Last post on Jul 30, 2013 at 8:15 PM
You are in the Nissan Altima
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Nissan Altima, Engine, Sedan
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#161 of 685 c converter failure
Jan 18, 2008 (4:47 pm)
I own a 2004 Altima 2.5S had 74,000. The check engine light was always on. Took it to a local and had brakes replaced and the light checked. The result of the check and a pre smog inspection, was a bad C Converter. Called Nissan about the possibility of the converter being in warranty, but they were unsure untill it was inspected by an authorized dealer. Nissan also informed me there were 2 recalls on this car that had yet to be done. They were a re-program of the engine computer and a check of some sort of power valve. The recall of importance was recall NTB05-058. The power valve is located under the intake manifold and it looses it's 4 mounting screws. As I understand it the screws have no where to go but into the combustion chambers. Also the C converters were bad but also had 80K warranties.
The results for me were a complete new engine replacement, 2 new C converters, all done at Nissans expense, because of the recalls and the 80K warranty on C converters.
If you are having the sort of problems I have been reading here it might be a good idea to contact Nissan, give them your VIN#, and perhaps, luck out as I seem to have done.
Jan 19, 2008 (4:27 pm)
I have been thinking about buying a new 4 cylinder nissan frontier. I am wondering if anyone on here knows if the same problems with altima 2.5 transfer over to the frontier with the same engine? Or have the problems been resolved by now?
#163 of 685 Re: nissan frontier 2.5 [kamikazejoshua]
Jan 19, 2008 (9:33 pm)
I would suggest that you go back and look over the previous messeges to see what the problems are and and WHAT causes them. If you go back and look at messge #75 in this Forum, you will see that I wrote my theory on the cause of most of these engine failures and excessive oil consumption.
From text near the end of that messege:
"So, what does all this mean? I believe the problem originates with the design of the exhaust system, having the 1st catalytic converter so very close to the exhaust ports. I don't know of any other car that has the 1st catalytic converter built into the exhaust manifold so close to the exhaust ports. The problem doesn't seem to arise until there is backpressure in the system that can cause the precatalyst material to blow back into the engine.
I have not seen anywhere, where anyone has given a practical explaination as to why this is occuring, but this is the most sensible theory that I have been able to come up with. I believe that since the Nissan exhaust system design may have caused the problems with the engine, Nissan should pay the cost of fixing these cars. So I'm ready to jump on this band wagon too."
On the 2.5L 4 cylinder Altima engine, the Pre-Cat is built into the exhaust manifold (one piece). This puts it too close to the exhaust ports, allowing the contents of the Pre-Cat to flow back up into the engine "under certain conditions". The heat shield on the front of the engine covers the exhaust. If you remove the Heat Shield that covers the exhaust on the front of the engine (4 small bolts), you will plainly see what I am talking about. You can plainly see the top and bottom of the Pre-Cat, as there is an Oxygen Sensor at the top of the Pre-Cat, and then there is another Oxygen Sensor at the bottom of the Pre-Cat. There is a 2nd Cat with no Oxygen Sensors farther down the exhaust system under the car before the muffler. The way it SHOULD have been designed FIRST would have been to have the individual exhaust pipes (manifold), come into one common collector pipe that went down to the flexible connection near the bottom of the engine, and then put the Pre-Cat under the car, farther away from the exhaust manifold. This greater distance would insure that the contents of the Pre-Cat would no get blown back up into the engine, eliminating THAT threat to the engine. The SECOND thing that needed to be done was to make the Cat of sturdier construction, so that the contents of the Cat do not leak out. The chemical material is held in place on each end by a screen. The material escapes because the screen breaks, cracks or collapses. It seems like it happens at about 60,000 miles to 90,000 miles, on the reports that I have read, before the screens break and the chemical material is released into the engine. If the screens at each end were made stronger and better, the chemical material would be contained and not destroy the engine.
So Mr Kamikazejoshua, I would take a long hard look at the exhaust system on the 2.5L Frontier engine to see where the Cats are. If the arrangement is like it is on the Altima, you might get the same problems. I have not seen the Frontier, and I have not been on the Frontier Forms, so please let us know what you find out.
E.D. in Sunny Florida
#164 of 685 Re: nissan frontier 2.5 [electricdesign]
Jan 21, 2008 (6:04 pm)
I was able to find a picture online of the manifold with the cat. converter. It seems to be the same as the altima, that is, it is extremely close to the manifold. Thanks, for describing in detail what happens so I knew what to look for. How common is it for this to happen?
#165 of 685 Re: nissan frontier 2.5 [kamikazejoshua]
Jan 22, 2008 (7:29 am)
I have not seen any numbers or percentages to indicate how common this occurance may be. I know that it happened to my daughters 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S at about 90,000 miles and I have read that many others have had the same complaints of the Cats failing, exhaust clogging and exessive engine oil consumption, generally ranging from about 60,000 miles to 90,000 miles. I have read of the same problems that others are having with the same car on other sites. I do not know what the percentages are, but I would like to know, but have not found a good source for information. Time will tell, we should have good information in a year or two, but it will be too late for too many by then.
I would think the the most logical first step that the manufacturer would take is too increase the reliablity of the Converter, by using better screens on each side of the chemical in the Converter, to be sure that the chemical does not get released into the engine, or breaks loose and clogs the exhaust systems at the next component downstream. Hopefully they are doing that allready, but Nissan is remaining silent about this issue. I have been hoping that they would address this issue, but so far nothing. It seems that once it is out of warrenty, you are are on your own. I would suggest if you have not done so, to go back to the begining and read all the posts in this forum, and read all that you can find about it on the Internet.
I expect a car to last a lot longer than the 3 year manufacturer's warrenty, and I expect the Cats to last a lot longer than the 80,000 mile federal warranty. I buy my cars with 90,000 to 100,000 miles on them and drive them to about 200,000 miles, and I still have the original exhaust system, original mufflers, original Cats, original paint, original engine and original transmission that run and shift like new. Thats what I expect, but maybe it's because I drive Ford V8 Explorers. I will buy my next car for my wife this year in a about a month or two, and will likely be a 2004 Toyota Highlander with V6. I will hate to have to sell my wifes 1997 Ford Explorer XLT 5.0L V8, because it has been such an excellent vehicle, but someone else will be enjoying it for a long time. No Nissans for us!
E.D. in Sunny Florida
#166 of 685 Re: nissan frontier 2.5 [electricdesign]
Jan 22, 2008 (3:33 pm)
Enjoyed your letter. I agree with your version, that Nissan is being very quiet. If the problem is not that wide spread, you would think that Nissan would assist the complainers and not issue any recalls. But they do not even return phone calls.
I have 3 of these and one affected so far. The other 2 will be up for sale by the end of the winter. I am also going with Toyota or Honda in the future. Glad you have good luck with Fords, I hear from body repair shops that they are slapped together. I guess it it like anything else, maybe the cheaper vechiles are the ones they are talking about. Have you heard anything on a class action filed on Nissan for the Altima's?
#167 of 685 Re: nissan frontier 2.5 [electricdesign]
Jan 22, 2008 (5:09 pm)
Thank you electricdesign, you have been very helpful
#168 of 685 Re: THREAD FOR ACTION! Nissan Altima 2002 oil burning/engine failure [electricdesign]
Jan 23, 2008 (5:57 pm)
I appreciate the info that you've put out on this forum. It has helped me understood technically what my engine problem is. (since I know very little about car mechanics.)
I talked to the dealership service manager recently and this is how I summarized it. The dealership is well aware of this issue with the Nissan 2002 Altima 2.5L engine problem but because Nissan corporate won't do anything about it, the dealerships are pushing cost of repairs to the customers and of course not tell customer's that this is a common problem.
I don't what kind of system Nissan is running but it seems like everyone is on their own, the dealerships are on their own, the customers are on their own, etc. I had no luck with consumer affairs just like everyone else but to be honest, I think it would have been better if they didn't have consumer affairs because they wasted my time. I think Nissan thinks, we will only buy one car in our lifetime. Bottomline, I will never buy nissan, my family will never, my friends and so on etc.
Anyways, I am seeking advice. I am deciding whether to fix my car or trade it in as in a few months from now I am due for new vehicle. The impression I get from your posting and other posting from other people on the internet is that even if I get the engine problem fixed, I will still run into the same problem and because it's just a design flaw with engine. Also, it seems to me that some Nissan dealerships are barely just gettting up to speed with this issue and usually fix one issue instead of fixing all the issues.
I prefer to fix and keep the nissan but if I will run into the same or more problems down the road in the next few months, I will definitely trade it in.
Any info will be greatly appreciated.
#169 of 685 Re: THREAD FOR ACTION! Nissan Altima 2002 oil burning/engine failure [isileli]
Jan 23, 2008 (8:33 pm)
I am glad that you posted your comments, it has shown me that I need to make some important clairifications. I assume you have read all the messeges from at least #75 on to this one. If not, please be sure to do so.
Now to clear up the misconception. I understand how this could be misunderstood by non technical people, because that is who this forum is mostly for. I've worked on cars all my life, I've worked as a line mechanic in 3 american car dealerships in the 1970's and at a national transmission repair chain, but I retired from that work and found a better way to make a living. I still do all my own work however, and maintain a well equipped garage to work in. My prescence here is to help people and give advice if I can. I have been especially angered by this Nissan Altima 2.5 engine problem because it directly involved my daughters car and has costed me time and money (but not nearly as much as most of you). I have heard of the needless problems and pain of the Nissan Altima owners, and I do deeply sympathize with you.
Here is the misconception, many owners are thinking the engine is bad, BUT it is NOT the engine that is bad. It is the EXHAUST SYSTEM that is bad. The Cats are in the exhaust system, and when the Cat goes bad, it ruins the engine by contaminating the engine. If the Cats were made correctly and did not throw their contents into the engine, the engine would probably live a "normal" life. The REAL solution should have been for Nissan to use quality made Catalytic Converters, that would permanently contain the chemical. It may have just been a poor choice by Nissan to use that particular Cat. I don't know where they get them from, and I don't know where they are made, but I hope that they are now using better Cats in the new Altimas.
Once the Cat messes up the engine by throwing the chemical into the engine, which causes the piston rings and clyinders to wear out, then the engine IS BAD, and usually has to be replaced.
The solution to the problem is to NOT let the CAT eat up the engine. This is a touchy subject, because the CAT is required by law, because it reduces pollution. It also depends on where you live and if you are required to subject you car to emissions testing. What happens sometimes is that the chemicals and screens inside of the CAT breaks apart and the contents of the Cat is blown down the exhaust pipe. If the material happens to be blown out the muffler and out the tailpipe, then the material is no longer a threat to the engine, because it is gone. However, since it is gone, the oxygen sensors in the exhaust system, one before the Cat and one after the CAT, will detect that the CAT is not working and will throw the Diagnostic Trouble Code "Catalytic Converter Efficiency below threshold" or some such messege, and will cause the "service engine soon" light to come on. If the CATs get blown out, the engine will run fine, you would have to live with the "SES" light on all the time, if you can.
Last but not least - Don't ever let your Altima engine overheat. The heat will warp the head and blow the head gasket, maybe crack the head, requiring the engine teardown for head gasket replacement and cylinder head rebuild (read messeges #103 - #113).
About the issue of whether to fix the car or trade it in, that is a matter of money, compare the cost of repair and aggrevation against the trade in value. Unfortunately, I think you lose either way, it's just a matter of how much you lose. Only you can decide how to spend your money.
Hope this helps,
E.D. in Sunny Florida
#170 of 685 Re: THREAD FOR ACTION! Nissan Altima 2002 oil burning/engine failure [electricdesign]
Jan 24, 2008 (7:22 am)
With all these lovely problems that Nissan is having, is there a web site or government program which lists all recalls or problems in the auto industry. Nissans reticence to address these problems has put something of a burr under my saddle even though I have not had a problem, and should not have a problem, with our 2008 Altima 2.5 SL. As my Dad used to say, "something smells rotton in Denmark" and Nissan had better step up to the plate before the issue really starts to effect there bottom line. America's pocket books are tightening up and any whisper of poor product performance can and has squashed a product line. Now that I have spent a bundle on this car, which I really like, it pains me to see the potential for future problems and I hope that either changes have been made in the 2008 model or Nissan will start to take care of business.