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So I plan on performing the timing chain job on my 2006 S 6MT 4x4 sometime here in the near future. About 160K miles. I have done quite a bit of research, but I'm still confused about the actual lockout procedure for the engine and whether or not it's necessary to remove the valve covers to access the camshafts. I have seen some posts that state you don't need the $100 Nissan ring gear locker, but others that say you do. Can I get that crankshaft pulley bolt out without locking the flywheel? Also, I would rather not take off the plenum and valve covers if I don't have to for obvious reasons. It seems that you can break loose the camshaft bolts if all three chains are still installed.

In case anybody is wondering, I was planning on replacing just about everything in there. All chains, guides, tensioners, gallery gaskets, water pump, seals etc. Also, I have been back and forth about whether to use OEM parts or a Cloyes kit. Sorry if this seems redundant, but I'm going cross eyed looking at past posts and not seeing what I need. Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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whether or not it's necessary to remove the valve covers to access the camshafts. I have seen some posts that state you don't need the $100 Nissan ring gear locker, but others that say you do.

Can I get that crankshaft pulley bolt out without locking the flywheel? Also, I would rather not take off the plenum and valve covers if I don't have to for obvious reasons. It seems that you can break loose the camshaft bolts if all three chains are still installed.
I used an enginetech kit with valley gaskets from EPS tuning.

I did remove the intake plenum, but did not remove the valve covers. I did sparkplugs while I was in there.
I used my impact to remove the crank bolt and used a big fat screwdriver to lock the flywheel/flexplate.

The camshaft sprocket bolts can be loosened with the chains on. Just be sure to mark everything well. My camshafts had a tendency to spring themselves out of position.
 

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When I did my timing chains I used OEM parts, many sourced from eBay so the difference in price from non-OEM was not that substantial.

I also purchased the ring gear locker used on eBay. For me it was well worth the peace of mind that it gave me, knowing that the crankshaft was locked and that I could use that as a reference point if things went south. Just like RoadKiller2006, my camshafts would spring out of place (gave me a heart attack the first couple of times that happened!), but knowing that the crankshaft didn't and couldn't move, I could then line everything up again easily.

The ring gear lock also made the crankshaft pulley bolt removal much easier.

After the job, I ended up selling the ring gear lock on eBay for $10 more than I paid for it, so it was a win all around for me!

Best of luck with the job. Take your time, label everything (I like to use wire markers [like Gardner Bender Wire Marker Booklet, Numbers 1-45-42-029 - The Home Depot ] on each side of any electrical connection I disconnect to make reassembly much easier and faster) and take good notes during disassembly.
 

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I've done the timing chain repair job three times now (3 different Xterras). I used the flywheel lock tool each time and I was glad I bought it. It does make the job a little easier and it gives you good peace of mind that your timing isn't going to get screwed up because something slips when removing the flywheel. As others have said, the tool does have resale value so I'd recommend getting it and then selling it later after the job is done.

Regarding plenum and valve cover removal, I think it would make access a little more difficult to get the front cover off if you tried to leave the plenum on. You don't have to remove the valve covers, but you may want to consider it. Being able to see the cam lobes makes it really easy to ensure cylinder #1 is at top-dead-center. That alone isn't really enough to justify taking them off, but in my case, the valve covers were already leaking a little anyway. So I took the opportunity to replace the covers while I was already in there and I got the added benefit of verifying the timing positioning.

Lastly, I can't stress enough to use 100% OEM for your parts. Don't get fooled by the convenient aftermarket timing chain kits. I think they are all junk. The job is a bear and after it's done you don't want to be driving down the road worrying about what's going to break. I have specific experience with the Cloyes kit. A previous owner tried cutting a corner by using it and I cleaned up the mess. See my write up here: 2006 Xterra - Timing Chain Parts
 

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My flywheel was a PITA to get off. I'd seen videos of guys able to ratchet strap the pulley to hold it, that was not happening in my case. You need to lock the flywheel somehow. I did not buy the Nissan tool. It was too expensive to get here in Canada, and couldn't find one locally, so I used the c channel that holds the step rails on, (was laying around the garage) jammed that in where the starter goes, fit fine, held the flywheel in place.
I did not remove the valve covers, that is really only needed to confirm TDC, but I did that with a rod down #1 cylinder.
I removed the intake plenum, it's in the way otherwise and was a good opportunity to change the spark plugs.
FWIW I used an enginetech timing kit from rock auto. I priced out oem part here in canada, and was too expensive. If I had access to easily available reasonably priced oem parts I would consider it.
 

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Really great info from everyone here. Much appreciated. I'm not really a corner cutting type of guy, so I'll probably end up paying a bit more for the locking tool and OEM parts. Thank you.
 

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So I plan on performing the timing chain job on my 2006 S 6MT 4x4 sometime here in the near future. About 160K miles. I have done quite a bit of research, but I'm still confused about the actual lockout procedure for the engine and whether or not it's necessary to remove the valve covers to access the camshafts. I have seen some posts that state you don't need the $100 Nissan ring gear locker, but others that say you do. Can I get that crankshaft pulley bolt out without locking the flywheel? Also, I would rather not take off the plenum and valve covers if I don't have to for obvious reasons. It seems that you can break loose the camshaft bolts if all three chains are still installed.

In case anybody is wondering, I was planning on replacing just about everything in there. All chains, guides, tensioners, gallery gaskets, water pump, seals etc. Also, I have been back and forth about whether to use OEM parts or a Cloyes kit. Sorry if this seems redundant, but I'm going cross eyed looking at past posts and not seeing what I need. Thanks in advance for any advice.

If you plan on keeping it I'd go with the OE parts, they're not too expensive for that job and are important parts that are a PIA to change if there's an issue. As for the tool, you don't need it if you can fab something similar but it will make your life much easier to have the actual tool.
 

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If you plan on keeping it I'd go with the OE parts, they're not too expensive for that job and are important parts that are a PIA to change if there's an issue. As for the tool, you don't need it if you can fab something similar but it will make your life much easier to have the actual tool.
Yeah, I'm the original owner as well, and hope to get another 15 years out of her so I went ahead and bought OE Parts and the tool. Hopefully it all works out (fingers crossed).
 

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Yeah, I'm the original owner as well, and hope to get another 15 years out of her so I went ahead and bought OE Parts and the tool. Hopefully it all works out (fingers crossed).
It should, I had the dealer do that job in 2016 and it's been fine ever since.
 
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