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Nissan Altima Engine Failures



  • Yes, the stop leak can work for a while, maybe 2 to 6 months, depending on how big or bad the leak is. Usually the the leaks are small, more like a seepage past the head gasket. I used a half bottle of the Bars Leaks Radiator Sealer with good success. Keep the remaining half bottle in the trunk in case you should need to add more, also keep at least one gallon jug of water and a big rag in the trunk.
  • electricdesignelectricdesign Posts: 677
    edited October 2010
    The good news is that I bought my daughter a newer car, an 07 Pontiac Vibe, to replace her 02 Altima 2.5S, the worst car we have ever owned.
    The bad news is that someone else may own this crappy car in the future. We don't have the heart to sell it to someone, so we may give it to a dealer or send it to the crusher.
    So I won't be around here in this forum anymore, but may stop in to look once in a while. I drive a Vibe, wife drives a Highlander, and now daughter drives a Vibe, so we are happy family again.
    Good Luck to All.
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • rondholrondhol Posts: 32
    So your Altima is not running anymore? I thought you already fixed the head gasket and hollowed the pre-cat. Is there anything wrong after 2 years of head gasket job?
  • bdp1bdp1 Posts: 6
    I will be changing the 2.5 engine in my 2002 Altima. Any comments on sources of rebuilt engines would be appreciated. Right now I'm leaning toward Power Train Products. Also I am trying to figure out what to do with the precat. Replace, gut, or remove. If it is replace, then I wonder who has a reliable unit. I have heard EMI sells an aftermarket precat that is good. Anyone have any experience with these issues?
  • electricdesignelectricdesign Posts: 677
    edited October 2010
    Well, the Altima runs, sometimes. The precat repair is good, but the head gasket has began to seep a little again. I put sealer in the radiator to hold it, but I just don't trust this engine. Then lately the engine has been dying on her in traffic for no reason, After sitting on the side of the road a minute, it restarts and runs ok. The car would never act up when she brought it to me, check engine light is off, scanned computer, found no stored codes. No apparent reason for it to be quitting. She was also unhappy with it because she had water leaks near the rearview mirror and doors, the cheap plastic door handle broke off, and 3 electric windows would not work, the window in the driver door barley works. There were so many things wrong with it, she just wanted to get rid of it. Too many things to fix! Fortunately she got an inheiritance and a job and was able to have enough money to get another car. We have no faith in the cheap quality of these cars. Good luck with yours.
  • sjv3sjv3 Posts: 5
    I replaced the engine in my 2003 after having a blown HG at 93k miles and went with a reman'd engine right from Nissan. A good mechanic sold it to me at his cost ($2300) and installed it for $1000. Considered fixing it, but too many have the problem return. Nissan dealer was quoting $5k for the same job, same warranty. I never had any pre-cat issues, had the mechanic check that it was intact before reinstalling. 2 weeks later I got the 420 code for insufficient catalyst. I think the steam from the leaky gasket fried the pre-cat, but it never broke apart. I considered gutting it or installing the header, but went with a new Nissan pre-cat (another $500) to maintain the warranty and avoid the SES light. Mechanic installed for free since he felt bad he advised me to reuse the old one. The only other reman engine I considered was from a local installer selling RMP (Ford rebuilder), but stuck with the Nissan. Not sure it will be any better, but I hope to get another 90k miles at least.
  • bdp1bdp1 Posts: 6
    I was hoping to eliminate the precat one way or the other, but it seems to be an integral part of a replacement engine warranty. I haven't quite figured out if it is a weakness in the precat that causes it to fail or if it is an engine issue, as you describe, that starts the precat failure and then the total demise of the engine. I only hope that all the new stuff is better than the old. (And then a tree will fall on it.)
  • Additional note to my previous messege - the miles on the 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S is 150,000 miles, so we consider ourselves lucky to get that many miles out of it with the original engine. Also the oil consumption was getting higher, my daughter never really kept track of it, she just bought 5 quart jugs of oil and dumped oil in the engine whenever it needed it, which seemed to be often. There were several of those empty large 5 qt motor oil jugs in the trunk along with two empty one gallon antifreeze jugs. Needless to say the engine was in bad shape, due to the damage caused by the previous precat and head/ring problems.
  • rondholrondhol Posts: 32
    edited October 2010
    thanks for the complete reply ED. I have been using it for 32k miles since the head gasket job, got new pre-cat under 80k/8years federal emission law (coolant poisoning). Everything runs Ok, except light pinging at part throttle during dry weather. Probably the compression is a little too high or my Oxygen sensor need to be replaced (coolant poisoning). I have unused Mass air flow sensor for $40 (for sell) if anyone need it.

    You can sell the altima to cheap autodealer that fixing car before they sell it. Some dealers do complete rebuild engine.
  • ramoallramoall Posts: 1
    edited November 2010
    I seem to be at the right place.I have a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5s I bought in Jan this year. Everything went well untill my crank position sensor went. I replaced it, but my ses light came on and my engine overheated. Opened the hood found that I was burning oil and loosing coolent. It shakes when I start for the first five seconds. I took it to the Nissan dealer for the complimentary 100 point check. The joker got in the car started it up, felt it shake and told me it would cost me about 4 grand to fix the problem. Didnt even put it on the lift or pop the hood. I owe 3800 on the car. I called NNA and filed a complaint. I see some people talking about a class action lawsuit with the BBB. I live in upstate NY if anyone can give me some advice on how to beat these clowns at their own game it would be appreciated. Otherwise a mechanic told me he can do the head gasket timing chain and water pump all for 950 cash.. Worth it or not?
  • I am very sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately Nissan does not stand behind their product after the warrenty expires. If you read all the messeges in the Nissan Altima Engine Failure forum on, you will read many sad stories of 2002 Nissan Altima owners with the same problems, including my story. Unfortunately, none of us have a legal leg to stand on, because Nissan does not have any responsiblity after the warrenty expires. You would think that if they cared about their customers, they would help out the Altima owners with these problems. But they apparantly do not care, I think that the best thing to do is get rid of the car and never buy Nissan again, tell everyone you know not to buy Nissan, and spread the word as best as you can. I think this problem came about because 2002 was a brand new 4 cylinder engine in the Altima, and it is best to stay away from the "new" stuff until time proves them to be reliable. Nissan built a new engine plant in Dercherd Tennesee, and hired people to build the new engines starting in 2002. I believe that in the first year they did not have quality control in the engine building process, some of the engine rings could have been installed wrong, some of the power valve screws where not tightened well enough and some of the computers weren't programed correctly, causing the fuel mixture to run slightly rich at times and overheat the catalytic converter, which in turn threw ceramic dust back into the engine and produced early excessive wear of the cylinders, pistons and rings. In short, those first engines where put together with shoddy workmanship, and a lack of quality control, thus the early engine failures. I have not heard of any sucess with any lawsuits against Nissan. So your present position is that you are unfortunately SCREWED. Whoever sold you the car knoew it was a POS, and they wanted to sell it to get rid of their problem. If it did not have the problem before, they probably knew that it would probably get the problem. We sold our 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S with 150,000 miles to a young man, He was told all about the problems with the car, but he said his wife wanted it bad and he was willing to fix it, So we sold it to him for $2,000.00 on 10/21/2010.
    The guy is not a Joker, because he knew exactly what is was, probably seen it hundreds of times before. I would have done the exact same thing. This is a known issue with these cars. The price you got for the head gasket repair is a very good price, BUT it will not do you any good if the engine is damaged and using too much oil. If you have to add a quart of oil in less than 1000 miles, it uses too much, and it will need a new engine. Tell the mechanic when he pulls the intake manifold off to be sure to check the power valve screws, it is best to remove them and put locktight on the threads and reinstall new screws. Also have mechanic check the bottom of the head and the top of the engine block to make sure they are perfectly flat and straight. The heads usally warp and need to be milled flat. Very important to replace or hollow out the Pre-Catalytic Converter (it is in the exhaust manifold). See previous 582 posts about all of this.
    Good luck to you. Let us know how you do.
  • 1. I have a whistling or whining noise which is particularly pronounced upon deceleration coming to a stop.

    2. Shortly after take off from the curb, the automatic door locks clink on, and shortly therafter, I have a " clunck clunck clunck clunck with vibration"noise coming from the underside of the car toward the back. All of my passengers in the car have experience these noises with me.

    Any ideas what these may be related to? The car is brand new, only has 4000 km on it.

  • 1. I have a whistling or whining noise which is particularly pronounced upon deceleration coming to a stop.

    That's called the engine breaking. You will feel more when you go down the hill.

    2. Shortly after take off from the curb, the automatic door locks clink on, and shortly therafter, I have a " clunck clunck clunck clunck with vibration"noise coming from the underside of the car toward the back. All of my passengers in the car have experience these noises with me.

    That's the ABS activation. I'm not too happy with the noise as well but that's how it's. You only hear that first thing in the morning after the car has been stopped for a couple hours.
  • i've never had a problem with my 98 altima runs (ran) great and driving home tonight the check engine light came on and at the very same second the engine just stopped like a switch was turned off and brakes went out too, did not putter or nothing , now the lights on dash comes on and it makes the turn over noise but its like there is nothing there for it to catch on to turn over. any ideas what happend? I am 5 payments tull paid off :(
  • not sure if I posted this correct I am new and just wanted to see if anyone could help me.
  • The engine on our 2002 Altima 2.5L has failed at 76,000 miles. I won't bore you with the details since they are the same as everyone else's. The car is junk.
  • I just had my 2002 2.5L nissan altima engine replaced by the local Nissan dealership, fort pierce nissan, at my expense, almost $4500. I called Nissan NA consumer affairs dept. today and was told that they would not re-imburse me for my expenses. I feel very strongly that Nissan sold me a defective automobile and that this expense should be their's , not mine.
    What are my options ..? Have I any options..?
  • sjv3sjv3 Posts: 5
    You can try talking with Nissan reps, but probably will not get anywhere. I had a regional rep promise help when my engine HG went bad (he said if any further repair was needed contact him) When the engine needed replacement he said nothing could be done based on mileage (94k) and age of car. This was a perfectly maintAined car and I am the original owner. This engine is bad news. Nissan lost me as a customer. Just bought a V6 Ford fusion and it gets better mpg than the altima 2.5.
  • Is the engine failures a problem on the new Altimas also? The 2010 and 2011 ??
    this may make me reconsider the car. Also, has the Maxima had this type of problem?
  • sjv3sjv3 Posts: 5
    Not sure about the 2010s. Same size engines, but may be different. Maximal only has v6s
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