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#1 Old 06-26-2007, 01:55 AM
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Talking Error Code P0340 1995 Altima

Bottom line -- Intermittent no Ignition Spark because Oil in distributor, sometimes no engine error light, or Error Code P0340 --- fix replace distributor --- good place to buy -- edit added 12-17-2007 read on for a lot of detail.

Answers following, a possible fix for the P0340 error code, oil in distributor problem, maybe a suggestion on where to buy a distributor which all leads to back ground about my problem and my question.
I have been working on the problem for awhile with some success and setbacks, I am not an expert but I hope sharing what I found may help others and you may have a suggestion for me. Problem started when the engine stopped running as I was driving and then failed to restart, it did start a couple of times later and ran a short distance as in a couple of miles then nothing and finally I determined there was no spark or maybe a random occurring spark at times. Occasionally it would fire a shot or two and sounded as if the ignition was way off in its timing, popping back through the air intake. Problem isolated to oil in the distributor. Here is how I verified it --- Remove distributor cap, then remove screw holding rotor on to the shaft. Then remove the protective shield where the points would be in a conventional ignition. You’re now accessing the elusive Camshaft Position Sensor area (P0340). That shield has a fancy O ring seal that holds the leaking oil in and that oil may have already begin to leak out when you loosen the distributor cap screws as the tension on distributor cap holds the second seal down. Bottom Line clean up around the distributor a little before you begin and take note so you can see any new oil that appears during the disassembly. Back to the inside parts there is a disk with 360 small holes around and near the perimeter of the thin metal disk and a light that shines through them to a receptor. That’s partially how the computer knows where the camshaft and pistons are, one hole for ever degree of rotation. On mine oil hand maybe a little dirt had filled and blocked the little holes. I actually had my distributor out of the car when I did this; different then I described here and more intrusive. I then did a really risky thing by using brake cleaner to wash the oil off. (Brake Cleaner can instantly destroy some plastic parts but in my case it did not, there may be better ways and a lot less risky way of washing) In my defense, knowing the distributor was leaking oil and they don’t sell seals plus I was going to purchase a new one --- I used brake cleaner to dissolve and wash the oil away, note previous warning again. I placed the distributor back in the car and it ran. I ordered a new Life Time Warranty distributor from DISTRIBUTOR-KING on e-bay motors not for Nissan $300 range but for about $139 including shipping. Read the small print on the life time warranty about warranty shipping. The distributors looks really great!!, with parts inside marked made in Canada, not like the china junk I might have expected with beautiful castings and it worked when first installed for a few weeks. After a few weeks of perfect performance the car would occasionally fail to start on hotter days just after shutting off the engine, wait 30 minutes and it would run again for several trips until again the problem would reappear. It appeared to be heat related. Noting the car has now developed a new totally different ignition condition I placed my OEM defective distributor back in service and all ran well. I actually cut a small drain slot in the fancy O ring so if oil appeared it would have a drain to leave. After testing for a while I called and Distributor King cheerfully replaced my unit but not until they inspected it and that’s probably understandable but you do pay shipping both ways. The Second new distributor is in and running great (actually took the car in for a SMOG test and it easily passed) for I guess a month or more including a 1500 mile trip out of town and back. Surprise today the Altima missed twice and stopped, I coasted over to the next lane and around the corner to a safe parking space. Called the wife and ask her to bring me the old OEM distributor --- A funny thing happened 30 minutes or so it started and ran home OK without installing the OEM distributor except the engine light is now on. When I got home my OBDII tool shows error code P0340. Those Altima are sure reliable, ran 6 miles all the way home without missing a single beat. :) :)
Here is my question on a car with only 50,000 original miles on it, what else might you suspect with error code P0340?
Thanks for reading, suggestions are sure appreciated.

06-26-2007 -- This is the next morning after my original posting. I just called the replacement distributor supplier and explained my experience and problem. Each time I have talked with them, they have been very nice and courteous people to talk with. This time no exception as Sly at the distributor supplier listened and after my explanation said they would reuse the same RMA that we used on the first replacement unit, send my unit back and they would ship me another warranty unit. He explained they had gone back to the manufacture and that the manufacture had found a defective electrical component in the system that has now been corrected in this next unit and this replacement should be much more reliable.

Last edited by fastfix; 12-17-2007 at 07:11 PM.
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#2 Old 06-26-2007, 03:49 PM
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#3 Old 06-26-2007, 03:50 PM
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wow...sum that up...

White 1998 Altima GLE
Injen wai
OBX header & cat-back
Some subs and amps
Black '01 headlights
Powerslots & hawks
Spec-V Rims powdercoated black
Tokico struts
S/T springs and rsb
FSTB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Lion
I'm glad SOMEBODY finally said it. And of course it'd be YOU
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclypse
Considering you dont have a lift and I'm picturing this thing falling on your face, you may want to clearly understand what is involved here.
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#4 Old 07-05-2007, 06:41 PM
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New Distriburator Installed

Update --- Replacement distributor arrived on July 3, installed on July 4 (takes about 15 minutes, maybe a little longer to let car warm up after starting) and then took the car for a short 6 mile ride. Not a really valid test but in defense, the outside weather temperature was 100 degrees and everything seems to be OK, did not have to walk home. I will update if problem re-occurs.
One thing positive from past years non-computerized type cars is, this carís distributor is and probably a lot of other cars too is really easy to change. Remove the spark plug wires from the distributor cap Ė donít flex old wiring too much, then remove the wiring harness connector on the side of the distributor by squeezing the locking tab on the wiring loom side and gently pulling until the connector separates, remove two 10 millimeter distributor to head hex-head screws and slide the distributor out. The distributor will only go back in one way (no gear off one tooth, no 180 degree, half a turn off, out of adjustment problems). There is a ďVĒ mark on the distributor case that aligns very closely with a mark on the cylinder head where the distributor and cylinder head touch. If you just happen to observe the alignment before disassembly or had the foresight to mark the alignment, the original unit can go back exactly as removed, resetting the timing not necessary. My new replacement distributors have the same marks and have gone back before any adjustment by just aligned the casting marks and have been within a couple of degrees of the factory 20 BTDC degree advanced setting. The service manual says to separate the Throttle Position Sensor connector before setting the timing. That disables the computer from making any timing adjustments while youíre trying to set the base timing adjustment (They call this Open Loop, in my words and my understanding the computer is not making any adjustments to the way the fuel is being burnt, itís just set at some base line. If it were in Closed Loop, the computer is modifying and adjusting the burn depending on what its sensors are seeing, sorry I digress) See picture of where Throttle Position Connector is by starting to looking on the driverís side of the car nearer to the firewall. See Attached picture.
On my car there are a series of timing marks on the crankshaft belt pulley. The pulley turns clockwise and the first mark is the 20 degree mark. If you were looking at the pulley as you are standing on the passenger side of the car it would be the furthest mark to your right, not the last mark on your left. When the car is running itís the first mark on the pulley to pass the timing mark on we will say the block. See Attached Picture of where to look.
Just noticed posting rules and I can not post attachments so sorry no pictures.

Last edited by fastfix; 07-05-2007 at 06:51 PM.
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#5 Old 07-06-2007, 02:38 PM
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ahh ok thats readable...that may be helpful to some..good work

White 1998 Altima GLE
Injen wai
OBX header & cat-back
Some subs and amps
Black '01 headlights
Powerslots & hawks
Spec-V Rims powdercoated black
Tokico struts
S/T springs and rsb
FSTB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Lion
I'm glad SOMEBODY finally said it. And of course it'd be YOU
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclypse
Considering you dont have a lift and I'm picturing this thing falling on your face, you may want to clearly understand what is involved here.
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#6 Old 07-07-2007, 02:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastfix
Update --- ...this carís distributor is and probably a lot of other cars too is really easy to change...
Add one point start by disconnecting the battery...just to keep electrical components safe.

Since 2003 and before, peace and good luck - I'm outta here!
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#7 Old 07-08-2007, 01:09 AM
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Good job.....I also noticed over the years how those two casting marks seemed to be right around 20BTDC....

Jeremy
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#8 Old 07-21-2007, 07:55 PM
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No Spark - Very Intermit - Third Distributor Now Failing

Bottom Line -- I believe I now have a 3rd defective distributor; the distributor supplier has graciously volunteered to refund my money at his suggestion or have their technical support people call me back. I chose the technical support option and the following is my detailed trouble shooting procedure so read on if you think you might benefit from my testing procedures and experiences. By the way after talking with their very nice technical support people, Distributor King has now next day air shipped me a 4th distributor which I am now testing. The technical support people are very interested and concerned about the problem and pleased that I am willing to help in finding a solution. Included is also an explanation of how this model distributor can be disabled but probably not reassembled.

I just installed the third distributor and a day or so later while waiting to make a left hand turn the engine just stopped running and would not immediately restart. Traffic finally cleared a couple minutes later, ready to reluctantly step out and start pushing I tried the starter again and it ran. It then ran perfect for another ľ mile where I had dinner and then an additional 3 miles back home without a problem. Who says Nissan arenít dependable? The following day I ran it at an idle in the drive way for 20 minutes --- I was listening to the car run, using the time to straighten and clean my work bench off and stepped away for a couple minutes and when I returned it had stopped. Panicked with surprise that it happened while I was watching and happy the problem had occurred I ran to get the wife to assistance me. Unfortunately it restarted within the minute or so it took me to get my wife and have her run the starter as I was going to verify if there was spark as I pull the #1 cylinder ignition wire off the distributor. The heart break of intermittent came to mind as it started but a few minutes later it stopped again and I was able to view there was no spark.
It then proceeded to run and stop several times while I worked with it. I was able to remove the 4 wire low voltage connector from the carís distributor and quickly connect it to my original OEM (oil leaking but temporarily washed cleaned) distributor and give it a gentle spin with my hand and view spark at the end of the coil wire to the block. You may want to use caution here and make sure the coil wire is within a half inch of the block to prevent excessively high voltage being generated in the coil. The wire to block gap limits the maximum voltage, the wider the gap the higher the voltage before the ark starts. The spark occurred OK every time while connected to the OEM unit but I was never able to get it to fail again after reconnecting it back to the distributor in the car (remember that word intermittent). I verified that there were no brakes in the wiring by moving and pulling on the low voltage wiring at and around the 4 wire connector at the distributor with the car running. At the low voltage 4 wire connector I verified all the connectors were good. A common sewing pin is smaller in diameter than the thickness of the pins on the distributor and yet the common pin will not easily slip into any of the mating 4 wire connectors female connections.

Called Distributor King and quickly explained my problem, they offered to refund my money or suggested they would have technical support call me back and I was asked to pick a time. Really wanting to make a $139 lifetime warranty distributor work and not wanting to have to purchase the dealerís $330 range distributor I picked the technical support option. I suggested I would not mind switching parts from my distributor to theirs if possible; they look like they could be interchangeable to me. Being late in the day in New York time, it would be the next day and I said anytime was OK and he picked 11 AM for my call back time. Tech support called me back at 10 AM the next day, which was good. After we talked and I explained my testing, Tech support recognized my inconvenience and said they would refund my money but would really appreciate it if I would be willing to try a fourth one as he explained they had found out they had a problem with this model and it had been fixed. He explained the last one I received should have been one of the updated ones as he wondered if I had I just happened on a wild chance found another bad one. They have been so nice and I appreciate the reasonable pricing so I picked that they send me another distributor option.
In the process I asked technical support how do you get one of these apart and they, not being in the repair business but only selling new, took one apart while I was on the phone line. I had suggested if I could comingle the parts from old OEM distributor and their new one that I had and I would be happy. This idea struck an interest in the technical support person and he was willing to give it a shot, well at least how do they come apart. The car dealer had already told me there were no serviceable parts for the distributor; wouldnít it be nice if they had a 10 cent seal? From my perception over the phone here is how he did it. There is a drive cog on one end (thatís the end where the gear is on some distributors or the part that goes in to the engine) with a pin that drives out but is very tight. Now you have to separate the rotor half and the cog drive end half so you can remove the electronics, the shaft does not slide out like what I will call in a conventional normal distributor such as a 1980 type US car. By experimentation he found that the input shaft and the rotor end are pressed together as he held the cog end stationary and finally turned the rotor end counter clockwise explaining he did not think it was going to go back together but we were going to get to see what the insides look like. He may have had to remove a couple of screws securing the light sensor that detects the cam position by shining a light through a plate that has 360 holes punched into it, you will see it. Once the two shaft halves were separated he removed four screws and the electronic and found a plate underneath that was held by two more screws --- removing the screws allowed the cog end of the drive shaft to pass out of the distributor housing and revealed the seal. He explained the seal looked like a special Teflon looking material and did not look like something a person could ever find. Dashed now a couple of times in my thoughts of maybe there was just an O ring and now knowing there appears to be no indexing for reassembly of the shaft halves, now knowing itís also a press fit that was not intended to ever come apart or go back together by the car manufacture those distributors are really un-repairable.

The technical support person said the evening after we talked he installed one of their distributors in his 1995 Altima to test and we were talking the next day as he explained his girl friend was out with the car right now. I was surprised that we both had the same year and model cars, mine now with just 50,000 and he said his had 140,000. I asked if his girl friend knew she was testing his car and questioned if he was also testing her on how easy she would be to live with. His only comment was, she has a cell phone and has not called.

Itís a few days later and I now have about 60 miles on my 4th distributor and yesterday when I checked with technical support, he said his car was still running fine as I teased him about how his girlfriend was doing. As we were kidding each other I explained I had some new driving rules while in the Altima. I now never pull out in front of a fully loaded cement truck and when possible I always drive on the shoulder side of the road.
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#9 Old 07-21-2007, 07:57 PM
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No Spark - Very Intermit - Third Distributor Now Failing

Bottom Line -- I believe I now have a 3rd defective distributor; the distributor supplier has graciously volunteered to refund my money at his suggestion or have their technical support people call me back. I chose the technical support option and the following is my detailed trouble shooting procedure so read on if you think you might benefit from my testing procedures and experiences. By the way after talking with their very nice technical support people, Distributor King has now next day air shipped me a 4th distributor which I am now testing. The technical support people are very interested and concerned about the problem and pleased that I am willing to help in finding a solution. Included is also an explanation of how this model distributor can be disabled but probably not reassembled.

I just installed the third distributor and a day or so later while waiting to make a left hand turn the engine just stopped running and would not immediately restart. Traffic finally cleared a couple minutes later, ready to reluctantly step out and start pushing I tried the starter again and it ran. It then ran perfect for another ľ mile where I had dinner and then an additional 3 miles back home without a problem. Who says Nissan aren’t dependable? The following day I ran it at an idle in the drive way for 20 minutes --- I was listening to the car run, using the time to straighten and clean my work bench off and stepped away for a couple minutes and when I returned it had stopped. Panicked with surprise that it happened while I was watching and happy the problem had occurred I ran to get the wife to assistance me. Unfortunately it restarted within the minute or so it took me to get my wife and have her run the starter as I was going to verify if there was spark as I pull the #1 cylinder ignition wire off the distributor. The heart break of intermittent came to mind as it started but a few minutes later it stopped again and I was able to view there was no spark.
It then proceeded to run and stop several times while I worked with it. I was able to remove the 4 wire low voltage connector from the car’s distributor and quickly connect it to my original OEM (oil leaking but temporarily washed cleaned) distributor and give it a gentle spin with my hand and view spark at the end of the coil wire to the block. You may want to use caution here and make sure the coil wire is within a half inch of the block to prevent excessively high voltage being generated in the coil. The wire to block gap limits the maximum voltage, the wider the gap the higher the voltage before the ark starts. The spark occurred OK every time while connected to the OEM unit but I was never able to get it to fail again after reconnecting it back to the distributor in the car (remember that word intermittent). I verified that there were no brakes in the wiring by moving and pulling on the low voltage wiring at and around the 4 wire connector at the distributor with the car running. At the low voltage 4 wire connector I verified all the connectors were good. A common sewing pin is smaller in diameter than the thickness of the pins on the distributor and yet the common pin will not easily slip into any of the mating 4 wire connectors female connections.

Called Distributor King and quickly explained my problem, they offered to refund my money or suggested they would have technical support call me back and I was asked to pick a time. Really wanting to make a $139 lifetime warranty distributor work and not wanting to have to purchase the dealer’s $330 range distributor I picked the technical support option. I suggested I would not mind switching parts from my distributor to theirs if possible; they look like they could be interchangeable to me. Being late in the day in New York time, it would be the next day and I said anytime was OK and he picked 11 AM for my call back time. Tech support called me back at 10 AM the next day, which was good. After we talked and I explained my testing, Tech support recognized my inconvenience and said they would refund my money but would really appreciate it if I would be willing to try a fourth one as he explained they had found out they had a problem with this model and it had been fixed. He explained the last one I received should have been one of the updated ones as he wondered if I had I just happened on a wild chance found another bad one. They have been so nice and I appreciate the reasonable pricing so I picked that they send me another distributor option.
In the process I asked technical support how do you get one of these apart and they, not being in the repair business but only selling new, took one apart while I was on the phone line. I had suggested if I could comingle the parts from old OEM distributor and their new one that I had and I would be happy. This idea struck an interest in the technical support person and he was willing to give it a shot, well at least how do they come apart. The car dealer had already told me there were no serviceable parts for the distributor; wouldn’t it be nice if they had a 10 cent seal? From my perception over the phone here is how he did it. There is a drive cog on one end (that’s the end where the gear is on some distributors or the part that goes in to the engine) with a pin that drives out but is very tight. Now you have to separate the rotor half and the cog drive end half so you can remove the electronics, the shaft does not slide out like what I will call in a conventional normal distributor such as a 1980 type US car. By experimentation he found that the input shaft and the rotor end are pressed together as he held the cog end stationary and finally turned the rotor end counter clockwise explaining he did not think it was going to go back together but we were going to get to see what the insides look like. He may have had to remove a couple of screws securing the light sensor that detects the cam position by shining a light through a plate that has 360 holes punched into it, you will see it. Once the two shaft halves were separated he removed four screws and the electronic and found a plate underneath that was held by two more screws --- removing the screws allowed the cog end of the drive shaft to pass out of the distributor housing and revealed the seal. He explained the seal looked like a special Teflon looking material and did not look like something a person could ever find. Dashed now a couple of times in my thoughts of maybe there was just an O ring and now knowing there appears to be no indexing for reassembly of the shaft halves, now knowing it’s also a press fit that was not intended to ever come apart or go back together by the car manufacture those distributors are really un-repairable.

The technical support person said the evening after we talked he installed one of their distributors in his 1995 Altima to test and we were talking the next day as he explained his girl friend was out with the car right now. I was surprised that we both had the same year and model cars, mine now with just 50,000 and he said his had 140,000. I asked if his girl friend knew she was testing his car and questioned if he was also testing her on how easy she would be to live with. His only comment was, she has a cell phone and has not called.

It’s a few days later and I now have about 60 miles on my 4th distributor and yesterday when I checked with technical support, he said his car was still running fine as I teased him about how his girlfriend was doing. As we were kidding each other I explained I had some new driving rules while in the Altima. I now never pull out in front of a fully loaded cement truck and when possible I always drive on the shoulder side of the road.

Last edited by fastfix; 11-22-2007 at 02:17 AM. Reason: Update -- Still running OK as of November 21, 2007
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#10 Old 12-17-2007, 06:50 PM
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Smile Still Running OK as of 12-17-2007 No Ignition Spark Fixed

Last distributor is good and still running, we have a good fix. I probably have about 2,000 to 3,000 miles on it from my memory.

It took a while but intermittent problems are hard to indentify and find --- The next time I need a distributor I will be looking at Distributor King, great service and support plus a really good looking product that looks as good as the Origonal OEM part.
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#11 Old 12-17-2007, 09:44 PM
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I must be missing something here - you got more than one lemon distributor from DK, and because they were good with tech support, you'd go back there even through it took 5 tries to get one that works?

How that is worth not paying the additional $200 is well beyond my understanding for not just having shelled out for the OEM to start with. If you replace it once in the life of the car, that's a lot.

Divide hours spent total into that incremental cost and how many hrs did you spend getting it right, expressed as $/hr? That's how much your time is worth.

Since 2003 and before, peace and good luck - I'm outta here!
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#12 Old 12-18-2007, 09:38 PM
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Superblackz --As you suggested, you may be missing something

If a parts supplier is having minimal warranty problems, they can afford to warranty anything and will be willing to warranty any problem no matter how small it might be, although mine being a very significant, legitimate return. For example a return rate of 1 return in 10,0000 would be an insignificant business expense, a business could afford to take anything back but a return rate of 1 in 10 return would be catastrophic requiring extensive investigation before accepting any return and most likely put a company out of business. Some business have special, hours and toll phone numbers for returns but I just called the order line 800 number and set the process in motion. In this case there was no significant hesitation on the warranty returns especially after the first return indicating to me they probably donít get a lot of returns and they knew I had done some legitimate tests before calling.

Long process, yes it took a while but as we all know, intermittent troubles are very difficult to find when everything is working. Thatís what they were accepting as a return, a working intermittent distributor that would test OK there and sending out an updated replacement. Now that the actual problem component has been found, my distributor is a dependable working unit.

The really good news here for future purchasers is though I had problems and stuck with it identifying the source, those purchasers following me should benefit in an improved fully reliable product. As for purchasing an OEM product, there more expensive, no lifetime warranty and the original OEMís appear to be plagued with oil leaking in. This distributor looks so well built I would not be surprised if they did not come out of the same factory as the OEM might now, not that I have any hint that they do. By the way they said if my replacement leaks oil itís warrantable and I will end by saying I have no association with any business, I just own a Nissan. The final decision is yours, good luck.
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#13 Old 12-19-2007, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastfix View Post
...In this case there was no significant hesitation on the warranty returns especially after the first return indicating to me they probably donít get a lot of returns and they knew I had done some legitimate tests before calling.

Long process, yes it took a while but as we all know, intermittent troubles are very difficult to find when everything is working. Thatís what they were accepting as a return, a working intermittent distributor that would test OK there and sending out an updated replacement. Now that the actual problem component has been found, my distributor is a dependable working unit.

The really good news here for future purchasers is though I had problems and stuck with it identifying the source, those purchasers following me should benefit in an improved fully reliable product. As for purchasing an OEM product, there more expensive, no lifetime warranty and the original OEMís appear to be plagued with oil leaking in. This distributor looks so well built I would not be surprised if they did not come out of the same factory as the OEM might now, not that I have any hint that they do. By the way they said if my replacement leaks oil itís warrantable and I will end by saying I have no association with any business, I just own a Nissan. The final decision is yours, good luck.
It's "my decision"? Why thank you, that's so liberating, I thought I had to buy the same crap you did.

"Long Process"? That's a significant understatement. I spent less time buying my last new car, and that was ~$40,000. You're a fool to take 4 or 5 replacements and call it all good. That's just stubborn stupidity and extreme rationalization to say that the AM unit "saved" you anything - it didn't. Thanks for the head's up never to buy from them.

Obviously the stuff is crap if it takes 4-5 tries to get it right, give it up mon, who cares how good the warranty is? $200 is chump change given just the amount of time you spent editorializing your posts with why this was such a great idea...let alone the rest of the hours spent, a clear statement what your time is worth...ironic that your user id is "fastfix"...

Since 2003 and before, peace and good luck - I'm outta here!
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