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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks to all who helped with my previous crank sensor issues. Got that one fixed and have a new problem. Well maybe more, so I need advice! Vehicle is a 2005 Altima S 2.5 with 259K mi.

My immediate problem discovered yesterday, is the heater blows ice cold air. All the time, idling or driving, no matter what the temperature is set on. Seemed colder than the outside air, almost like the AC is stuck on. After reading a few posts yesterday, I checked and YES the coolant is a little low. Might be air in the system.

I suspect the coolant loss may be yet another symptom of a bigger problem. There are no visible coolant leaks. I DO have oil seepage, looks like it's coming out the right side of the valve cover gasket. I just replaced the valve cover AND gasket about 2 months ago, because oil was leaking into the spark plug wells. The seeping out the right side started a few days later. Bolts are torqued properly and no visible flaw on the gasket when installed. I did notice during this procedure that the top of the piston visible was very shiny.

Is this sounding like a head gasket leak? I don't see milky oil when I check it. And oddly it doesn't seem to need oil added very often, despite what I'm seeing on the ground where I park. How can I tell for sure if the head gasket is leaking?

If the head gasket IS the true cause of all this, is this a job I can (or should) attempt in my garage? Yes I'm female, I was an outboard engine mechanic back in the 90's. Know my way around tools however I've not torn down a car before. What else should I look out for or replace during the job, keeping in mind the engine has well over 200,000 miles? I want to fix it RIGHT so it will last a while longer. Paid for and I don't need a car payment right now!

Appreciate any input, the experienced guys on these forums have been a huge help.:grin
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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6,365 Posts
For what it would cost to tear down and redo...you might as well put a low miles JDM 2.0 engine in (or have someone do it). There are threads on this forum that discuss the success of this...some by driveway mechanics.

If you had the V6 I would suggest impossible for a novice, the 2.5 should at least be doable...but it will be a pile of work for a first timer and your car will be out of service for days. Given all the other leaks...I'd look at the JDM option (block is $500 and up for the 2.0, the 2.5 will cost you double.

There is also a recent KarKing rebuild replacement thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Appreciate the response! Down time isn't too much of a problem, cost is more the issue. Any idea how much $$ I'd be getting into on a rebuild??

I don't have a hoist which would be a must for complete engine change. However maybe I could rent or borrow one. There are a couple of 2.5s with less than 60K listed not far from me, around $1100. I think these are not JDMs. The JDM distributor is 45 miles and lists the 2.0 for $850. I'd go the extra for a 2.5 as I do quite a bit of towing (building materials on a small trailer). Is it recommended to still buy a new pre-cat if the used engine comes with one? Emissions test is required where I live.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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6,365 Posts
Reports are that the engines come with precats (in good condition), alternators, ac compressors etc. I wouldn't buy a new one...the one that comes with it should be good for years and years. At least you're in Hot'lanta...so you don't have the corrosion we all up here do :) Hoist mandatory, search and find the swap threads on this forum. At a minimum you'll have a few hundred in fluids, maybe another couple for new engine mounts, another 2 to have the AC system purged and refilled once you're done. I personally wouldn't set off on this project without at least access to, if not commitment from, someone who has removed an engine before...but you've got professional experience wrenching and I don't.
 
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