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Nathan, Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 738
Experience:  17+ sole Nissan Experience, Master ASE and Master Nissan trained.
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2003 Nissan Altima burned oil -engine light went on. My mechanic

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2003 Nissan Altima burned oil -engine light went on. My mechanic got a misfire message on diagnostic. Nissan mech diagnostic said it was a coolant -oil seal breach and a new engine was needed.
Is this a Nissan engineering flaw or bad luck.
(oil was changed regularly-Jiffy lube)
First I need to know what engine you have in your altima? Is it the 2.5l 4cyl or the 3.5l V6? also please tell me your mileage and if you have had any repairs in the past such as catalytic convertor replacements, power valve repairs, overheating issues etc.

I can answer your question better with this information.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
2003 2.5s 4cyl auto- 57k miles

I brought it in for all the notified recalls.

Soon after the last recall fix the idle became eratic and they charged $400 for a new idle component. The heat sensor never rose above its usual mid way point.

Okay the 2.5l engine has had two major issues that causes oil loss,
1, power valve screws vibrate and fall out into the intake manifold and eventually end up in the cylinders causing damage to the cylinder and pistons which will then lead to ring damage and oil cunsumption. This doesn't sound to be the culprit in your case.
2, The catalytic convertor honeycomb has been known to same apart usually as a result of a poor running engine (misfire) or (extremely lean condition) This will cause the onvertor to overheat and break apart. When this happens peices of the convertor will enter the engine and cause a sandpaper affect on the rings and cylinder walls, causing excessive blowby and oil consumption. If you remove the upper oxygen sensor and look at the upper surface of the convertor's honeycomb it may be distorted and broken apart. If it is than the Nissan 8year or 80k mile warranty can be made to cover the engine along with the convertor. Do not mention any thing to the dealer about a coolant leak. The reason is that if the headgasket caused this issue then you will be out of warranty based on age since the engine is only covered for 5 years or 60k miles. The convertor and ecm is covered for 8 year or 80k miles. so to get it covered the technician will have to be able to relate the loss of compression to the broken apart catalytic convertor. Once this is done the engine will become a part of the repair and thus covered by warranty.

The dealer may have to call for a special approval on the repair so don't lose your cool. Be straight to the point and courteous. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance from Nissan they are generally pretty good about goodwilling repairs beyond their warranty especially if you have repair history at the dealer.

Also try to make sure you get a hold of a senior technician that has at least 5 years of NISSAN experience and that is master certified.

Hope I have helped.
Too bad your not in the dallas area, then I could have you fixed up by monday:-)
Nathan and other Nissan Specialists are ready to help you
Ps for just for your own knowledge. A convertor can be trashed in under 30 minutes if your engine is running bad enough, so if you ever get a misfire don't delay get it fixed before further damage results.