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Old 10-27-2007, 10:42 AM
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Question 2003 Altima Smoking/Extreme Oil Consumption

I have a 2003 Altima 2.5S that all of a sudden began smoking and consuming large quantities of oil (about 1 qt every 10 miles!) Took to the dealership who said they removed the exhaust as part of a recall and found it to be full of oil. Because of this they say I have "major internal damage to pistons and rings" and need a new engine. I asked if they performed compression test and they did not. I argued with the service manager that I highly doubted rings were at fault because of the extreme amount of oil consumption, the newness of the car, and the engine still runs well. I argued that a compression test was a simple way to verify his suspicions but he insisted that it would not change his diagnosis. He eventually agreed to do a compression test but by that time I was so disgusted with their service I told him to just give me the car back.
I researched the possibilties on this forum and others and found that there could be a number of poossibilities: rings, seals, PCV, etc. I also discovered that there had been a recall on the pre-catalyst which could cause excessive oil consumption due to the material of the pre-catalyst being drawn into the engine and destroying the seals. The recall states that the dealer is to remove the catalytic converter and inspect for damage and if found replace the engine at no cost.
The dealer states that the recall was issued in 2003 and because I never brought the car in to be serviced, it was my fault. I never got the recalll notice. How do I find out the exact date the recall was issued? The recall
notice they showed me was dated Nov 16, 2006 but their service manager says the recall was issued in 2003. I have a feeling the recall was issued before I took possesion of the car and that is why I never got it. The dealer says he replaced the catalytic converter and I asked to see it but he stated they had already sent it back to Nissan. They only had the car for 1 day. Well actually I have it because the original catalytic converter is still in the car! Nothing on the exhaust system appears to have been touched, all original parts, no tool marks on any of the mounting bolts, etc. The dealership is billing Nissan for replacing the catalytic converter. They charged me $110 for diagnosis.
Should I have to pay for diagnosis when A) their diagnosis is almost certainly incorrect and B) the only work they did for diagnosis was part of recall work that they didn't actually do? Do you think there is anyway I can get Nissan to honor their recall and give me a new engine? What can I do to the dealership to try and get my $110 back? Will Nissan care that they are being charged for work that wasn't done? Who at Nissan should I tell?
Sorry, lot's of questions, but this is a mess! Any help appreciated
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:48 PM
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If the recall was never done the dealer has to do it. It wouldn't matter if you waited another 5 years to bring it in for service. There diagnosis is probably correct. You need an engine. That is part of the recall so you should be getting it for free. I would contact the Better Business Bureau and the attorney general. It is illegal for a dealership to charge you for repairs related to a recall. Also call 1-800 nissan1 to report the dealer to nissan.
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Old 10-27-2007, 05:29 PM
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I agree with you that the prognosis of needing a new engine is probably correct, it was their diagnosis of the cause and the way they determined it that I take exception with. The recall is actually a Voluntary Recall, or as Nissan puts it a 'Recall Campaign'. Do they still have the same requirement to make good on it as they would a mandatory recall?
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:26 AM
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Default Where are you finding this recall?

I also have the 03 Altima 2.5 and the first thing I did was look up the recalls on it. I don't see one for the converter the only thing closest to the exaust that I see is for some hanger pin that can get caught on stuff in the road. Fortunately I've had no problems yet with the converter but if their is a recall out there for it I would definately like to know so I can get this resolved before I do have problems. Thank You.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:21 AM
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This recall is not for all 2003 2.5S models Its depends on your VIN # if your car fall into this category Check with your dealership what recalls need to be done on this car ...
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:28 AM
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I know this is an old thread but I just wanted to put this info up

When a repair facility replaces a catalytic converter they are suppose to keep it for 30 days and it needs to be matched up (invoice number on cat, and reason for replacement signed by customer) to a vehicle repair for inspection by epa if they happen to stop by
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2003, altima, consumption, oil, smoking or extreme

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