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Nissan Altima Engine Failures



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Well first off consider this RECALL:


    Nissan/Altima 2002 2005-2006

    Nissan/Sentra 2002 2005-2006

    MANUFACTURER: Nissan North America, Inc.


    MFR'S REPORT DATE: November 08, 2007

    COMPONENT: Engine and Engine Cooling

    On certain passenger vehicles equipped with a 2.5L engine, the crankshaft position sensor can overheat causing a brief interruption in the signal output from the sensor.

    If the interruption in the signal from the crankshaft position sensor is so brief that the Electronic Control Module (ECM) logic does not have time to diagnose the condition, the engine may stop running without warning while the vehicle is driven at a low speed increasing the risk of a crash.
    Dealers will reprogram the ECM free of charge. Certain M/Y 2006 Altimas which have been previously remedied under recall campaign 06V223000 (Nissan R0606) are not included in this recall since the reprogramming for 06V223000 also included this reprogramming. The recall is expected to begin on or about December 10, 2007. Owners may contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261.

    This is an expansion of a previous campaign (06V223000). Customers can also contact The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

    Component Description
    The crankshaft position sensor (POS) is located on the cylinder block rear housing facing the gear teeth (cogs) of the signal plate at the end of the crankshaft. It detects the fluctuation of the engine revolution.

    The sensor consists of a permanent magnet and Hall IC. When the engine is running, the high and low parts of the teeth cause the gap with the sensor change.

    The changing gap causes the magnetic field near the sensor to change.

    Due to the changing magnetic field, the voltage from the sensor changes.

    The ECM receives the voltage signal and detects the fluctuation of the engine revolution.


    1. Loosen the fixing bolt of the sensor.
    2. Disconnect crankshaft position sensor (POS) harness connector.
    3. Remove the sensor.

    These sensors can be checked by an ohm meter but I don't have the terminal positions or the values. A repair manual would probably show you these.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • hey thanks alot. its my wifes car and she never really took care of so i get stuck driving it around.i try to see if its been fixed for the recall yet. thanks again!!!!
  • larzodlarzod Posts: 1
    Hello all,

    I am new to the forum. My engine is making this loud vibration when I am at a stop. the vibration is a little less noticable when it is a park or neutral. I was told by jiffy lube that it was the tension pulley and that the belt was fine. I took it in to the delership the service person that writes up the service ticket (not a mechanic) told me it was the alternator.

    Is there anyway to find out which one it is. The dealership told me that it was going to cost 600.00 for just the alternator plus labor. jiffy lube told me they don't do that kind of work put the tension pulley should not cost more than 50.00, and 60.00 for labor.

    Thanks for your help
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    They could both be right. the altenator has a tension pully on it. I don't know if it's removable or if the whole altenator has to be replaced. anyway, if the car is out of warranty then there is no way in hell I'd have the dealership do the work on it. They'll easily charge you 20% or more than an idependant repair shop would. If I were you, I'd take it to a garage that you trust and get a third opinion.
  • jensdadjensdad Posts: 1
    There are a lot more than 25 others with this problem. There are hundreds if not thousands and Nissan claims they know nothing. My daughter has the exact oil consumption issue and from my research it apprears to be caused by the catt converter being sucked into the engine and scoring the motor. Did you file a complaint with the gov? I think everyone should.

    Above is the link. We have because she cannot afford the $5,000 they say it costs to replace ther motor.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    you realize your replying to an 8 month old post?
  • My check engine lite came on so I took it to the local Autozone and they ran a check and said it was a O2 sensor but did not say which one, I understand there are two sensors. If so which one would it most likely be and what is the best brand to get, I was told by one parts sales person that the Bosh O2 sensors don't work well on the Altima? I know the universal ones need to be spliced in, that don't sound to reliable to me with water and dirt getting into a splice. I have 100,000 mile on the car and it is in otherwise very good condition I don't have any other issues. Thanks.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Unless they're very expensive, I'd just replace both of them. that way you should have at least 100k more miles before you have to worry about it. but, if its expensive, or you don't have or want to spend the extra money, then just buy one, replace one of them but keep the one you take out, and see if the light check engine light goes out. if it does, you got the right one. if it doesn't, then replace the other one with the one you took out.
  • Hi,

    Our Service Engine Light came on a couple of days ago and we've noticed that car was using more oil than should have been. We have 119K on the car which we bought new in 02. Went on-line to research and found 100's of posts about the converter failure and the need for new engines that Nissan isn't taking responsibility for. I spoke with a service advisor at a local Nissan dealership yesterday and was told that the problem is so common, that Nissan recently extended the factory warranty to 15 years/150K miles for 04's, 05's and 06's. Of course, our car was not included. He explained what is happening to the engines and advised me to call Nissan Headquarters and open a case. I called and opened a case and then made an appointment with the dealership to take care of the latest recall that we weren't notified of. Took the car in this morning and was told that the recall was taken care of the last time we brought the car in so Service Engine light is still on and is being caused by an Engine Misfire. I was told for more information, we would have to have a diagnostic test performed. I'm fairly confident I know what the results are going to be. Could you fill me in a little further about your case? I'm willing to fight to the top to get this resolved. Thanks in advance.
  • Yes that does sound logical but the problem is the sensors are different. and they run about 160.00 each from the dealer, after market would be cheaper but still around100.00 each. Thanks for the reply .
  • I recently got a recall on my nissan altima for a electronic control module. When I went to have it replaced I was informed that I would have to replace my battery which I haven't had any problem with. Personally, I think nissan should include this in my recall if that is what it takes to replace the part that they are recalling. They wanted $139.00 for the battery.
  • I have a 2004 Nissan altima. Last year I stopped to refuel and it would not start back up. When we came back a couple of hours later with a mechanic friend it started no problem. thought maybe just a fluke or bad gas. Two days later I was once again stranded. Mechanic friend hooked up diagnostic comp and said my camshaft sensor was out. I called Nissan for the part they said I need to bring it there because their diagnostic comp would be more accurate. 160$ later I picked it up with the camshaft sensor replaced. Worked ok for a little over a year but sometimes felt like it would "miss" or like it was'nt getting gas. Then it started just dying while I was idling or if I slowed to turn and even just going at regular speed. Once again took to mechanic (had a/c issues and thermostat replaced also) 409$ later I picked it up with a new camshaft sensor. (of course Nissan said the other one was quaranteed for one year. replaced first time Jan 2007 second time Sept 2008. When I called about guarantee I was informed of some sort of recall with the ECM.(I had to ask about that becauses someone had mentioned it to me) I made appointment to have them reset that and was told I need oil change and air filter. So when I picked up my car I thought I was finished. Less than a month later it started taking along time to turn over. Finally leaving me once again stranded. We replaced the camshaft sensor again ourselves but it still takes along time to start (to the point of panic) we also had autozone test the was bad so we replaced it too. I have been reading on the computer that the CRANKSHAFT sensor is a problem also...we are replacing that today. I love the look of the Nissan Altima and was hoping to trade up to the Nissan Maxima. but I have read alot of bad stuff about this problem, and mine is really giving us major problems right now. I have 78000. miles. I expected to get more out of it.
  • Sorry to hear about oil problems. I have an 03 with a 3.5 engine and just spent 750.00 for a mass air flow repair, tow and air filter. $550.00 new part at my regular repair shop. At 75k, extended warranty just ran out two months earlier. I just gave it a little gas and it hesitated and then finally would not start. Replaced altenator and new battery at 35k. new battery at 74k. now at 77k service engine soon light on? how much to ck it out? Rides terrible, feel every bumb. trunk wont close every time, have to flip switch inside. electrical problems with fog lights wont turn off. I have to turn headlights on manuelly. Dealer in San Antonio said Nissan doesnt know how to repair it! may go back to chevy, pay $1000's less compared to imports. We just cant WIN! R. P.
  • I know nothing about cars(ducks). When accelerating the car seems to be "catching" when it is changing gears(automatic). The rpms gauge will stall at about 2rpm's, the car will continue accelerating, and then will drop speed an almost lunge, "catch" until it finds the next gear and i can speed up some more.

    It seems to go from 1st gear to 2nd, then almost back to 1st, then to 2nd, then to 3rd, then back to 2nd, then back to 3rd, etc,etc. A lot of jerking movements,and the fastest i've gone is roughly 40mph under these conditions on about a 2 mile straightaway.

    I don't know how else to explain it. Any ideas? I will be happy to answer any questions.

  • 2003 Altima SE 3.5 with only 45Kmi on it. Was *shocked* at last oil change/service when dealer told me the 'engine was on order'. As you can imagine, I have my twice-yearly oil changes after only about 4kmi! Turns out the 3.5's have TWO of the little bugger pre-cats to fail on you. In response to my complaint about 'heat shield rattle' the dealer pulled the bank 1 cat and it showed signs of deterioration. $6K is the approximate replacment cost and currently Nissan is supposed to be picking up the tab (will let you know how things get on) and for what it's worth I'm in Canada. We have bi-annual emissions inspections up here so not sure if I can go aftermarket header....coring the precats is an invisible option I suppose but the dealer won't do it, so I'll have to pay someone to take it all apart again...

    Dealer was evasive on the 'what happens when it happens again' question. Consensus was it wouldn't be covered a second time... So much for my plans to keep this car for another 8-10 years. Not of course that it will make it, as every problem I've had (other than this one) has been corrosion related and that's not likely to stop anytime soon.

    I have to say, after having both headlights replaced, the rear subframe replaced and now the V6 engine and precats on order....Nissan will have spent over $10K fixing this unlike most here I still have a modicum of faith in the brand. Of course, I have to have my rear brakes replaces every 18 months because of corrosion related crap...oh, and the ABS sensor is moved out of alignment when the rear bearing caps corrode...$500 whammy which if you don't address quickly burns out your $3000 ABS unit due to frequent and excessive engagement.

    That said I'm scared silly that this will be an ongoing issue, one that will seriously erode the trade-in values unless I act quickly. I also have read that the stupid engine mounts can fry your ECM....who would've thought? What's next...opening doors will cause your gas tank to explode?!?

    I'm still debating whether to stick it out or bail, but to anyone fence sitting on this issue, I'd suggest you run, not walk, away from these engines (QR25 and QR35's) which unfortunately means most of Nissan's lineup.


    PS I suspect it all started with a badly setup mixture in the I'm going to push for an ECM reprogram too. No other reason for those cats to self-destruct, and there is a strong unburnt fuel smell when starting the car on cold days, and has been for years.
  • My check engine light on my '02 altima said that i had a cylinder 2 was running fine. I replaced all of the spark plugs and after a couple of days the check engine light came back on and has stayed on. Now my car is not wanting to start, and when it does it makes a horrible noise. But once it does start, it runs fine.Any ideas?
  • New to the forum, and have read many posts relating to the Cat Converter. Similar issues, CEL and SES lights. After diagnostic the PO420 code came up. Took to dealer to handle recalls and was told the Cat Converter needed to be replaced. I bought pre-owned, certified w/ 33k miles, now has 85k and I'm being told it is out of warranty. Trying to fight it with Nissan USA, has anyone had any luck doing this?? I am awaiting a call from a "regional customer service" person....any help is MUCH appreciated...thanks...
  • Found out today I am in the same boat with you. 3K miles out of warranty - of course. If you wouldn't mind keeping me up to date on your progress with customer service, I will greatly appreciate it. I am going to start making the same calls myself tomorrow and will let you know my progress as well. Seems this is far too big of an issue that Nissan is obviously aware of for me to simply fork the money over.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    If I'm not mistaken, there is a recall out on your year for a crank position sensor.

    link title
  • hi guys. I just joined.,and have been reading everyone's comments on this oil and engine problem. We also have a 2002 Nissan Altima. We got our engine and transmission oil changed expactly about 4 weeks ago....3 wks after we started getting the oil sign...........3 days after , one morning the engine had started makinga very rough sound. When we took it to the dealer ship near by...they told us that it the cat convertor and the engine need to be replace. and it would cost us $4500. Ya can an only 61/2 yr old car already need an engine replacement.
    We took it for a second opinion they said that it had something to do with one of the pistons miss firing. This place also informed us that they are pretty sure,there was some sort of a recall on either the engine or someething to do with the engine with the Altima and that we should definetely go back to Nissan.
    I will take the car to the dealership on Monday and will keep u all updated . I really hope there is a recall..........or else...........I 'm contacting NISSAN US for sure. Cars DO NOT NEED AN ENGINE REPLACEMENT IN 61/2 YEARS.

    I think there's a reason why most manufacturers only offer 5 years warranty on the powertrain. I know most engines can be last longer than 5-6 years but the chance that something will be broke down is higher after 5 years.
  • Sorry for the delayed response, I have been waiting for a call from a Regional Service Representative. Which I just received. Nissan USA will not be providing me any financial assistance for the Cat Converter problem. Their stance is that if it is past 80k miles it is no longer their problem. I can not convey my level of frustration. If this was a unique/isolated situation I would have no problem with the decision, but given the fact that the issue is widespread for a lot of Altimas I feel that this is very poor customer service. I would not recommend the Nissan Altima to anyone with the slightest interest of any model or year.
  • Well, they did it.

    I have a brand new V6 engine, 2 x new pre-cats and 2 x new oxygen sensors installed in my 7yr old car with only 45kmi on it ALL courtesy of Nissan. I have no idea of the final cost (~$6K), but the page of gaskets required must've run $500 or more alone... Acceleration rattle has *finally* gone away! Presumably so too the mysteriously disappearing oil problem... It took them two days to do.

    (BTW the car passed it's emissions test not 3 months earlier with flying colours, and no lights, no SES, no oil, ever came on)

    Dealership swears up and down that the new parts have improved formulations and won't suffer the same breakdown as the original parts. ECM was not reprogrammed. I'm going to keep the car, as I still like driving it a lot, and even if it does melt down in another 7 years...I'll probably have got my money's worth. That said, I'm so glad I hadn't packed the miles on it like I used to, or I would've blown the 8yr/130km warranty and be stuck with the mother of all repair bills (like so many on this site)...and be in a bit of a quandary, as in to how to dispose of the car-cass least recklessly...

    Thank you Nissan for standing by your product (well, to a point).
  • I own a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5l with 73,000 miles. The SES light turned on 2 days after I had the oil changed and air filter replaced. I was able to find out the error code myself and it was reading ATF temperature sensor error. I then took the car to the dealership and was charged $100 to be told that it was indeed an ATF temperature sensor error and then an additional $200 to have the transmission fluid replaced. The dealership said the computer was reading a solenoid malfunction but when the mechanic checked it he concluded that there was nothing wrong so they just changed the transmission fluid.

    One week after having the light reset at the dealership and the transmission fluid replaced the SES light came on again. This time the code is p0302 (cylinder 2 misfire). I am not sure what to do at this point because the dealership told me that if the light were to come back on I would have to replace the solenoid which would cost about $600-$700. Although, I am hesitant because the error code is now something else.

    After reading several post from others with the similar dilemma I am not sure what to do. I feel like this SES light coming on is a chain reaction to many other problems and will only turn out to be money spent on a never ending problem. If someone could please give me some advice, it would be greatly appreciated. I am a girl and feel that every time I go to the Nissan dealership I am hustled and end up paying hundreds of dollars for minor problems all the while the mechanic is ignoring the major problem.
  • I check in here frequently, so myself and others here will be able to give you some advice.

    First, it is good that you are able to get the DTC's read for you, probably at an autoparts store or friend. Every person that drives a modern car should have or have acess to a DTC reader, one that can read the codes and clear the codes, at the minimum. There are better code Scanners that do more functions for more money, but those Scanners are for people who are more mechanical and work on their cars. I think owning a good Scanner is a very wise investment, I use mine for all my cars, and sometimes my friends cars. Seach for them with Google. So rule one is to be able to read the Codes and be able to clear the codes (turn off the SES light).
    Second, interpreting codes and repairing the problem can be done by places other than just the dealer. It would not hurt to have someone else look at the car and tell you what is wrong, what needs to be fixed and how much it will cost. A lot of places will take a look at it at no cost, so look around and find a good mechanic shop, and shop the market and the prices. If the car seems to be running ok with no problem, and the code is read and it does not seem to be a critical problem or a life safety problem, then clear the code to turn off the SES light, and see if the SES light returns. If it does, then investigate the problem further. If you have a real transmission problem or a real engine problem , you will be able to FEEL it or HEAR it, So rule two is to shop around.

    Third, I am not sure why the transmission error code apppeared and then went away. The best thing to do with this is to monitor the situation and see if it comes back, instead of automatically throwing money at it. In fact, just because the SES light comes on, does not mean you have to spend money on it. So rule three is don't spend money on the car just because the SES light came on, check it out and research it first. Google the Code number and find out all about it, and then ask about it on here.

    Fourth, the PO302 code is cylinder 2 misfire, have you noticed and missing or engine not seem to run right, sluggish, hesitation, stalling, hard starting or anything like that? Reset and clear the code and see if it comes back. This could be caused by several things. If it comes back, you may have to have a mechanic do some general test to find out the general health of the engine and try to pinpoint the problem. Some test may include a cylinder compression test, a vaccum test, a cylinder leakdown test, ignition test, fuel injector test, sensors test, wiring test, etc. After researching the problem, ask back here if you need to.

    So in general, if the car seems to be running ok with no problem, and the code is read and it does not seem to be a critical problem or a life safety problem, then clear the code to turn off the SES light, and see if the SES light returns. If it does, then investigate the problem further. If you have a real transmission problem or a real engine problem , you will be able to FEEL it or HEAR it,
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • We also own a 2002 Nissan Altima and are also experiencing a very similar problem as yours. We just in the last month spend approx 1500 doing all the maintenance and changing all he oils and etc., etc. Something is definetely wrong with it now. The SES sign keeps coming of and on. THe car is sucking up the engine oil like crazy. We just put 3 qts in last week and the OIL SIGN is coming up again.
    One dealer ship says we need to replace the engine and another says our cylinder is misfiring. We also went back to the dealership we bought the car from, to check all the recalls and supposedly we've got everythig done and the problem we are having has nothing to do with the recalls. THe dealership, also suggested that we should call the MANUFACTURER, NISSAN USA and explain the problem to them and if they get enough complaints they may HAVE to do something. SO I WOULD SUGGEST, TO EVERYONE HERE ON THIS SITE TO CALL NISSAN @ 1-800-NIS-SAN1 AND COMPLAIN ABOUT THE PROBLEM WE ARE ALL HAVING. I KNOW, I'M GOING TO CALL THEM FIRST THING TOMORROW MORNING.
    I think it's rediculous that I have to pretty much get rid of this car and buy a new one, only after 61/2 yrs. I'm not giving up on this easily.
    Reading everyone's experiences here enssures me that there is obviously a manufactures defect in this model.
    By the way you should not feel hastled you because you are a girl. I am a girl , I understand how you feel. At this time, I can only suggest that you also make that one phone call to Nissan and lets see what happens. I'm ready to make sure that Nissan has a good explanation for this or they will never hear the end of it.
  • Hi, i have been reading some of these messages and i seem to be having similar problems with my altima. problem started while i was driving, i was going around 45 mph when all of a sudden my car turned off. later i tried turning it on but would, i tried again, this time it did start but after it did about five seconds later it turned back off. i don't know what could be the problem, i don't really have money right now to take it in to a shop, so i'm asking you guys if anyone could give me some hints on what could the problem be.
  • gp0137gp0137 Posts: 2
    I've just found this website and am in the very same boat with the rest of you!!! My 2002 Altima started having problems a couple of years ago, they performed all the recalls on it and it's been constant problems for the last year. They replaced the catalytic converter last April, then in Nov. we were astounded to learn that it's sucking oil at incredible rates. We are prepared to "dump it" as soon as possible, but it angers me to think that Nissan has produced such a horrible product. How can a car with 58,000 miles on it be ready for the trash??? Has anyone gotten ANY satisfaction from Nissan?
  • fbonerfboner Posts: 4
    You are under the 80kmi emissions warranty. Regardless of 4/6 cyl status, Nissan will replace your engine for you under this warranty. In my case, I got new cats and oxygen sensors too.


    After the engine was replaced, I suddenly needed a new $800 MAF (mass airflow sensor) to cure stumbling problems on accelerations and a lot of unburnt gas smell on cold startups. I actually think the failed MAF was the root cause of all of this, as the excess unburnt fuel would be dealt with primarly by the pre-cats which would lead to premature breakdown (dealership told me the method of failure of the catalytic material is micro-detonations in the honeycomb structure...well blobs of fuel spraying out with hot exhaust gases ought to qualify).

    My biggest beef is that no warning light ever came on, not for the low oil, not for the failed MAF and O2 sensors, not for the failed pre-cats.

    As I stated in my post (Nov 23?) above I did get full satisfaction in terms of an engine replacment...though I only had 45kmi on it.
  • gp0137gp0137 Posts: 2
    Thanks for your reply. We, like you, got no warning light of the low oil- it just failed to start and had no oil in it! We called the local dealership and amazingly, they had no knowledge of any other Altimas with these problems!! We've decided at this point that we're not going to pursue this any further, but will dump it and be finished with this car! It's just no longer worth the headaches, and will definitely not buy another Nissan product!
    Again, thanks
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