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Nissan Altima Engine Failures



  • I did not enquire as to the year of the remanufactured engine .. it was warranteed for 12 months or 12K miles .. I think .. the problem is not with the engine but the pre- cat ... its built in to the exhaust manifold. On the early model years the pre - cats would fail and get sucked back into the engine which promoted increased wear and increased oil cosumption.. and then catastrophic engin failure. They supposedly corrected the problem by the 2005 model year, so you are probably ok if you have a 2007 model ... and this is only the 2.5 l 4 cyl engine ... not the 3.5L V6 model.. hope this helps, and good luck..Dave.
  • was the engine you replace a remanufactured 2007 engine or was it the 02 engine? im asking becuase i 've had my nissan for almost 4 yrs and i never had any problems, (transmission was leaking in 09) but i purchase this car from a dealer ship and the engine has a seal of a remanufactured 2007 engine, the car fax shows in 07 the cat and engine were replaced and it runs pretty good. i wanted to know becuase im thinking of trading it in if im goin to end up with the same issues that everyone else is having :confuse:
  • is there a differenc in the engine you replace a remanufactured 2007 engine or was it the 02 engine? im asking becuase i 've had my nissan for almost 4 yrs and i never had any problems, (transmission was leaking in 09) but i purchase this car from a dealer ship and the engine has a seal of a remanufactured 2007 engine, the car fax shows in 07 the cat and engine were replaced and it runs pretty good. i wanted to know becuase im thinking of trading it in if im goin to end up with the same issues that everyone else is having
  • I know it's too late to warn you now, but you would have avoided all these Nissan Altimas 2.5 problems if you would have done your RESEARCH first, and NOT bought an Altima 2.5.

    I had to deal with these lemons since 2007, please read my first post on here, Post #75 and many many more after that. Nissan does not care anything about you or your problems with their cars, they just want you to buy their cars then forget about you!

    I STRONGLY URGE anyone to NOT buy a NISSAN. I will NEVER buy one, I now drive Toyotas, my brother and friend drives Hondas. The only cars that I could ever recommend for anyone to buy are Toyotas or Hondas.
    Please get rid of your Nissans, because they will only leave you stranded and suck your wallet dry!
    Please RESEARCH before you buy your next car.
    Good Luck, E.D. ISF
  • Thanks this has been very helpful! Yea they replace the cat also in 07 so Im hoping I dnt run into this problem I've had this Nissan for almost 4 yrs at 150000 miles and its been running good.
  • freeadventurerfreeadventurer Posts: 3
    edited November 2011

    I have read all your Posts; you are really professional, thank you for your good suggestion.

    Here is my problem: last month, I found the car was trembling and the problem of excessive oil consumption for my 2002 Altima; I took the car to MIDAS, the mechanic checked the car and told me the head gasket was bad, I also told him the your opinion of hollowing out the CAT for 2.5 Altima; the mechanic said the CAT was good, but he still emptied the CAT after changing the head gasket; however, 2 weeks later, the oil level was below the normal level again, the mechanic changed the oil the checked other parts, he said the pars are good, but now the oil level is below the normal level again, and the mechanic cannot find the problem. So, what do you think the problem for the excessive oil consumption? Thanks.
  • Free Adventure,
    The exact same thing happen to my 2002 Altima a couple years ago (a car I bought new and have babied!). The dealer first recommended adding sealing pellets to fix the head gasket leak as the car was already consumming oil and a new head gasket was $2000 (90K miles on the car). The sealing pellets worked for a few months but the issues continued. I finally agreed to have the head gasket replaced and while replacing the head gasket, they found I also need to replace the CAT. Paid $2500 for this. Very shortly afterward, the car really started cosuming oil (5 qts in 300 miles). I brought it back to the delaer and they said I needed a new engine.

    You are in the early stages of your engine failing. I would add some sealing pellets and unload that POS. I will never purchase a Nissan again.
  • freeadventurerfreeadventurer Posts: 3
    edited November 2011

    Thank you for your opinion.
    But I am a little confused: usually, excessive oil consumption of 2002 Altima is caused by the bad CAT (the engine sucks the chemical ceramic material of the CAT in and it scores the cylinder wall, so the engine will fail eventually); But the CAT of my car is still good and the mechanic has checked the engine, it is also good; furthermore, the CAT has already been hollowed out, so no material of the CAT will damage the engine.
    I am just wondering what problem caused the excessive oil consumption now------the head gasket was just replaced, the CAT and the engine are good.
    Actually, The CAT and engine are bad or have already been damaged (although the mechanic said they are good)? I need to let the mechanic carefully check the CAT and the engine again? Or I go to another garage to check the car? Or there is other problem caused the excessive oil consumption? sorry,I don't know much about cars.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,471
    How was this engine "checked"? The best way is a cylinder leakdown test--a mere compression test can fool you regarding internal engine wear.

    A clogged or defective PCV system can also cause oil consumption.

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  • How much oil is it consuming? My Altima starting consuming 1qt/3000miles or so for a couple years (65K-85K miles) before I had the head gasket and CAT issues. It is well documented that this engine does consume oil outside of the known CAT failure issue. My CAT was not hollowed out and the Nissan dealer could not/would not comment on the condition of the defective CAT and whether any part of it could of ended up in the engine. Immediately after the head gasket/CAT were replaced, it REALLY started consuming oil (6-7 qrts in 300 miles)and the engine was basically shot. The dealer did eventually work with me to get Nissan to replace my engine (After 6 months of fighting it without a vechicle even though it was 10K miles out of warranty). Otherwise they were not helpful and either wasn't aware of the CAT issues surrounding this model or would not admit that they were aware of the issues. The new cat is now hollowed out. From my understanding (NOT an expert opinion but a lot of research on the subject), I believe since your CAT is hollowed out, you should be safe from catastropic engine failure as long as you monitor the engine oil level regularly. Even though Nissan eventually did they right thing, it was 6 months of stress and frustration that I will not get back. That and the countless stories of others that have got the runaround from Nissan ragarding this same issue. Luckly I owned the car since it was new and had very detailed service records at the dealership.
  • masterbigrah

    Thank you for your reply.
    I will take the car for further research next week.
    And about the compression test, last month before the head gasket was changed, I asked the mechanic to do the test because I worry about the damage of CAT and engine; the mechanic said it is normal, I will confirm that next week.
  • Hello,

    I have an SES light on. We scanned for the code and received P0420 and P0010. Went to Nissan Dealer and they told my My CAT is bad and I also need a new engine.We found my previous owner had code p0420, p1122, p223 an P123. Called Previous owner and he said he fixed the problem with local mechanic, but no proof. Nissan told me it will take about $4100 to fix car with new engine/cat and everything. Should I go there or put used engine from local mechanic.

    Nissan did an inspection for $98 and also added some oil so I can use car for some days(hopefully).

    I am not sure what to do. Should I replace the engine (Used/New), Junk It, or trade-in if possible.
    Thanks for your help.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,471
    Well given the history of these engines, it seems like "used" is not a good idea at all.

    It's probably too valuable to junk, and you can't get much on a trade-in on a crippled car, so really the new engine is your only logical option IF...IF...the rest of the car is in good shape and you still want to drive it for another X years.

    If you're sick of it, or if it has other issues (bodywork, bad tires, broken AC etc) then you may have no choice but to trade it on something else.

    But really, you can't buy much of a used car for $4100.

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  • I really appreciate your advice. I am not sure if really my engine is going bad or not. It drives with no issues but SES light on. I am not sure if replacing CAT, o2 sensors and camshaft sensors are enough to resolve this issue of SES light? :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,471
    Well the engine itself can be tested with a cylinder leakdown test, and after that you'll know the extent of internal engine wear. If the engine tests okay, you can also test the cat and the 02 sensors. There's no reason to be guessing here with a shotgun blast replacing all possible causes for the SES light.

    but no sense replacing any parts on a car with a genuinely ailing engine.

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  • I think they only check for the code and gave me the following report:


    It took about 1 hr for the following report (MIL LIGHT DIAGNOSE)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,471
    Well it's a logical conclusion based on what we know of these engines but oil burning alone isn't going to kill the if the engine isn't too badly damaged, in theory you could replace the catalytic and drive on while dumping oil into it every 1000 miles or so. But if the internal damage is too great, of course you reach a point of absurdity with oil consumption. Did the car smoke like a mosquito fogger?

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  • No, the car smoke like a mosquito fogger?
  • I unfortunately received similar news on my 3.5S yesterday, also a 2002. Mistakenly I had assumed I replaced the entire CAT and all 02 sensors just this past March, but per my Mechanic, the $$1900 bill was only to replace 2 of 4 sensors and 1 of the 2 banks for the CAT. My '02 Altima has about 137K miles on it and seems to run fine outside of soft clunking reminiscent of a diesel engine (which I have been told is a result of the CAT requiring replacement).

    While part of me simply wants to run the car off a cliff, I'm just wondering if the quote received (basically $4K to replace all sensors and the CAT) are in line with average costs. I've had this mechanic for years and this is the first time I've come to question a quote or necessary repairs. The SES light is now off again and it seems like I have some time to repair, but I don't even think my car retails for much more than $5000-$6000 and am worried about any larger repairs that may be required in the next 12 months as I'm just out of college and already helping a sibling get through college. Mechanic advised the gasket cap may need to be replaced in a the next year, but outside of that, car/engine looks pretty good.

    So basically, since I really don't think I can afford a new car at this time, anyone know if $3800 is avg. repalcement for CAT and Sensors on a 3.5 Altima?
  • Hello,

    I am not sure how much will the CAT cost for 3.5S. But with the similar engine problem Nissan recommended me to replace whole engine (long block) cat + additional parts for about $4100. I do not have that much amount to place new engine and that later after few months some new issue.

    I had my car checked with local mechanic and he told I have to replace CAT. (He said it is dangerous to drive car with cat issues). Cat itself for my 2.5s will cost about $400-500(new) but along with that I am also planning to replace the two-three required sensors for $74-80 each. So overall it might cost about $1000-1200 for the car to run.

    Checking the car my local mechanic told engine still looks good(no abnormal sounds, no weird smoke release or anything).

    With this repair I will try to drive as much as I can and then sell/trade.
  • E.D.
    You seem to have had a lot of experience with the nissan 2.5 engine, so I decided to plague you with my questions. Of course, I also welcome any advice from other sources regarding this problem. My daughter-in-law to be has a 2004 nissan with a 2.5 engine. The car would not start for her the other day within minutes of shutting off the engine. She has over 176k miles on it and it is a used vehicle. The fuel pump comes on but the engine is not receiving any fuel. Oil use and level has not been a problem. Any suggestions? Please reply on post I will ck frequently.
    Thank you smedsleas
  • Thanks for the in hopes to start of the New Year fresh and worry-free...fingers crossed, I agreed to have the work done this week. The problem is that I already have 1/2 the cat replaced...just bank 2 in May for about $1500. The other bank (bank 1 is now failing) so have to replace bank 1 and remaining sensors (O2 ad NO2) to hopefully give me another 3-4 years with this baby. With replacing an engine belt, changing some fluids...I'm dropping about $1700 with taxes and all fees. Ugh...but better than a new $25K loan, especially with house or grad school on the horizon. Much appreciated.
  • guestkguestk Posts: 6

    So as an update on my recant post #655 yesterday I received SES(Service Engine Light Soon). Checked at Auto Zone with result of an P0011. Not sure what might be causing this as I replaced Camshaft Position actuator few weeks ago and drove about 450 miles with no issue. The light came on right after I filled my tank with mid grade fuel(octane) asn my mechanic told that will help my engine. Auto Zone stated three possibility.

    Definition for code" Intake valve control circuit failure bank1"

    Possible cause:
    " IVT control solenoid open or sorted"
    "cam/crank sensors out of phase"
    "dirt buildup at control valve"

    Not sure what further to do, waiting to hear back from my mechanic. Hopefully it's not much costly. Please let me know if you have any advise or suggestion Thanks.

    Nissan Altima 2002 2.5SL
  • pibzzpibzz Posts: 6
    there are two identical sensors that usually go out at the same time

    if you just changed the one sensor, you will need to change the other one as well

    One is on top "crank shaft position sensor"

    and the other is below is the "cam shaft sensor"

    both units are the same - both need changing
  • How many miles on your car? EPA has a mandate where converters are warrantied lonnger than factory warranties.
  • electricdesignelectricdesign Posts: 681
    edited March 2012
    Hello all. I rarely check in here anymore, since I got rid of the 2002 Altima 2.5 and I now happily drive Toyotas. I will try to briefly respond to some of you.

    Post # 656 by smedsleas - Your fuel pump runs, but no fuel to engine. The answer can only be 2 things, either no gas in gas tank or fuel pump is not pumping. If the fuel tank has gas, then check the fuel pump. The fuel pump is in the gas tank and has the fuel filter built onto the fuel pump, all serviced as one unit. Remove and replace the fuel pump to fix the problem. Since you said it was running, there must not be an electrical issue, can you hear it running?. When getting to the fuel pump, check that all hoses are connected and not kinked.

    Post #658 by questk - Definition for code" Intake valve control circuit failure bank1"
    Possible cause:
    " IVT control solenoid open or sorted"
    "cam/crank sensors out of phase"
    "dirt buildup at control valve"
    Ok, the IVT solenoid is fairly easy to reach and test on the outside of the engine. It is simply a solenoid valve operated by 2 wires, it controls oil flow to the IVT clutch on the end of the intake camshaft. The circuit can be checked, the solenoid can be removed, cleaned and checked. I'd get that done first.

    Post #641 by freeadventurer - If you have excessive oil consumtion, it means you have excessive wear in the engine cylinders, pistons and rings, no matter what your mechanic says, your engine is dying and you need to get rid of that POS and never get a Nissan again. The way to test is to do a cylinder compression test, or better yet a cylinder leakdown test. Get all results written down.

    My final advice is do not spend money fixing these cars, it's a big waste of your money! A GOOD car will run and take you where you need to go, all you have to do is put gas in it, change oil once in a while, put on tires and brakes maybe every 4 or more years, and that's it! That's all I do now with my Toyotas.

    That's all Folks! I only get by here on rare occassion, I will be out driving my car with no problems. So Mr Shiftright will take good care of answering your questions.
    Have a nice day,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida!
  • greg_degreg_de Posts: 1
    After reading many of these posts, I'm having 2nd thoughts about purchasing a used 2003 altima with 53k miles.

    There are 4 outstanding recalls... head lamp, water pump screen, engine programming change, and exhaust mods. The delaer said that the exhaust mods depend upon the code on the motor. Different codes identify different modification flow charts to include mufler hanger pin, pre cat, water pump, and more (not sure about crank shaft position and cam shaft sensors). My question is will these mods correct the cereamic dust resulting in pemature engine failure problem or should I still have the pre cat hollowed out or replaced with header.

    My mechanic will inspect and perform compression test for current status of engine. My test drive was fine (no SES lights, oil level ok, exhaust seemed ok). I knew the owner and know the car was driven lightly.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated
  • fbonerfboner Posts: 4
    Hi all,

    Like electricdesign, I don't come back often, even though I still own and drive my '03 Altima SE. My previous car was a super dependable Toyota Camry V6 5spd...but it was a little boring (some people like that in a car).

    This Altima has enough design flaws that you should run screaming like a mad man for the horizon rather than touch this car at 10 years of age. I did get my engine replaced, and the pre-cats (post 346, 351 etc.) by the dealer and the replacement is still going 25kmi later. I did have to do the Y-pipe shortly thereafter (dealer $1200, Amazon $200).

    Every 18 months or so I have to redo most of the brakes, rotors and pads for sure, sometimes the odd caliper--rear more often than front. The car eats rear bearing caps (I'm on 4th set already) and if you don't feed it your ABS controller will fry. My ABS still randomly fires on the first brake after a long highway drive then goes silent again. The crimps fail on the a/c hoses ($250 each at the dealer) and $400 more to put 'em in and refill. The door handles break like potato chips (I stole that quote from another forum) and even better the door latches ice up during thaw/freeze cycles and then the doors refuse to latch and just bounce back open again (handy tip...pull seat belt out through open window and then roll it up to hold door mostly closed while trying to drive home). The car stinks like a refinery on cold morning startups (maybe the smell of future dead precats?), and yes, all recalls/reprogramming have been done.

    That said, I'm still addicted to the 250hp/250ftlbs grunt that it pulls off, but my next car will NOT be a Nissan. For the money and trouble I've had, I could've been driving a 3-series BMW and probably will next time round.

    Caveat Emptor.
  • mouse0723mouse0723 Posts: 3
    I have a 2005 Nissan Altima that I bought New. It only has 51280 miles and I have the oil changed every 3500 - 4000 miles. I noticed that the car sounded funny so my brother checked under the hood and he said I was low on oil. I had just had and oil change 3 weeks (218 miles) ago so I was shocked. I have the extended Warrentty until August of this year and would like to hear why my car would be using so much oil. Oh yea, it is not leaving in marks under the car on the driveway so am at a loss. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • pibzzpibzz Posts: 6
    As you have probably discovered (by reading other posts) your engine has sucked its own catalytic converter, back into the engine

    There is a valve that recirculates exhaust gasses, back into the engine (to improve efficiency and reduce emission)

    The problem is, your pre-cat (located right next to the dipstick) has started falling apart. The comb medium inside the cat (stuff its made out of) is basically silicate glass, and shrouds of this glass stuff has been sucked into your cylinder, scoring them - which causes oil to get into the cylinder and burn off. This is where the oil is going - into your cylinder and burning up with the gasoline.

    Sadly, your engine is likely doomed. It will probably run for another month or so, but ultimately the entire engine will need to be replaced.

    When you get your engine replaced - GET RID OF THE PRECAT !

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