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Nissan Sentra 2006 and earlier

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  • Hi guys! It's me again.

    I have got 700 miles so far on my '01 SE and I am quite happy so far. However, I am unhappy with the stock stereo system and I'm getting ready to replace it very soon. I can't believe Nissan calls this a premium system. Heck, you can't even hear the subwoofer, even with the bass control turned all the way up. Anyways, I have the following questions:

    1. Is the stock stereo powered by an external amp? I'm guessing that there has got to be an amp because of the subwoofer. There's a small white plastic box that hangs from the bottom of the rear deck. Anyone know if this is an amp?

    2. Are the front A-pillar tweeters and the front door speakers part of a component system or are they separates?

    3. Is it worth keeping the stock head unit and just upgrading the speakers or should I replace everything?

    4. Finally, what's up with the goofy stick antenna? I can't believe that Nissan engineers would overlook this point. They should have copied Honda and integrated the antenna into the rear windshield.

    Thanks in advance for all the help.
  • Can anyone tell me if the new Sentra has a timing belt or chain? My 92 Sentra has a chain (or so they tell me). I have 204K miles on it, still runs very well. Driver's door hinges sag pretty badly though.
  • Hi Starchecker,

    I read your response regarding you buying experience and I couldn't help laughing. My buying experience was pretty similar. My dealership had only 3 SE-R's in stock, including the one I bought. One of them was a brand new '01 Charcoal Gray SE with auto and sunroof. However, this car had 675 miles on it. The sales guy I dealt with tried very hard to sell this exact car to me. I wouldn't touch the car because of its high mileage, dirty interior, and a 2 inch long, deep, scratch on the driver's side door. I said no way and he then tried to sell me an '00 stick shift Pearl White SE. I told that I had to have an automatic and he reluctantly agreed to take me to their storage lot in order to find one. He drove me to the storage lot in the Pearl White stickshift. First of all, he was revving this brand new car to over 6,000 rpms. I asked him what he was doing and he said that he just learned last week how to drive a stick. Secondly, the dealer's storage lot turned out to be a dirt lot. My sales guy drove this Sentra like it had 4 wheel drive. He bottomed the suspension out at least twice. Well, the SE that I bought was sitting in the dirt lot, still covered with the white protection film. However, when I picked it up there was a small nick on the passenger's side door and the clear coat had some minor surface scratches. However, I was just happy that my car had never been test driven before. I can't believe how much abuse new cars take even before they are sold. You've got to be a picky buyer or else you'll end up with a car that has gone to hell and back.
  • Well, I just modified the 180 watt system on my 2k SE, and here's what I found out. Hopefully this will help you avoid the same problems I faced.

    First, I took out the stock back speakers and replaced them with 3-way Pioneers. Big improvement, but when I turned the music up the sucky sub really distorted the sound, so I decided to replace that. So I cut the wiring leading to it, and the system went caput and would not even turn on. Well, eventually I found out that the built-in amp is actually in the little metal box under the sub, so I realized that I had cut the wiring leading to the amp (as a side note, the little white box actually holds the seat belt). "Oh well," I thought, "as long as I already took these off, I'll just put in a new amp and sub." I figured that since the car comes with a built-in amp, I could just take it out and use the existing wiring to hook up a new amp and subwoofer. I tried to this, but I couldn't get it to work, and after much frustration I decided to take the car in to Best Buy and have them do it. Apparently, the reason I couldn't get the new amp to work is that the stock amp is really a "mini-amp." Now, as I understand it, this amp is sort of like the ones found in Bose speakers in that it's not hooked up directly to the battery, it's just hooked up to the regular speakers and somehow is able to increase the speakers' power (don't ask me how, this is what the guys at the installation center said). So I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you don't like the stock amp, you need to install another one as if there was nothing there-- you need to bring a separate cable from the battery, ground it, and install RCA outs from the head unit. I installed a 4 channel Rockford Fosgate (well, the guys at Best Buy installed it), and I really like it. I also put in a Jensen double-sub, and it really pumps the bass.

    Next I may replace the head unit, but that's a whole different story. Feel free to post any questions and I'll do my best to answer them...
  • I had a similar problem with a 93 Maxima. I could not run the heater/AC on high. The AC switch had to be replaced. Once that was done the problem went away.
  • Thanks for the response. By the way, how the heck do you get the rear speaker grilles to come off? I don't want to damage them. Also, did you replace the front speakers? Do you think that 1" in component tweeters will fit in the stock tweeter location?
  • No problem, I hope my explanation made some sense. To get the rear speaker grilles to come off you have to take off the whole rear deck, it's a pain. You need to fold down the seats, pop off the round plastic clips, take off the middle panel above the opening between the trunk and the seat, and then pop off the clips behind it. You also need to take off the side panels between the rear window and side window (stick a screw driver in and gently apply pressure until they pop off), and then pop off the rear deck (be careful because the child seat anchors get in the way). I'm doing this from memory, so I hope I'm not forgetting anything.

    I didn't replace the front speakers or tweeters because I thought they were the only decent parts of the system. In my setup you can't hear them much anymore (they are drowned out by the back speakers and sub), but I guess that's okay. Sorry, but I can't answer your question about the tweeter size... in my experience, the difference between cheap tweeters and expensive ones isn't that noticable, but if you think that's important you should definitely change them. Good luck!
  • That's great to hear another Nova testimony. Mine had nothing in it to break. With 156,000 miles on it, it still runs great. It's actually my wife's. She was broke before we got married and bought it used. I hated it. When we got the 98 Altima it was hard to sell the 86 Ford Tempo instead of the Nova because it was a better ride. But it had become a constant financial drain with repairs. The Nova never gave us any problems except it liked to rust through mufflers. It has the toyota engine so should last a lot longer. Body is still in good shape. I sure learned to appreciate the reliability though when we first started out with no money to budget for repairs.
  • Starchecker,

    Congrats on the new Sentra. I saw a black SE with the performance package going down the road last week and it looked awesome. Made me think I should have considered getting black again (my last car was black) instead of the pearl white.

    Wakbeigel, the Sentra has a timing chain, unlike, say, the Honda Civics ;-)

    Concerning stereo upgrades -- sounds like some of you are doing some excellent modifications which no doubt will improve the quality of the sound. But my previous car didn't even have a CD player, let alone a 180 watt, 7 speaker setup. So for the time being, I'm still happy with my stock stereo.

    One more thing, I just discovered that the glove box has a black elastic strap on the inside rear panel. It's designed to hold the binder that contains the owners manual. Perhaps most of you knew of its existence, but I just noticed it over the weekend. The binder fits inside it perfectly, freeing up space in the glove box. Just another example of the thoughtfulness that went into the design of the Sentra.
  • Hi all,
    I just purchased a 2001 Sentra SE. It has premium sound, but no tape deck. I already have a nice sony tape deck/radio that I was hoping to install and integrate with the rest of the car's sound system. Does anyone know if this is even possible ?
    Much thanks.
    c_mathur@yahoo.com
  • rberusrberus Posts: 25
    Re your key problem witht the key and ignition, I had the same problem before mine even got off the lot.

    The fix was an adjustment to the shifter/ignition cable interlock.
  • tjsentjsen Posts: 9
    I just tried to put on my factory Sentra Nose Mask and ripped the hood piece. The stretch hooks attached to each end are not even close to being long enough. The holes in the hood are way too far away for proper attachment. Has anyone else heard of this problem??
  • And had to leave it sitting out in the sun (in the Texas heat) for a while before installing. It was still a bit difficult to install but I was finally succesful. It's easier to re-install once it's been on the car for a while. If it's cold where you live, that could make it difficult to impossible install.
  • I feel the same as mdsanch on the speakers. That rear subwoofer doesn't do much and neither do the rear speakers. Although the front speakers are great. I put in a Fosgate sub and an Orion amp about a month ago, but now its hard to hear the music itself. I may have to get either new speakers or get a separate amp for my speakers themselves (maybe both).
  • Do you remember where you saw those gold plated emblems? I have been searching and I can't come up with anything. I would appreciate your help.
  • How does the nose mask look on your Sentras once you get it on (and what color do you have)? Is it good quality?
  • Since both my car and the nose mask are black, it's not very noticeable. I didn't by mine for appearance though. I just got tired of all the paint chips I was getting. IMO it looks pretty nice though, and seems to be made of quality materials.
  • ..with granite? ;)
  • Man, our Nova stories are too close. Ours was registered to my wife also. For some reason she always drove the new van registered in my name. ( Yes, dear ) The muffler stuff is so true! I had to put a new one on every 24-28 months up here in NY. Ours simply ran out of body to repair. While it sounds like yours was having a great deal of mechanical problems at the end.

    We took a picture of it with our children and the wife and I before sending it off. The picture hangs in our family room. It was just that kind of car.

    I must admit however, after 4 months of driving my 00 Protege' ES 5-Speed I don't miss the driving experience of the Nova. You know, wait for the down hill section, floor it, hold your breath and pray!

    Regards,
    Mark :)
  • Well its a long story but I finally got my 2001 Nissan Sentra.

    2001 Nissan Sentra SE - Granite
    *SE Perf. Package
    *5 speed Manual
    *Power Sunroof
    *Floor Mats
    *Side-Impact Air Bags/ABS
    *Sunroof wind deflector
    *In-Cabin Microfilter
    *Nose Mask

    Price with Destination Charge
    $17,090

    I also went ahead and extended the service contract out to 5yrs/100k.

    As far as stereo upgrades: I have to agree with sentrafan. I had a pretty lousy stereo system in my Hyundai Excel so I'm rather happy with the Sentra's stereo/CD. However the changes you folks are talking about sound really good. It certainly will be info I may come back to if I decide to upgrade later.

    Nose Mask: I didn't wait to let the dealer install the nose mask so I had to put it on myself. I had a 1993 Saturn SL2 before and it had a nose mask also. I also had difficulty in installing the nose mask on my Sentra, but I agree that leaving in the sun for a while does wonders. After the nose mask and the front of the car was warm from the sun, it was less difficult(but still tight) to install. My complaint with the nose mask is the two clips located in the front center by the license plate holder(for those that need one; I'm in MD). Once you get all of the other clips in place these two clips are very loose and do not stay clipped toe the body. I didn't notice if they rattled against the front or nick the body, but it made me mad that i couldn't tighten the mask around the plate holder like the rest of the places.
    Tjsen- I didn't have any difficulties with the hood part of the mask, although I did note it was very tight and I'm sure I could have broke it.
    Bigsmooth- I think the nose mask looks good on the Sentra. I'm not sure it's as nice a fit as my Saturn was, but it still is a good fit, well made with good material, and IMHO it looks very sharp on the Granite color. If your still not sure I could send you a picture of mine with it on the car. Let me know.

    Sunroof: Jv1701- I haven't had any probelms with my sunroof smearing and I have to be honest with you I just wiped it with a damp cloth. I believe the glass for the sunroof has a material on it to shade the sun much like the back window(little bumps). This may be why you're getting streaks on the glass when you use a cleaner of some sort. Just a guess.

    I am truly enjoying every bit of my driving experience with my new Sentra. Last weekend I drove it to State College, PA from Annapolis, MD an thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Certainly a huge difference from my old Hyundai Excel.

    Enjoy!
    Peter
  • If you could post a pic of your car or e-mail it to me, that would be awesome! I hope it's not a big hassle. I am going to be making a LONG (cross-country) drive soon and I am really considering a nose mask in order to protect my paint. If it looks good on the car, I would keep in on more of the time and I wouldn't feel so bad about spending the $$$. :)
  • Also, Peter, when I bought my Sentra, I was driving an '89 Hyundai Sonata... so I know how it feels to upgrade like that. Congratulations!
  • tjsentjsen Posts: 9
    Thanks for your help. When I tried to put the nose mask on, it was was about 50 F. I guess that explains it. That is a little shy of the probably 150 F in the Texas sun.
  • I better make this the last Nova post or we will get in trouble. Actually it was my 86 Ford Tempo that kept breaking. Every other month it went to the shop. I know I funded that guys kids college ed. That's why we kept the bare bones Nova instead of the Tempo with more ammenities. That dang Nova never broke(other than their mufflers) that's why I was stuck with it for so long. It's kind of ironic since Nova in spanish means "Doesn't Go!" They had to change the name to sell in those countries! The good news is we are both in a whole lot better shape with our mode of transportation now, but Long Live the Nova just so long as someone else is driving it! :)
  • Interesting screen name. Are you a pilot too?
  • I have seen some black sentra GXE's with the black Nose masks and I think they look pretty tough. I was considering one myself. Are you supposed to take them off to wash the car each week or can they stay on until its time to wax the car?

    Also I noticed I didn't get a gas cap holder either. Is that really something Nissan doesn't include! How much are they?
  • Your right, no more Nova stories in the Sentra topic. I just get carried away.

    Yes, I'm a private pilot. VFR only. I time share on a C-172 at a small aerodrome up here in Central, NY. ( real pilots fly off grass.) I log approximately 100 hrs annually. So, it's really recreational only. Too many children storing acorns for their college experience to take flying to the next level.

    Regards,
    Mark. :)
  • I am in the process of purchasing a 2001 Nissan
    Sentra. Does anyone know if Nissan currently has a
    student cash incentive regionally or nationally. I
    didn't see it on the edmunds list of rebates - but
    a dealer told me today that if I am a student
    taking 6 hrs or more, I can get $500 cash back or
    added into my "deal" or something. I cannot find
    any info on internet about this program. Last week,
    I got another dealership to agree to 2% below
    invoice price + destination + 300 marketing
    adjustment, which seems great. I was ready to
    finalize that deal on Monday. But I don't know if I
    should start dickering now with the 2nd dealership
    that is offering the $500. If it's a regional or
    national thing...then I ought to be able to get it
    at the first dealership too. Please help anyone.
  • Starchecker,

    I have the nose mask and really like it. I'm convinced it protected my car a few weeks ago when I got behind a truck dropping pebbles all over the freeway. Three places on the front of my car took the brunt of some of those rocks -- I'll have to get some touchup paint to fix the damage to the paint. But, of course, the area covered by the nose mask had no damage. You definitely want to remove it each time you wash your car, otherwise dirt and mold can accumulate between the mask and the hood. For mostly convenience sake, I only put on the part that goes on the hood, which I think looks pretty good as well.

    To my knowledge, no Sentras have shipped with the gas cap holder, although the owner's manual supposedly mentions its existence. I've read that the Altima's cap holder will fit the Sentra, though I haven't priced one yet. Personally, I think Nissan should foot the bill.
  • I've had my Sentra GXE for about 2.5k miles now and am very happy except for one thing.... When driving fast (and sometimes even when not so fast)and when I hit a pronounced bump (like a frost heave), which unfortunately are not uncommon on NYC highways, the rear end of the car feels like it is fishtailing. Would a sway bar help solve this problem? Any suggestions?
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