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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Recently my, 2002 nissan altima 2.5L auto, died on me suddenly on the highway. I was getting a crank no start issue.

Towed it back to my place and started reading the forums. Right away i found the cashaft sensor and chrankshadt sensor recall posted info that is posted everywhere on these forum. I thought great easy fix.

Not in my case. In retrospec or hind 20/20 it all makes sense.


Long story short. Tried to trouble shoot it my self by reading everything on this forum. Gave up about 3 days into it.called a mechanic to diagnosi; he said the code said camshaft sensor. I told him i already replaced it. They started it up and he said timing belt was gone.

Checked the valves as I turned the crankshaft with a big crescent and the valvles dont move.

So i guess im going to change out the timing belt. Since ita open going to change out the waterpump. Hope nothing else has been damaged from that belt being broken.

I will update as I get the timing velt changed.

$600.00 PLUS PARTS.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Pretty sure these are interference engines, so if your timing chain has snapped then you definitely have one or more very unhappy valves.
 

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Timing chains are supposed to last the life of the engine. How many miles are on the engine?

With bent valves, a broken timing chain, and if you have the usual high mileage precat failure destroying your rings and cylinder walls, the engine is toast. Don't put any money into the engine. If you don't want to walk away from the car, maybe find a low mileage replacement engine.
 

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Buying and driving cars always in the end boils down to economics, time involved in repairs, and safety. For years I drove brand new GM vehicles because they seemed to have the best repair records versus initial cost. I then began to buy 2nd hand cars. However the last GM vehicle I had was a GM Saturn that eventually had a subframe front bar that you could have literally karate chopped in two because it was so thinly made and rusted to the point that I was lucky it didn't break and have my engine literally drop to the highway while driving. That happened at 252000 km. That was the last time for any GM product. The thinking here was if that was GM's attitude about safety then I wanted no more to be a part of their vision. The next car was a Honda Civic that I got 2nd hand with 200000 km on it. I finally had to get rid of it after another 30000 km because the head gasket went and I was having to resupply antifreeze every time I drove the car. Also the motor was burning oil about a litre every 5000 km. So that car had 232000 km on it before I decided to get rid of it. I figure a car should give you 400000 km in places where they salt the roads (much more than that in places like Arizona and Cuba) if you rustproof it from the beginning and 300000 km if you don't. Since I bought these cars secondhand I at least expected 300000 km out of them. Didn't happen. So I now have got a 2006 Altima that I just recently bought that had 68000 km on it. Even though the car had never been rustproofed I figured with such low mileage on it I couldn't lose because I got a steal of a deal. However in 3 months I have had to put $5500 Canadian into it. Basically the 3rd generation Altimas were a lemon. However with careful planning and good maintenance and some luck, I think I can get to my target of 300000 km. The previous owner never rustproofed it and that was a big mistake as these cars are known as Fred Flintstone cars. There was a design flaw with the floorboards rusting from the inside out that Nissan only corrected in 2007 when they redesigned the Altima for the 4th generation. That fact is the basis of a class action lawsuit in the state of Illinois on behalf of all 2002-2006 Altima owners in the state OF Illinois. We will have to wait for the verdict and how it will apply to owners outside of the state of Illinois if the suit is successful. In the meantime I had to spend $900 to put new steel plates in the floor on both the front drivers side and passenger side. The other major problem with the 2002-2006 Altimas and some Sentras was the fact that the crankshaft position sensor was made with a cheap plastic housing that cracked under high heat and began giving faulty signals to the ECM. Nissan ignored the problem for 5 years until there were so many Altima and Sentra owners who were bringing their cars in under the warranty, that they finally redesigned the sensor in late 2006. My car was one of the last on the Smyrna, Tennessee assembly line but it seems that Nissan never replaced the sensor on the factory floor until the 2007 model year. Nissan finally had to do something because they were faced with a 20 million dollar problem of replacing over a million crankshaft and camshaft position sensors on both models of cars. They came up with the idea of reprogramming the ECU so that the ECU basically ignores any signal that it gets from the crankshaft position sensor. This was a lot cheaper than installing a new redesigned part in a million cars. Officially there were about 800000 cars on the official recall list but there are many horror stories of many early Altima and Sentra owners never getting a recall letter because their VIN number did not show up on the list. I don't have an exact figure on the number that were left off of the list but based on sales there should be at least 200000 more owners around the world who had a bad crankshaft position sernsor. The early Sentras and Altimas both had the same QR25DE engine with a crankshaft position sensor measuring the crankshaft angle and engine rotation speed located in the engine block and a camshaft position sensor which is exactly the same part number as the crankshaft sensor but located in a different place near the camshaft. Nissan changed the factory service manual in late 2006 to reflect the fact that they had all the owners bring in their cars for reprogramming. The manual states " When the crankshaft position sensor (POS) system becomes inoperable, the camshaft position sensor (PHASE) provides various controls of engine parts instead, utilizing timing of cylinder identification signals." Seems like a lawyer wrote that clause. Some owners had wanted their sensors to be replaced by the new redesigned sensor instead but the dealers wanted to charge them $400 even though the cars were under warranty. When the dealer said that the car would be reprogrammed for free, 99.9 % of the owners opted for the reprogramming. The problem is that during the time that the faulty crankshaft position sensor was sending garbage to the ECU all hell was breaking loose inside the car with DTC (diagnostic trouble codes)constantly popping up and the owners bringing back their cars to see what was wrong. The recall went out in November 2007. So in the case of my car the previous owner had driven it for 14 months before he received the recall letter. Some other owners especially the early 2002 Altima and Sentra owners had been driving their car for 5 years with the problem. There is no way of knowing exactly when each crankshaft position sensor on any of the cars went wonky but any owner who drove their car fast and on long drives probably were in a worse position. To top this all off QR25DE are interference engines along with every other engine that Nissan makes. These engines give better gas mileage because the valves are allowed to invade the same space that the pistons occupy(at different times of course) so that the air flow is optimized for ultimate clean efficient engine combustion. However this necessitates making the tolerances so fine in engine design that the intake and exhaust manifolds are both open at the same time for a fraction of a second on each engine 360 degree revolution. This wouldn't be a problem if there was nothing to be sucked back into the engine. However since every car now has to have a catalytic converter( the Altima has 2 cats); if the honeycomb material breaks down inside the cat that is next to the exhaust manifold, it will get sucked back into the engine with eventual engine failure. The longer the period of time that the faulty crankshaft position sensor's information was being sent to the ECM the more likely that the cat would heat up too high having to deal with the incompletely burnt fuel from the engine cylinder. In that case fragments would get sucked back into the engine. The internet is full of stories where an Altima or Sentra owner would be driving without problems for up to 150000 km (some a lot less) and suddenly they get DTC (diagnostic trouble codes) and Service Engine Soon lights and they get the bad news from their mechanic that their engine is unrepairable. So knowing the above facts, I on a hunch took my 2006 Altima into my local garage to check on the cats. The mechanic put the car on the hoist and pulled off the back cat and as he was doing so, pieces of the cat dropped out. This was not catastrophic because these pieces would never get past the 1st cat. However when he took off the undercover of the 1st cat that is bolted onto the exhaust manifold, we saw a burnt spot on the honeycomb as large as a quarter. The mechanic told me I might be lucky that nothing got sucked back into the engine. He said that if I had driven it much longer I would have risked engine damage. So my hunch was right. The Nissan dealer and their mechanics said that the cats should last forever on these PZEV(Partial Zero Emission vehicles) vehicles. Nissan however only gives a 8 year cat warranty, even though in California the exact same car has a 15 year warranty mandated by the state of California. Cats normally should last a very long time but not when faulty crankshaft position sensors are sending garbage to the ECM. It cost me $2400 to replace the 2 cats plus 2 oxygen sensors, but I may have saved a potential engine cost of $5000 Can from a blown engine. I have heard that excessive idling causes cat failure but nothing about this in the owners manual nor have I read it anywhere. So there are 2 possible causes for my cat damage. The previous owner idling his car or the fact that sometime in the 14 months before the crankshaft position sensor was disabled through reprogramming, the sensor had started to go bad. Either way these conditions wont happen in the future of this car. The remaining fact though is that there are more than 500000 Nissan vehicles out there without a functioning crankshaft position sensor. However this may actually be a good thing. The way I see it now is that it is better not to have a functioning crankshaft position sensor because if and when it ever goes bad garbage information gets sent to the ECU but the car still runs. Eventually you will get the MIL light but the frustration of actually diagnosing the problem left many owners to just ignore it eventually to their peril. The malfunctioning crankshaft position sensor played havoc with the cars cumbustion which eventually led to overheated catalytic converters and in too many cases to engine failure. As long as the timing chain doesn't loosen and the camshaft position sensor does its job then the car doesnt actually need a crankshaft position sensor. You will start losing a little gas mileage as the timing chain ages and gets out of position slightly but you wont suffer engine damage because if the camshaft position sensor goes bad the car wont start or will simply shut down when you are driving. Until that happens the car will run fine without a crankshaft position sensor as long as the timing chain is good. So it actually seems as if we car owners are better off without a crankshaft position sensor. A little gas milage gets lost as the timimg chain ages but that is a whole lot better than damaged cats and maybe a damaged engine. The system of 2nd trip detection logic is wacky but all the maunfacturers use it as part of the OBDII standard and the governments let them get away with this monstrosity. In a nutshell. The whole computerized system was set up to stop pollution NOT to detect possible engine damage to your car. With the car engines being so hitech the car manufacturers are putting the minimum amount of sensors so as to meet the emission requirements and are putting in precious few sensors of their own to protect your engine. The manufacturers give you both the camshaft and crankshaft sensors (when just the camshaft sensor would do) cause they want to squeeze every last ounce of decreased fuel costs so that they can keep up their lowering fuel consumption fleet averages so as to be able to keep selling cars in the state of California who have threatened the car manufacturers if they dont eventually go to zero emissions. 90 % of the DTC codes are only set when the bad event happens for 2 successive car trips. There are only 21 bad diagnostic trouble codes that put the car into a fail safe condition so that the MIL light must come on in those conditions. So you could be on a long trip for hundreds of miles before you stop for a rest and turn off the car. For the non fail safe trouble codes (DTC), the MIL light will only come on, on the 2nd trip. So most motorists think that the MIL (Service Engine Soon) light is their protector against serious damage to your car. NOT TRUE. In most cases it is there to stop bad emissions and it is only a side consequence in a few extreme cases that the car is protected by the warning light. In many cases it is too late. The damage has already been done.

So I'm thinking maybe I should get the timing chain, guides, and tensioner and sprockets replaced in another 50000 kilometres as a preventive measure. Nissan says that the timing chain will last the lifetime of the car but I have known Altima owners who have had to replace the timing change after 200000 km. Note that the timing chain is still working all the time you are idling so if you idle a lot it could be the same thing as doubling your mileage.
 

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The 3rd generation Altimas have a timing chain NOT a timing belt. Are you saying that you never took the car in on the recall issue for reprogramming? Was your vin number on the recall list? How many miles or km are on it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update: had another guy come check out the issue.

Once the 1st guy siad timiming belt. I went snd did some research and found out i have a timing chain, so that guy didntknow what he was talking about.
So...
No compression in cylinder 1. Call it dead.
Hearing metal on metal. I would love to say its a pistion ring, but who knows until you open it up.
 

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yup these 2.5 motor are interference as a matter of fact, i wouldn't even bother trying to rebuild the current motor. all the possibilties of what could be damaged. i would call up a junkyard or lkq and source a replacement engine on the cheap
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I bought the car used 4 months ago. I didnt do much research ing until i got this problem "timing belt" as we all know now its a chain.

Its got 104k on it now. Not sure what im going to do. I would love to get rebuilt engine, thst would ne better then getting one from the junk yard, as it would have the same issues as what im dealing with now...

Here in hawaii looks like i could get one for $1400 plus labor. Put me out more then i bought it for... If i do the labor it would take me 8 months based on my availability.

So whats the best way to do this?
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Well, 5-0, you're a lot closer to Japan than most...so a JDM used engine should be pretty cheap. $1400 seems like a good price to get a dependable power plant back in your car.
 

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How much rust on the car? BTW I found out why my 2006 Altima cats were damaged. I got the redesigned metal cylinder camshaft position sensor from the dealer. Exactly same part no. as the crankshaft position sensor just in a different place of course. They really made a lot of profit cause they charged me $131 Can plus tax. Installed it myself and saved big labour cost. I started car 3 times to make sure no codes everything fine. The car runs fine now. It doesn't growl like it did before on acceleration. I bought the car 3rd hand So the 1st 2 owners had never changed anything except the original owner did get the reprogramming on the ECU in Dec. 2007 that caused the ECU to ignore the defective crankshaft position sensor. So since the same part was in both places (one on engine block is still there but it has been ignored by ECU for 8 years and the other near camshaft) I thought maybe good idea to change the one near camshaft. Note that the ECM hasn't put out any codes even though it was growling on acceleration before I changed the camshaft position sensor. So I have to conclude that both parts had a hand in damaging the cats. The crankshaft one did damage in the 1 st 14 months after the original owner drove it off the lot in Sept 30. 2006 until he had the ECU reprogrammed to ignore it and the camshaft one was damaging the cats for the last 8 years. The mechanic who replaced the cats said I got them just in time before stuff would have been blown back into engine. I replaced both cats and the 2 O2 sensors. Cost me $2400 Can. Since Canada allows only 8 years on the cat warranties unlike California which mandates 15 years (exact same PZEV vehicle) I was out of luck by 1 year on the warranty. However since it was a bad original plastic cover part that caused both sensors to go bad, I feel that Nissan is responsible for my defective cats. However Nissan will NEVER own up to any of their design mistakes. I will keep my 2006 Altima running for years cause there is only 46000 miles on it but I will never buy another Nissan product. However to keep Nissan cars viable on the road each owner has to be very proactive. I am thinking since it is 9 years old and no other sensors have been changed except the 2 O2 sensors on the cats, mabe I should change the MAF sensor and the temperature coolant sensor since they are the 2 other most important sensors. Any thoughts?
 
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