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Official Troll
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Lemonade: If I can get my car replaced, so can you!

MODS, can you make this a sticky for about 2 weeks. I want to make sure those who are currently having lemon issues read about my experience

thanks


This is a story about my 2001 SE that had a cracked engine block.

Mid Nov 2000
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It all began then. I was all excited about getting my new 2001 Altima SE (auto, sunroof, ABS and side airbags). For the hell of it, I bought it through Carsdirect.com. (That's another hell of a story for another time.) It was driven over from Freehold Nissan in NJ to my home on Flushing, NY.

I inspected the vehicle over to make sure everything was working before I signed the papers for the delivery guy. Everything looked sweet.

So in the first 2 weeks of driving my new car, I was able to put in 1000 miles to break in the engine. During the break in period, I noticed a coolant leak streaking down the side of the engine block near the tranny. I thought nothing of it. I thought it was something silly like a loose hose clamp. So I waited until I got the first 1000 miles in so I can take my car into Star Nissan for the complementray oil change and, at the same time, have a look at where the coolant was leaking from.
 

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Official Troll
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Dec 2000
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It was the beginning of Dec. I dropped my car off on a Monday morning and explained to the service manager about the coolant leak. I left for work.

Towards the late afternoon of that fateful Mon, I received a call from Star Service. I thought nothing of it... just them telling me the car was ready. What the service manager said went something like this....

"I got some good news for you... You're going to need a new engine..."

WTF?!!! :confused:

"What ere you talking about?!!!"

"The coolant leak is coming from a hole in the engine block."

So I rushed down to Star Service to have a first hand assessment.

So I'm completely baffled and asking the techs and the manager what the heck is going on. They told me the engine block was either wasn't casted and molded properly, or just cracked on me. They wanted to replace the engine block and rebuild the engine. They told me not to worry because everything was cover under warranty and I wasn't paying out of pocket.

But I'm like WTF?!!! This is a brand new car. This is just plain wrong. The engine block is like the last thing that should fail in a car. I had an '88 V6 that was falling aprt with over 160k miles. But the engine on that was still butter smooth and quiet. And now you want to rebuild the engine.... a monumetal repair job on a car that I've only had for 2 weeks!!!

But first a Nissan engineer has to com inspect the vehicle to make his assessment how to approach the repair... either replace the block, or repair thre current block by drilling out the crack and welsh(sp) plugging it.(!!!) The engineer came by and decided the block should be changed.

So then I started making phone calls to see what I can do. I really wanted to get teh car replaced. You figure I have that right because the car was 2 weeks old and 1000 miles. I called up Freehold Nissan. They told me they couldn't replace the car for me without authorization from Nissan North America. I called Nissan NA. They told me the opposite... that it was a dealer matter. WTF?!!!

The engine block has to be ordered and it takes a week for it to come in.

It's the 2nd week in Dec.

Star lifted the engine out of the car and is ready to take it apart.

I was in disbelief when I opened the hood to my car. EMPTY! Completely emtpy. Star service took everything out from under the hood. There's nothing there. No tranny. No axles. Nothing.

While taking the head off the block, they stripped this long bolt that holds in some sprockets (I think it's for the timing chain) while removing it and damaged the head!!! Now they have to order a new head. It takes another week for the new head to arrive.

It's the 3rd week in Dec.

During all this time I was calling Nissan NA mumerous times to see if I can get any compensation for my troubles. I really wanted to get my car replace, but the phuking rep's kept repeating the same [email protected] thing to me over and over like a recording...

"All the work is cover under your warranty. You're not paying anything from your pocket...."

Shut up you phuking canary! :angry:

So I called back a few more time to see if I can get a free entended warranty out of this.

"The extended warranty plan can be purchased from your dealer..."

I didn't ask you that you canary!

I kept making the argument that a new car should not have a cracked engine block, and that the whole thing is being put back together by hand. It's not going to be as good as computer controlled machines doing precise work. And Nissan Customer Service and Star keeps telling me that the technicians are highly trained and must go back to "school" for training on the latest Nissan technology. I'm getting freakin nowhere with Nissan (no help) Customer Service line.

I get the car back. OK. Maybe it's working fine.... Yeah right!!!

It's just before Christmas when I get the car back. I drive it out of the service garage and I notice right away something is not right. The engine was not running smooth, as if it needed a tune up. I take it back to Star Service and they tell me to just break it in and it'll go away. You think I should believe these people???
 

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Official Troll
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jan 2001
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It's the first week of Jan 2001.

After a little more than 600 miles of driving, the engine is still idling rough and not smooth under acceleration. I can feel the vibration in the gas pedal. I take it back to Star Service. They tell me the problem is with the valves are not seating properly when they're opening and closing, and they need to order shims to adjust the valve positioning. WHT?!!!

They tell me to bring the car back when they get the shims in stock.

It's mid Jan when the shims finally arrive. The car goes back into Star service. Guess what? The shims they ordered didn't do the trick. They can't get the valves positioned properly. They need to order the entire shim kit. The car stays with them because the head was taken apart.

There was a work action taken at the parts distribution facility. Something about the union not getting Martin Luther King Jr B-day off, so they decided to change all the shipping labels on the boxes. The shims are lost and it takes over a week to find where the shim kit got shipped to and to get it.

It's around near the end of Jan. And then Star discovers something dreadful. (No surprise after everything that has happened so far.) They have the entire valve shim kit, and still cannot get the valves to close properly. Star decides to send the head out to a machine shop to get the valve seating ground down.

No phuking way!!!

And you know all this time I'm still hitting up Nissan Customer Service. I'm making that argument that this is complete inconcievable and totally unacceptable. I'm arguing what's the guarentee that the car car is going to function properly in the long run. What about fuel economy and emissions. And that the repair history of the car has been badly hurt because of this. No one would want to buy this car, if I decide to sell, based on the history. They still don't want to give me either an extended warranty or replace the car.

I finally filed a lemon law complaint with the BBB Autoline.
 

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Official Troll
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Feb 2001
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I think it's the first week in Feb when I finally picked up my car from the shop. The total number of days the car has been held in the shop is something like 45.

i drive off with the car. Oh great... it seems like it's driving fine. I'm afraid that I'm not going to get my lemon law ruling in my favor. But wait!!!.... what is this?... what's this suspension rattle?!!!

[email protected] it!!! The stupid @sses didn't put the front end back together right. Everytime going over bumps, theres a rattle coming from the the front. Sounds like the control arm is loose or something.

I take it back to Star. They can't hear or replicate the problem. And they tell me everything has been torqued down correctly.

Now I'm really worried that I'm going to be stuck with this piece of sh!t. I'm worried that I'm not going to win my lemon ruling. The arbitration date, place, and person is already set. Some of the things you need to win a lemon law ruling are....
- that the car has been in the shop for over 30 days
- the dealer can't fix the problem
- the problem poses a serious safety problem
- the problem kills the value of the vehicle

Then something amazing happened..... 2 days before the arbitration hearing, I get contacted by Nissan NA and the manager from Star Nissan. They want to replace the car for me!!!

WOOHOO!!!! Abso-phuking-fabulous!!! :D

They told me to bring my car into the Star dealership to make an assessment of the car... the number of miles, wear and tear, damamges... and see what I can trade it in for.

Star told me that I has my choice of 2 cars....
- They can get me an SE auto with only the sunroof, and write me a check for the missing ABS and side airbags, or
- An SE auto with sunroof, ABS and side airbags,... plus leather interior and power driver seat at no extra charge.

I took the leather. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
March 2001
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I was like paranoid and sh!t. The old car has to come back to them undamaged. I was like afraid of getting into an accident along the way to the dealer to make the trade. It was an uneventful day, and I drove off with my new 2001 Altima SE. And I'm happy as can be.

19,000 miles later, a trip down to Florida, and flooring the gas every chance I get... The car is running great. Planning on putting in a CAI, catback, and pulley before the summer.

So if I can get my lemon replaced, so can you........
 

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Snow White 3.5 SE
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damn, that's one hell of a story.
but i don't think any of us altima owners would want to go through something like that...geez...
 

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664 Posts
Hey man, at least you took it back for any little thing you noticed wasn't right. A lot of people hear things and feel things on their cars and assume its normal and don't do anything about it. Take it back to the dealer!! Give them hell about it until the noise or vibration is gone!! Until you pass the 36K warranty limit, make the dealer serve you as much as you can...its their job as much they'd like to admit it.
 
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