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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
SPC Hotel's Average '92 SE Restoration (Caution, large images)

At the semi-suggestion of Coleosis in my introductory thread, I bring to this part of the forum, my not very epic, or informative, or groundbreaking build/restoration of my red 1992 240SX SE.

But first, it little background on the car and my initial thoughts on it's issues.

Back in 2012, my father had spotted the car for sale on the side of the road. When chatting with the owner, he mentioned that he just wanted to sell it off to someone that would actually care for the car and was asking for $800. He settled for $500. Among the issues he mentioned were that the car didn't like to idle, didn't want to travel faster than 45mph, and that the radio was missing.

Little did I know how many problems there really were.

Upon receipt of the car, father and I decide to do some detailed poking a prodding for anything else that might jump out. Those were; a transmission leak, dirty air box/air filter, low oil, scattered instances of body rust, and minor cosmetic issues. Being that the car was already classified and not road worthy, it sat in the backyard while I looked into the various aspects of the 240SX, eventually finding this forum.

Nearly two years pass, my brother moves in, but I don't quite feel the motivation to jump into the project. Until 25 June 2014. In a spur of the moment, my brother and I decide to tackle one of the issues that wasn't talked much about at all. The third party security systems that had been installed. We dig and wrench out a veritable rat's nest of wiring that was precariously and dangerously dangling close to the accelerator and brake pedals; brother removing three large components of the security systems and I chasing the wires to separate them from any OEM components, severing connections and disconnecting troublesome bits of gerry-rigged equipment. The discoveries were somewhat heartbreaking.

The audio system that once adorned the car had been gutted and cannibalized for an aftermarket system, with the wires poorly reinstalled. And some of the OEM wiring harness had been tapped into for the alarm installs. After being confident that anything third-party had been severed from the rest of the car's electronics, we temporarily reconnected anything that had been spliced and cut. We began to charge the battery and then attempted to start the car.

Success! However, the idle issue still remained with what sounded somewhat like marbles or something rattling in the front of the engine, close to the timing chains. That wasn't really something that had been overlooked though, it was suspected that the timing chain or the distributor were ever so slightly out of adjustment, or both. So that will be taken care of. But there was also the issue that the engine was struggling to even get to idle. We looked at how the engine was behaving; violent shaking, exhaust smelled rich, and it sounded like it was only firing on three of the four cylinders.

It was a day well spent; we had conquered one of the gripes, and turned the page on a new problem. The book was now open, but there was neither daylight or energy left to expend on any more work. Though it will certainly be a long journey to bring this car back as close to factory specs as possible, it does feel good that I'm taking these first steps.

This will be ongoing, though perhaps not on a regular basis for updates. I do hope anyone reading has enjoyed this primer, and I look forward to comments, suggestions and feedback.
 

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look up "240sx timing chain rattle" to see if it sounds like your marble sound... the timing chain tensioner is known to fail on these motors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, this weekend I intend to try and set it to TDC and check the distributor, maybe even check the plugs to see if there is any fouling on them. And perhaps find out if there is a bad injector or not.

A few questions though (since I have yet to find anything about it on my own):
1. Will I need to drain the oil before taking the valve cover off?
2. Before taking out #1 spark plug, will I need to relieve the fuel pressure. If so, what is the safest way of going about that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
1. No
2. No

Any pics of this bad boy?
Thank you! I have pictures (somewhere), for some reason I deleted them from my photobucket album. I'll see if I can't find em again.

Mini update:
I have just relieved fuel pressure and begun taking out the spark plugs. The stink though, the 2 and 3 plug wires decided to disassemble themselves. 1 and 4 had no real issue. So, maybe that was the reason for my ignition troubles…I'll be doing the checks I planned for today anyway.

Mini update 2:
Spark plugs are out, number 1 has carbon fouling, the other three plugs appear to be in normal condition.

Edit:
Found the images.

The car as it was in 2012







The spark plugs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
2014 Jun 27: End of Day update.

Well, a few goals were accomplished, some new ones made and achieved, and some where not realized today.

Even before noticing that the KA24DE in my 240 was on only 3 cylinders, I had wanted to set the number 1 cylinder to TDC and do every check possible and rule out hypotheses on why the engine was stubborn. I was able to take out the spark plugs (after some wrestling with the wires and figuring out what size socket to use), relieved the fuel pressure, and removed the valve cover. I witnessed that I was in luck! Number 1 was just past TDC, then the rain came. So, now the valve cover is sitting in place, with the hood down.

The journey continues, roughly, slowly, but surely… (I'll try and take some pictures tomorrow, or whenever I get back to working on it)
 

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240-kid
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No need to relieve pressure if your not working on the fuel system.
And it's common for low quality plug wires to fall apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm wanting to check the injectors, just to eliminate that as a cause of the sputtering/hesitation. Plus, it helps to get the practice into my head should it need to be done in an emergency.

Regardless, I think one of the first items on my list of things to buy will be plug wires. Thinking about NGK, maybe Bosch.
 

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NGK's would be my vote over Bosch.
And normally one would check the injectors with the motor running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
2014 Jun 28: End of Day update.

Today started out with the sound of my brother finishing up mowing the lawn in the morning, I ventured outside to my project with yesterday's goals still set; Get the engine to TDC, check distributor.

Position of cams just before starting:


Now, I had two options before getting at the task. I could jack the front end up, and attach a wrench/breaker bar to the crankshaft and bring it to TDC that way, or; I could take the top fan shroud out, remove the cooling fan and get to the crankshaft that way, getting to my goal in that manner. I opted for the former.

Until I realized that the blown out right front didn't wish for me to go that route…

Needless to say, I was less than enthused.

So, sucking it up, I prepared to disconnect any hoses and line which might be in the way, and proceeded to take off the fan shroud, only to out find that what was the fan shroud was now a mess of gerry-rigged pieces of a fan shroud. Okay, no biggie…the car is only 22 years old, who am I to expect the thing not to have original factory parts that are repaired in the least logical or effective manner? It's not like it could get any worse…right?


Well, it kinda did. These two beauties were found holding the cooling fan and the water pump pulley to the water pump, along with one factory bolt and one aftermarket bolt. What these are, I have no clue. But I'm not happy to find them connecting a critical part to the engine.

Moving on, things were really easy, and actually quite enjoyable for me. I got the engine to TDC (I think…) and checked the distributor to see if all was well with it.

(I believe these pictures show that cylinder 1 is at TDC…correct me if wrong, also, sorry for the poor lighting/angle on the pulley picture, it was taken after everything was put back together for the day)


 

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240-kid
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Those are the Studs and nuts that hold the pulley and fan to the pump.
That's how they come. They don't use bolts.
The bolts are because the guy lost the Studs.
Also you could have used a 19mm and turned the power steering pump.
It should turn the motor, if not the belts either loose or worn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Those are the Studs and nuts that hold the pulley and fan to the pump.
That's how they come. They don't use bolts.
The bolts are because the guy lost the Studs.
I'll just…I'll lay down, for a bit…and cry on the inside. (getting smarter everyday)

Also you could have used a 19mm and turned the power steering pump.
It should turn the motor, if not the belts either loose or worn.
*facedesk* That would have saved me a lot of time…if the belt wasn't worn, not sure at this point.

Anyway, now that I know this, I know what I need to get in order to have this thing a little closer to factory spec. In the more immediate future…I'm gonna take some ibuprofen and get some sleep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Not really an update, more an observation that I made while looking under the hood. The vacuum lines appear to have been tampered with, so I'm going to chase them to where they connect and see what they should be connected to.

Frustration after frustration, but still fun. And I kinda hope anyone reading gets a kick out of all the schadenfreude that comes with this build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
2014 Jun 29/30: Supplemental Update

Upon digging through some things, chasing the vacuum lines, and looking at other owners issues with the KA I think I narrowed it down as to what happened in this particular case. But first, pictures!

These are the four lines that just didn't look right. The one on the far right, wasn't connected to anything, I think it's the purge line that goes from the carbon canister to the intake. The leftmost and the second from the right were connected to each other with a small bit of plastic tubing which I promptly removed.


A bit concerning, this line wasn't connected anywhere, and I can't exactly see where it would be connected either.


The carbon canister. The only other line that was connected was on the top nipple. The line didn't look clean cut at all.


Detail of the lines, as they were laid out on the headlight. I'd like to find out the length and type of hose I'd need in order to replace them.


And because I was curious, I took this part out, and found the two nipples that might solve the rest of this mystery…


Maybe, just maybe, this will solve the engine troubles. Here's hoping…
 

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240-kid
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Honestly if you don't have emissions remove them.
And if your a tree hugger, then IDK.
Good luck with the Vacuum cluster fuck?

I removed ALL Vac lines and emissions from my KA and could be any happier.
EGR: Gone
AIV: Gone
EVAP: Gone

Only VAC Lines left are the IACV and Brake Booster.

Mind you S14 Intake Manifold so no Butteryfly Valves.
 

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Is the rumor about deleting the EGR hurting performance without tuning for it true?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
2014 Jul 01: Mini update.

Put everything back together, sans AIV.
• Plugged the two lines that would have gone to the AIV
• Reconnected canister purge line and canister vacuum line
• Made ready for start up.
• Tested.

Still sounds like it might not be firing on all four cylinders. And it still tries to stall right after startup, this goes away after the engine heats up to operating temp.

This weekend will be used to learn how to use a timing gun and setting the timing via the distributor.
 

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Is the rumor about deleting the EGR hurting performance without tuning for it true?
Nope, it only works to make for cleaner emissions and VERY Slightly better cruising MPG by filling the cylinder with already burnt gas reducing the room for Fresh Air and Fuel for burning.

@SPC Hotel: I can't quote your post for some reason but have you done a Compression Test? Leak Down Test? Test to make sure all injectors are firing to a nice rhythm?

Seems like your jumping ahead to the hard stuff without checking the simple stuff. Do all those things I mentioned to the Cylinder that had the bad Spark Plug.

Did you change the spark plugs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@SPC Hotel: I can't quote your post for some reason…
Multiquote button.

…have you done a Compression Test?
Not yet, I have the equipment for that.

Leak Down Test?
I don't think I have that equipment…

Test to make sure all injectors are firing to a nice rhythm?
You can test that?

Seems like your jumping ahead to the hard stuff without checking the simple stuff. Do all those things I mentioned to the Cylinder that had the bad Spark Plug.

Did you change the spark plugs?
I haven't changed them yet, I have some NGKs in good condition that I can test with, just need to be cleaned up a bit. Also, I should mention, the battery is practically dead. Rest assured, I'll address all of this in time.

I can speculate, but I also have my father around who has worked on cars for far longer than I have been alive, he's been helping me in regards to these things and guiding me in what some of the issues could be aside from my speculation.

I know it seems like a huge hassle, but I still like the pace that everything is going, and though it might not appear to be that way, I am playing it as safe as I can.
 

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I know about multi quote, I run this place lol.
It was glitching earlier.

You can rent a leak down tester from most any auto parts store.
But it requires a compressor.

And the easy way to check/test injectors is listening to it with a long screw driver.
Pry bar can but it's a bit over kill lol.

And you should change those plugs asap before you start looking into new things.
I can assure you that 1 plug is not good for producing spark lol.
 
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