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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!

Thank you for taking a look at my post.

I have a 2006 Nissan Altima 2.5s automatic transmission. It has 215k miles on it and been well maintained its whole life. Recently I noticed some motor vibration when at a stop light (vehicle is in drive, but I am applying the brakes), in park, and at idle.

Initially, I thought it was motor mounts... I replaced them and the vibration continued. (BTW - they were due to be replaced)

Then, I thought it was the harmonic balancer... I replaced last night. This improved the vibration slightly but still very noticeable vibration at the lower RPMS.

Anyone have this issue or know what may be causing the vibration?

Thanks a buncH!
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Alternator clutch if you have one? Change the spark plugs?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was planning on changing the spark plugs this evening.. I will see if I have an alternator clutch. Thank you
 

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If not that then due to the miles I would say the balancer chain might be off a tooth or two.

We all know the timing component issues with these cars so its not unlikely with an engine of that many miles that either the tensioner, or guide might be worn out, letting the chain get too loose.

I would try the new alternator first, as Doug suggested, as you can always take it back if its not the problem.

Just make sure you tell the parts store you didn't install it, as sometimes they won't take it back if its been installed [so you're stuck with an expensive part you didn't need].

Also be SURE to keep the alt clean, or clean it before you bring it back, and try to bring it back the day you bought it [IF its not the problem].

Last please update the post, and let us know what the problem was.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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You know...it could just be a dirty throttle body, or lazy A/F O2 sensor, or MAF...anything that would cause the engine to run rough...but it's hard to tell based on the description above whether we're talking rough idle or something like a worn clutch or belt/chain tensioner.

If you have a clutch pulley, there is a simple test you can do without even removing it...just the belt. Then jam the internal rotor blades with a pencil, and try to turn the clutch pulley by hand...if it only spins one way, you are good...if it spins both ways...it's done.
 

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yep, ADP or the serpentine belt slipping? and/or the other pulley... or the tensioner pulley...

when in park, what happens when you put a load on it, like MAx A/C? more vibration? and you changed all 4 motor mounts, correct? (3 motor and 1 transmission mount)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
UPDATE***

Ok, based on the feedback, I changed the spark plugs this evening and I think I may have stumbled upon the real issue causing the motor to run rough. Super frustrated right now because i changed the harmonic balancer and motor mounts with no luck! lol oh well.

Anyway, of the four spark plugs I changed... the first 3 plugs looked ok, but the 4th one was dripping with oil (literally soaking wet). This might explain why the car was almost two quarts low at my last oil change and I haven't noticed the car leak a drop of oil. :surprise

Could this be the cause of the problem? Does this mean the rings are bad or the head?

The plug that was cover in oil was the one on the far left (if you are looking at the engine bay - right above the alternator). See image below (not sure if that makes a difference).

Any advice and/or feedback is greatly appreciated.

 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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It just means the valve cover seal around the spark plug well has gone. Its very common and the solution is to replace the plastic valve cover...eBay seems to be the cheapest source for those, or maybe an online Nissan parts outfit.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Engine-Valve-Cover-Gasket-PCV-Valve-Seals-for-02-06-Nissan-Altima-2-5L-QR25DE-/191291628693?fits=Year:2006|Make:Nissan&hash=item2c89de9c95:g:GxoAAOSwJb9WqRRD&vxp=mtr

Now about the missing 2 quarts... While it's possible that the tube seal was the issue...I think you'll agree that 2 quarts of oil poured into that tiny cylinder would make quite a bit of a mess! So if there are no signs of oil all over the valve cover then I think you may have an other issue to investigate.

These engines are known for precat issues (google it, or search this forum...I can't keep explaining over and over). Upshot is dying precat causes extreme engine wear leading to massive oil consumption (1qt/1000mi)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I really appreciate the feedback. I ordered the parts to replace the valve cover and will work on it this Saturday. Also, the mechanic said I was about two quarts low at my last oil change but I was also over due by about 2000 miles (so hopefully no precat issues but we will see).

Am I correct in assuming that a bad valve cover seal around the spark plug well will cause the engine to run rough and foul out the plug/plugs?

Thanks again!
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Yes, but it should throw P030x codes if one plug is misfiring (where x=# of cylinder with oil leak)
 

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interesting.. no code or check engine light is visible. Well, I will change the parts out this weekend and see how it goes. If this doesn't solve the problem this the car is hitting craigslist by the end of the weekend lol
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Leaking intake gasket? Common on gen 1 Altimas..
How would I go about checking for this?


UPDATE***

Replaced the value cover today along with the ignition coil that was covered in oil. Then I changed all four spark plugs since I was already in there. The install went fairly well beside snapping off one of the valve cover bolts.. that was a pain in the a$$:surprise:surprise

Overall, it appears that the motor is running much better. There is noticeably less vibration at idle. With that said, I still feel like it is running a little rough (could be just in my mind).

Couple questions:

1) There is a hose that comes off the PCV value and goes into the intake manifold. Mine was in really bad shape.. could this mess anything up? I ordered online today because it was not available at the auto part store...

2) could the throttle body or mass air flow sensor need to be cleaned? if so, any advice on doing this?

Thanks a bunch!
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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1. Yes. Rotted emissions hoses will cause an unmetered air problem, which will cause non-ideal mixtures.

2. Visually inspect the TB for gunk. Cleaning these has often resulted in people having to replace them, plus the hassle of idle relearns etc.

I'd replace the rotted hose(s) first and see how it runs. MAF and TB are usually more responsible for uneven idle, hesitation, stumbling, stalling...than rough idle.

Good job so far! And thanks very much for the detailed updates...others will benefit for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
After fooling around with the car earlier today we checked out the MAF and TB. Overall it looked pretty good.. and even though the PCV hose needs to be replaced, it doesn't appear to be leaking. Not sure these are causing the vibration.

I am beginning to think the alternator clutch is going bad (which was actually the first suggestion that was made in this post).

Here is why...

1) I placed my hand on the valve cover when the motor was running and then I compared it to the alternator. The alternator (while running) had significant more vibration.

2) When I turn the car off, there is a distinct whining sound that lasts for a few seconds immediately after the car shuts down. We tested it a few times and it appeared to be the alternator (best guess).

3) When in neutral or park, the vibration basically goes away (almost completely). When put into drive or reverse, the vibration gets worse.

4) Lastly, when A/C is turned on the vibration gets worse (while parked or in any gear).

Anyway, that is what I think may be the main issue here. Thoughts?

Looks like an alternator can be picked up for about $120 and its a fairly easy install.

Thanks again for all the comments and support! :smile:smile I will update further this week
 

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After fooling around with the car earlier today we checked out the MAF and TB. Overall it looked pretty good.. and even though the PCV hose needs to be replaced, it doesn't appear to be leaking. Not sure these are causing the vibration.

I am beginning to think the alternator clutch is going bad (which was actually the first suggestion that was made in this post).

Here is why...

1) I placed my hand on the valve cover when the motor was running and then I compared it to the alternator. The alternator (while running) had significant more vibration.

2) When I turn the car off, there is a distinct whining sound that lasts for a few seconds immediately after the car shuts down. We tested it a few times and it appeared to be the alternator (best guess).

3) When in neutral or park, the vibration basically goes away (almost completely). When put into drive or reverse, the vibration gets worse.

4) Lastly, when A/C is turned on the vibration gets worse (while parked or in any gear).

Anyway, that is what I think may be the main issue here. Thoughts?

Looks like an alternator can be picked up for about $120 and its a fairly easy install.

Thanks again for all the comments and support! :smile:smile I will update further this week
yea, the whining is the bearing inside the alternator. A grinding coffee kind of sound is often the ADP (clutch pulley). I changed the adp and the grinding stopped, but I still hear a whirling/whinging kind of sound after I turn the car off as well Maybe like 2-3 secs but feels longer. Again, thats probably one of the 2 bearings actually inside the alternator. The part is probably like $5 (r and it would be a PITA to replace. But usually, when an alternator is remanufactured, they replace the ADP, both bearings inside, the voltage regulator and brushes inside, and I think one or two more things.

I actually bought a used altima alternator in order to replace all parts and test...Hope to do it in the next 10-20 yrs.

And don't forget to test the serpentine belt and belt tensioner/pulley. Since you've got over 200k on the car, might as well change that out I'd say. its supposed to be PM'd at around 80K IIRC. 2005 Nissan Altima 2.5L serpentine belt tensioner replacement - YouTube
 

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regarding the P030X codes. I remember having intermittent misfire issues, but my CEL never came on. Finally at one point, it got real bad and thats when I got the P0302. That misfire was causing more than a little vibration though, it was a rough shake . Ended buying a new ignition coil and it fixed the issue. Oddly, I recently noticed an intermittent issue again on another valve once each of the past 2 weeks., but I got the code hit the time it happened. ugghhh. These cars sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
UPDATE**

I changed out the PVC hose last night since the old one was rotted out pretty bad. It did NOT fix the vibration.

The alternator and tensioner pulley will be delivered and installed tomorrow afternoon... that is going to be my final try with this car lol. I am hoping that one of the two fixes the issue.

FYI - I used a metal bar and held it up to the alternator (while running) and listened to noises it made... it did appear to be whinning and grinding more than seemed normal (at least to me)... fingers crossed that the alternator (and alternator pulley), along with a new tensioner pulley will finally resolve this ongoing issue.

I will update the post when/if the fix works.

Thanks again for all the feedback and support.
 

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UPDATE***

Replaced the tensioner pulley and the alternator last night. The old tensioner pulley was certainly bad... when I held it in my hand and spun the pulley, I could physically feel vibration. The alternator may/may not have been bad.

The install was fairly simple but you had to work in a tight/confined space which was a bit of a pain.

Unfortunately, there is a vibration that still exists at idle and when placed into gear. Realistically, the vibration is not that bad and at this point I can probably just live with it for a while until ready to purchase a new car. Most people don't even recognize it until I point it out. With that said, the only other thing I can really think of at this point is the throttle body.

I may take the vehicle to the dealer and have them service the throttle body. Afterall, it has never been done (not one time) and the vehicle has 214k miles... who knows, maybe its causing vehicle to run rough idle.

Anyway, thank you again for all your help! There is no doubt in my mind that I replaced items that would ultimately cause issues down the road if we hadn't gone through all of the items listed in this post.

If I find the solution to the vibration, I will post another update

-Luis
 
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