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2003 Nissan Spec V Nismo
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, it's been ages since I've been on here or posted, life got in the way and I had to postpone my project.
Now I'm back, and the engine and trans are sitting on a pallet awaiting my next move.
I had my eyes on an engine at a local parts yard, 157k or so and running. Of course it sold 2 days before I was gonna go get it.
So now I'm either waiting until I can find another to buy, or to rebuild my current one.
I come here for your opinions though, I would like to take the car on my yearly trip to Florida with my family in 5 months, meaning I need to replace the engine with another, or rebuild it much before then. My budget is a little tight but able to be stretched for necessary improvements or repairs. Currently I know it needs a 4 wheel brake job, maybe even calipers but I'm not fooling with that until its done. The spare tire compartment needs to be cut out and have a new one welded in, and some other odds and ends.
But the biggest fish to fry is the engine. So I come to ask, what do you guys recommend? Wait for another lucky chance at a used engine, or rebuild? I'm no stranger to engine overhauls or any work on a vehicle and can do it all.
What parts do you guys recommend?
Tips to make this a little less painful?
Improvements I should do while it's out?

Some history of the motor
The compression test came back low, its been so long I can't recall the specifics, I remember the two cylinders in the middle had considerably less then the rest.
The leakdown test showed terrible results, (once again its been so long I can't remember the specifics)
The butterfly screws are intact.
Whenever it would run, it would smoke like a train.
Evidence as I remember would almost point towards a head gasket / warped head, but considering the cat has been gutted, I'm personally unsure what to think. I almost wonder if it ate the pre cat and the last guy gutted it as a hopeful attempt, or maybe he gutted it knowing what happens to these things, and overheated the engine due to unrelated things, thus blowing the head gasket and warping the head.

Like usual, I'm just kind of at a loss of direction here.
I know even if I tore it down and found a headgasket or warped head issue, I would completely overhaul the engine just to be sure it would be able to be trusted. It's already out so I'd much rather do it now.
 

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So I sort of went through the same circumstances over this winter. My engine runs but it also has bad compression so I’ve went and bought an import engine to swap in. Swapping the engine just seemed like a simpler process to me since there’s less steps involved vs a rebuild; I don’t NEED over 300 horsepower so I feel a fully built engine isn’t necessary. Buying an import engine was much less expensive that buying a built engine from 2JR, and also doesn’t require the effort, time, and patience required in rebuilding your own engine If you decide to go that route. I opted to do simpler bolt on mods with my import engine; BC valve springs and titanium retainers, lightweight crank pulley, lightweight flywheel, 2JR plenum adapter kit, and balance shaft delete. You don’t really have to do any mods to the engine, but I imagine all of these mods are a lot easier to install with the engine on the stand instead of in the chassis.
I also plan on keeping my old engine in case I decide to have it rebuilt in the future; I can keep it on standby just in case something happens to the import engine or even have it built for higher power if my wallet allows it lol.
 

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Cheaper to buy a qr20. I got one with a bad hg. Sounds like your rings are gone if you're blowing smoke. You may need to take the engine to a machine shop and bore over 50 thou.which means you'll need new pistons as well. But, 2j sells most of these parts, I know cause I just got a complete engine overhaul kit, with OEM components from 2j for GREAT pricing. If you can swing a grand, buy everything you need and do the rebuild yourself. Or gambke with an import engine and cruise til it goes. In my case, the qr20 got the job done til I could save up and build the original block.
 

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My opinion is just do a head gasket and get he head decked, options would be getting the 2nd gen head gasket and bolts to have "oem" upgrades or an aftermarket oem replacement head gasket or aftermarket choice of thickness for head gasket and ARP studs...combination of these.

Your symptoms tell me straight head gasket issues that was also letting oil leak out as well.
 

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Back in 16 my rings were pretty worn when the headgasket finally blew, ended up doing a home gamer refresh on the top end. Headgasket and resurfaced the head, bare min to get back on the road. Only lasted a year and half but it bought me enough time to save for proper repairs. I didnt want to fool with a complete rebuild so I ended up buying a fully remanned long block from rockauto for about 1700 (pls no judge). Ive put over 80K on that motor and only had to replace the valve cover gasket and front main seal, installed a lightweight crank pulley while I was at it. IMHO a lightweight crank pully is one of those no brainer mods. Even with an auto the engine feels spin happy.

I feel like i should mention the reason I went with a rockauto reman at the time was because I had heard and read about scams being run using restamped 2 liter engines from overseas. I dont know if this is still ( or ever was) an issue but I figured Id mention it.
 

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Back in 16 my rings were pretty worn when the headgasket finally blew, ended up doing a home gamer refresh on the top end. Headgasket and resurfaced the head, bare min to get back on the road. Only lasted a year and half but it bought me enough time to save for proper repairs. I didnt want to fool with a complete rebuild so I ended up buying a fully remanned long block from rockauto for about 1700 (pls no judge). Ive put over 80K on that motor and only had to replace the valve cover gasket and front main seal, installed a lightweight crank pulley while I was at it. IMHO a lightweight crank pully is one of those no brainer mods. Even with an auto the engine feels spin happy.

I feel like i should mention the reason I went with a rockauto reman at the time was because I had heard and read about scams being run using restamped 2 liter engines from overseas. I dont know if this is still ( or ever was) an issue but I figured Id mention it.
I’ve read some of those horror stories recently where import sellers will buy QR20’s and re- stamp them as QR25’s.
Also pay attention and don’t buy the QR25DD direct injection motor. Those motor’s were never produced for the US market and they’re typically not sold with engine harnesses or ECU’s, so they’re all but useless to us in the states. The import sellers don’t know the difference between the QR25DE and QR25DD, so they’ll insist that they’re the same thing if you buy the wrong one. I made a post a couple months ago when I made this mistake and I had to spend an extra $500 in shipping to get the right engine delivered.
 

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I’ve read some of those horror stories recently where import sellers will buy QR20’s and re- stamp them as QR25’s.
Also pay attention and don’t buy the QR25DD direct injection motor. Those motor’s were never produced for the US market and they’re typically not sold with engine harnesses or ECU’s, so they’re all but useless to us in the states. The import sellers don’t know the difference between the QR25DE and QR25DD, so they’ll insist that they’re the same thing if you buy the wrong one. I made a post a couple months ago when I made this mistake and I had to spend an extra $500 in shipping to get the right engine delivered.
OUCH! I feel better knowing I wasnt being paranoid for no reason.

Yea there was a lot of subterfuge concerning the engine designations on ebay and the like back then and apparently its still happening . This kinda stuff totally turned me off buying a motor from anyone that couldn't back their product with a return label and warranty.

I know OP's budget is tight but Im sure I can dig up my engines reman company if thats a route he'd like to pursue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
So I sort of went through the same circumstances over this winter. My engine runs but it also has bad compression so I’ve went and bought an import engine to swap in. Swapping the engine just seemed like a simpler process to me since there’s less steps involved vs a rebuild; I don’t NEED over 300 horsepower so I feel a fully built engine isn’t necessary. Buying an import engine was much less expensive that buying a built engine from 2JR, and also doesn’t require the effort, time, and patience required in rebuilding your own engine If you decide to go that route. I opted to do simpler bolt on mods with my import engine; BC valve springs and titanium retainers, lightweight crank pulley, lightweight flywheel, 2JR plenum adapter kit, and balance shaft delete. You don’t really have to do any mods to the engine, but I imagine all of these mods are a lot easier to install with the engine on the stand instead of in the chassis.
I also plan on keeping my old engine in case I decide to have it rebuilt in the future; I can keep it on standby just in case something happens to the import engine or even have it built for higher power if my wallet allows it lol.
Do you possibly remember where you bought the engine from? Given my time left and the budget I have, this option might be easier and safer. I think I may have found a good seller with good reviews on Ebay, I'll have to find the link, but I'm still nervous due to what I've heard about the big restamping issue.

I'll make a list of those parts, though my budget is a little tight, I'm definitely happy to do some upgrades and take a little more time so I can swing it while the motors out. beats doing it while it's in. On the bright side, any mod easy to do on a car lift that doesn't take forever I can probably swing, my work lets me use my bay in the evenings after work for my own stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My opinion is just do a head gasket and get he head decked, options would be getting the 2nd gen head gasket and bolts to have "oem" upgrades or an aftermarket oem replacement head gasket or aftermarket choice of thickness for head gasket and ARP studs...combination of these.

Your symptoms tell me straight head gasket issues that was also letting oil leak out as well.
No matter which route I go, before I decide I'm gonna tear the engine down, pulling the head off and inspecting cylinder walls at the least. I'll definitely get back to you, and the others, once it's torn down. Though if I do find that this engine is within spec on the inside, and able to be reliably budget rebuilt, I'll probably refresh everything while I'm in it.
Where should I go for the head gasket if I do find that that caused the issue? How do I discern if it's the 2nd gen one? I've heard Fel-Pro is good, and I use them all the time for other vehicles and my customers vehicles, but I've heard our cars are pretty finicky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OUCH! I feel better knowing I wasnt being paranoid for no reason.

Yea there was a lot of subterfuge concerning the engine designations on ebay and the like back then and apparently its still happening . This kinda stuff totally turned me off buying a motor from anyone that couldn't back their product with a return label and warranty.

I know OP's budget is tight but Im sure I can dig up my engines reman company if thats a route he'd like to pursue.
I'm honestly leaning towards either maybe getting a reman with a good warranty, or a used engine, as that would probably be much quicker with my schedule and my time frame. I definitely wouldn't mind looking into it if it isn't too much trouble for you to find it?
 

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I’m
Do you possibly remember where you bought the engine from? Given my time left and the budget I have, this option might be easier and safer. I think I may have found a good seller with good reviews on Ebay, I'll have to find the link, but I'm still nervous due to what I've heard about the big restamping issue.

I'll make a list of those parts, though my budget is a little tight, I'm definitely happy to do some upgrades and take a little more time so I can swing it while the motors out. beats doing it while it's in. On the bright side, any mod easy to do on a car lift that doesn't take forever I can probably swing, my work lets me use my bay in the evenings after work for my own stuff.
I’m not going to recommend the place I bought from because 1) they only have a QR25DD and QR20 in stock right now, and 2) the guy didn’t do me any favors when he gave me the wrong engine so I’m not doing any favors for him. I didn’t buy mine through eBay, but I would definitely recommend that as a good option for you so in case you have any funny business then eBay can get involved.
 

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To be honest...your car needs brakes and major bodywork plus an engine swap or rebuild...dude just find something better...if you have trunk rot you have rot around windshields and the entire bottom unless she got that self-lubricating system built-in
 

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I'm honestly leaning towards either maybe getting a reman with a good warranty, or a used engine, as that would probably be much quicker with my schedule and my time frame. I definitely wouldn't mind looking into it if it isn't too much trouble for you to find it?
Exact Powertrain
Part # L2502NISALT

Unfortunately my cursory looking through rockauto doesnt show this part or even the manufacturer, google isnt turning up anything specific either. Ill dig out the paperwork with their phone number, fingers crossed they are still in business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Hey guys, I'm back. I ended up ordering a used engine. It arrived yesterday and I've begun looking it over today. Here are the pictures of the identification tags, what caught my eye is the one on the used engine is angled differently.

Here is a picture of my original engines ID tag.

Wood Gas Tap Metal Fastener


And here is a picture of the used engines ID tag.


Wood Line Font Gas Metal



Should this difference deter me? I might seem nitpicky but I'd love to catch anything before I install it in the car.
I've noticed its the black plastic intake manifold on this one, and the power steering pump has a sensor coming off of the main line.

Thoughts guys?

Thank you all for the help so far
 

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Hey guys, I'm back. I ended up ordering a used engine. It arrived yesterday and I've begun looking it over today. Here are the pictures of the identification tags, what caught my eye is the one on the used engine is angled differently.

Here is a picture of my original engines ID tag.

View attachment 175038

And here is a picture of the used engines ID tag.


View attachment 175039


Should this difference deter me? I might seem nitpicky but I'd love to catch anything before I install it in the car.
I've noticed its the black plastic intake manifold on this one, and the power steering pump has a sensor coming off of the main line.

Thoughts guys?

Thank you all for the help so far
If the QR25 engraving on the water pipe insert is 90 degrees off from your motor’s engraving then it might be a QR20.

Edit: link to scam info:
Edit 2.0: I think yours is legit actually. It’s consistent with genuine engravings, and what I said about the engraving being 90 degrees may not be accurate.
 
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