Last post on May 08, 2013 at 10:43 PM
You are in the Nissan Altima
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Nissan Altima, Engine, Sedan
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Dec 07, 2009 (9:07 am)
I just discovered this forum, and I have some questions. Let me start by saying that I am not very knowledgeable about auto mechanics.
My Story: In 2008 I purchased a used 2003 Nissan Altima from my father. It had about 100K miles on it, and he told me to watch the oil because it was burning out. I checked the oil every week or two since then. Every time I took it in for an oil change, I would ask about the burning oil, and I was constantly told, that it was not uncommon for a car with over 100K to burn more oil.
Just last month, my check engine light came on, and I had the Cam Sensor replaced. Three weeks later, the check engine light came on again and this time the car would not start. I had it towed, replaced the battery and Crank Sensor was replaced. Two weeks later the check engine light appeared again, and I took it back to the same shop. This time the computer read that the Catalytic Converter needed to be replaced. I told the mechanic that I was traveling from Atlanta to Baltimore for Thanksgiving, and asked if the car was ok without changing out the Catalytic Converter. He said it was fine, it just wouldn't pass emmissions.
We drove up to Baltimore and had to put oil in twice on the ride up. On the ride home, I put oil in when we left, and I started hearing funny sounds after 300 miles. I put more oil in, but the sound got worse. As I was pulling off the exit in Greeneville, South Carolina the engine ceased (2:30 am). I had the car towed the following day to te Nissan Dealership just off the I-85 Exit in Greenville. I was informed by the mechanic there, that the Piston Rod blew and went through the oil pan. He said this occurred because of oil burning through the Catalytic Converter. He mentioned that this was a common problem of 2002 aand 2003 Altima's and that this was bound to eventually happen. That there was nothing I could have done to prevent this. The solution he offered me was to install a new engine at a cost of approximately $5,500.
Do I have any recourse with Nissan? The mechanic in Atlanta? Do you have suggestions? The only thing I have found is purchasing a used engine from a junk yard, and having someone install it for me. My problem is that I still owe $2000 on the car. Please advise
Dec 08, 2009 (9:56 pm)
"I just discovered this forum, and I have some questions. Let me start by saying that I am not very knowledgeable about auto mechanics."
Welcome to the Forum. This is a VERY unfortunate situation, but unfortunately most people are not very knowledgeable about cars. This topic is a matter of controversy, as it is all a matter of priorities. If having reliable transportation is important to you, and ESPECIALLY if you don't have a lot of money, it is best to learn as much about automoblies as you possibly can. These days, it is much easier to research automobiles with the internet and all these forums, not like 40 or 50 years ago having to dig through huge manuals and libraries, and not having the advantage to hear input from consumers who actually drive the car you are studying.
Your problem, What to do? Too late now, Too old, Too many miles, chaulk it up to experience, and please don't make the same mistake again. Your only options at this point is to either spring for putting the used engine in the car, or else scrap the car. The car is only worth about 5 grand at the most, so it may be more economically feasible to junk the car. No sense to throw good money after bad, or to spend more on the car than what it is worth. Or maybe sell it back to your Dad, or he might forgive the $2000 debt on the car! I don't think you can hold the Atlanta mechanic to blame (obviously not a dealership), they work on lots of different cars, and don't know everything about every car. He evidently was not aware of the Cat Converter problem with the Altima. Maybe he can cut his price in half, since he gave you bad advice, but it is hard to prove that he caused your engine to blow. Too many variables there. You did not mention, but I assume you have the 2.5L 4 cylinder engine in your car.
Remember, your best defense is a good offense, so be on the offense and research everything you can about a car BEFORE you buy it.
E.D. in Sunny Florida
P.S. My daughters 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5s has 126,000 miles and running ok, only burning a small amount of oil, with both cats cleaned out. It needs to keep running well up to 200,000 miles. I wonder if it might make it? It's quite a stretch for that car. Time will tell, it always does.
#503 of 683 Nissan 2.5L engine failure
Dec 12, 2009 (7:48 pm)
Encountered a new one to me today:
2004 Nissan Sentra w/2.5L motor, driveability issue at roughly 90k miles. Owner of the vehicle said he was just driving down the road at a 35mph cruise when the engine started shaking (misfiring) and the check engine light came on. Reader came up with a generic cylinder misfire code, pulled plugs to find the #4 cylinder had a devastated plug.
The plug looked like it had been shot blasted. The electrode was pressed against the center conductor (read:no spark) and it looked like it had been beat on. The plugs had been replaced once before, customer says about a year ago, and never had any problems. Inspected the cylinder through the boroscope located a small lump of metal about the size of a pencil eraser. The cylinder was far dirtier than the other cylinders as well, and the face of the piston was pitted (once again as if shot blasted).
New plugs installed, all cylinders inspected. #1 is dirty too, but no signs of erroneous metal. Vehicle starts and runs great (although with the typical Nissan 2.5L tick). Cleaned induction system in an effort to tidy up the cylinders and went for a test drive. Returning from the test drive, the engine starts shaking again w/a MIL.
Plug #4 is beat up again. Put a mirror on the boroscope and begin inspecting every inch of the cylinder wall. Found the head coming apart and the head/block juncture. What in the world causes this? Micro-fractures in the metal casting? Improper machining at the factory?
I read the forums and see the head problems typical to this motor. Seems to be not too uncommon? Is this a pre-cat induced head failure I'm dealing with or something new? I know the fix: Junk/trade it or replace the motor. Was this a design flaw or a manufacturing flaw?
#504 of 683 Re: Nissan 2.5L engine failure [serviceman]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 12, 2009 (8:11 pm)
I think you'd have to pull the head to know better but it's possibly the sign of severe detonation. As you no doubt know, a badly pinging engine can have holes bored right through the piston tops. I just can't see cat debris breaking a cylinder head. Did you save the metal you fished out? That could be your clue.
#505 of 683 Re: Nissan 2.5L engine failure [serviceman]
Dec 14, 2009 (8:07 pm)
The problem you witnessed is the intake manifold Power Valve Screw failure, a common problem on the Altimas. This is all over the internet and discussed many times in this forum.
There are four power valves, one in each intake tube. Each power valve is held to the positioning shaft with 2 screws, for a total of 8 screws. The problem is that the screws come loose, and when they get loose enough, they fall out and get sucked into the engine, and bounce around inside the engine cylinder, destroying the piston, head and spark plug. The smashed spark plug is a dead giveaway for this problem. The Solution is to remove the upper intake manifold, Remove and clean the screws and threads and apply locktight sealer to the threads and put in new screws. Buy the new updated screws to fix this problem. Replace the upper intake manifold and you are done, as long as the head and piston were not permanently damaged.
Again, this is a common and well known problem with these engines. My opinion is that this is an engineering and manufacturing flaw (The Screws should have been engineered to stay in place & the Screws should have been securely tightened in manufacturing to stay in place).
E.D. in Sunny Florida
#506 of 683 Need Advice on Nissan Altima 2004 Engine Failure
Dec 15, 2009 (11:41 am)
Complained since 2006 about engine noise while under warranty and under 80K. Service dept. of dealership never addressed it satisfactorily. Was not 100% on time with oil changes but come to learn now that this was a known problem by Nissan. Now car has 120K+ miles and Dealership is trying to say I am completely responsible for problem due to late oil changes and only NOW suggests replacing engine to tune of $4,800!!! What can I do now to engage them in doing the right thing or simply losing a customer for life?
#507 of 683 Re: Need Advice on Nissan Altima 2004 Engine Failure [vehicle5]
Dec 15, 2009 (12:03 pm)
Complained since 2006 about engine noise while under warranty and under 80K.
...unless you bought the extended warranty, I think the warranty only covers the first 60k miles for the engine.
#508 of 683 Re: Need Advice on Nissan Altima 2004 Engine Failure [gooddeal2]
Dec 15, 2009 (4:03 pm)
Actually, we DID take the extended warranty! I'm getting a copy of our complete service record and will take it (along with the recall/known issues info) to the owner of this and other Nissan dealerships and see what he'll do. Just want to trade it in at this point and NOT for another Nissan!
#509 of 683 Need advice on 2009 altima engine failure
Jan 08, 2010 (3:40 pm)
Nissan is replacing the engine in my 09 Altima 2.5 SL free of charge. It was bought in 11/09and has 2500 miles. I would like to know if the value of my vehicle is going to be negatively impacted even though the engine is going to be new. The reason the engine is being replaced was because of a oil pressure issue during a cold winter morn. As happy as I can be getting a new engine I am not happy this has happened to my 2 month old car thinking they should give me a new car if the value of it is not what it should be with the original engine.
#510 of 683 Stalling while starting
Jan 12, 2010 (4:06 am)
I just noticed that my 02 altima stalls when started but picks up later. What might the problem be? Is it the nozzles, injeector or what. It drives well once it gets over it whih takes few seconds.