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Nissan Altima Maintenance and Repair



  • This is pretty much what I did except I didn't enter the passenger side laying face up. It was difficult, but I got it done. I did use a flash light. I agree that the procedure with removing the glove box etc. is just way too complicated and too much work for replacing a in-cabin filter. After all, over 10 years, there was no mention of in-cabin air filters.

    How often do you change your in-cabin filter?
  • I believe I have discovered the source of all the frustration with the '02 Nissan 2.5 oil consumption. I will start out by saying that I run my own marine repair business, am a licensed aircraft mechanic, and have over 40 years repair experience. However, this Altima engine (my wife's car) is the first automotive engine I have built in 30 years; much different than the outboards I build all the time. I will also state that I am indebted to Hap Lewis at Hap's Automotive Machine in Paso Robles, Ca., and Kenny at Ellis Piston Ring Sales in Shreveport, La. for all of their technical assistance.

    After reading this forum, I discovered I wasn't alone with the head gasket problem, but had yet to experience excessive oil consumption, though, after teardown I discovered I was way overdue. I will try to make this short and to the point, and not bore with the technical details.

    On teardown, I discovered the engine was unusually dirty, a varnish/sludge build up. Upon cleaning the pistons I even had to use a drill bit to clean the oil drain back holes. Although dirty, and with 133K miles, the cylinders showed no appreciable wear: ditto pistons, crank, or rod and main bearings; lubrication was not a problem.

    I had the block cleaned, the cylinders machine honed, decked, and a valve job performed on the head. I ordered parts from both aftermarket suppliers and Nissan. When I had all my parts in order and everything cleaned, I began assembly.

    During disassembly I noted that the oil control ring wiper rails (2) were stuck and had to be pried off the pistons and that both wiper rail end gaps were aligned. While assembling the rings to the pistons (following the factory manual step by step), I noted several things that were indeed odd. First. The manual showed a staggering of the ring end gaps (normal) with the oil control wiper rail end gaps aligned (not normal practice). I was installing Nissan rings, so their markings matched the manual exactly. The top ring was labeled "A", while the second ring was labeled "A2". This was OK, but here is where it gets weird: The upper ring that was labeled "A" was a black ring, the second ring labeled "A2" was a chrome ring... In 99% of installations the chrome ring is the compression ring which is the top or upper ring... I began calling. Both Kenny and Hap said this was really odd, and Hap suggested I install the two upper rings in the order called for in just one cylinder and turn the engine over several times, remove the piston, and use a magnifying glass to check the scuff pattern on the black ring; I did. Hap told me that if the scuff pattern was on the lower edge only of the black ring, then that ring had a tapered face and was a wiper ring, not a compression ring, and was not in the correct position: It should be installed in the second position, not the top position... The scuff on the ring was on the lower edge of the ring face indicating a wiper position, not the compression position.

    In my opinion oil consumption in these engines is caused by 1) Nissan OE piston rings being incorrectly labeled with the result that the ring that should be in the #2 position (wiper) is installed in the upper position (compression) (which it clearly is not), and 2) The manual calling for alignment of the oil ring rails such that the ring end gap is not staggered (industry standard) but, rather, in alignment, thereby causing a direct leak path bypassing a portion of the oil ring assembly, and possible flooding the second (scraper) ring with excess oil which it could in no wise handle since it was installed in the wrong position to begin with, being the compression ring, not the scraper (as noted above).

    Let me be clear: The rings are each designed for a specific purpose: The upper ring to seal compression, and generally having a molybdenum face or a chrome face for long life and heat resistance, and the second ring which is a wiper ring to assist in a "squeegee" effect of keeping the oil from bypassing into the area of the upper ring, and thus into the cylinder and being burned and discharged into the exhaust. If these two rings are interchanged in position the softer scraper ring will not withstand the heat and pressure nor seal the cylinder, and the chrome faced upper ring does not have the necessary taper to effectively wipe the oil off the cylinder wall. With the foregoing incorrect installation you must necessarily experience oil consumption.

    Obviously these engines were assembled per the manual using factory parts mislabeled and with piston ring end gaps incorrectly aligned (per industry standard), thus the oil control/consumption problems people are complaining about.

    On this rebuild I will not use the Nissan rings. I have chosen to use Hastings piston rings (made in the USA) and will align the ring end gaps per industry standard and anticipate no further oil consumption problems!

    Lessons learned: Do not use Nissan factory ring sets for this engine, and do not use ring installation guidance as proffered in the factory manual, which, by the way, is excellent in all other aspects.
  • skyfan1skyfan1 Posts: 37
    I have a 2010 Altima that I bought new last August. A few weeks ago, the battery would not start and I had to have it jumped. I was able to drive it to the dealership the next day, but they said the battery needed to be replaced. The car had about 3,000 miles on it. The service guy could not give me an explanation for this. He said he replaced a 3 year manufacturer's battery with a 7 year battery. Can anyone tell me if you have ever heard of this happening and if you have any idea how a new battery could go bad this fast??
  • ndiboyndiboy Posts: 36
    Coould anyone diagnose this problem for me. I changed the mass airflow meter of my 02 altima at 105,000miles but before then the mechanic felt it was the fuel pump that made it not to start. The fuel pump was later returned but they've already tampered with the fuel filter housing the pump and cut and replaced some of the pipes inside the gauge, pump and filter component.
    The problem now is that I have to start the car twice before it starts and I can't seem to figure out what the problem is. Should I change the filter pump unit or what? I need the car to be starting once like before.
    Thanks, Chuma.
  • melcot04melcot04 Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 Nissan Altima with 122k miles. Had the car for about 8 weeks. After about 4 weeks, the check engine light come on. Had it check and the code was P0400 which is suppose to be EGR valve. I took it apart and cleaned it, light came back on. I replaced it and light came back on. During this time, about 300 every miles, the car looses power, and intrument cluster stops working. My wife had been pulling off the road, sitting for about 20 minutes, starts the car back up and everything goes back to normal. Recently I was driving the car when it done this and I put the car in neutral and back to drive and the car returns to normal expect the cluster does not work. Cut the car off for about 10 minutes and cluster starts working again. It appears to be doing this a little more frequent now and do not understand why you can shift into neutral then back to drive and car runs normal. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advanced.
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,760
    I have an 03 with 62k. The car has always been extremely reliable and run fantastic for me. A few weeks ago, I had the crank position sensor replaced after the service engine light came on. This addressed the light and the car felt fine for a few weeks.

    Over this weekend, we had very heavy rain. The car sat all Saturday and most of Sunday. When I started it on Sunday night, it was running very rough and was missing when revved. After a minute or two, the SEL flickered on.

    By this morning, the rain had stopped but things were very wet still. The car felt fine when I started it but by mile 4 of my 5 miles commute, it had started running rough again.

    The issue is obviously related to the rain and probably related to the new sensor. Does that sensor have a boot or protective covering that might be missing? What should I be considering?

    Thanks in advance
  • My climate control knob is broken on my 2005 Nissan Altima. The fan is blowing on high. How do I take the knob off without breaking it?
  • mel01mel01 Posts: 1
    I read several other posts at other forums that suggested removing the header, cleaning out the builtin catalytic converter with a long screwdriver, then bolting the header back on. But won't the "service engine soon" light stay lit, even after a computer reset, due to the readings from the sensors? One forum said that you can fool the computer by using a different sensor at the bottom of the front cat. Would that actually work?
  • clean52clean52 Posts: 1
    Wife got a 2010 on New Years Eve, on 5-13 battery totally dead at work I jump it. we go to dealer and they replace a sensor. 2 weeks later same thing. Dealer has it now over Memorial day weekend and he calls and says we are not driving it enough to charge battery!!!!!!! Wife works 7 miles from home. Are you kidding me Anyone ever hear of this. :confuse:
  • onlamonlam Posts: 13
    edited June 2011
    Could be a bad switch. It's a switch that activates the startup when you step on the brake.

    Read Link: - termittent-startup-failure.html
  • bigtobigto Posts: 4
    Hey guys. My car (2010 Altima 3.5SR) is about 9 months old and I've been having issues with my side mirrors loosening. The casing is fine and isolated only to the actual mirrors coming loose. I commute in both NYC and CT and potholes are certainly an issue, but I didnt think the mechanical threads would not be able to securely hold the mirror (especially with the 3.5SR's tighter suspension which really lets you feel those bumpy roads).

    Has anyone else encountered this problem? My fear is the mirrors coming loose when I'm on the highway. Not sure if there is a solution, short of always checking the mirrors for a tight fit. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!.
  • buppersbuppers Posts: 25
    I know some drivers like to 'feel the road', but if you don't like the bumpy ride in your Altima 3.5, this might help. I was very disappointed with the rough ride experienced with my new 2011 Altima 3.5SR. I felt every little bump in the road. It was becoming very annoying to me and passengers at times. The dealer said to give it more time to break in. That didn't work. Not willing to just live with it, I decided to change from the V-rated Bridgestones to H-rated Michelin tires. It made a world of difference. The Michelin H's absorb the small bumps and provide a comfortable ride that I am more accustomed to. I went from disappointment to really enjoying driving the Altima.
  • grumpfishgrumpfish Posts: 19
    I had a smilar feeling with our new Altima. There was a manhole which was slightly raised "a small mound" and when we hit it it was like mmmmmmmm kay this is not going to work out well. It felt like I ran over a brick. In time the feeling got better and better and things aren't so bumpy anymore. I wrote it off as a breaking in period. That is easy to do in Los Angeles, the pothole capital of the world.
  • djaroszdjarosz Posts: 1
    If I can, anyone can: Filter flawlessly purchased on amazon for about 1/3 of the price that dealer wanted. I removed and installed the new one myself for the first time in about 3-4 minutes (No tools). Here's how I did it: Enter via front passenger side. Remove floor mat. On fire wall area just beneath glove box, go left until you see a small protubing black plastic square shaped device. This is located and connected to the center console. Fiddle around until you find a very simple latch. Undo the latch, remove the filter cover (Black plastic strip). Place a finger into the exposed area, feel for the filter. If necessary, use a flat head screwdriver to coax it out. You may have to slightly scunch the new one to get it in.
  • I did everything you said, got the cover off but can't get the filter out, It feels like its bigger than the opening, I'm at a loss, tried a screw driver, there must be something I'm missing
  • ynot54ynot54 Posts: 1
    I have a 94 Altima that the engine turns over but will not start. Took the battery out and checked it. It has plenty of power. Cars lights, dash, chimes, windows and locks, emergency blinkers do not work. Any thoughts on what the problem is and how to correct it? This just came out of the blue. No issues..Help!
  • altimagaltimag Posts: 2
    Hi! I just purchased a CPO 2011 Altima 2.5s and would like to add an extended warranty plan before the car hits 10K miles. I live in AZ, found an online quote from a Nissan dealer in CA for a 84 months/120K Gold Preferred for about $1200.00. Questions: 1) Does the quote sound reasonable? 2) Anybody has experience using service contracts purchased online and using it at the local dealers? Thanks much.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    I think your question is better suited for our Extended Warranties discussion, so you might click on my link and post over there.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • mrbert29mrbert29 Posts: 37
    I just bought the Nissan Altima Coupe brand new with 9 miles, and about 500 miles later I'm already feeling the very back of the seat against my back, as if the cushion is already worn. I'm not a heavy guy nor do I think I've been in the seat long enough to warrant this condition. It seems quality of Japanese cars have decreased. Does anyone have a comment? I've never owned a Japanese car so I don't know about wear and tear, but I do know that no car should be this low in quality if purchased brand new. Another worry is that the airbag located in the seat is shifting. Any comments please!
  • My sons girlfriend has a 2006 Altima with a four speed auto. It will crank and start just fine. It will not shift out of park. Impossible to move stick to any other position. Her parents think the transmission is bad. I'm thinking it's a faulty interlock. How do these work? :confuse:
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