Timing Chain (not a belt) in < $35,000 Sedans

lonewflonewf Member Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in Nissan
I am on the hunt for a new car. I am interested in finding models that are:

1> Less than $35,000 <$20k-$25k ideal>
2> Have a Steel Timing Chain (not a belt)
3> V-6 Engine
4> Gas MPG better than 17/20 (city/hwy)

Please add any models that meet this criteria. Thanks for your help!



  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    All GM products have chains.
    Ford V6 is a chain
    Nissan Maxima is a chain
  • ian18ian18 Member Posts: 133
    I am pretty sure that the GM V6 "shortstar" engine has a belt. However I think this engine is only available on some Olds Intrigue and Aurora models.
    ARMTDM's point that GM has a great V6 engine that meets the criteria is right on.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You can also visit www.gates.com and go to the timing belt/chain section and read the list.
  • MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
    My fave, the BMW 3 Series (but with an an inline 6 instead of a V6). My milage is 23 city, 30 hwy. Shifty, I looked at Gates.com - no luck.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Here's the URL for the gates.com belt replacement guide. If you don't see the car on the list, then it has a timing chain. you'll need Adobe reader to open this file:


    BMW 3 Series----these cars use a belt. No V-6s made.

  • adc100adc100 Member Posts: 1,521
    into the overall reliability of the vehicle/transmission/engine. There are so many things which could fail on an engine / transmission / body/etc. I would not focus in on one little item. I realize a timing chain is generally better than a belt. But belts are easier/cheaper to replace. Your criteria may not be the best to select a vehicle by. For instance I just purchased a Nissan Sentra for 16K plus or minus. It has only a 4 cyl which will run with a lot of sixes. The engine is bullet proof and has been around for 10 years. It gets me 25 city and 37 highway milage. Timing chain??? Don't know, don't care. I bought an extended warranty. So now I am up to $17,200. Al GM 6's are rock solid engines with chains. I like GM's but I passed them all by for value/gas milage/quality of construction/overall reliability.

    We'll see.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    They have error in the list of which engines are interference and non interference as well as chains. Don't trust the site 100%
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Why some people make such a big deal out of timing belts. Most modern engines have them. They are typically replaced at 90,000 mile or more intervals. Is this such a big deal?

    Timing chains and gears cause trouble too. The chains stretch, the gears wear and need to be replaced sometimes. The tension pullys also fail sometimes.

    BTW, the BMW 3 series use a belt.
  • MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
    I'll get back to you, I could have sworn it has a chain.
  • MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
    I checked my manual, regarding BMW timing belt or chain, there is no reference. Then, I searched the bimmer.org archives, whenever someone mentions their timing belt, they get the typical swift tactful reply over there, you have a timing chain-fool.
  • justinjustin Member Posts: 1,918
    also make more noise. belts, when nice and tight and within mfgr spec, are more quiet and smooth supposedly.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Well, I know my 89 325i had a belt. Back then, they reccommended 50,000 mile changes. The newer models may use a chain?

    I just think people make too big of a deal over this. Belts allow tighter clearances and are quieter. So I have to replace mine at 90,000 miles?? To me, that's no big deal!

    Heck, the timing gear on my 1967 GTO failed around 70,000 miles and caused me all kinds of trouble!
  • MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
    Yes, your 1989 325i did, but they went to chains in 1992. Chains have their advantages and disadvantages, belts have their advantages and disadvantages, personally I'm not a strong advocate of either one. Take care buddy.
  • steve234steve234 Member Posts: 460
    making a decision on an engine based on whether or not it has a timing chain is like picking your wife by whether or not she has blonde hair. Most timing chains today are made of nylon, not steel. They last as long and make less noise.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    And when a chain breaks (it can happen), it'll take the entire front case with it, too....ever see a motorcycle drive chain let go...the damage is not pretty.

    Another factor is noise...my Saabs were all chain driven, and being a "backwards" engine, int he morning that chain rattled throughout the passenger compartment until it warmed up. Not a big deal, but all that "munchy-crunchy" in the morning gave me the willies....

    Another factor is timing chain stretch, which can affect performance over time (at higher mileages).

    BMW 325s----yes, depends on year/series whether they have belt or chain. I said belt because I changed one for a friend recently, but yes, come to think of it, it was a 1990 model. At least she didn't do what Friend #2 did, which was decide that her 325 could go more than 60,000 without a belt change....it couldn't, and it didn't.
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 582
    The Ford 2.5 DOHC V6 motor has a chain. Good for at least 100,000 mi.

    The Toyota 3.0 DOHC V6 has a belt and it is good for atleast 100,000.

    Do performance cars tend to have the chain instead of a belt?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    That explains it on the 325i.


    I don't think the timing chains are nylon but the gears usually have nylon teeth to keep them quiet.

    That's what causes the problems. The nylon gets brittle and worn with age and as the chain stretches on the worn teeth it'll slip. This can bend valves.

    My GTO did this. I also had to have the oil pan dropped and the oil pickup screen cleaned from the pieces of nylon timing gear.

    As a result, most replacement timing gears are all metal. They might make a bit more noise but will last the life of the car usually.

    And, yeah, Shifty, I once saw what was left of a motorcycle engine when the chain actually snapped!

    I've never seen a chain break on a car but I guess it can happen.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    My 92 Camry V6 has a belt replacement at 60,000

    Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 twin turbo high performance has a belt. Depends on engine design.
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 582
    I'm sorry, I meant to say 2001 Toyota 3.0...thanks for pointing out that important difference to everyone.
  • amoraamora Member Posts: 204
    threw the original timing belt at 215,000 miles. Had vehicle towed to his house, I helped him
    change the belt (about 3 hours) for $27.00. All is well. Now that was a SOHC 1.6 not the
    DOHC. Caution, some DOHC's will turn to museum pieces If timing belt breaks. I prefer
    chain myself, but if you have it done by a good mechanic, no big deal. Replace it at 60K if you drive hard, 100K if you don't. Neighbor drove his Honda Civic very hard on a 75 Mi one way commute. Don't care for those rice burner bumblebee type cars, to each his own.

    $35,000 Sedan owner's maintain their vehicles, most do anyway, so throwing a belt should not be an issue. The Dealer will remind you when to replace it.
  • mopar67mopar67 Member Posts: 728
    International V-8's, sixes, and some ford straight sixes had timing gears which were far superior to chains or belts.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    And many of those timing gears were made of a hard plastic/fiber material.

    Old six cylinder Chevys come to mind.

    These also wore out and needed to be replaced after many miles.

    The aftermarket replacements were usually metal.
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