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Nissan Altima Maintenance and Repair

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  • WHAT DO YOU MEAN ONE OF THE ENGINES MIGHT BE OUT???? AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TOO LITTLE GAS??? BECAUSE I'VE SEEN THE SPARK PLUGS AND THEY LOOK DRY AND GREY..

    THANKS FOR YOUR HELP

    ROBERT JIMENEZ
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    )) "I also noticed something else, the radiator fan keeps running even after the car is switched off." ((

    Nothing to worry about - it was designed that way (probably to save a little production cost). Nissan, as do a number of other automakers, routes power directly from the battery through the radiator's thermostatic switch that activates the radiator fan. Not having the ignition switch involved in the radiator fan circuit allows that fan to merrily drone on for some time subsequent to switching off the ignition. Sorry I wasn't able to help with the A/C prob. :cry:
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Chill, boggrobs15 - a "dry and grey" appearance on the porcelain insulator of the discharge electrode is the ideal. It indicates the heat range of the spark plugs is perfect for your typical driving conditions. ;) (Though you didn't mention it, I don't understand atma97's reference to "charcoal red", either... :confuse:)
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    )) "the 6 cd changer failed with Err2 with 3 of my CDs. can somebody advice on how to get the CDs out? Also the 6-CD changer keeps whirring every time, I start the car and then stops with Err2." ((

    Welcome to the wonderful, wacky world of CD changers - especially the increasingly popular indash versions. Sorry - there's generally only bad news and worse news once a jam has ocurred. If you had affixed paper labels, there's a good chance they're responsible - the working clearances of the mechanicals in indash changers are incredibly small. The thickness of a paper label or sticker can be all it takes to jam a CD in the guts. Even without labels, these machines often become finicky over time. The remote possibility good news? If you car is under your basic warranty time and mileage limit, you may just be entitled to a free head unit exchange. (Some makes, such as Hyundai, have an even shorter time and mileage limit than the basic 5/50 for their audio systems - dunno what Nissan's policy is. Check your warranty supplement booklet.) If your car is over the limit, you will probably have to cough up out of your own pocket unless Nissan is comping these units as a goodwill gesture. (If not, and if you're on nitroglycerin for angina, you may wanna slip a tablet under your tongue before you hear the bad news - the dealer replacement cost of factory head units is obscene...) The only way to retrieve jammed CDs out of an indash changer is to disassemble the head unit to extract the CDs manually. Once jammed due to a malfunction, the captive disc(s) aren't gonna magically eject regardless how many times you attempt it.
  • atma97atma97 Posts: 47
    Sorry for not so clear about it because of my own terms. Please look at pictures from this web site: www.verrill.com/moto/sellingguide/spark plugs/plugcolorchart.htm and pay attention to "Normal", "Oil Fouled" and "Overheated".
    Once a year, I check up my car engine to see how healthy it is. Usually after a good half of an hour trip while engine still hot I put on gloves and carefully remove spark plugs and compare them. If they are all similar and dry, engine is doing well. If not, start a basic tune up.
    My basic tune up is:
    Engine Cleaning: Once a year Flush Engine and put in Engine Restorer, use Synthetic Blend Oil to reduce engine wear.
    Electrical: Replace spark plugs (Bosch Platinum +4 $20), Distributor Rotor ($7) & Cap $15), Ignition Wires (OEM from Nissan Dealer $65).
    Gas: Replace fuel filter ($10), add Fuel Injection Cleaner ($3) into gas tank.
    Air: Replace Air Filter (Frame $5).
    You can buy good parts at discount price at website Rockauto.com If you can do a tune up by yourself, you already save $ on labor, do not try to save $ on cheap parts. I have kept a good tune up on my 97 Altima car since the beginning. Now I got 284k and every mechanic drove my car said it could be a 100k more. In term of money, I will save money of buying another car.
  • hi ED

    i looked at the compressor while AC running & not running. Could not see whether the clutch engaged or not. It looks just the same both times. However I noticed the twin radiator fans started running when AC was on but stopped running while AC was switched off manually. But the belt attached to the clutch was always running. Are there any pictures on the internet where I can see an engaged clutch and a nonengaged clutch?

    thnx
    Jack.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Jack, with the engine running at idle and the A/C off, observe the central portion of the A/C compressor's pulley. Unengaged, that central 3" hub portion that is mechanically connected to the compressor's crankshaft will be stationary. (The outer pulley will be rotating, but the compresser will remain at rest.) However, if it's still stationary after manually engaging the A/C system, then you have a defective A/C compressor clutch, activation switch, fuse, and/or wiring harness defect. If you have automatic climate control in your Altima, be sure to set it to manual mode - otherwise there's no telling whether the A/C compressor was intentionally set up to run constantly when the engine is running or not. (Chrysler products used to be profligate fuel wasters with this questionable design "feature" that allowed virtually instant cold air - dunno whether they still are...) The radiator-A/C condenser fans should be running constantly when the car isn't moving with A/C engaged since urban crawl traffic conditions put an extra load on both A/C and engine cooling efficiency. I beieve at some vehicle speed above 25-30 mph, those fans will switch off unless the engine begins overheating. When everything is working as intended, those fans will normally remain off above that nominal preset vehicle speed since vehicle motion will effectively supply more cooling air through the radiator and A/C condensor than the fans will.
  • With the engine off, look it the front of the compressor. The belt runs around the pully, which is the round part around the outside of the clutch. The belt and the pully will always be moving when the engine is running. Now start the engine with the AC OFF, and look at the front of the AC compressor. You should see the belt moving and the pully turning, but the center portion should be stationary. Then turn on the AC and you should now see that the whole front of the compressor is turning. That means the compressor is now "engaged" and compressor is running. If the compressor cycles off, you will see the center part stationary again with the belt and pully still moving, which means the compressor is "disengaged" and NOT running. When it is not running, it is not cooling, so if the compressor is off when it is supposed to be cooling, then that means you have an issue with the electrical controls. But, if the compressor remains ON and the AC is NOT cooling, then you have an issue with the refrigeration portion of the system, which may be a faulty compressor or there may be moisture in the system and it may need a new accumulator or several other possiblities. If you have issues with the refrigeration portion, I need to know the system pressures, taken with AC on MAX COOL, doors and windows closed, at idle and at 1500 rpm, and what the Vent temps are at each reading and what the ambient (outside) temperature is at that time. Depending on the ambient temperature, the normal pressures on a warm 90 day would be about, Low Side = 21 to 30, High Side = 220 to 240. Vent temps should be 50 degrees or colder with car stationary in the shade and cooled down, and running down the road vent temps should go down to 46 degrees or colder.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • One person replied and said they had the same problem. They took it to the dealer and the replaced the d/s window motor. I don't plan on doing that until it actually quits so I am still looking.
  • Hi Experts,

    I have questions reg. the engine in Nissan Altima 2001 GXE 78K miles. The second piston from the left had oil surrounding the rubber-casing when the piston was pulled out of the engine. the other 3 piston rubber-casing was fine. no oil. the tech guy said it could cause a fire hazard as it was right above the spark plugs. Need to know is it true that a fire hazard and how expensive it is to replace the stuff. I had my engine gasket changed about a year ago. I just changed my axles on both front wheels.

    thnx,
    jack.
  • kwk1kwk1 Posts: 39
    Hey Jack,
    There's no chance of a fire hazard with oil. It just makes for a dirty engine and the need to check the oil level on a regular basis between oil changes.
    As far as cost, don't have a figure I could give you, except it won't be cheap. If it were me, I'd see how much oil I'm losing on the dipstick, and if it's not much, I'd just add some between oil changes.
  • ccat1ccat1 Posts: 4
    Hi all!

    Last fall, I bought a 2004 Altima with approx. 32000 miles on it. About 12 days after the 90 day limited warranty expired, my service engine soon light came on, the car started bucking wildly. I took it to a mechanic and the first spark plug on the left was coated in carbon and the gap completely closed. This has happened 5 or 6 more times since then and it's also happened to other spark plugs. In addition to that, I just had a mechanic do a code search and it says that I have a crank shaft sensor error and something to do with the rpm's being off. Are these issues all related? Have any of you heard anything like this happening before? Is this a fixable problem?
    Thanks!!!
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Happy thanksgiving. Isn't your car still under the original Nissan new car warranty? I was under the impression they come with the more or less standard, transferable 3 yr./36,000 mile general warranty, but is that wrong? Spark plugs carboning up under 50,000 miles means there's some serious misfiring and/or oil or other fluid intrusion into the combustion chamber. Does your car send out a cloud of smoke on 1st light-up? If so, what color and approximately for how long?

    Black - rich fuel mixture
    Blue - oil
    White (briefly) - condensation in the exhaust system evaporating off and recondensing in the cool air after exiting the tail pipe until the engine warms up - harmless
    White (continually) - very bad; high liklihood of a warped/cracked head and/or blown head gasket; if coolant is making its way into the crankcase and contaminating the motor oil, the engine is or could soon be on life support without prompt attention. Because of its inability to lubricate under high load situations, antifreeze is very erosive to the soft bearing metals encountered in crankshaft main and connecting rod bearings.

    All problems are "fixable". The question really comes down to whether fixing your car's problem will cost more than the car is worth. I'm not qualified to answer that, but hopefully not. You do need to find out why your engine's spitting diagnostic codes, though, regardless whose nickel it'll be on. Best of luck.

    (By the way, the following parts are covered for free replacement including labor charges under your car's Federal vehicle emissions warranty for 8 yrs./80,000 miles from the orginal new car date of sale:

    the catalytic converter
    the engine control module {computer}
    the onboard diagnostic device)
  • ccat1ccat1 Posts: 4
    Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! The problem started after the factory warranty had worn out. At the moment the car has just over 59,000 miles on it. There is no exhaust other than the harmless condensation cloud. I've had a couple of different mechanics look at the car(no, none of them are certified Nissan dealers, I originally thought it was something small and didn't want to be charged 94.50 an hour..yes, that's what they charge in Rhode Island). I've had 2 tell me that it's something that requires me to have the engine taken apart and the top half of the engine cleaned and resurfaced. Another thinks it's an electric problem causing a misfiring. Unfortunately, the car isn't worth what I owe and it's not feasible for me to trade it in. I've already tried. My only option is to try and fix the problem. I'm just hoping that someone else has had this issue and can tell me how much I'm looking at. It's good to know that those things are covered for a bit longer though, I didn't know that and I thank you for the info!!
  • To get the answer you are looking for, you need to provide all complete information, such as what engine is in your car, they make a 4 cylinder inline and a V6. The engine situation does not sound good, it should not be fouling plugs for many many years, well over 150,000 miles. You mention errors, but do not give the Diagnostic Troble Codes (DTC's), you must get them from the mechanic and post them here. I don't have a cystal ball to see what kind of engine you have and what is wrong with it. Give us all the information, and all the history.
    The fouling can come from too much oil in the combustion chambers, or it can come from a faulty ignition system.
    I seem to remember reading that some of the Altimas in some years had a problem with bad piston rings from the factory. I would look into that further, maybe Nissan would take care of it, but I am not sure how many years or miles they cover. They may be able to tell if you had the problem by your VIN number. Do some Google reasearch on it, and you should uncover something on it, like this:

    Nissan Altima Recall # 06V223000- ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
    Component:
    ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
    Summary:
    CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH 2.5L ENGINES MAY EXPERIENCE EXCESSIVE ENGINE OIL CONSUMPTION AS A RESULT OF IMPROPER PERFORMANCE OF THE PISTON RINGS.

    Consequences:
    IF THE OIL IS NOT MAINTAINED AT LEAST AT THE MINIMUM LEVEL, ENGINE DAMAGE CAN OCCUR AND IN EXTREME CASES RESULT IN AN ENGINE FIRE.

    Remedy:
    NISSAN HAS NOT YET PROVIDED A REMEDY FOR THIS CAMPAIGN. ON JUNE 9, 2006, NISSAN NOTIFIED OWNERS OF THE POSSIBILITY OF EXCESSIVE OIL CONSUMPTION AND THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING THE OIL AT A PROPER LEVEL. FOLLOW-UP LETTER TO OWNERS ADVISING THEM OF THE STATUS OF THE RECALL WAS SENT DURING AUGUST 2006. OWNERS MAY CONTACT NISSAN AT 1-800-647-7261.
  • atma97atma97 Posts: 47
    If there is no oil consumption and spark plugs are not flooded with oil, it’s good news. Engine rings, pistons and cylinders are still tight together. You just need to focus on electrical parts. The car bucking wildly is because of misfired due to ignition problem. I would replace both spark plug and ignition coil on the bad one. Crank shaft sensor problem is easy to fix. If not sure how to get it done, just buy an oem one from a Nissan dealer and ask a mechanic to replace it for you. It should not take him more than 10 minutes (I’ve done it myself.) Drive the car at least a few days to break-in new parts before any further adjustment. I believe this is not a big problem since I’ve been driving Nissan and Infiniti cars for many years.
  • ccat1ccat1 Posts: 4
    I can't provide any codes, I don't have them. I'm a mo and didn't write them down. I just know what they say when they run a diagnostic. The first time it happened it said it was a misfire. The next few times, it's been the crank shaft sensor and this last time something about the rpm's being off. I've read on this board that you need to replace the cam sensor when you replace the crank shaft sensor..is that true? The spark plug has been replaced each time this occurs. Not so for the ignition coil. I'll have to get these parts and have the mechanic replace them. I'm going over there today, I'll see if I can get the codes...oh and there is no major oil consumption. It appears to be burning oil normally...
  • The OBDII codes (DTC'S) will provide information on where the trouble is, they DO NOT pinpoint the problem and tell you what parts to replace. The codes steer you in the right direction towards resolving the problem, the mechanic still has to use logic and diagnostic skills to find and repair the problem. Just throwing parts at it (Plugs, coils, etc)is NOT the answer. The plugs would have to be replaced since they are badly fouled, but the codes will point at the crankshaft sensor circuit, or engine missfires, etc, and the mechanic must know how to test each circuit and each component of that circuit. For instance, if the code was for "EGR excessive flow", that does not mean replace the EGR valve, because it might be the EGR regulator, or a broken or leaky hose, or a clogged passage or orifice.
    BOTTOM LINE IS: A good mechanic will know how to read and interpret the codes, and know how to troubleshoot and repair the problem. If the mechanic doesn't know how to fix the problem, find another mechanic.
  • ccat1ccat1 Posts: 4
    I was at the mechanics again on Friday, getting yet another spark plug replaced. I can remember 2 of the codes. P0420 and P0735. I can't remember the third. At my request, he stuck a magnet down into the shaft and the magnet came out with oil on it, as well as small metal shavings. I saw them with my own eyes, I was standing there when he did it. This to me doesn't sound good. He made some remark about how it could be a ring smashing up against the spark plug causing it the gap to be closed.
  • lynvalynva Posts: 1
    I HAVE A 03 V6 ALTIMA THAT HAS THE SAME PROBLEM YOU DESCRIBE. AFTER 3 SETS OF TIRES AND NUMEROUS BALANCE JOBS INCLUDING 2 HUNTER ROAD FORCE BALANCE AND GOING TO 3 DIFFERENT DEALERSHIPS I STILL HAVE THE VIBRATION. THE ONLY THING THEY CAN SAY IS I HAVE A "TIRE ISSUE". SO DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY DID TO FIX YOUR PROBLEM?? THANKS ALOT
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