Last week when I was on the highway in my ’11 QX56 (56K miles) my SES light started flashing, the engine started misfiring, and would barely stay running at idle when I pulled to the side of the road. I shut it down, restarted it, and much to my surprise the engine ran perfectly. The SES light was no longer flashing, but stayed on for the remainder of the day. The next day I fired it up and poof, no SES light. Regardless, I called the dealer to schedule an appointment.
Once Infiniti took a look at it, I was told that it needed a new timing chain and that parts were ordered. When I called earlier today, I was told that the 4 parts ordered weren’t in yet; however, the tech is scheduled to start the job as soon as parts arrive. When I asked about the long-term impact, if any, of the misfire, the service manager stated that the chain didn’t skip a tooth, but rather the high pitch whine that was diagnosed was most likely indicative of the timing chain making contact/rubbing against the oiler. He also said that they won’t know for sure what they’re looking at until the tech starts disassembling the motor to access the timing chain (which I was told a timing chain replacement is a 16-hour job). This of course was fine with me, but I then asked one last question.
I asked the service manager if the replacement parts were improved, and thus will permanently solve the problem, or if this may be a chronic concern/problem area for the vehicle… He said they’ve already done a handful of timing chain replacements, but due to the age of the vehicle it was too soon to tell. I then asked about warranty coverage of a repeat occurrence and he confirmed that the next repair would be on me if the 70k mile powertrain warranty was up. This is understandable; however, it has caused me to evaluate my long-term ownership of the vehicle, due to the potential repair cost. The timing chain is roughly a $2k repair out of warranty.
Does anyone know if the timing chain repair/replacement is a permanent fix? Anything else to consider/think about, or any other facts regarding timing chain issues known? I really like the vehicle, but am considering trading it off for another brand.