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Nissan Altima Maintenance and Repair

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Comments

  • smallcar1smallcar1 Posts: 76
    Has 73K. The car has not exhibited the usual signs of a bad distributor. The car was running smoothly and idling smoothly. I stopped and when I hit the gas the idle speed dropped to 200-300 RPMs and the car had to be towed. This all happened with no warning. The mechanic said the rotor which was 3 years old with only 12K on it was burned and there is nothing wrong wih the car. Car has been fine so far with new rotor (only about 125 miles). There was no oil in the distributor cap/rotor area and the mass airflow sensor and ignition coil checked out OK.

    Dealer, of course, wants to sell a rebuilt distributor saying the distributor leaked oil which got on the rotor and burnt. The local mechanic says if there was enough oil to get on the rotor there would have been oil visible when the rotor and cap were removed and there was none. I don't want to get stranded again.

    Has anyone else had this problem?
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    My Mechanic drilled a small hole in the base of the distributor, no more problems. That was probably 40k miles ago.

    Ken
  • smallcar1smallcar1 Posts: 76
    Car stalled on the hwy tonight with no warning in while rolling traffic without my foot on the gas but restarted with no problem. I was unable to duplicate the problem. Is the distributor even though there is no visible oil?
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    I would think you would see oil if that was the problem. If you take it to your mechanic, not dealer. He should be able to scope it. May show something. Hard to find intermittent problems.This happened after a new rotor? Could still be the distributor. There are a number of possibilities.

    Good luck,

    Ken
  • danny44danny44 Posts: 14
    edited March 2010
    >>> Is the distributor even though there is no visible oil?
    You would not see oil in the rotor area. It is in the base of the distributor which is below the rotor. You need to disassemble the distributor to see it
  • smallcar1smallcar1 Posts: 76
    Thanks. The mechanic did not disassemble the distributor. Only the cap and rotor were removed. When I brought the car in the second time they just pulled the rotor and put it on the computer and did not see anything wrong with it.

    Is it a lot of labor to disassemble the distributor?
  • smallcar1smallcar1 Posts: 76
    This did happen after a new rotor. Is there a way to tell if it is the distributor if there is no oil in it? What are the other possibilities?

    The first time the mechanic changed the MAF and that did not stop the problem so they put the old one back. A rebuilt distributor worked for a half hour in the shop and stalled during the mechanic's road test and it was too late for them to get another so they put the old one back and it worked with a new rotor. The ignition coil tested OK. Hitting the fuel pump did not solve the problem either so they did not change that.
  • danny44danny44 Posts: 14
    edited March 2010
    The problem is not the rotor. It is the crankshaft position sensor in the base of distributor blocked by the leaking oil from the broken oil seal. The oil seal only costs $4 at dealer if you know how to replace it or you can drill a small hole to let the oil flow out, See message #2519 and # 2169

    >>A rebuilt distributor worked for a half hour in the shop and stalled during the mechanic's road test
    rebuilt distributors are no good, perhaps the oil seals are not replaced in these distributors

    >>My Mechanic drilled a small hole in the base of the distributor, no more problems. That was probably 40k miles ago.
  • danny44danny44 Posts: 14
    edited March 2010
    >> Is it a lot of labor to disassemble the distributor?
    Yes, but you can drill a small hole in the base of the distributor
    See message #2519
    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.ef06fa1/2518#MSG2518
  • Hi Swam,

    Did changing out the mass air sensor correct the problem?

    I just started to have this similar problem where the car stalls after coming to a stop and then accelerating. The car reaches 1k rpm within the 1st few minutes after starting it, but the rpm will gradually go down and does some hick-ups-dies later on.

    I'd appreciate it if you'd respond to my question.
  • Would the oil leak if a small hole was drilled into the distributor?

    Would replacing the o-ring on the distributor help?
  • smallcar1smallcar1 Posts: 76
    The mechanic said that when the cap and rotor were off and the distributor was out of the car he did not see any oil. He said the front o-ring is very simple to change but mine was OK. He said to change the rear o-ring is so much labor that they use a rebuilt distributor. Hhe did not actually see the cam position sensor inside the distributor as he said it is very labor intensive to remove enough parts to see that area in the distributor. He said it is possible that the electronics in the distributor went bad or the ignition coil has a problem although it tested OK. He recommends waiting until the problem gets worse to diagnose it as changing the distributor could be a waste of money if it is not the problem. He thinks he would have seen oil when the cap and rotor were taken off if the o-ring was bad. I don't want to get stuck somewhere though.
  • danny44danny44 Posts: 14
    edited March 2010
    >>> Car stalled on the hwy tonight with no warning in while rolling traffic without my foot on the gas but restarted with no problem.

    It seems your Altima stalled at idle (without my foot on the gas), then intake air leak is one of possible cause. The problem was due to a bad intake manifold gasket. If the problem was due to a bad distributor, then the car would stall at random and won't restart with no problem. Did check engine light come on? Ask that he identify any computer codes even if it didn't.

    read http://www.carcomplaints.com/Nissan/Altima/2001/engine/index.shtml

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.ef06fa1/195!keywords=allin%3Amsgte- - - - - - - xt%20limit%3A.ef06fa1%20intake%201996#MSG195
  • danny44danny44 Posts: 14
    edited March 2010
    With a cold engine take a can of brake clean and start the engine. As it begins to warm up spray the brake clean around the intake manifold where it bolts to the head. Any sudden rise in RPM is an indication that the manifold gasket needs replacement.Be carefull not to spray around the exhaust manifold as you could cause a fire.If indeed it needs replacement shop around for the best possible price as this is not an easy job.

    read http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/Reliability.aspx?year=1997&make=Nissan&model=A- ltima
  • danny44danny44 Posts: 14
    edited March 2010
    >>He recommends waiting until the problem gets worse to diagnose it as changing the distributor could be a waste of money if it is not the problem >>

    I agree, read http://www.carcomplaints.com/Nissan/Altima/1997/engine/runs_rough_until_warmed_u- p.shtml

    Sounds very similar to your 1996 Altima, perhaps yours is 1997 model
  • danny44danny44 Posts: 14
    edited March 2010
    Did the "check engine light" come on? If yes, ask that he reads the diagnostic code stored in the on-board computer. Most likely, it is p0300 random multiple cylinder misfire detected
  • smallcar1smallcar1 Posts: 76
    Thanks. The check engine light did not come on and there were no codes stored in the computer either time. My car does not run rough on start up, it never runs rough. It does vibrate some at lights but has done that since 37K when I got it. The idle speed at lights has always sometimes dropped very slightly but never below 700 rpms and ususally stays at 750.

    I know the '01 has the same engine as the '96 (manufacture date of the car ws 1/96)but I don't know if the manifold was the same. The car has been very reliable unti now but I guess it is time to get rid of it.
  • loroloro Posts: 1
    hello all past months randomly my car (2000 altima se) it didnt start it looks like
    a low battery i wait for one hour or so and it starts w/out problem.
    i cleaned the connections and still the same, is ok for 2 or 3 weeks and it does it again

    anyone have advice to fix this problem
    thanks
  • Turn the headlights & the dome light on, then try to start the car, watching the lights to see if they dim. Does your engine turn slowly or slow down while cranking?
    If the lights dim very much, you have voltage drop, that can be caused by bad connections or bad battery. The next step is to check the voltage directly across the battery posts, using a volt meter or light bulb tester while having someone crank the engine. Low voltage measured from battery post to battery post (9 volts or less) means the battery is weak and should be tested. If the voltage is good at the battery posts (9.5V or higher while cranking the engine) you may have voltage drop in the connections or wiring. Check all connections at the battery, starter and everything in between.
    If you don't have any voltage drop problem at the battery or wiring, it could be a problem in the starter. Connect a test light or volt meter at the starter, one lead to the starter motor terminal and the other lead to the starter case (be sure the starter is bolted tight and well grounded). Keep away from fans and moving parts and read the volts or watch the light as an assistant cranks the engine. The volts should stay at 9 volts or above. Good volts with poor cranking would indicate a problem with the Starter/Solenoid assembly.
    Good Luck
    E.D.
  • vgvgvgvg Posts: 12
    My brand new 2010 Altima (4 days old) has a loose metal strip of some kind hanging underneath it. I spotted it from a distance and went to look what was hanging there. It is under the body, nearer the passenger side, easy enough to reach from just behind the passenger door, squatting next to the car.
    This stip is still attached, somewhat flexible, under 1/2" wide and the hanging part is about 3" long. One side is serrated, like, zigzagged, the other side straight. I can't tell what the rest of it is attached to. I'm at work in dress clothes and can't look too much further.
    Any ideas what this might be? I took the car for it's first car wash this morning and had underbody spray with it.
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