Opinion about VQ40DE Engine Service Life - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 11-05-2018, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Opinion about VQ40DE Engine Service Life

I have seen many threads on here with people achieving high miles on their engines. The leader at the moment is at 350K [https://www.thenewx.org/forum/9-gene...50-000-a.html], which is astoundingly impressive. On the flip side, I ran across a site that had the following to say about the VQ40DE Engine Service Life:
Quote:
The engine has three timing chains, their service life is about 150,000 miles of mileage (200,000-250,000 km). The valve clearance needs to be adjusted every 60,000 miles of mileage (90,000 km). The Nissan VQ40DE life expectancy is 200,000 miles of mileage (300,000 km).
https://www.engine-specs.net/nissan/vq40de.html
I would like to get people's opinions regarding whether they think the engine life expectancy of 200K is accurate or overly conservative. Also, what do people think about the timing chain service life being 150K? I have seen timing chain kits that include new chains and other parts. Is this something that should be considered a maintenance item or is it better not to open up the engine and just keep the oil changed regularly with a quality synthetic? Lastly, what is meant by the valve clearance needing to be adjusted every 60K? I've never even heard of that before.
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 11-05-2018, 08:56 PM
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So, i'll bite.

The 150K miles is likely some sort of statistical average. It probably includes the rare early catastrophic failure, like sucking your broken cat into the engine (it happens) to the average commuter that does 12,000 miles per year and minimal maintenance (in which case 150,000 is 12.5 years anyway) to people like me that drive mostly highway and do diligent maintenance, and exceed 300K miles.

Yes, I had to do my timing chains - at about 220K. Others are sooner.

Valve lash only needs to be adjusted if your valves are noisy. The adjustment involves replacing the lifters based on size. No one I know has ever adjusted their lifters on a VQ40. They all rattle at startup. Its a Nissan thing

I would say that barring any catastrophic early failure, almost any decent modern engine should get between 200 and 300 thousand miles easy with proper maintenance, and the VQ40 is better than average - IMHO.
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 11-05-2018, 09:21 PM
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If you start looking for used parts, it’s amazing how many rigs are in the 200k-300k mi range on the odometer before a car crash sent it to the junkyard.

I’m at 150,000 mi on mine and hope to have it another 150k mi.

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 11-05-2018, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response. Very good insights. My initial reaction was it seemed conservative based on what I've seen here on the forums, but then again, I wasn't sure how far off the bell curve this group is from normal.

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Originally Posted by idn88 View Post
Yes, I had to do my timing chains - at about 220K.
What was the symptom that told you that you needed to replace your timing chain? My engine is at 168K (overall I'm 232K on the odometer; Nissan had do a free replacement of my engine (long block) due to a botched timing chain guide repair they attempted, boy was that a mess), anyway... I want to know what to watch out for as I approach higher mileage.

Last edited by maytawn; 11-05-2018 at 09:40 PM.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 11-05-2018, 09:50 PM
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I wholeheartedly expect to exceed 250,000 miles on the engine in my 2006.
(The only caveats: selling it for a different Xterra or going with the V8 swap instead of doing the timing chains....)

Every engine has weak points. Every engine needs PM. Every engine has wear items that require replacement at some point.

Outside of those factors, the VQ40 tself is a damn robust design. One of the best I’ve owned. FAR superior to the V8 travesty that Rover used in the Disco/RR for too many years. And on par with the beautifully bulletproof m42 4 banger BMW developed.

I define both valves and timing chains as “eventual” wear items. Some might never need touched. Others may require several visits over time.
The defining factors are hugely varied by vehicle history, PM, abuse and use, etc. BUT, no engine lasts forever. And good maintenance will take most modern engines far past the manufacturers projected obsolesence.

I’m just shy of 140,000. It’ll either be a timing chain job or the V8 swap whenever I start to hear the tell tale “whine”.
(The service history of my X, while pretty comprehensive, never mentions TC replacement.)
Valves? Who knows. Most likely never. But if they need done they’ll get done.

As one of our esteemable veteran members said in another thread, “we are outliers”, who care more for our vehicles than the general public.
We define every problem, address every issue, chase each tiny annoyance til the bitter end.

And we ALWAYS open up the engine.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maytawn View Post
What was the symptom that told you that you needed to replace your timing chain? My engine is at 168K (overall I'm 232K on the odometer; Nissan had do a free replacement of my engine (long block) due to a botched timing chain guide repair they attempted, boy was that a mess), anyway... I want to know what to watch out for as I approach higher mileage.

A whine which is more annoying than listening to a woman complain.



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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 06:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maytawn View Post
Thanks for the response. Very good insights. My initial reaction was it seemed conservative based on what I've seen here on the forums, but then again, I wasn't sure how far off the bell curve this group is from normal.



What was the symptom that told you that you needed to replace your timing chain? My engine is at 168K (overall I'm 232K on the odometer; Nissan had do a free replacement of my engine (long block) due to a botched timing chain guide repair they attempted, boy was that a mess), anyway... I want to know what to watch out for as I approach higher mileage.
Its a telltale whine - sounds like you have a blower. Mine was fainter than most describe. Any Nissan mechanic familiar with it will know in an instant.

Search youtube for Xterra timing chain whine. There are several videos demonstrating the sound.

or search google: site:thenewx.org timing chain symptoms for lists here.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 08:18 AM
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My timing chain failed at 95k


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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOAHVT View Post
My timing chain failed at 95k
Was there any indication of a problem before it failed?
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 10:04 AM
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140k and zero lights, issues, or symptoms on my 2011. I am in the serious commuter 2WD group and put 20k miles a year on the rig, about to start on third set of tires.

Houston commuter...
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