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Nissan Altima Engine Failures



  • I Have a 2002 Altima, After taking it to have the pre cat changed at the tune of $700 the car was runing like it should. Well thats before I checked the oil.. It ended up using one quart every 500 miles.. I took it to the dealer and they said there was no recall on the pre cat or oil consumption.. Both these problems occured within a month of each other.. They also told me the engines usually only last from 150,000-175,000 miles.. I found that hard to believe.. I had a Toyota pick up which I sold running with 294,000 miles.. Dont know what to do about Nissan, They fail to acknoledge there is a problem.. Any help would be greatfull
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    what do you do to insure that yours isn't one of those 5% if you choose to keep this car? I

    the sure fire, 100% guaranteed solution is to remove, or hollow out the pre-cat. there is a second cat farther down the exhaust, so you'll pass any emission test.
  • ssspsssp Posts: 7
    Just an update:
    I just picked up my new 08 White Frost/blond leather Altima for my :lemon: that I had only for 2 months! Documentation is a wonderful thing. NissanUSA offered the new car at no charge, so I took them up on it!
    I hope that the problems that occurred with the little Precision Grey one :sick: were isolated and a freak of nature.
    Hopefully and prayfully this one will perform as it should...... :D
    Thanks for those who posted responses...that means a lot to this newbie. This is a great site...keep up the great work! :shades:
  • "what do you do to insure that yours isn't one of those 5% if you choose to keep this car? "

    First, you have to be sure that the engine is not too far damaged, and using too much oil. Once it is using more than a quart per 1000 miles, it is probably too late. My daughters 2002 Altima was using about 1 quart in 1500 miles when I worked on it in Decenber 2007. The first Cat blew itself clean and the second Cat was plugged up. Now it is running fine with both Cats hollowed out and a new head gasket. I estimate that it is now using 1 quart of oil in about 2500 to 3000 miles. We don't have an emmisions inspection here in Florida, so we can run it that way. To keep the "Sevice Engine Soon" light from staying on, I put the "$5 02 Cheater", mentioned in previous posts, on the second oxygen sensor, and it works fine, keeps the light off. That's the way to keep the engine running fine, if yours is not too far gone.
    If the engine is too far gone & using too much oil, nothing will fix it but a new engine.
    If you start to get the problem and the engine is not too far gone, and you live in an emissions testing state, you would need to put on a new Precat/Exhaust manifold at the very first sign of the Cat going bad, before the engine is damaged. A new Cat will NOT fix a damaged engine.
    Owners and buyers Beware, Check that CAT at every service and check the oil level often, at least once a week. This is a known problem, so look out for it!
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • pdupuypdupuy Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Altima S, i have had alot of trouble with this car. It has around 109, 000 miles, i recently brought it in for a recall for the crank position sensor and have had nothing but trouble since. I had two sensors replaced 3 weeks ago, now the check engine light is on again and they're saying the code is for the 02 sensor. Is anyone else having these kind of issues? Ready to trade it in but leery of buying another nissan product at this point. Any advice?
  • Your instincts are good, Trade it in for anything but a Nissan. Please read the 264 Posts before of yours to find out why!
  • What has bin rong with your 2004 Nissan Altima bisides the recalls and now the engian light cumming on at 100900 Miles and the dealer telling you that you nead a new oxygen sencer. Probbly one is bad not boath Oxygen sencers. My dad baught a hundai with 90000 Miles that the engian light came on when he got it and it was a bad Oxygen sencer. that does not make a car a lemin or a bad car. you don't have to read all postings on this bord. they dont have anything to do with your car. onnly the 2002 altimas nissan fixed the problem with the pre cat and the Oial consumtion in 2003 and the new altimas are grate cars would trade it in and get a new one. And not think about it for a secand. Hey so a few of every moddle year have sum Problems that is the way it is with all auto Makers. TOyota and HOnda have sum problems even Ford has its problems to look at consumer reports. they are getting bettor slolly but no whair close yet. I have seen problems with new fords Schevy's crisolers every make and moddle has it problems sumtimes. Nissan is one of the best rite next to honda and toyota and Hundai and Kia. Yea I no guys kia and Hundai used to be bad cars not anymore. And I am not just saying all of this Look at consumer reports The only onnest car tester out there all the rest of them are full of them selves. Ok that is enuff for now Thankyou for reading just wanted to tell everyone like it is. Dont believe everything that is posted on the Message bords take everything with a grane of saulte. You dont no if sumone did not do a recall or sumthing. Or they baught the car used and did not see if all recalls wher done on the car before they baught it. That is it for now Have a verry good Day everyone sorry about the spelling Marco.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    actually, the oil consumption problem was fixed as soon as it was recognized. the whole thing is caused by a too rich fuel mixture. the recall to re program the ecm corrects the problem. I'd be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that the majority of cars experiencing the problem were either:
    1. never had the recall performed
    2. the recall was not done correctly.

    Thats part of the reason I no longer buy used cars. it costs more buying new, but I know exactly what I have, what's been done to it, and how its been treated and maintained.

    as for nissan reliability, I've posted it many times but, I've owned 3 nissan vehicles. 2 long term. my 07 altima is only a year old. my first nissan was a 1990 sentra that I traded in with 220k miles, 12 years old, and still running. the only work that was ever done to it was 1 CV joint, 1 CV boot, brakes, muffler, and an oil pan, though that was because of something the wife ran over :cry: . Plus routine stuff like oil changes and so on. My second nissan was a 1998 200sx (coupe version of sentra). I still own it, have 156k miles on it, drive it to an from work most days (mostly because I get about 38 MPG), and have not had to do any non maintanence work on it. that 9 yr old car with 156k miles on it has had the front brakes done twice, and thats it. the rear drum brakes are original. as are all the belts, hoses, clutch and so on. 2 brake jobs and thats it. and on top of that, the car has never broke down, or failed to start in the morning. It's been 100% perfect, as was the sentra.

    Thats not to say nissan is perfect. I don't know if they've improved things, but nissans have always rusted excessively IMO. Not so much as to shorten their lives, but more than other cars do. Nissan also has about the worst paint/process of any car out there. Its soft, thin, and chips easily.

    but if properly maintained, they will last longer than you need them too.
  • coop0129coop0129 Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 with all of the recall work performed. I think I may just hollow out my cats sometime in the near future just to do it. I don't want the check engine light on. What can I do to fix that and the light will not come on. I saw that someone said a $5 O2 cheater? What is that? My car has 95000 miles on it. Thanks.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    something like that. the problem with hollowing out, or removing the cat is that there are 2 O2 sensors. one before, and one after the cat. if the both get the same reading, your SES light will come on. I'm not sure if you misspoke, but you said you might hollow out your cats. Don't do both. Its just the first (precat) that can cause problems. It's too close to the engine. the second cat farther down the line will not give you any problems. And, you'll need that second cat to pass inspections. anyhow, here's the link with your options. you can allways get a new header instead of hollowing out.

    link title
  • Why do you want to hollow out your cats, and why BOTH cats? That is drastic action and should not be done unless it REALLY needs to be done. You can't pass an emissions test if you do that. It depends on where you live and what kind of emissions testing that they do, it varies state to state. My state does not have any emissions testing, but yours might.
    I think a problem here is that people wander on to this site and read a message or maybe a few, draw some short conclusions, and make a comment , without really knowing the facts and doing the research. All the answers to what you need to know ARE in this forum, they have been posted over and over again. Please do some research and look for them. You read my post about how I hollowed out my cats, and you just assumed that you should too. Wrong. I hollowed my cats out for a good reason, because they NEEDED to be hollowed out. Few people have that need. Please go back and carefully read posts # 75, #76 & #77, and you will find out why I had to hollow out both my cats & what you need to do. In fact you should go back and read all the posts before yours, as they contain a wealth of information, including the $5 O2 Cheater, how it works and how to install it.
  • I have an 02 Altima, Took it in to the mechanic and it showed that the #1 cylinder there was a misfire.. It stalled at the stop light and hesitates like a misfire on the freeway. Any idea ?
  • That miss could be from a lot of things. Need more info. Do you have the 2.5L 4 cylinder engine? How many miles on the Car? Is the Service Engine Soon light on? Does it miss when you first start up? Does it clear up sometimes and when, if it does? Does it miss the same all the time. Does it vary under different conditions, like cold, hot, fast, slow, braking, accellerating, etc. What else did the mechanic say? If he found the code for the misfire on cylinder #1, didn't he do further diagnosis? I would check ignition fire on all 4 cylinders and to a compression check on all 4 cylinders to start with. Have all the recalls been done? The camshaft sensor and the crankshaft sensor starting to go bad could cause things like that. Has the engine ever got hot? Those engines are sensitive to overheating and the head can warp easily, and when they do, it usually causes a head gasket leak. A head gasket leak will cause an engine cylinder miss. How is the engine coolant, is the coolant reservoir staying full, or do you have to add radiator coolant once in a while? Please elaborate with as much information as possible.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • I have A 2004 Altima, it has no power. I tried the battery in my other car and I heard something frying when i hooked it up. i'm pretty sure I hooked it up right. Maybe i didn't but now even with my original battery in when I try to jump it nothing happens, I get a 0 on the dash and the both turn signal lights on. Any suggestions? I notice what looks like a computer chip or fuse box on the red possitive cable could I have burnt that out? Any help is appreciated
  • fbc1fbc1 Posts: 2
    I'm having the same problems so your not alone! Unfortunately I still owe too much to trade it yet, but I will go back to American vehicles when I'm able. My advice is to do the same.
  • fbc1fbc1 Posts: 2
    Buy American or German!
  • ckeoughckeough Posts: 15
    I have a 05 Altima with the 2.5 engine, 31,500 miles, which I bought used about 6 weeks ago and have put 1200 mile on. Last week the SES light came on and I had Autozone pull the code. The infamous P0-420.

    Yesterday I had a dealer check it out and they found the pre-cat was "coming apart internally" and replaced it under warranty. Hopefully, none or very little material made it into the engine; I'll be keeping watch for oil consumption and hope that any problem with that shows in the next 30K or 2 years while the drive train warranty is in effect.

    So, either the pre-cat was just a bad part or the '02-'03 recall situation will be continuing as all 2.5 reach higher mileage.

    Anyone know if or what changes were made for the 04-06's at address the failure of the pre-cat? I'm thinking none other the the ECM re-programming to maybe lean out the engine.

  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    I'm thinking none other the the ECM re-programming to maybe lean out the engine.

    that's all it really needs. the cat wont deteriorate without gas igniting in there. The problem isn't a faulty cat, or a faulty engine. its unburned gas burning in the cat and tearing it apart. You took your car in as soon as that light came on, a very smart man. unfortunately, most people dont. most people figure they left the gas cap too loose or something, and don't want to spend the $80-100 to get the code reset.
  • kynymackynymac Posts: 1
    Hi all, I am new on this forum and hopefully someone can help me out. I am replacing my intake manifold gasket and have run into some kinks. I am using the Haynes manual as reference for my install. Do I have to take the head & timing chain off to get to the intake manifold? The manual did not make mention of the timing chain so I am at a loss. I am trying to separate the plenum from the head to get to it. Can this be done. Please advise.
  • You did not mention what engine you have, but if you have the I4, the intake is in two pieces.
    First, unbolt the upper manifold and Plenum (all one piece).
    Second, unbolt the lower intake manifold from the back of the engine. There is a bracket under the lower intake that has to be removed.
    To see all the pictures of how to take it apart and put it together, look at the links in messege #182.
    See Teardown Photos #DSC06971 through DSC06980, and see Rebuild Photos #DSC07265 through DSC07270.
    Good luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
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