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Thread: I don't care if it says "Nissan" on the nose, it's a Buick

  1. #1
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    I don't care if it says "Nissan" on the nose, it's a Buick

    My car blowed up, and I'm stuck in a 2011 Nissan Altima loaner car. I hate it. With only 4089 miles on the clock, it floats like a '70s America boat. And the CVT feels like a Powerglide -- it races off the line with high revs then suddenly drops down to 1800-2000 RPM. I can't find a combination of seat height and steering wheel angle that is comfortable. I think an Oldsmobile Intrigue or Alero was more of a driver's car than this Altima. There's nothing here for People Who Like Cars.

    As for my car, something in the front of the engine failed. I pulled up next to someone at a stop light on the way to work today, and heard this noise, and thought "haha that car is making a bad noise" then the light changed and the noise stayed with me. Damn. Sounds like a playing card in the spokes. The check engine light didn't come on though, and it doesn't seem to be missing or to be down on power, so hopefully it's nothing fatal. But it sounds awful, like a rod end or a turned bearing. The oil looks good though, no visible metal bits on the dipstick.

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    My car blowed up, and I'm stuck in a 2011 Nissan Altima loaner car. I hate it. With only 4089 miles on the clock, it floats like a '70s America boat. And the CVT feels like a Powerglide -- it races off the line with high revs then suddenly drops down to 1800-2000 RPM. I can't find a combination of seat height and steering wheel angle that is comfortable. I think an Oldsmobile Intrigue or Alero was more of a driver's car than this Altima. There's nothing here for People Who Like Cars.

    As for my car, something in the front of the engine failed. I pulled up next to someone at a stop light on the way to work today, and heard this noise, and thought "haha that car is making a bad noise" then the light changed and the noise stayed with me. Damn. Sounds like a playing card in the spokes. The check engine light didn't come on though, and it doesn't seem to be missing or to be down on power, so hopefully it's nothing fatal. But it sounds awful, like a rod end or a turned bearing. The oil looks good though, no visible metal bits on the dipstick.
    At least you can still get a six-speed manual in the Altima!

    The Maxima - remember when people called it the four door sports car? - is now CVT-only.

  3. #3
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    It is weird when you're driving up a hill at constant speed and then suddenly out of nowhere the revs start climbing.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    It is weird when you're driving up a hill at constant speed and then suddenly out of nowhere the revs start climbing.
    I don't like CVTs, either - and Nissan makes some of the "best," by the way (as far as smoothness/quietness).

    They're around for just one reason: Mileage. A CVT is slightly more efficient than a conventional (hydraulic) automatic, and that 1-3 MPG advantage matters; not so much to the customer - but to automakers, who have to comply with increasingly stringent CAFE requirements.

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    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Just called the dealer. They've ordered a Long Block from VW! They pulled the oil pan and said it was "full of parts".

    So I'm in the Altima for "a week to ten days". Ugh.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    Just called the dealer. They've ordered a Long Block from VW! They pulled the oil pan and said it was "full of parts".

    So I'm in the Altima for "a week to ten days". Ugh.
    Assuming they meant 'Full of bits and pieces.' and since there was no particle debris on the dipstick, it sounds as though one of the pistons has broken up. it will be interesting to know exactly what gave way - I suggest you ask them to keep the bits for you to look at. In the old days, repair would have been a rebore or resleeve, new pistons and rings, slap some new main and big-end bearings in while you were at it - all after a very thorough clean out, obviously - and back on the road. Those were the days, a repair like that, on a typical saloon, when I ran my little business would have worked out at under 120/$200.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

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    Sorry about your car. As soon as you said "Playing card in a fan", I thought "Threw a rod"

    Chip H.

  8. #8
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    I dropped in on the shop today, I was curious to see the oil pan full of debris. But they had already bolted the car back together and stuck it outside waiting for the new engine to arrive. It's coming from New Jersey.

    Anyway, contrary to what I was told before about the regional rep coming to supervise, it now seems that no one is the least bit concerned about cause, they just wanna fix it and turf it. There will be no tear-down of the broken engine.

    Service Manager said you can't even see the crank when you pull the oil pan, there's a shield or something in the way.

    So we're not likely to know anything more about this. They're replacing everything that had sump oil in it - long block, turbo, oil lines to the turbo...

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    I dropped in on the shop today, I was curious to see the oil pan full of debris. But they had already bolted the car back together and stuck it outside waiting for the new engine to arrive. It's coming from New Jersey.

    Anyway, contrary to what I was told before about the regional rep coming to supervise, it now seems that no one is the least bit concerned about cause, they just wanna fix it and turf it. There will be no tear-down of the broken engine.

    Service Manager said you can't even see the crank when you pull the oil pan, there's a shield or something in the way.

    So we're not likely to know anything more about this. They're replacing everything that had sump oil in it - long block, turbo, oil lines to the turbo...
    What's the background here? (I forget...)

    How old is the car? Miles? What were the circumstances when it grenaded?

  10. #10
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    What's the background here? (I forget...)

    How old is the car? Miles? What were the circumstances when it grenaded?
    Car is a 2010, with 8000 miles on the clock.

    Circumstances -- I was driving to work. There just happens to be a very entertaining route from my neighborhood to downtown. There was a Camaro SS in front of me at a traffic light, and when the light changed he went for it, so I tried my best to stay on his bumper. Of course he totally had me on accelleration, but I could see he didn't know what his car was capable of doing in the corners, and I was reeling him in pretty decisively when we came up on some traffic that divided us, and he got the advantage. I backed off because there was an older little white Nissan truck on the inside lane of a hairpin and I didn't deem it safe to try to pass him on the outside from where I was. About a block from there was a stoplight, and when I stopped, I heard a "slap slap slap" noise and thought it was the car next to me.

    When the light changed, the slapping noise stayed with me, and sounded more like a dry "scrape" and was getting louder. For a few seconds I entertained the idea that maybe a piece of bodywork or engine shielding had come loose and was fouling the drive belt, but that fantasy didn't last very long, I could tell it was a major engine failure, even though the car was not down on power, still running on four cylinders, and didn't throw an error code.

    I was only a few blocks from work so I limped it in, parked, opened the hood, and looked around, confirming that the noise was internal to the engine. I shut it off and called VW Roadside Assistance.

    So anyway, the last mile or so before the engine failed I was giving it a good workout, but I never slapped the rev limiter and it was certainly nothing outside the design parameters of any performance type car. I think it was a manufacturing defect. But I'd bet that workout finished off whatever part it was that was waiting to fail.

    For a couple of days I was worried that some evidence of that little escapade might show up on the engine's computer, but after a visit to the shop on Wednesday the service manager kept saying things like "it's not your fault" and "it's nothing you did" and I got the impression that they have no interest in forensics at all, their only concern is to fix the car as soon as the parts arrive and turf it. There will be no diagnostic tear-down of the old engine, so we'll likely never know what actually happened.

    They are replacing the long block, turbo, and anything else that sump oil runs through. The engine has to come from New Jersey, they ordered it last Friday and as of Wednesday it had not yet arrived. All will be covered by warranty, and the service manager guessed that by the time it's done, it will have cost VW at least $10K.

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Man.

    This does not bode well - for VW or for you (as an owner).

    What you describe does not constitute abuse. If you can't safely accelerate a new performance car's engine at full throttle up to (but not beyond) redline without risking major engine failure - or even minor problems - there is something fundamentally weak/flawed/defective with the design or the parts used or the quality control of assembly, etc.

    You expect 200,000 mile '90s-era Hyundais to grenade. But a nearly new VW with under 10k miles? Inexcusable. Embarrassing. Outrageous - and other things, too.

    It eats the dick.

    I'd want to lose that car, PDQ, because even after it's "fixed" it just has a new version of the same POS (no offense intended) engine.

    I'd be furious - warranty or not. Eventually, the car is going to be out of coverage and you are going to be out of luck if it happens again. If I were you, I'd be scared to ever drive the thing briskly again and would never feel comfortable in it. The whole experience is ruined. And you paid top dollah for this. VW is supposed to be (or markets itself as) a high-quality, precision engineering brand. Well, throw that out the window. I guess they still have "issues" to work out...

    Really sorry to hear this happened to you -

  12. #12
    From what I read, VW USA wants to triple sales in the US by 2017, so the quality is going to suck. Which is a shame because they just spent the last ten-plus years building the quality image up. Now they are poised to piss it all down the drain

    Which motor is this?

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    From what I read, VW USA wants to triple sales in the US by 2017, so the quality is going to suck. Which is a shame because they just spent the last ten-plus years building the quality image up. Now they are poised to piss it all down the drain

    Which motor is this?
    My bet is Mr. D is not alone.

    I believe him when he says he did not abuse the engine. (Running it through the gears, even at full throttle, is not abuse.) In which case, the failure suggests a major design/manufacturing/materials problem.

    Losing an engine in a year-old car with less than 10,000 miles on it is the sort of thing people used to snicker knowingly about when discussing GM....

  14. #14
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    From what I read, VW USA wants to triple sales in the US by 2017, so the quality is going to suck. Which is a shame because they just spent the last ten-plus years building the quality image up. Now they are poised to piss it all down the drain

    Which motor is this?
    2.0T TSI

    The new North American-made Jetta and Passat models are painfully bland looking in comparison to their German (or Mexican...)-made predecessors. I haven't looked at the interiors to see if they've been dumbed down too.

  15. #15
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    My bet is Mr. D is not alone.

    I believe him when he says he did not abuse the engine. (Running it through the gears, even at full throttle, is not abuse.) In which case, the failure suggests a major design/manufacturing/materials problem.

    Losing an engine in a year-old car with less than 10,000 miles on it is the sort of thing people used to snicker knowingly about when discussing GM....
    This is a percentages game, every manufacturer has some number of engine failures that is greater than zero, even Honda, Lexus and Infiniti. All it takes is for a supplier of bearings or rod bolts to fuck up a batch.

    I just happened to be one of the unlucky ones this time.

  16. #16
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    This is a percentages game, every manufacturer has some number of engine failures that is greater than zero, even Honda, Lexus and Infiniti. All it takes is for a supplier of bearings or rod bolts to fuck up a batch.

    I just happened to be one of the unlucky ones this time.
    Right - but doesn't it make you a little nervous about what might happen with engine #2? Especially after it's out of warranty?

  17. #17
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Nervous? Not particularly. If there were reports of significant numbers of 2.0T VWs dropping dead I'd be worried, but I haven't seen that.

    When I bought this car, the closest one they could find with the color and options I wanted was in Dallas, and the car was driven to Little Rock from there. It had 440 miles on the odometer when I took delivery. I've always wondered if the delivery driver might not have had a little fun with it along the way... This time around all the break-in miles will be down to me.

  18. #18
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    I've turned into a stalker. Sunday I drove by the shop to see if my car had moved. It hadn't. Did it again today and my car was not visible. Which means it's inside the shop, being worked on! I suppose I could just call, but I hate to be a pest.

    When I got home there was a message on my machine from the Service Manager that my engine had come in!

    If I can be out of this Altima loaner car by Friday I'll be very happy.

  19. #19
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    One more thing - this Altima has shit headlights. Life is too short for shit headlights.

  20. #20
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    Nervous? Not particularly. If there were reports of significant numbers of 2.0T VWs dropping dead I'd be worried, but I haven't seen that.

    When I bought this car, the closest one they could find with the color and options I wanted was in Dallas, and the car was driven to Little Rock from there. It had 440 miles on the odometer when I took delivery. I've always wondered if the delivery driver might not have had a little fun with it along the way... This time around all the break-in miles will be down to me.
    That could be. Hope it was.

    A car jockey abusing a brand-new car as the cause of its engine committing seppuku as yours did s a whole lot better than the engine itself being underbuilt or some such.

    PS: Last week I had a 2011 model/brand-new press car with fewer than 3,000 miles on it that was smoking badly at idle....

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