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Maintenance after long term storage


awyisss
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Hey guys,

 

My dad has a 1990 pathfinder that has been sitting for likely 10 years now. I'm currently working/in school at the moment so i don't have a ton of free time, but i'm trying to get a schedule together and gather the things i'll need to get her up and running hopefully for spring/summer 2017.

 

I don't know much about the car, but it was once the family daily driver. I don't remember of any major mechanical issues with the car when it went into storage, but if i can get it to start i'll likely bring her over to a mechanic and get everything checked out.

 

So far my plan is to drain/fill the gas tank, change the oil/filter, check the coolant level, and spray some fogging oil in some of the cylinders, and fire her up (hopefully).

 

I was wondering if there's anything you guys who may be more familiar with the WD21 have any advice as far as any other things i should take a look at, common problems, or specific tools i may need along the way.

 

If all goes to plan, I hope to put some bigger wheels and small lift and get out in the sticks this summer!

 

Its under a cover and about a foot of snow right but hopefully itll clear up in the next couple weeks and i can get some pics posted!

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If it hasn't been added to your list already I'd go ahead and replace the timing belt and accessory belts, check the power steering fluid (atf dex III is acceptable), I'd actually replace the coolant instead of just topping it off and while you're doing the timing belt go ahead and put in a new thermostat and water pump too.

 

A fresh set of NGK (standard copper core is fine) plugs at the very least but I'd recommend a new cap and rotor and quality plug wires, I had a cheap set causing a misfire that drove me crazy. Also put antiseize on the plug threads.

 

Check the front and rear differential fluids before driving it and also check the transfer case fluid. If it's an auto use atf dex III, if it's a manual you can use either atf or 80w-90.

 

If you have a manual transmission use ONLY GL-4 spec gear oil (80w-90) or penzoil snyncromesh. 5.1L is what it takes and yes that's over filled for a reason, the early model (pre 97 or 98) FS5R30A transmissions had a problem with the fill hole being too low and not allowing enough oil to be filled and causing several bearings to run dry usually resulting in those bearings going bad and a roaring noise to be the result, usually present is all gears except 4th which is a 1:1 drive ratio and lower down in the oil. Easiest way to over fill it is through the shifter hole under the shift boot.

 

If it's an automatic go ahead and bypass the stock cooler in the radiator and use the biggest cooler you can get. You can search the forum for transmission cooler bypass and find out exactly what you need to get. If the fluid isn't cherry red or pink and doesn't smell sweet I'd go ahead and replace it after you get it running, but for now at least make sure it's at the proper level. Low fluid in an auto is asking for trouble.

 

Also replace the fuel filter since it's likely deteriorated.

 

To clear the lines of any old fuel, run a hose from the return line on the fuel rail into a gas jug and have someone hold the hose in the jug since fuel pressure is around 46psi I believe. Just cycle the pump on and off a few times but don't turn it over. It'll help get fresh fuel up to the rails instead of trying to force it to run on old fuel. Also try and stay away from ether/ starting fluid, too much with a backfire and you'll have a nasty fireball on your hands or face if you're in the area.

 

That's all I can think of for now, I know it's more than just "put some fresh gas in it and fire it up" but this is what I'd do if I were in your spot, I'm a bit anal about maintenance especially if a vehicle has been sitting for as long as you say yours has.

 

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

Edited by RCWD21
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+1 on that....

 

You may want to also charge / swap the battery for a new one but remove, wire-brush and add grounds to everything in the engine bay before you go with the battery. The WD21 is weak in that area. Before you get too far add a ground strap to the MAF (centre wire?? someone want to check me on that! ) and run that to a location on the inner fender near the MAF; the original runs all the way to the ECU under the passenger seat and is prone to cracking with age. The fix from Nissan is a wire assembly with connectors that don't exist in the 1990. Makes a hell of a difference.

 

Last on my list is a gasket kit ( complete upper ) would be excellent since you'll most likely need to clean out the throttle body, upper intake, that infernal air thingy (with the light blue electrical connector) that gets clogged.

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Vacuum the carpets inside and check the evap box for debris by removing glove box then the metal plate behind that where you can access the two screws that hold the resistor to the evap box. Vacuum inside there to eliminate bad smells! Plus all the above what was said.

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Make sure the vacuum lines are good, they're probably all dry rotted from sitting. You could probably fire it up before touching the timing belt, but I wouldn't drive it around until it has been changed. If it breaks you will be looking at a top end rebuild. Fortunately out in BC rust is minimal compared to where I am so you should have lots of used parts available in the wrecking yards if you need them.

 

I would also crank it a bunch with the fuel pump fuse and coil wire pulled to pump up some oil onto the cylinder walls and into the heads. I did this with an engine that had probably been sitting 15 years before I put it in my pathy.

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I would also crank it a bunch with the fuel pump fuse and coil wire pulled to pump up some oil onto the cylinder walls and into the heads. I did this with an engine that had probably been sitting 15 years before I put it in my pathy.

On older Fords the oil pump was driven off of the distributor shaft. You could chuck a drill to the distributor shaft and pump oil around the engine without cranking it. That is the best option as cranking is still moving parts without oil, albeit slower than starting. Will that work on the vg30?

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Great post here. My pathy has not ran for 7 years and been under the carport all that time but I did started it a few years back and cloud of white smoke came out of the exhaust just like the kind of white thick smoke some get after seafoaming their pathy. Any idea what might have caused that?

 

 

Also on the flushing the old gas, could you please tell me where to find that return line? Is it the rail with a hose just above the bypass hose? Im also assuming when you mentioned to cycle the fuel pump on and off that you just give it a crank but dont let it turn over

 

I was about to sell both my pathy and hardbody and get me a Xterra pro 4x but why spend the money if both rigs have plenty of life left on them :D

 

Thanks for another great post RC

Edited by PATHRIDER
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The white smoke could be oil that has dripped down from worn valve guides (my 87 smokes a puff here and there but it's also from new rings). It could also be from old stale fuel.

 

Before pulling any fuel lines off though loosen your gas cap and pull your fuel pump fuse just incase there's pressure from you turning the engine over and energizing the fuel pump (the fuel systems on these rigs hold pressure for a pretty long time. Mine holds it for about 3 days).

 

And the return line I'm talking about is the one that leaves the fuel rail from the fuel pressure regulator and returns to the tank. If it's MPFI it's the rear most line, if it's TBI it's easy to see with the airbox removed.

 

And when I mentioned cycling the pump on and off I mean to turn the key to the ON position but not turning it over. Do that a few times until the fuel runs fresh. It helps remove the stale fuel from the fuel rail and it also give the engine clean fuel to be able to fire up on once you try to start it.

 

Just don't forget to have someone hold the hose in the jug because of the fuel pressure, it may or may not try to escape the jug.

 

Sent from inside my potato

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Thanks for the replies guys looks like i'll have quite a bit of work to do before I get the wheels turning. I must say, for someone that hasn't done a ton of work on cars some of the measures mentioned sound a bit overwhelming. Luckily i'm in no rush to get the car running so I can take my time and make sure i'm getting everything done correctly.

 

My first task as soon as the weather clears up will be to clean up the engine bay and the interior of the car, for safety after i get the car running and just to make it a bit more of a pleasure to work on. The car was stored in horrendous condition. It was next to a tree that had a grape vine also growing on it that somehow grew over to the car and partially made its home in the engine bay. Some of the vines were seen growing through the air vents! A bit of mold on the passenger seat/dash panel area aswell from what i remember.

 

Hope to get some pics up sooner than later.

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  • 3 months later...

It's been a while, but better late than never. So after chipping away cleaning the vehicle here and there in my spare time and waiting out the weather, its time for the fun stuff.

 

I changed the oil yesterday and ordered a hand pump to get the old gas out of the tank. I was about to drain and refill the rad but i figured since i'm gonna change the t belt and waterpump anyway, it should wait til I have the parts in hand.

 

A few questions before I wreck something. I was thinking about pumping the fuel out + replacing with fresh, topping up the rad, throw in a battery and fire it up just to see if the car will start. I don't plan on driving, or even revving it, it until all the fluids, tbelt, waterpump, and thermostat, are replaced. I just want to know if it'll fire up, or if there will be other things ill need to replace to get it running. Like the horribly placed starter motor that I likely dripped some oil on when changing the oil filter. Is this a bad idea? Should i just go ahead and replace the tbelt + waterpump + thermostat before starting it?

 

Also, i'm planning to get a cheap tbelt +tensioner + waterpump + cam/crank seals from ebay, a kit made by DNJ. The seller has good ratings, and from what i can gather online about DNJ, the belt should be of comparable OEM specs.

 

Before i place the order, have any of you guys used a DNJ kit? Also, i'm not sure if the belt has timing marks, is that a problem?

 

I also seen a Gates kit, but its ~30$ more and doesn't come with cam/crank seals. I may be pursuaded to purchase this kit if any of you guys have horror stories with DNJ.

 

Also, i'm a bit worried about taking off the cam and crank sprockets to replace the seals. I know i'll have to pull them off after I orient everything to TDC and get the belt off, but how exactly do i stop them from rotating when taking them off/putting them on? Will I need some type of puller? I have access to impact tools if that will make anything easier.

 

Any advice is welcome!

Edited by awyisss
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Also, I know people suggested a whole bunch of other things to do (spark plugs, wires, trans cooler, grounds, cleaning throttle body, etc), and i'll be getting to as much of that stuff as i can as well, but for the next bit i just wanna focus on getting the old gas out and getting the tbelt/cooling stuff in order.

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I don't see an issue with firing it up for a few, as long as you get some oil pumped through as Adamzan suggested above.

 

As far as the parts, have you checked Rockauto? There is post in the vendor section with discount codes. Might be a better option than eBay.

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When I replaced my timing belt, I replaced the Crank seal. Maybe mine was a bit more difficult than others, but my crank pulley was seized onto the crank. I couldn't find a puller specifically for removing it and there's only a few ways to get something behind it in order to get it off. I wound up using a couple of wood chisels, hammering them in behind the pulley. It took some time, but I finally got enough clearance to pull it using a gear puller. In the whole process, I managed to goober up the pulley and opted to replace it with a new one from Nissan. The aftermarket ones I saw exuded "Cheap Garbage" and I refused to use them.

 

As long as none of your pistons are at the top of the stroke, you should have no problem or fear of rotating your camshafts. You will have the best results when you pull the bolts with an impact. If you try to use a wrench, you'll likely spin the shaft and get nowhere. If you turn everything by hand, you should be fine. Just don't use the starter to spin to motor over when you don't have a timing belt on ;)

 

Once I had the belt and pulley back on, I turned over the engine by hand to make sure everything lined up right and there wasn't any slop in the belt that I overlooked when I assembled it.

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I don't see an issue with firing it up for a few, as long as you get some oil pumped through as Adamzan suggested above.

 

As far as the parts, have you checked Rockauto? There is post in the vendor section with discount codes. Might be a better option than eBay.

Thank you, I have not checked Rockauto. I will cross reference with them aswell.

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When I replaced my timing belt, I replaced the Crank seal. Maybe mine was a bit more difficult than others, but my crank pulley was seized onto the crank. I couldn't find a puller specifically for removing it and there's only a few ways to get something behind it in order to get it off. I wound up using a couple of wood chisels, hammering them in behind the pulley. It took some time, but I finally got enough clearance to pull it using a gear puller. In the whole process, I managed to goober up the pulley and opted to replace it with a new one from Nissan. The aftermarket ones I saw exuded "Cheap Garbage" and I refused to use them.

 

As long as none of your pistons are at the top of the stroke, you should have no problem or fear of rotating your camshafts. You will have the best results when you pull the bolts with an impact. If you try to use a wrench, you'll likely spin the shaft and get nowhere. If you turn everything by hand, you should be fine. Just don't use the starter to spin to motor over when you don't have a timing belt on ;)

 

Once I had the belt and pulley back on, I turned over the engine by hand to make sure everything lined up right and there wasn't any slop in the belt that I overlooked when I assembled it.

Thank you, hopefully I wont damage the crank pulley. When you say 'as long as none of your pistons are at the top of the stroke' im a bit confused as to what that means. When I orient the dimples on the pulleys with the marks on the cover, and ensure that the distributor is pointing at cyl 1, doenst that mean that the #1 piston is at the top of the stroke? I'm concerned that I might rotate the cam pulleys a bit while removing them. Maybe this is much simpler than I think though. Its my first time.

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Set the engine at TDC before taking the timing belt off. This will make it easier to put back on. Once you take the timing belt off, don't crank your cam. If any of the valves are open, the piston could impact and bend your valve stems. These are interference engines. As far as alignment when putting things back together, many belts have lines on them indicating the proper spacing between the cams and crank. I forget the exact count but they are on the site somewhere. Don't worry about the cams rotating a little.... just don't crank them completely around or force them if there is resistance. The holes in the cam pulleys are great for placing a brace of some kind to allow you to break the bolt loose. Be creative... I saw someone use a big pair of needlenose pliers stuck in 2 opposite holes and then a big adjustable wrench on the pliers to hold it all from rotating. I personally just used a big screwdriver and found a place to wedge it against the back cover.

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also, if the cams are scored from the old seals and are leaking out from behind the sprockets, there are sleeves that can be purchased that will fit over the cams and give a new surface for the seals to .. well ... seal. Not hard to install. If you are concerned about the valves possibly hitting the pistons, you can always remove the rocker arms and relieve the tension on ALL the valves so they are out of the way. I don't think it will be necessary but the option is there.

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One of the cams is in a neutral position and it is easy to hold, the other is under tension, and will easily move about twenty degrees if you move it. If this happens, just move it back to its mark. As stated, don't spin the cam around though.

 

Remove with an impact. I found the easiest way to hold the cam sprocket to torque it was with a strap wrench, the kind with a rubber strap, not nylon. I tried the screwdriver technique, but didn't​ find anything suitable to hold against.

 

You could also fab a tool out of some flat bar, with two legs to go into the holes of the sprocket. That is pretty much what a cam holding tool is. Something like the link, super easy to make. https://m.summitracing.com/parts/wmr-w89208?seid=srese1&cm_mmc=pla-google-_-shopping-_-srese1-_-performance-tool&gclid=Cj0KEQjw5YfHBRDzjNnioYq3_swBEiQArj4pdO5ajY5dgci4GGWo5Ryz1yo5-xMSIfdbS_9MIfsS9McaAveu8P8HAQ

 

 

On the crank pulley, I removed two of the m8 bolts that hold the pulley together, and installed bolts through a puller. I can't remember what style puller, I tried a few different ones before I found one that worked. I felt I might damage something trying to pull the pulley from behind.

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IIRC someone on here tried a jaw puller on the crank pulley and bent it. I pulled the pulley off (mark its orientation on the balancer first!) and then pulled it off with a duck's foot puller.

I cut and welded an F-shaped piece of metal to stick into the holes in the cam sprockets for loosening and retorquing, and didn't even need an impact. The strap wrench isn't a bad idea either.

 

I did have one of the cams jump when I was first trying to get the bolts out. It didn't go far, and I just turned it back the way it came and it didn't hurt anything.

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You can also use your timing belt to hold the cam sprockets. I have done this with other vehicles but you keep the timing belt on one of the sprockets and drop the loop down far enough to slip a 2x4 or something through it below the frame. Clamp the belt together with a pair of vice-grips or a C-clamp as close to the sprocket as you can. Then, step on the 2x4 to hold tension on the belt while loosening (I suppose you could tighten this way too) the bolt.

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Thank you, hopefully I wont damage the crank pulley. When you say 'as long as none of your pistons are at the top of the stroke' im a bit confused as to what that means. When I orient the dimples on the pulleys with the marks on the cover, and ensure that the distributor is pointing at cyl 1, doenst that mean that the #1 piston is at the top of the stroke? I'm concerned that I might rotate the cam pulleys a bit while removing them. Maybe this is much simpler than I think though. Its my first time.

What I'm trying to say....

 

As the crankshaft rotates, the pistons are all in different positions. It is possible to have the crankshaft rotated so that none of the pistons will create interference for the valves to move. Rotating by hand, with the spark plugs removed, is the best way to accomplish this. Just be aware of how much and where you rotate it so you don't have your distributor 180 out. And again, don't force any movement; you may cause valve damage if you force it and can't see where things are at. Does that make sense??

 

As discussed by other people, you may not even want to try to rotate if you have an adequate plan/tools to prevent valve damage. Just more info ;)

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