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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, first post... I've got a 2001 XE 4wd that has been a great ride for the last 15 years since I bought it (just a bit used). I replaced the timing belt at 105K and then kind of forgot about it... So, at 224K it broke, I know, my fault.

It was on the freeway at about 70 mph and the car lost power (felt like I ran out of gas, but no) and the check engine light came on immediately while still coasting (it's a manual) and pulling to the side of the road. Thinking it was a fuel issue, I cranked it over, thinking that maybe the fuel pump was intermittently cutting out and I could limp it home or to a mechanic. Well, the engine half cranked over and then the dash lights all dimmed to almost nothing. So I'm thinking a piston hit an open valve and stopped it from being able to crank repeatedly... so that's not good.

Since it has 224K on it and an oil leak that I've been meaning to check on, and the mechanic said to 'try out' the timing belt fix is a $800 job, I would just put in a JDM with ~50-60K miles on it. He quoted me $2,100 for the labor to do the Swap. (I'll buy the engine as a separate cost from the JDM shop) This seems a bit pricey. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area (East Bay - Castro Valley) Does this sound appropriate?

Does anyone have any recommendations for shops around here that specialize in swaps or just a good shop/mech that does good work?

Any help appreciated, thanks!
 

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2004 Xterra XE 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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During the swap, replace the timing belt and water pump. Check and upgrade the fan belts and tensioners. Make sure the PS is not leaking and replace hoses while access is so easy.

I can't speak to the price of swapping the engine. I've done as much work on my own as I can over the years, including single-handedly removing a 302 Ford to take to the shop and then putting it back in with a little help lining it up. Did it in an open field with a tripod of poles wrapped with a chain using a come-along. Not the best setup, but it got it done and me down the road.

Nowadays, I might opt for a whole 'nother rig for that money, but after pricing some of them, maybe not. You should check on prices of getting into a different rig and selling yours for parts.

While the engine was rotating, and before the cams came to rest because there was no belt to interfere with their movement, that is when any contact was made. Once they came to rest, it's my understanding that all of them were closed and no further contact was made. However, I could be mistaken on that point, so take it with a grain of salt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey @MeToo, thanks for the advice! So I decided to give the timing belt replacement a go and it's fine! Count me among the lucky ones that fixed a broken timing belt with, so far, no issues. She's purrin' like a kitty at 224K miles! No tapping noise or loss of power :) Now to address that oil leak...
 

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2004 Xterra XE 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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Wow, that's an even better outcome than we expected. Good for you!

When I did the t-belt on my 2001, I filled out the sticker and put it on the end of the dash where the driver can see it when opening the door. It won't suffer loss of ink under the hood, and it's not stuck on the windshield, either.

Since then, I've acquired a 2004 that still has some life in the belt. I need to be cautious, though, because it's at 210,ooo now, which is the second mileage mark to change it. I'm gonna see if I have any notes on when it was changed by the last owner. I bought it after seeing it for sale on here.
 

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Well, I found out that it was replaced around 125,ooo, so that gives me about 20,ooo miles before it needs done again.

Time to start saving up for parts!
 
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