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Nissan Altima Engine Failures



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,870
    Don't forget to clean out the radiator!

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  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Sorry to say that almost everyone seems to be getting burned by Nissan on these Altima Engine Failures.

    not really. Nissan has sold over a million altima's. The number that have this problem is very low. less than 5%.
  • Yes, the radiator and the entire cooling system will be flushed out and all new coolanr will be put in, as well as new synthetic motor oil and a new synthetic motor oil filter, plus new radiator and heater hoses, new thermostat, and anything else it needs.
  • Yes, there may be truth in that, but still too many of these failures, and especially when it happens to you, and you are the one stuck with the problem, the inconveniences and the financial loss. And when you are not a lone case, you hear of it happening to people all over the country, you know that you are not just an "isolated incident". That makes it a lot more personal.
  • Reffering to my Post #98 in this forum, 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S, DOHC, 4 CLy, I began taking the engine apart and made a startling discovery. I removed the exhaust manifold and the precat (one assembly). I found the precat to be TOTALY HOLLOW. I was expecting to find some material inside, but it apparantly has all blown out. This has led me to some interesting conclusions. This material in the PreCat was held in place by a screen above and a screen below it. There is a ring that holds each screen in place. Evidently, the screens have given way and all the material and screens where blown out of the PreCat down the exhaust pipe, to the next part, which is the 2nd Cat, located under the car just before the muffler. This material went into the 2nd Cat and caused it to plug up closed. This is what happened back in september 2007 when my daughter said her car suddenly lost most of it's power, then a few weeks later I found out that the 2nd Cat was plugged up, took it out and unplugged it by hollowing it out (check previous posts). So this explains a lot of why the car acted the way it did. This happened in Sept when the car had about 97,000 miles on it.
    So here is a word of caution and advice to those of you who may be interested, If your engine seems to suddenly lose power, check your exaust pipes at the back of the car to see if the exhaust gas is still coming out freely. If no flow or low flow, you may have the same problem that I described with the plugged cat. If you do have the problem, it needs to be fixed ASAP before it causes damage to the engine.
    I am continuing to take the engine apart and will let you know what else I find. I can only work on it about 2 or 3 hours a night, since I work during the day. I expect I should have the head off in a couple more days.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • when i come to a red light and sit for a minute my heat does not wrk, it gets cold, once i start moving again it gets warm again, is anyone else having this problem? :mad:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,870
    You might be very low on coolant. You should check the coolant level immediately.

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  • A word of caution on checking the coolant, be sure the engine is cool before trying to remove the radiator cap! Check the coolant resivoir first, it it appears full enough, when cold, remove the radiator cap and check to be sure the radiator is full of coolant. It should be full to the top. Sometimes if the cap is malfunctioning or their is an air leak in the system, the coolant might not siphon from the resivoir back into the radiator as the the radiator cools.
  • ken75ken75 Posts: 52
    I have just plopped down 25K on a 2008 Altima 2.5 LS and upon reading all of the posts in this part of the forum, I start to get a strange feeling that a little re-assurance would go a long way to help. I put maybe 6000 miles a year on a car and baby the hell out of it. We purchased the 7 year warranty which should take care of most all problems but one never wants to go through the problems that could arise. Have the problems for the 4 cylinder engine used in the LS been identified by Nissan and fixed or do I have some surprises in store for me? I understand that the number of cars affected by these problems may be small and I would rather not be one of the statistics. Having said that, I may already have a problem at 275 miles. The motor at idle and operating temperature sounds like the lifters need adjustment (possible?). Is this normal or is it something I should run to Nissan with? I did not really notice anything like this being reported unless it could be construed as engine rattle, highly unlikely. I love the car but if I have to worry about an engine hatching, I may have to look elsewhere for a nice ride. I may be barking at the moon here but I have always been an old worry wart. Any help appreciated. Thank you.
  • Hello... I did receive a letter from Nissan stating that they have received a small, but significant, number of complaints on the Altimas 07 having a rattling noise in the exhaust and that they are working on finding out the reason and the problem.. Maybe this also affected the Atimas 08.. you might want to ask...
  • ken75ken75 Posts: 52
    Thank you for the reply. This noise appears to be coming from the top end of the motor and is a continuous tapping noise such as you might hear from lifters or valves. The car will be going in for inspection to see if it may be the beginning of a problem. I just posted it here to see if anyone else had a similar occurance. Thanks again.
  • I'm sure you don't have much to worry about. Your car is new, and it sounds like a minor problem, maybe just a valve adjustment. I am sure that they have made improvements to the engine over the last 6 years, I would think that they would have the problems ironed out by now. I am not sure what changes or upgrades have been made, as I have been concentrating on the problems with my daughters 2002 model. From my perspective, I have seen two basic problems with the early models, the excessive oil burning, probably caused by defective oil control piston rings, and the Exhaust Precatalyst problem.
    They could fix both problems by using better piston rings and by redesigning the exhaust system (use a better catalytic converter and move it farther away from the engine exhaust ports). Other than that, it seems to be a good engine. The engine block is cast in Mexico, it says so right on the front of the block next to the crankshaft pully. The crankshaft comes from somewhere else, and the engine is assembled in the plant in Decherd Tenn.
  • I'd also like to know if they fixed the QR engine problems (2.5L) with the redesign of the engine for 07. They have had problems i think from 02-06. I really don't know if everyone experienced the oil consumption/oil burning problems or if it was small subset. I'd love to have the QR engine in general because it gets great gas mileage and for a 4-banger has great power. If i decide to go with the 2.5L then should i get an extended warranty? My luck it would decide to explode at about 90,000 on it.

  • ken75ken75 Posts: 52
    One of the extended problems I may have with the car is the low mileage I will put on it. I am retired and do not do a lot of running around like the Boss who drives an "06" CR-V. If I am going to have a problem, I want it to be in the time frame of the 7 year extended warranty we purchased. I will be checking oil level weekly as that seems to be a good hint for the consumption problem as well as other fluid levels. I also may have a local shop do compression tests once in awhile. I am still thinking on the Nissan dealer doing all the periodic work called for in the manual but I sure hate to spend the $100.00+ burden rate the shops ask for. Is this expensive shop work on top or expensive warranty work? I don't know how to call this one but common sense tells me to suck it up, pay Nissan for the work and stick em if it all goes south.

    As far as power goes, the 2.5 is great for my uses, should have very good econony and when attached to the CVT trannie, is very smooth comfortable. I have wanted this car for a long time and I wish I had the money to go for the fully dressed car but I can't really complain. I am fortunate to have this one and I will enjoy driving it as long as peices do not start to fall off and systems fail. I sure do like some of the little goodies that were not pointed out to me like the "Aux" button on the stereo which allows me to play an ipod through the speakers as well as a GPS. Neat stuff.
    Thanks for the help.
  • Refering to my posts #98 & #103, taking the 2002 Altima 2.5S QR engine apart, I got the head off last night (Thursday night), and dropped the head off at the machine shop this Friday morning, to have it checked and rebuilt. They will do a pressure test to check for any leaks, then do a vaccum test to test the valves, then straighten and mill the head flat. Then if it passes all that, they will break it down and do a valve job on it and put on new valve seals. That will cost me $281 plus parts. They will also sell the new head bolts for $83 and Gaskets for $99 plus tax. With some gasket sealer it wll cost me about $500 or more for the machine shop work and parts. They are closed on the weekend, so I won't get the head back until next week, Monday afternoon at the earliest or Tuesday. Hopefully, the head will pass all the leakage tests. If not, then I need to exchange it for a rebuilt head which cost about $350 plus tax, taking at least 2 days from the time that it is ordered.
    E.D. ISF
  • Hey there, I'm 19 year old guy I'd appreciate an older wiser take on this. Two months ago I purchased a used 2002 Altima with 80,000 miles from the local dealership. I am the second owner. The first time I checked the oil after driving aprox 900 miles it was a quart and a half low. I kicked myself for not checking the oil the day I bought it for $10,000. I filled it, drove it, and again checked it around 900 miles later and again the same thing, 600 miles later it was a quart low. I took the car to the dealer and explained the problem. I was told they would need to disassemble the engine to do a proper inspection. They explained to me they would need to determine if the problem was covered by the $2,800 dollar warranty I had purchased. I trusted this dealership, I had worked there for 6 months until I was hired by the refinery here. Two days ago I went in and spoke to the service rep, he told me the catalytic converter failed and was sucked into the engine, I saw that all four cylinder walls were scored, two of them recieved the majority of the damage. They said it was not a warranty issue, it would be $4,000 to repair the engine or I can pick up the car tomorrow after I pay them $1000 for diagnosing the problem.
    Just today I began researching on the internet and found you folks and others
    with the same type of problem. Today I found the car had been purchased in 2002,
    had a record of being serviced once in 2003, was traded into The Nissan / Toyota
    dealer in Sept. of 2007, ( possibly because it was burning a lot of oil?) apparently it passed an emission test before it was resold to me. How can they do this?
    They had to be aware before disassembling the engine what the culprit was,
    Nissan is placing the burden on me for there problem, now want $1,000 more
    for a car that needs $4,000 to make it a car I thought I was buying in the first
    place. Should I cut my losses? This stinks! Count me in on any bandwagon also!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,870
    I don't understand why the extended warranty you purchased does not cover this.

    I think you need a lawyer, unfortunately. This sounds very wrong, unless there are parts to this story we don't know yet. I can understand (but don't agree with) why Nissan might not step up to the plate on the original warranty, but I can't understand why your extended warranty doesn't cover it.

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  • Wow, I really hate to see this happen to you. I sure sounds like the dealership took advantage of you and unloaded the car on you to cut their losses. The more I am hearing of this, the worse it sounds. You responded to my post #75 and I hope you read all the posts following that one, particularly the ones that deal with this particular problem, #'s 76, 77, 80, 81, 82, 98, 102, 103 & 113 to date so far. I am not an attorny, just a lowly electricain/mechanic, but you are right, this stinks! This is happening to too many people, and it seems like it should be making the news. I am wondering what the actual numbers of this happening are? It seems to be happening a lot, as people are popping up on this forum with the same problem.
    Mr antiochnissan, you situation sounds bleak, you need legal help, see an attorny, print out all these posts and anything else you can find on the internet, get as much documentation as you can.
    I've got my daugthers 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S with 100,900 miles, engine torn down right now, with the head in the machine shop getting a valve job and resurfacing. I've got 313 digital pictures showing the teardown of the engine. I'm lucky the cylinders look OK in her car, I think it was drove hard enough that the precatalyst material was blown out of the precatalyst through the exhaust pipe to the second catalyst under the center of the car right before the muffler. It then plugged the cat under the car, which I took off and unplugged. Since the material was forceably blown out of the precatlyst, it may have partially saved the engine from so much of the precat material being blown back into the engine.
    I think this whole engine failure situation is getting rediculous, we need to get some reliable numbers on how many of these incidents are occuring, and how many is too many? Nissan is apparantly not going to do anything about it, and their dealers seem to be dumping these cars onto innocent unsuspecting people. We need to get together and do something about this situation. We need get the word out on these cars, to prevent people from being victimized by these faulty engines! How bad is this going to get? Is Nissan just waiting and hoping that enough time will pass and that this situation will just blow by? How many people have been victims of these engine failures, and how many more will there be? How many years and/or miles out can from the manufacturing date can you go and still have cause for legal action? If anybody can help or have suggestions, please chime in. I'll help anyway I can.
    E.D. ISF
  • Is Nissan just waiting and hoping that enough time will pass and that this situation will just blow by? How many people have been victims of these engine failures, and how many more will there be? How many years and/or miles out can from the manufacturing date can you go and still have cause for legal action?

    I don't really think we should really blame Nissan for the problem. If you go to other threads, Lexus ES, Camry, Acura TL, you will see diff. problems there. I think there're always numbers of defect cars in the manufacturing process, That's why most manufacturers only offer 5 years warranty because they know that there's a better chance that a car needs some kind of repairs after that period.

    That's why the previous owner dump the car after 5 years/ (s)he rather pays more money upfront by buying a new car and then doesn't have to worry about the repair bills.

    Usually, the used car dealers are the problems. They look at the car, know the problems, buy it LOW from the previous owner and then turn around try to sell that car at retail to an un-educated consumer. My .02.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Usually, the used car dealers are the problems. They look at the car, know the problems, buy it LOW from the previous owner and then turn around try to sell that car at retail to an un-educated consumer. My .02.

    Thats probably the truest thing I've read in a long time. I became so disgusted with used cars that 15 years ago I refused to ever buy one again. I'd much rather buy a brand new kia rio for 10k + 100k warranty than roll the dice on a 3 or more year old car.
  • ken75ken75 Posts: 52
    I guess all I can do with my brand new 25 grand car is drive it until something pukes and hope Nissan will do the right thing. I am hoping that some of the issues from the past have been fixed. These people are not idiots and they still have to answer to stock holders who can make life miserable for the execs. Time will tell.
  • I just recently purchased a used 2004 Altima. So far I have not had any mechanical problems with the car but my FM radio reception is horrible. When I play a CD it sounds great but no matter what station I have on, the radio quality is crap. I believe it is because of the internal antenna. Does anyone know of any antenna boosters or any other options so that I get better reception? I really don't want to have to drill a hole in the car to have an external antenna installed. :cry:
  • I have a 2001 nissan Altima that is running really rough at idle, almost wants to die, feels like a bad miss fire but engine is perfect off idle, I have replace plugs, wires, cap and rotor and did an injector service but the problem remains, compression is @ 120 per cylinder and injectors are pulsing. I have also cleaned the mass air flow sensor. Has anyone had this problem or are there any suggestions, any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • What engine? How many miles? Has the "check engine light" or "service engine soon light" come on? If so, have the DTC's read and report back with them. A likely cause here is a vaccum leak. Check for vaccums leaks around gaskets, hoses, etc.
    The compression reading sounds low, how were they taken? They should be taken with the battery fully charged, all spark plugs out, and Throttle wide open (if you have drive by wire, the throttle should be physically blocked open). I would expect cylinder compressions of over 140 psi.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    I'm not bashing nissan, I have two in my driveway right now (1 being a 2007 altima). I'm bashing used cars :P You never know what somebody did to them before your, or how they took care of them. Between that, and the fact that most people will sell when they know a major problem is about to occur, I refused to buy used.
  • Referring to my posts #98, #103 & #113, taking apart and reassembling the Altima 2.5S QR Engine, I got the head back from the machine shop Monday afternoon (12/1707). They said the head passed the pressure and vacuum tests, no cracks or leaks, but the head was warped .005", which is too much (was the cause of the head gasket leakage). They milled the head flat, did a valve job, and installed new seals on the valves. They charged me $471.57 for the machine work, including a gasket set, new head bolts, and a tube of gray silcone sealer. I worked on cleaning and assembling everything back together, on the evenings of Sunday(3hrs cleaning parts), Monday(6hrs), Tuesday(1/2hr), Wednesday(3hrs), then all day Saturday(12 1/2hrs) and part of Sunday(5hrs). I tested the cylinder compressions before I started the engine, and they were all 210 pounds, very good. I started the engine at 2pm on Sun 12/23/07, and it started and ran perfectly as soon as I turned the key to start. The computer showed no codes. After warming it up, and taking a test drive, I came back to the shop and flushed the cooling system, put in the new coolant, and changed the oil and filter. No leaks, no skips, no misses, it performed as good or better than new. It got up to 110 mph on the freeway, but I had to let off the throttle due to traffic. The amount of money I spent in parts and machine shop work is about what I had figured, total of $533. I roughly tracked my labor, and I spent about 18 hours tearing it down, and I spent about 30 hours cleaning, checking and assembling the engine. I worked rather slowly and methodically, because I don't do these every day and I had to be certain that it was right. I took 313 pictures during the teardown and 350 pictures of the cleaning and assembly. I spent about 48 hours working on it over two weeks, while still working at my 40 hour a week daytime job. My daughter came over sunday night and picked up the car, so now I can take a rest, and do my Christmas shopping!
    So far so good, she called and said it is running fine. I want it keep running that way for a couple of more years till she can get another car, NOT a Nissan!
    Good Luck and Merry Christmas to all of you,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida

    p.s. to jd10013 - I understand your concern about not buying used cars because it is a gamble and you may inhierit someones problems, BUT I only buy used cars and I am very sucessful at it because I do a massive amount of reasearch before a buy a vehicle. My cars all go over 200,000 miles with no major problems. The Nissan Altima in this post, I DID NOT BUY, nor would I have bought. My daughter made the descision to buy it and she was very adamant about getting one, because she liked the "new look". I think she has learned better by now, because next time I won't be fixing it, she will have to pay to get it fixed.
    Back to my cars, I research for reliable vehicles that fit my needs, usually 5 years old with 80,000 to 100,000 miles and with a good deal. I do all my own servicing and repair work.
    My current vehicles - a 1997 Ford Explorer XLT 5.0L V8 with AODE auto transmission 2wd with 160,000 miles -run great, and a 2000 Ford Explorer XLT 5.0L V8 with AODE auto transmission 2wd with 148,000 - runs great.
    My next vehicle - probably a 2004 Toyota Highlander.
  • While driving my 2002 Altima the other day, Which is a 2.5 L engine.. I got off the freeway and the engine had almost completly lost all its power.. Tried to get it home but I eended up having it towed, Took it to the mechanic and he was a little confused.. He did look up that there was a recall with some sensors involved, Does anyone know anything about this ?
  • First thing to do is get the codes read from the computer, the codes are call "DTC's" Diagnostic Trouble Codes. The mechanic should have read those first and informed you of what they were.
    Occasional problems on this vehicle are failures of the Crankshaft Position (CKP) and Camshaft Position (CMP) Sensors and screws falling out of the intake manifold Power Valve on the 2.5L engine. Failure of the CKP Sensor or the CMP Sensor may cause the engine to stall, and may cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. When the intake manifold Power Valve screws fall out they enter the engine through the intake manifold and can damage the spark plugs causing the engine to misfire or may damage the engine block.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • Merry Christmas and Thank you very much for the scoop, I did have the code read, And all it is showing is the 3rd gear in the transmission is slipping, Maybe another problem but the trans is not the cause of the engine running rough with its loss of power..No other DTC's came up on the computer..I am just wondering if I should have the mechanic change the CKP and CMP? I also have a Ford diesel pick up.. I saved a bundle of money without taking it to the dealer and changing the CPS myself..
    Thank You again
    Raymond, In windy California!!!
  • Now I understand why the mechanic was confused, he had no codes to guide him.
    I would not recommend to blindly change sensors and parts without proper diagnosis, you will be throwing away time and money.
    There are some common problems that can cause the engine to run rough or badly and NOT throw a code, any vaccum leaks, like leaky or broken vacuum hoses, leaky intake gaskets, leaky fuel injector seals, etc or any air leak in the air intake duct between the MAF (Mass Air Flow Sensor) and the throttle body. Pull the entire plastic intake duct off the engine and inspect it carefully for and leaks, cracks, holes, and be sure everything fits securely when installed.
    Also check the fuel pressure at the fuel injector rail and monitor the fuel pressure to be sure it remains constant while driving. If there is a problem with the fuel pressure, check the fuel pressure regulator, Fuel Pump Relay, and lastly check the fuel pump and filter (located in the gas tank, asscessable through a cover under the rear seat/truck area0.
    There are a few other things that could cause problems, but the possiblities are remote, and I don't want to lead you to "chasing your tail".
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
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