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Discussion Starter #1
Well, the '02 Altima that I've sought help for on this board in the past finally went away (to live on auntie's farm with the other cats and dogs) at 276K miles.

I didn't want it to end yet, though. I was getting it ready as a college car beater for my son. I had just replaced the A/C compressor (and condenser), the radiator, and a new belt tensioner ($700+ in new/used parts). It was doing great, except for a small coolant leak that had recently sprung up that I thought I could easily fix (bad gasket, right?) I replaced a couple of different gaskets that were near the hidden leak source, but it didn't stop. After borrowing a rotoscope camera, I finally found the source: two engine block cracks, hidden behind the alternator, right behind the crankshaft pulley (far left in the pic below). One of them had been there for a while and had oil slowly leaking out of it (I hadn't noticed major oil loss). The other crack (on the right) had fresh coolant slowly leaking out:

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I tried K-Seal in the coolant, and it would work temporarily. After the block cooled, however, whatever internal crack there was would reopen again.

I was about to try more expensive head gasket sealers out of desperation and last shot at fixing it when some big-ass truck rear-ended me at a stoplight. The crash did just enough damage in the car to have the insurance company offer to write it off as a total loss.

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Even though it was still driveable, I had to look at the big picture, write off the lost parts and time, and take the slightly bigger check. There'd be no salvage title and a different used block dropped in with the smaller check's funds.

It was time to move on.

Lesson learned: You may really love your car, but you have to know when to say when.

I won't be buying another Altima (or Nissan for that matter) because:

1) I've test driven newer Altimas over the past several years and they just weren't as nimble and fun to drive.
2) CVTs suck, IMO. No fun. And how much do you really save in gas with a CVT anymore vs. a newer generation 8 or 10 speed automatic? Come on, Nissan - Sell off Jatco, and get some fun back in your cars!
3) I don't trust Nissan quality overall like I did years ago. I had to replace a lot of parts on that car that I shouldn't have had to replace. (Silver lining: I did learn a lot about DIY fixing your car beyond changing the oil or tires.)

In the end, though, I did love that loaded, silver '02. Agile enough, fast enough, comfortable enough. She was like that hot, abusive girlfriend that caused one a lot of pain - but also really knew how to move. I bought her new, and rode her to the very end.

RIP, baby...
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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7,040 Posts
I am sorry for your loss. Frighteningly similar to the way my '03 was taken from me (peach munching senior in a minivan...but almost identical rear-end damage). I signed on for another tour of duty, but only after finding one of the last MT 3.5's ever made a few hours away...but that was years ago now and no longer an option...and I will soon be moving on, not because of cracked blocks...and only partly because of the red cancer so endemic in the salt-encrusted land I call home...but generally for EXACTLY the same reasons ( boring/suck/no trust) you list above. My farewell post will no doubt appear quite soon...but maybe not until the end of summer ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thx, d0ugmac1. I'm driving a "college car" (Hyundai Accent) around until I pick my next car, and it's tough to pick. I really wish that Fiat Chrysler didn't skimp on quality because I really want a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Online and in-person mechanics have generally warned me away, however, saying, "Don't do it. They don't hold up."

My wife wants a Toyota Highlander (about as boring as they come - just a tall Camry) and has been hoping I give up on the Jeep. Unless I can come up with something better, of course.

Question for anyone reading this: What do you replace a 2002-2006 Nissan Altima SE (V6) with today off of a new car dealer lot - without buying a bunch of $50K+ luxury I really don't need or want? Does it even exist anymore (sedan or SUV)?
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Don't go, your knowledge stream doesn't stop just because the car does...............
I know, it'll be weird after 15 years of driving VQ Altis and 6 years sharing on this forum...but my knowledge is really limited to Gen3/4's (02-12) which are definitely in decline these days...
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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7,040 Posts
I'm looking at the Accord 2.0t Sport 6MT...about $36K in Canadian pesos. It's essentially a turbo-4 version of my 3.5SE 6MT....almost identical specs, albeit 10yrs later. Only this time I am not putting up with the 1-wheel drive...that open diff is getting changed for an LSD ASAP. Only unfortunate thing is you cannot get all the toys (full leather, nav etc) on the Sport platform like you could with the SE...but I won't be buying it as a rolling sofa either...bolt ons and OBDII based 'instant tunes' are all available.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm looking at the Accord 2.0t Sport 6MT...about $36K in Canadian pesos. It's essentially a turbo-4 version of my 3.5SE 6MT...
Interesting - I was test driving the Accord with the 2.0T (EX-L) yesterday. It doesn't have the same authority as the Altima, but it really moves when the turbos kick in. I accidently squeaked the tires making basic turns, and the handling is fun, too. The back seat roof is short (it's a 2 adult car for long trips and I still have two teenage sons). That (and no V6 engine) are my only hesitations. If the Accord still had a V6 model (turbos or not), it'd have been a done deal already.

The new Camry TRD coming out this fall sounded intriguing (Camry reliability with tighter handling), but this video wasn't very kind:
. Other than the suspension changes, the rest is all cosmetic -- and they may want upwards of $50K? I'd get a Lexus IS if I'm going in for that much money.
 

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Nooooo! don't leave us! we have to find you another Miami Driven v6 Alti so you can teach it about the snow and stuff

I also don't like newer Nissans, they get cheaper and cheaper (except Z and GT-R, still nice). 2.0L turbo seems like a downgrade IMO, it's hard to choose but if I have to change, I would consider: Ford Fusion 2.7 Turbo (Easily you can get 400whp), Ford Mustang or Subaru BRZ (not a sedan, I know), or maybe an older Accord with V6
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I also don't like newer Nissans, they get cheaper and cheaper (except Z and GT-R, still nice). 2.0L turbo seems like a downgrade IMO, it's hard to choose but if I have to change, I would consider: Ford Fusion 2.7 Turbo (Easily you can get 400whp), Ford Mustang or Subaru BRZ (not a sedan, I know), or maybe an older Accord with V6
I wanted to try out that 2.7 Fusion, but I can't find one anywhere around here. Maybe it's because Ford is phasing sedans out (which may make the parts harder to find in the future, anyways)? Mustangs are fun, but now practical for a family of four. Maybe in a few years (if Ford hasn't trashed them too)?
 
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