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How to Replace the Head Gasket on a Nissan 2.4L Engine

by Kyla Chele Cambrooke

Nissan marketed some Altimas and Sentras with 2.4-liter engines from 1999 to 2006. If you happen to have one of these vehicles, there may come a time you need to replace the head gasket due to an overheated engine or worn parts. When you change the head gasket, it requires removing many of the upper engine parts to reach the head gasket. It sits between the cylinder head and the engine block.

Assure the engine is cold prior to starting. Empty the cooling system by unscrewing the drain plug from the radiator. Allow the coolant to fall in a clean pan. Drain the engine oil tank in a separate drain pan. Alleviate the fuel system pressure.

Disconnect, unhook or take off wires, assembly, tubes, mounting bolts and other components situated close to the top portion of the engine, such as ground wires, spark plug wires, power steering pump, oil pump, air duct, distributor, camshaft and manifolds.

Take off the cylinder head bolts in the opposite order of the tightening sequence. The bolt numbers for the tightening sequence for the top level is 9, 3, 1, 6 and 8 and the lower level is 7, 5, 2, 4 and 10. Pick up the old head gasket and throw in the trash. Tap on the bottom section of the cylinder head with a plastic mallet, if you have an issue moving the head gasket.

Wipe, scrape and clean the cylinder block, cylinder head holes and mating surfaces. Look for any wear and tear on the cylinder block. Lubricate the new cylinder head bolts with new and clean motor oil. Lower the gasket on top of the cylinder block. Line it up with the dowel for the correct position. Place the cylinder head back on the cylinder block.

Place the new cylinder head bolt in position. Torque the new bolts in a five-step process. Tighten to 22 foot-pounds on the first pass. Tighten to 59 foot-pounds on the second pass. Completely loosen each bolt. Torque to 18 to 25 foot-pounds on the fourth pass. Turn an additional 86 to 91 degrees to the right.

Replace or connect all other upper engine components, including camshafts, timing chains, camshaft sprockets, cylinder head cover, manifolds, mounting brackets, air duct power steering pulley, drive belt and distributor.

Connect the negative battery. Replace coolant in the cooling system and motor oil in its reservoir. Start the car and run for five minutes. Look for leaks.

Tip

  • Look at illustrations of the numerous car parts in an automotive service manual.

Items you will need

About the Author

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