Well it seems that these newer gen VQs in the 4th gen Altima, and newer Muranos, and Maximas are proned to seeping coolant externally at the headgasket. I found a thread on the Murano forums that well documents the issue. I had been smelling coolant for awhile and couldn't find any leaks until I got underneath the car and looked up at the heads. Sure enough there is green crusty residue on both heads. The car is scheduled to go in on Monday for the job and it's under warranty. From what I gathered, the part number has changed for the VQ headgaskets so hopefully this cures my problems. The tech that'll be doing my car said he's done quite a few of these already. I'm just a bit weary about having the top end of my engine torn apart. Keeping my fingers crossed everything comes out good.
So take this for what it's worth. Next time you VQ owners are changing your oil, grab a flashlight and look up.
Here is the link to the 09+ Murano Head Gasket thread started by a Nissan Master Tech. Has tons of pictures. Mine wasn't nearly as bad as the pics on page 1- it was more like the pics on post #102. Either way, I think I have lost my faith in the VQ and Nissan in general. I see a V6 made by toyota in my future.
Another lil hint, if your leaking any significant amount of coolant your oil will turn milky. So if you change your oil n it doesnt look right its a bad sign. As well as that, your exhaust will be abnormally smoky white and smell kinda sweet, cant remember the smell exactly .
2009 Altima coupe 2.5 6spd
Amsoil synthetics, LED lights, illuminated kickplates, WC Lathewerks shift knob, Racing Line STS/TB kit/strut bar/RSB/ front & rear end links/ first 4th gen 2.5 with racing Line springs, first 4th gen to swap 7th gen maxima brakes (on 16" wheels).
-Plans for now/future:restored old school wheels in progress/ quad projector retrofit in progress.
Best 1/4 mile; email@example.comMPH factory stock to the tires.
^ That's for an internal leak. From what I can tell, the newer VQs are just seeping externally which would cause the green crusty residue on the heads and the coolant smell after being driven. My car runs perfect at 64k so I'm debating to even let them proceed on Monday and just letting it be.
The pics aren't that clear but I'm pretty sure that's not rust build up, especially on the cylinder walls. It's most likely from the fluids running down/drying from disassembling the head. You can see on the pics how the coolant build up is all on the outside of the head, not towards the combustion chamber. I think this is a combination of the factory improperly torquing down the heads and a poorly designed headgasket, hence the new part number. Always something with Nissan"engineering". Prior VQs had no such issue.
pics look pretty clear to me. and what I see are the signs of burning coolant, The cylinders/pistons/cylinder head have a coating of rust/discoloration from the moisture (on certain cyls. not all of them).
No offense, But i don't agree. First, if a car was burning coolant, the pistons/valves would tend to be shinier and the gasket area possibly milky from the water/oil mixture. None of that is present. The pics show carbon build up and there is no abnormal discoloration. You could say that it's possible that it's running a little rich- maybe from excessive idling, but that's certainly not rust. Secondly, it's common sense that when disassembling the head, fluids will run everywhere, possibly causing "rust" when it dried. If cylinder walls "rusted" on a running engine- you have bigger problems then the HG.
In my case (which seems pretty similar to everyone elses in that thread)- my last UOA at 60k revealed no elevated glycol levels in the oil indicating the coolant is external. Maybe this VQ is different but i highly doubt its leaking internally.
^^ Cast iron cylinder liners will rust within just a few hours when exposed to humid air. It doesn't even have to be that humid. It's hard to tell exactly what happened in those pics in the link though.
I will have to check my car out. It seems to sometimes emit a coolant smell. I'm not completely sure, but it seems to be worse in the Summer. My coolant level has always been fine though.
Dropped the car off this morning. They said they'll have it done late tomorrow, so here's to hoping everything goes smooth as planned. Since they are dropping the engine, I had them throw in new plugs and belt as well so hopefully it'll just be regular maintenance from here on out.
Side note- they gave me a 2013 2.5s loaner. The interior fit/finish is much improved but I'm not very partial to the exterior styling. You can definitely notice the increased sound deadening though; the car is much quieter even with the QR.
It feels better overall BUT it lugs the engine bad around 30 to 40mph causing loud droning inside the cabin. Worse than the 4th gen 2.5 in my opinion. The QR sounds less like a tractor from a cold start with the increased sound deadening though.
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.