 year old car and change the timing cover, then the timing chain and any tensioners should be replaced at the same time IMHO.

I don’t know your location, but approx. 1500 in labor for 12 hours is a pretty hefty flat rate charge; that’s around 125 an hour! Ouch. West coast; San Francisco maybe?

Unless the cover is damaged (?) there is no reason to replace it. Most leaks are gasket or seal caused and the Advance Auto site shows a repair sleeve available for this car. These are generally used when a seal has worn a groove in the crankshaft nose and is a common fix on any car suffering a seal leakage problem; and that’s if the repair sleeve is even needed.

Without seeing the car and knowing more details I can’t be too specific on this. About all I can suggest is getting some more opinions first.

I would question the wisdom of going this far and not replacing the chain assembly also along with that roughly 125 an hour.


Someone is yanking your chain.
Here are the labor times from the 2004 Chilton labor guide.


With that much of a labor time and per hour charge my guess is that the mechanic is overpricing the job on purpose in the hopes that a repair will be refused.
Maybe he does not know how to perform this job or is intimidated by it since it’s a fairly involved procedure anyway or it’s such an involved job that he simply does not want to get into it.

My guess is also that the cover is not damaged and any oil leak is more than likely a crankshaft seal.


I concur with your opinions. I think it is one of those ?If they want to spend a fortune I will do it but I would rather not?. I find it difficult to believe that the cover is broken as well. More then likely it is a crank seal problem.


Ask around for a trusty independent from friends, family, and coworkers. You need a second opinion. Mention a leak was found on the engine and if they showed it to you point it specifically and ask for evaluation. Don’t mention the previous assessment. And see what transpires. At best the mechanic will say leave it be and at worse the same diagnosis for likely less money.

Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee. 

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic.