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Engine broke - Nissan Sentra 97 - Sincere advice needed!

by cool_guycnet / September 4, 2005 5:25 AM PDT

Hi CNET pals:

I wrote exactly 2 1/2 months before in this forum that my 97 Sentra (117K) is using the engine oil. It has not used the engine oil entirely before. But, this last time after 1000 miles of oil change, it lacked engine oil while I was driving on the interstate ...the dashboard light for engine oil pressure blinked a few times and the engine just gave up within 5 minutes. The mechanics say I have to get the engine changed. It would cost me $ 1500 - 3000 depending on whether I chose to get a used/ rebuilt engine. (The body is in good shape). They are not able to say why it broke down.

Before it gave up, the Malfunction indicator light was coming on and off for the last 10 k miles. I should say that I neglected that though I got it tested a few times with the autozone, advanced autoparts etc....they couldn't diagnose any problem.

I changed the break pads, alternator, in the last 3 months.

My real dilemma is WHETHER to get a NEW ENGINE or CHANGE MY CAR? If I think with the changed engine the car could get me till another 100 K, I AM WORRIED the engine breakdown has been caused by any problem outside the engine??? If I spend 3000 $ and buy a used car, I will have to get the parts in that car changed after I buy that because hardly will I get a good car with that amount.

Your advice is valuable to me. Please offer suggestions.

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Really tough situation
by MPowerF1 / September 5, 2005 1:26 AM PDT

Well, I would say that if your Sentra had been completely reliable, with the exception of the engine, then I would probably rebuild the engine. Although, I would probably want to get a second opinion, if that is possible. You would have a better peace of mind knowing that the car you had is reliable and you already know the ins-and-outs. But, if it wasnt very reliable, brakes, steering, etc., then you might want to consider at least looking for a used car.

You could also rebuild the engine, and then sell it, for at least lets just say 5 grand. Then you might be able to afford a better/newer used car. Just another option.

As to the engine breaking components outside of the car/engine bay, I would say that there shouldnt be much to worry about that. The most likely scenario would be that the lack of oil created too much friction in the engine and the pistons and other components started "chewing" at the engine. Which would probably explain why it needs to be rebuilt. But again, I would recommend getting a second opinion as there could possibly be cheaper ways of getting the car running.

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Need emission system overhaul?
by cool_guycnet / September 5, 2005 3:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Really tough situation

Thanks pal !

Do you think I need to change most of the emission system parts too? (I am worried if the engine breakdown has been caused by bad fuel system parts - I regularly (atleast once in 3000 miles) used additives to clean the fuel system.

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Purhaps but I doubt it
by MPowerF1 / September 5, 2005 10:38 AM PDT

Like the title says, I think that it might be a possiblity. But at the same time, I dont think that you will have to. If the problem was incorrect fuel delivery and so on, then most definately. But I dont think that was the problem in this case.

However, you will probably have to get the ECU flashed (reset) because it was most likely goofed up with all the crap that was going on in the engine.

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Thank you
by cool_guycnet / September 5, 2005 11:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Purhaps but I doubt it

Thanks Power! I will keep you all updated on this problem of mine as I try to get the car run again.

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The engine failed due to a lack of oil pressure which was
by Kiddpeat / September 15, 2005 5:37 PM PDT

probably caused by a lack of oil. The oil either leaked out, or was burned while you drove. Nothing outside the engine would cause this. The possible reasons would all be covered by an engine rebuild or replacement. Lack of oil causes engines to tear up bearings and to overheat. They can easily get hot enough to weld the engine parts together. It sounds like this happened in your case since the mechanics are saying a replacement engine is needed.

This kind of problem can be prevented by checking the oil at least once a week. I check mine on Sunday morning.

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