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#1 Old 11-28-2012, 10:27 PM
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Potential Altima Buy

Hey all... I'm looking at buying a '93 Nissan Altima w/auto trans. Seller estimates mileage around 140,000 because speedo cluster is no longer working. Are these known for having speedo issues? Also it was noted that the distributor had been flushed recently and would probably need replaced soon.. I'm in the market right now for an economical and reliable daily driver... will this vehicle suit my needs? I can turn a wrench and know how to work on cars but I don't want something that will require major a engine/tranny overhaul relatively soon. I know nissan's overall are reliable I just wanna get some advice on things to look for before buying and any well known issues with these vehicles... i.e. auto trans, intake gaskets, chain guide etc. Any good advise much appreciated... Thanks!!
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#2 Old 11-29-2012, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonka View Post
Hey all... I'm looking at buying a '93 Nissan Altima w/auto trans. Seller estimates mileage around 140,000
because speedo cluster is no longer working. Are these known for having speedo issues?
Also it was noted that the distributor had been flushed recently and would probably need replaced soon....
Have a '97, ~138,000 miles on 5 spd bought from local in-town commuter. No knowledge of weak instrument cluster.
No oil adding for my car. Reliable daily driver. Best wishes to you.

Think you should price in a replacement distributor now. Our cars and most overhead cam engines have the dizzy run off the camshaft (oil lubricated) separated by an O-ring.
If/when this leaks then oil gets into dizzy and causes misfires, electricity and oil don't mix = major loss of power.

If happens, most then replace the dizzy, heard of one who replaced the O-ring. Don't know more.

Judge the seller's knowledge and truthfulness. Maybe check by listening to how the car goes over bumps and
look for degree of wear on the foot pedals and seat fabric (both subjective).


... hope this helps somewhat.

1997 Altima, 5-speed;
144,000 miles.

Last edited by UhOh; 11-29-2012 at 10:12 AM.
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#3 Old 11-29-2012, 07:52 PM
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>>I'm in the market right now for an economical and reliable daily driver<<

If the deal for the Nissan falls through, consider buying an early Saturn SL1, up through 2002 model year, before I got my Nissan I had a 1995 Saturn SL1 and put 401,000 KM on it (it never let me down).

The early Saturns do have a few problems though so be careful (e.g. The SOHC 1.9 motor can get a cracked head, but this only affected a minority of the cars).

I replaced the Saturn with a 1995 Altima, with 111,000 KM, I have it on the road now and so far so good.

Regards, and good luck with your search.
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#4 Old 11-30-2012, 01:38 AM
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>>I'm in the market right now for an economical and reliable daily driver<<

If the deal for the Nissan falls through, consider buying an early Saturn SL1, up through 2002 model year, before I got my Nissan I had a 1995 Saturn SL1 and put 401,000 KM on it (it never let me down).

The early Saturns do have a few problems though so be careful (e.g. The SOHC 1.9 motor can get a cracked head, but this only affected a minority of the cars).

I replaced the Saturn with a 1995 Altima, with 111,000 KM, I have it on the road now and so far so good.

Regards, and good luck with your search.
Deal fell through... Turned out to be a total nightmare unfortunately. Odo read 104,000 not 140,000 and vehicle couldn't have had less than 250,000-300,000 miles. REALLY REALLY ABUSED!! POOR CAR. Oh well, really what else can you expect from a poor college student.
I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for a saturn. My uncle has '98 Saturn and it has around 350,000 miles. Aside from having me replace the alternator recently and a wheel bearing along the way, he hasn't done much more than change the oil routinely and maybe the air filter and some spark plugs.
When I replaced the alternator I asked if he had ever changed the belt. His reply:"not to my knowledge". How does that happen? Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't a saturn just a glorified cavalier or sunfire? I don't hear about alot of those even breaking the quarter million mile mark. I'll digress...
Thanks to both of you for the advice!!
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#5 Old 11-30-2012, 01:55 PM
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Wonka,

the Saturn is a pretty primitive, underpowered vehicle, but this works in it's favour, the result is a stone reliable vehicle that just keeps going and going.

They are very easy to work on too, and the engine compartment is not cramped (like my 1995 Altima). The 1.9 SOHC motor is it's own dog, it is not the same motor that is in the Cavaliers. There is a SOHC and DOHC version, but I would recommend the SOHC version to be honest (simpler, not as many issues, lasts forever).

The plastic body stays looking good too, I rarely had to wash mine (I let nature do that every time it rained).

Another word of advice, if you are checking one out, make sure it is fully warmed up, then take it on the highway and make sure the transmission shifts through all the gears ok. The Saturn transmission can have shifting problems when it gets hot, if it has been abused.

If I could find another low mileage Saturn SL1, that is 2002 or older, I would buy it.

I find my replacement 1995 Altima has been great so far too, I am most interested in how long it is going to last (only has 111,000 KM on it, which is approximately 70,000 miles).

Regards to all my Altima buddies.
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#6 Old 12-02-2012, 12:06 AM
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Wonka,

I have replied to your private e-mail.

I have advised on the cylinder head and transmission issues you mention, and recommended that you avoid the earlier cars and look for one that is newer (e.g. 2000, 2001, or 2002).

Mine was a 1995 and had both of the major issues over time (cylinder head cracking, and transmission getting stuck in gear or skipping a gear when really hot); I replaced the head and lived with the transmission issues and got 401,000 km on mine.

There is a form called SaturnFans.com I believe that you may want to check out, and join to ask further questions before you make the plunge.

No car that old is going to be dead reliable, however if you are a handy car guy with some tools you should be able to drive on the cheap (which is what I do).

As for your comment about believing what I am saying about my Saturn or not, I do not know what your are eluding too, I will include a picture of me with my car in the background if you are a doubter.

Regards to you, and all.
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#7 Old 12-03-2012, 03:52 AM
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I had no doubts about your experiences and ownership of a saturn. I was just looking for you to expand on your knowledge about this particular vehicle (which you adequately did). I appreciate your comments as they've allowed me to reconsider purchasing the car.
NICE BIKE!!!
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#8 Old 12-04-2012, 05:34 PM
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No problem wonka, I wish you all the best with your search, I am sure that sooner or later something good will materialize.

The bike is a former NHRA Pro Stock bike, a 7 second bike; I owned the bike for about 10 years (give or take), I now have a TRAC Dynamics Razor that I am getting ready for next year.

I like both cars and bikes, both road racing and drag racing, I also do all my own work whenever required (I find it to be relaxing, and it saves money too).

I have a Mustang GT (with a number of modifications) that I take to track days at the local road courses; it is just for fun, I am just an amateur. Over the years I have raced both cars and bikes, including drag racing (cars and bikes), flat track (bikes), and motocross.

Regards, take care, be happy.
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