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Nissan Altima Engine Failures



  • I'm having the same issues with Nissan. I have a 2003 Altima and never had one issue with this car until the cats went out in November. Come to find out there were recalls I never got from Nissan (single owner) and one is the Exhaust System, including a hanger pin on the muffler that becomes loose and causes road debris to get into the cats and then that causes the head gaskets to blow. Nissan refuses to help with anything. I need a new engine but because it's an 03 with 104000 miles I'm SOL. I think that Nissan is being completely irresponsible with their decisions regarding this issue. I feel like I got the run around. First rep I talked to was very nice and understanding and she told me once I got my car to the dealer and got the results to call her. I called 3 times leaving messages each return call. The 2nd person I talked to said that is normal procedure. They considered my case "closed" because I hadn't gotten back to them. It was 1 week after I got my results plus 3 un-returned phone calls. Nissan refuses to stand behind their product. I'm at a loss as to what to do. I'm lucky my husband has a car that we are having to share at this point in time. I'm disgusted by Nissan but won't give up yet. Any advice is appreciated! Good luck to us all!
  • tonderstonders Posts: 3
    My grandfather just went out and bought me a 2002 Nissan Altima. He bought the car on his own and bought it for me as a surprise gift. I've been reading about the 2.5 engine and how the catalytic converter ruins the engine. Being that I don't want to be ungrateful, since I just received a fairly new car for free, I am going to take the car even if it is a 2.5. My question is what can i do to prevent the engine failure? I suspect that the catalytic converter was not replaced considering there is only 86,000 miles on the car. If the catalytic converter is taken out before it ruins the engine will the car then be ok? I apologize for such basic questions, but I've become very paranoid that my grandfather just bought me a car which is doomed from the start. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  • If he bought the 02 Altima from a Nissan dealership they may have extended the warranty out to 100K miles. Check with the local Nissan dealership if the vin number has any recalls outstanding, they had several on mine. This will also inform them of the total service history of the vehicle since it was built by Nissan and the dealership that sold it originally. You could have the dealership do an oil change and test the oil for evidence of contamination with the pre-catalytic converter medium. If there is evidence of contamination, then the damage has already been done. My 02 Altima lasted 160K before the engine gave out... keep me informed and good luck. Dave.
  • Take it to your nearest Nissan dealer and ask if there are any open recalls on this particular car. If there are...get them fixed. It's a recall so it shouldn't cost you anything. My issues would have been fixed if I'd known about the recalls on my 03 Altima. Just watch the vehicle and if it starts to burn oil get it check immediately. The closer to 100,000 miles the more you need to watch. My car was fine til I reached 100,000....then it went down the tubes. Good luck!
  • ndiboyndiboy Posts: 36
    My 02 2.5s altima just refused to start so what could be the problem? Initially the mechanic said its a fuel pump problem but after changing the pump it was still same old story. Then the throttle body which was also changed to no avail. I had to use a friends car to do the test myself as the spending was becoming too much. I later discovered that it seems the AIR FLOW METER was the problem as it didnt start my friends car but his own was able to start mine after i removed the new fuel pump and put my friends own as they also condemned mine.
    The problem now is can air flow meter make a car not to stop??
    Down here they sell the stuff inside the casing and not with the casing and to lose the stuff is not easy as it doesnt use the regular allen key.
    Need your response fast as the car has been parked for 3weeks now.
    Thanks, Chuma.
  • pibzzpibzz Posts: 6
    Go to a race shop - and have the precat taken out

    you can either hollow it out, or replace it with a racing header. I opted to replace mine with a header / manifold the part looks like this hrome_Header_Exhaust_-_TS-HE-NA93-C/637902/

    but any brand is okay. The shop will have to install two "cheaters" which are small 2 inch spacers for the 02 sensors, so the SIS engine light does not trip. The first one goes into the new manifold, and the second one goes right in front of the back cat.

    These spacers put an extra inch of air flow in the cat, so it doesn't realize there is no pre cat upstream. The car will make a touch more polution but only when its warming up, once its warm the back cat does all the work anyway.

    You will notice about 15 hp increase in power, and about 10% better milleage - I did a new cold air intake with mine, and I'm very impressed with the power and mileage gains.

    My Altima had 80K on it when I did this mod, it now has 100K with ZERO problems.

    I had all the work done for less than $300 (including the cold air intake). Get it done ASAP as those pre cats can fail at any second. And your engine will be toast.
  • ndiboyndiboy Posts: 36
    Just to let you guys know that after changing the flow meter the car is back on the road again. the only problem now is that i have to start it like three times before it starts. i am thinking of what they did to the fuel pump ie changing the hoses when they initially thought it was the problem.
    Hope some people would have benefitted from this that is if you read the earlier post on mass ait flow meter.
  • pibzzpibzz Posts: 6
    I heard the the K&N cold air intakes , or the K&N filter (oiled) that fits in the stock air box, can DESTROY the mass airflow meter.

    So if you use an aftermarket stock filter, or a cold air intake, make sure the cone filer or box filter is NOT OILED. (Most K&N's are oiled)

    The oil somehow gets on the mass airflow meter and kills it.

    So use stock air filter OR if you have a cold air, make sure the cone is not oiled.

    K&N claims that the oiled filters do not affect the sensors

    But I have heard otherwise from mechanics I trust

    Two cents - for what its worth.
  • ndiboyndiboy Posts: 36
    Thanks for the information, I found it really helpful and I will have to check it out and make appropriate adjustment.
    Thanks, Chuma.
  • masterbigrahmasterbigrah Posts: 8
    edited March 2011
    pibzz - O how I wish I would of seen your post a couple months ago. I'm at 108,000 miles and now need a new engine (after recently fixing the head gasket on the failed engine and cat converter for a cool $2500). The dealer has agreed to put in a re manufactured engine in it at their cost (ie no labor $$) for all my troubles but I'm still concerned about the precat failing and destroying the next engine. Removing the precat sounds like just the answer!

    I loved the car for the first 80,000 miles but it has been a complete nightmare since if started burning major oil and engine cylinder misfires (at about 80K miles conveinently just after the warranty expired).

    If you own a 2002-2003 Altima 2.5L with under 100K miles, REMOVE the precat or sell that sucker ASAP. Nissan has lost this lifelong customer and anyone else that is willing to listen to me!
  • I'm in the process of replacing my engine as well for my 2003 Altima 2.5L and Nissan consumer affairs was downright rude about my claim. I'm considering taking them to small claims court as I also replaced the headgasket on the failed engine and the cat converter for $2500 only for the engine to go majorly downhill after that. The only reason I'm replacing the engine is the dealer has agreed to install the engine at their cost for all my trouble.

    I also purchased this car new (from said dealer) and have babied the car over the last 7 years. Nissan is now dead to me....

    Has anyone had an luck taking on Nissan in small claims court? My car has 108K miles on it so I think my legal grounds are shaky. Hopefully they would just settle and I can get something back for my pain.
  • masterbigrahmasterbigrah Posts: 8
    edited March 2011
    I am going throught the EXACT same issues (108K miles on my 2003 Altima) and had the EXACT same experience with Nissan Customer Affairs. Talk about insult to injury! The dealer is playing stupid too which really chaps my hide!

    Lots of discussion of class action lawsuit but no sucess from what I can find. I guess there is too many other lower hanging lemons out there??

    Best thing we can do is encourage everyone you know not to buy a Nissan EVER!
  • I would seriously reconsider buying a Nissan. There styling is great but it is what's under the hood and how they treat their customers that counts.
  • I had the recall done at 40,000miles and my engine still failed at 108,000 miles because of the precat issue. It appears there are many others in my boat as well. I would suggest having that part of the exhaust removed/modded as that seems to be the only way to ensure the issue doesn't occur. Definitely watch the oil consumption because it can go downhill fast.

    Good luck!
  • tonderstonders Posts: 3
    Thanks a lot for your help. I plan on doing this modification. The 2002 Nissan which I have is currently running great, but I definitely want to ensure that it lasts. There are currently 97,000 miles on it and it just really worries me that so many people keep talking about how their engines go bad around 108,000.
  • tonderstonders Posts: 3
    Does anyone know once you purchase the header, do you also need to purchase a pipe to go along with it?
  • I am in the same boat as you. I took mine in for the recall at 22k and they didn't do anything. Now I'm at 107, and engine is on the verge of failing. Did Nissan do anything for you even though you were over the 100k mark?
  • Nissan Corporate didn't do anything for me. They told me, basically that I was SOL. The dealership, however bent over backwards for me and got me a great deal on a used car. I refused to put more money into my altima. As much as I loved the car initially, I had to get rid of it.
  • yelldogyelldog Posts: 3
    I hate my 2002 Altima. I hit 100K in 2008, the cat went out on the freeway, $1K hit at the dealership. That same year, the engine had to be replaced, another $3K hit. A week after the warranty expired on the 2nd cat, it went out again. Nissan is so sorry, they would not provide me any credit or help me out. I went after market and spent about $600.00. Jan 2011, my alternator went out, another $700.00 hit. It has been the biggest nightmare. At this point, I have to keep it just to depreciate all the money spent. Getting stranded and having no confidence, it is not a good feeling. I agree with masterbigrah, get rid of it before 100k, complete lemon. Atleast it has been paid for awhile.
  • nybrokernybroker Posts: 18
    I am considering an Altima 3.5SR -6Cyl engine those are ok please let me know if not this is a bit worrysome and I know Nissan support is the pits cant count on them for beans.
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