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Eric, Automotive Repair Shop Manager
Category: Car
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Experience:  Automotive Repair Shop Manager, Technician/JA Mentor
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87 nissan 200sx timing belt replacment how to do

Customer Reply

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
how do you set the timing belt on a 1987 nissan 200 sx the cam & crankshaft have been moved. & how do U put the spark plug wires back on? I tried but the car will not start. it turns over & just keeps poping. please help, and please explain, in detail on how to do it.
Expert:  Eric replied 8 years ago.


Which engine is in your vehicle?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Eric's Post: 2.0 ltr 4cyl 8 plug wires 87 nissan 200sx only 70,000 origanal miles. cool very cool, but it still wont start.
Expert:  Eric replied 8 years ago.


Here is firing order:



Here are timing directions:


200SX (CA Series Engines)

See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

Fig. 1: Timing marks for finding TDC - CA series engines


Fig. 2: Timing belt assembly - CA series engines


Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 3: Timing belt with covers removed


Fig. 4: Timing belt installation - CA series engines


  1. Remove the battery ground cable. Release the fuel pressure.

  2. On the CA20E engine, remove the air intake ducts.

  3. Remove the cooling fan.

  4. Remove the power steering, alternator, and air conditioner compressor belts if so equipped.

  5. Set the No. 1 cylinder at TDC on the compression stroke. The accompanying illustration shows the timing mark alignment for TDC.

  6. Remove the front upper and lower timing belt covers.

  7. Loosen the timing belt tensioner and return spring, then remove the timing belt.

To install:

  1. Carefully inspect the condition of the timing belt. There should be no breaks or cracks anywhere on the belt. Especially check around the bottoms of the teeth, where they intersect the belt; cracks often show up here. Evidence of any wear or damage on the belt means the belt should be replaced.

  2. To install the belt, first make sure that No. 1 cylinder is set at TDC on compression. Install the belt tensioner and return spring.

If the coarse stud has been removed, apply Loctite® or another locking thread sealer to the stud threads before installing.

  1. Make sure the tensioner bolts are not securely tightened before the drive belt is installed. Make sure the tensioner pulley can be rotated smoothly.

  2. Make sure the timing belt is in good condition and clean. Do not bend it. Place the belt in position, aligning the white lines on the timing belt with the punch mark on the camshaft pulleys and the crankshaft pulley. Make sure the arrow on the belt is pointing toward the front belt covers.

  3. Tighten the belt tensioner and assemble the spring. To set the spring, first hook one end on bolt B side, then hook the other end on the tensioner bracket pawl. Rotate the crankshaft two turns clockwise, then tighten bolt B then bolt A. At this point, belt tension will automatically be at the specified value.

  4. Install the upper and lower timing belt covers.

  5. Install and adjust all the drive belts.

  6. Install the cooling fan and reconnect the air intake ducts on the CA20E engine.

  7. Connect the battery cable, start engine and check the ignition timing

I would recommend first verifying the firing order and plug wire order, and then doing a compression check on the cylinders. If low or no compression on any of the cylinders, you stand a very good chance of having bent a valve(s).

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