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How to Fix the Timing on a KA24E

by Floyd Drake III

The KA24E was a workhorse engine in Nissan automobiles from 1988 until 2004. The KA24E came in 2.0- and 2.4-liter versions and was used in many Nissan autos, including: the 240SX, Pathfinder, Stanza and Nissan trucks. As engines run, they sometimes go out of time, causing a rough idle, loss of power and poor gas mileage. To fix this, the timing requires adjustment, which is easily accomplished by the home mechanic using a timing light.

Step 1

Open and secure the Nissan hood to access the engine.

Step 2

Clean the timing degree notches, which are located near the crank shaft pulley. Wipe off any built-up grease with a rag.

Step 3

Connect the timing light. The timing light has two cables with clamps on the end. Connect the black cable end to the negative (black) battery cable. Connect the red cable clamp to the number one spark plug cable, which is the forward-most spark plug.

Step 4

Start the engine, allowing it to warm up. Rev the engine to 2,000 rpms twice, and then let it idle normally.

Step 5

Point the timing light at the arrow and timing notches located at the pulley. While the engine is running, pull the timing light trigger, and notice where the arrow aligns with the timing notches. Each notch is spaced at 5-degree intervals. The arrow needs to line up with the third notch forward (clockwise) of top-dead center (the center notch). This is 15 degrees before top-dead center, or BTDC.

Step 6

Adjust the timing. Loosen the distributor hold-down bolt, located at the base of the distributor where the shaft enters the engine block. Loosen the bolt with a wrench until the distributor assembly rotates when turned. By turning the distributor clockwise or counterclockwise, the timing advances or retards according to the direction turned.

Step 7

Turn the distributor while flashing the timing light at the arrow and notches. When the arrow lines up at 15-degrees BTDC, the engine is in time.

Tighten the distributor hold-down bolt, unhook the timing light cables, and turn the Nissan off; the engine is now timed properly.

Items you will need

  • Timing light
  • Wrench set
  • Rag

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