Nissan Maxima 1993-1998 Repair Guide

Ignition Timing

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These vehicles use a complex electronic fuel injection system which is controlled by a series of temperature and air flow sensors which feed information into an Engine Control Module, or ECM. The ECM regulates ignition timing and fuel delivery based on the input of the engine sensors to achieve maximum performance and fuel economy.

The ignition timing on these vehicles is set at the factory, and does not normally require adjustment. The following procedures are included to check or reset the ignition timing if the distributor, crankshaft or camshaft position sensor have been replaced.

INSPECTION & ADJUSTMENT



VG30E Engine

See Figure 1

  1. Be sure all accessories (air conditioning, heater blower motor, radio, etc.) are off and the steering centered, with both manual and automatic transaxle models in the N position. Be sure to block the wheels and set the parking brake. The radiator cooling fan may cycle during this procedure. Be sure the radiator cooling fan is off. As the load on the electrical system is increased, engine speed is affected.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: View of the timing marks on the crankshaft pulley-VE30DE and VG30E engines


CAUTION
The radiator cooling fan may cycle during this procedure. Be sure to keep your hands and tools away from the fan blades.

  1. Locate the timing marks on the crankshaft pulley on the front of the engine.
  2.  
  3. Clean the timing marks, and the pointer which will indicate the timing when aligned with the correct notch on the crankshaft pulley.
  4.  
  5. Start the engine and allow it to reach normal operating temperature (water temperature gauge indicator pointing in the middle) while keeping the engine speed below 1000 rpm.
  6.  
  7. Raise the hood and run the engine at 2000 rpm for about two minutes.
  8.  
  9. If the engine runs smoothly, race the engine 2-3 times and then let it idle for one minute.
  10.  
  11. Turn the engine off and connect a timing light to the engine.
  12.  
  13. Start the engine and aim the timing light at the timing marks. If the marks on the pulley and the engine are aligned when the light flashes, the timing is correct.
  14.  
  15. If the timing is not within specifications, turn the engine off. Loosen the distributor hold-down bolt slightly, BUT DO NOT ALLOW THE DISTRIBUTOR TO MOVE. The distributor should be tight enough to remain in place when the engine is running.
  16.  
  17. Start the engine, and turn the distributor SLOWLY until the timing is correct. Tighten the distributor hold-down bolt when the timing is correct.
  18.  
  19. If the timing cannot be adjusted within specifications, perform the idle speed adjustment procedure, then readjust the timing as necessary.
  20.  

VE30DE Engine

See Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

  1. Be sure all accessories (air conditioning, heater blower motor, radio, etc.) are off and the steering centered, with both manual and automatic transaxle models in the Neutral position. Be sure to block the wheels and set the parking brake. The radiator cooling fan may cycle during this procedure. Be sure the radiator cooling fan is off when checking the ignition timing. As the load on the electrical system is increased, engine speed is affected.
  2.  


CAUTION
The radiator cooling fan may cycle during this procedure. Be sure to keep your hands and tools away from the fan blades.

  1. Locate the timing marks on the crankshaft pulley on the front of the engine.
  2.  
  3. Clean the timing marks, and the pointer which will indicate the timing when aligned with the correct notch on the crankshaft pulley.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Clean the marks on the pulley and outline them with correction fluid to allow easier viewing



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: To connect a timing light to VE30DE and VQ30DE engines, you will need to make a jumper wire from a standard spark plug wire



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: The jumper wire will go between the individual plug coil and the plug itself, allowing attachment of an inductive pickup from a timing light

  1. Start the engine and allow it to reach normal operating temperature (water temperature gauge indicator pointing in the middle) while keeping the engine speed below 1000 rpm.
  2.  
  3. Raise the hood and run the engine at 2000 rpm for about two minutes.
  4.  
  5. Turn the engine off and unplug the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) harness connector and the Auxiliary Air Control (AAC) valve harness connector.
  6.  
  7. Start the engine.
  8.  
  9. Race the engine 2-3 times and then let it idle for one minute.
  10.  
  11. Turn the engine off,and connect a timing light to the engine.
  12.  
  13. Start the engine and aim the timing light at the timing marks. If the marks on the pulley and the engine are aligned when the light flashes, the timing is correct.
  14.  
  15. If the timing is not within specifications, turn the engine off. Then loosen the camshaft position sensor hold-down bolt(s) slightly, BUT DO NOT ALLOW THE SENSOR TO MOVE.
  16.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: It is advisable to mark the sensor for a reference point when adjusting the timing



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6: Loosen the bolts on the camshaft sensor just enough to move it by hand with moderate force



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 7: Move the sensor in small increments to adjust the timing

  1. Start the engine, and turn the camshaft position sensor SLOWLY until the timing is correct. Once the timing is correct, tighten the hold-down bolt(s).
  2.  
  3. If the timing cannot be adjusted within specifications, refer to Driveability & Emissions Controls for diagnostic procedures to check for faulty components.
  4.  

VQ30DE Engine

See Figures 8 and 9

The ignition timing on this engine is not adjustable. If not within specifications, further diagnostic inspection is required. The following procedure is for viewing the ignition timing setting.

  1. Be sure all accessories (air conditioning, heater blower motor, radio, etc.) are off and the steering centered, with both manual and automatic transaxles in the N position. Be sure to block the wheels and set the parking brake. The radiator cooling fan may cycle during this procedure. Be sure the radiator cooling fan is off when checking the timing. As the load on the electrical system is increased, engine speed is affected.
  2.  


CAUTION
The radiator cooling fan may cycle during this procedure. Be sure to keep your hands and tools away form the fan blades.

  1. Locate the timing marks on the crankshaft pulley on the front of the engine.
  2.  
  3. Clean the timing marks, and the pointer which will indicate the timing when aligned with the correct notch on the crankshaft pulley.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 8: View of the timing marks on the VQ30DE engine

  1. Start the engine and allow it to reach normal operating temperature (water temperature gauge indicator pointing in the middle) while keeping the engine speed below 1000 rpm.
  2.  
  3. Raise the hood and run the engine at 2000 rpm for about two minutes.
  4.  
  5. Connect a timing light to the number one cylinder ignition wire on the engine.
  6.  
  7. Perform the following procedures:
    1. Race the engine at 2000 rpm for about two minutes under a no-load condition; make sure all of the accessories are turned off.
    2.  
    3. Perform on board engine diagnostics and repair any fault code.
    4.  
    5. Race the engine at 2000 rpm for about two minutes.
    6.  
    7. Turn the engine off and disconnect the throttle position sensor.
    8.  
    9. Start and race the engine 2-3 times under no-load then run the engine at idle speed.
    10.  

  8.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 9: Unplug the throttle position sensor when checking the ignition timing

  1. Aim the timing light at the timing marks. If the mark on the pulley and the engine are aligned when the light flashes, the timing is correct.
  2.  
  3. If the timing cannot be adjusted within specifications, refer to Driveability & Emissions Controls for diagnostic procedures to check for faulty components.
  4.  

 
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