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5th Generation Maxima (2000-2003) Learn more about the 5th Generation Maxima, including the VQ30DE-K and VQ35DE engines.

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Old 08-09-2006, 12:28 PM   #1
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Oil loss - diagnosis from dealership

**EDIT**
1 Apr 08: Nissan replaced the PCV valve and valve covers to fix the problem...didnt help. Then the engine failed compression and leak-down tests. Nissan admitted that the problem was caused by bad piston rings but refused to fix the problem under warranty due to "lack of maintenance records"




As some people may remember, I am among the many people losing oil in their 3.5. I have been losing about a quart every 1,000 miles which causes the timing chain to rattle.
I took it to the dealership a few days ago and they just called back and said "we replaced the PCV valve that was stuck open".
I have 6,000 miles left on my warranty and I want to make sure they arent simply putting a bandaid on the problem until the warranty runs out.
So my questions are -
1. Could there be another problem that actually caused the oil leak and the PCV valve simply got stuck because of all the oil?
2. If it was the PCV valve, could the oil have caused more problems (clogged cats, etc)? And since the timing chain would rattle (due to low oil pressure causing the tensioner to not work) could there be problems caused by that (chain, cover, tensioner, etc)?

I'm going to pick the car up on Sun when i get back home and want to know if I need to argue anything else with the dealership before I sign for it.
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Old 08-09-2006, 01:13 PM   #2
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sounds like a bandaid

ask to see the old PCV valve, i bet they will tell you they already threw it away
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Old 08-09-2006, 02:39 PM   #3
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the best thing is that the pcv valve fixed the problem
the worst thing is to put in another vq35
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsamoylov
the best thing is that the pcv valve fixed the problem
the worst thing is to put in another vq35
i really do hope the valve fixes the problem. im just afraid that there is either a bigger problem or that the bad valve may have caused another problem.
i just want to have some information when i go pick up the car. that way i can ask questions to try and get them to admit there may be other problems
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:40 PM   #5
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The right thing to do is to make them aware of the problem before the warranty is up. That way if it's made clear that the problem existed while your car was under warranty.
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:42 PM   #6
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if the problem re-appears 15k miles down the road, just spend $200 from DaveB and get a new gauge cluster. When he sends it to get calibrated, he will ask how many miles should be on it. Hint hint.

in any case, you should be able to tell in 6k miles if you're still losing oil, shoudln't you?
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irish44j
if the problem re-appears 15k miles down the road, just spend $200 from DaveB and get a new gauge cluster. When he sends it to get calibrated, he will ask how many miles should be on it. Hint hint.

in any case, you should be able to tell in 6k miles if you're still losing oil, shoudln't you?
didnt know that
but that doesnt help with the current problem

i will know since if the problem still exists, i will know in about 1,000 miles
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:48 PM   #8
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I think the dealer will replace the PCV valve (which I don't think will fix it), make sure the oil is up to spec and send him on his way. Then I suppose he would go back every 1-2 weeks and have the service monkey check the oil level to verify.

But if the oil is being burnt out of the tailpipe like I suspect (bad rings), I would think an exhaust sniffer would pick up all the oil in the exhaust. It's easy to get an emission's test. The trick would be to be able to interprete the readings that the machine spits out as excessive oil
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:52 PM   #9
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A quart every 1K is considered to be in the normal range by Nissan. Doubtful the new PCV is going to change anything.
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvienneau
A quart every 1K is considered to be in the normal range by Nissan. Doubtful the new PCV is going to change anything.
a quart ever 1K miles can not be normal
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Old 08-09-2006, 04:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soonerfan
a quart ever 1K miles can not be normal
It can be by Nissan standards.
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Old 08-09-2006, 04:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stardust
It can be by Nissan standards.
well the service manager already told me (and documented) that there is an oil consumption problem
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Old 08-09-2006, 04:36 PM   #13
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anyone know the part no. of the PCV by any chance? that is, for the VQ35...

edit: scratch that, i found it: #11810-8J102
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Old 08-09-2006, 04:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvienneau
A quart every 1K is considered to be in the normal range by Nissan. Doubtful the new PCV is going to change anything.
bull.....even by "nissan standards" there is no way that I could have gone through 100+ quarts (not including changes) over the life of my car and it been considered "normal."

In truth, I have gone over 10k miles without oil changes before, and still had oil to the full level. There is no excuse for a quart low over 1k miles, and if anyone at Nissan tells you that, speak with another service manager and call Nissan North America.
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Old 08-09-2006, 05:03 PM   #15
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I have the same exact problem you have but mine eats a quart at just over 700 miles! I changed my PCV the last time I did an oil change and it did absolutely nothing. I have been very busy at work and don't really have time to take my car in to the dealer but I am going to have to as the problem has me very concerned. I say the same thing too....burning a quart in 1,000 miles or less is not normal, I don't care what the dealer tells me. I even switched to 10w oil from 5w thinking maybe the 5 was too thin for the summer but it did nothing. Well anyways good luck with your car and I will let you know what happens with mine when I take it in.
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Old 08-09-2006, 05:18 PM   #16
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fight it.. or get a VQ30... just kidding... ask them why and specify that it needs to be fixed...
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Old 08-09-2006, 11:17 PM   #17
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Mine consumes oil too. a lil less than u but more than i consider normal.
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Old 08-10-2006, 05:06 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvienneau
A quart every 1K is considered to be in the normal range by Nissan. Doubtful the new PCV is going to change anything.
So according to that logic, its normal to have no oil left after 4k miles of driving?
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Old 08-10-2006, 06:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puppetmaster
So according to that logic, its normal to have no oil left after 4k miles of driving?
That's why there's a dipstick :-) I'm not saying I agree with it, but you'll find most manufactureres say anything better than 1K miles (some of them are 900 miles) is "normal" and due to manufacturing tolerances. If you add 100 quarts over it's lifetime that $200 or $300 spread over a 100K. It's not a big factor (in their minds). Now if you're a loyal in-warranty customer (meaning you bought it new), and you make enough noise about it, you *may* get a new engine. It will be Nissan that makes the decision, not the dealer.
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Old 08-10-2006, 06:01 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puppetmaster
So according to that logic, its normal to have no oil left after 4k miles of driving?
No, because the user is supposed to be monitoring the oil and adding when/where necessary

Of course just joking.
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Old 08-10-2006, 06:03 AM   #21
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I would raise hell with Nissan NA until you get a new engine. Tell them none of your friends 02-03 burn oil ect.... Call more dealers too.
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Old 08-10-2006, 06:25 AM   #22
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when they originaly determined there was an oil consumption problem, the dealership called Nissan NA to see what they were supposed to do. the service manager said he was told to remove the valve covers to try and find the problem. the fact that they simply changed the PCV valve makes me believe they never removed the covers like they were told to. im leaning towards, they did an easy cheap fix.
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Old 08-10-2006, 08:00 AM   #23
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Yeah, call Nissan NA and complain to them.
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Old 08-10-2006, 08:13 AM   #24
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Well one sure way NOT to get warrantied is to ignore my advice.
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Old 08-10-2006, 03:06 PM   #25
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Well warranty pays just under 3.0 hours labor to remove the valve covers. Non-warranty pay is just over 4.5 hours, so my guess is the tech didn't do it, gave your car a cheap fix and moved on to a car that pays better. My guess is that they'll figure out what the problem is and have an estimate for you the next service immediately after your warranty runs out.

EDIT: Those are alldata times listed and that's for a 2000 3.0 so the difference between warranty and non-warranty pay on a 3.5 may be 2 or 3 hours more under non-warranty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonerfan
when they originaly determined there was an oil consumption problem, the dealership called Nissan NA to see what they were supposed to do. the service manager said he was told to remove the valve covers to try and find the problem.
Right before you leave the dealer, after they confirm they pulled the valve covers ask them for a print out of all warranty claims and service performed under your vin #. Nissan dealers have an online database they can print out the entire warranty history for you. If they did remove your valve covers it will be listed. If it's not listed, thank them for their time, leave and write a letter to the owner of the dealership and call Nissan North America. Writing a letter to the service manager won't get you very far, because he's as interested in C.S.I. (Customer Satisfaction Index) being high as much as the service writer and he doesn't want to see his writer get caught up in a lie. If they refuse to give you a print out of your warranty history (for whatever excuse) demand to speak to the service manager, if he gives you an excuse, then ask for his manager and so on.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:40 PM   #26
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UPDATE
i picked up the car from the dealership a few hours ago. i asked what all was done and he said "we replaced the PCV valve that was completely stuck open. thats the best place to start. we marked the oil level and need you to come back in 1K miles so we can see if that fixed the problem"

hopefully it did
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:53 PM   #27
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drive the car hard for this 1k

more oil loss = more of a case for you
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:07 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepik
drive the car hard for this 1k

more oil loss = more of a case for you
there is another way to drive my car?

when i first had this problem i took it to a diffirent dealership that said its cause i drive the car to hard and shift close to redline i told him that if the engine cant handle it that they should reduce the redline

do i drive the car like a grandma? no
do i get the most out of the car? yes
do i take care of the car? yes
bottomline...the problem is with the car, not the way i drive.
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:25 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soonerfan
UPDATE
i picked up the car from the dealership a few hours ago. i asked what all was done and he said "we replaced the PCV valve that was completely stuck open. thats the best place to start. we marked the oil level and need you to come back in 1K miles so we can see if that fixed the problem"

hopefully it did
how exactly did they "mark the oil level?" I hope not on the dipstick, since the maxima dipstick SUCKS for showing the oil level. Pull it out 5 times in 5 minutes, it will look different every time.
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:33 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irish44j
how exactly did they "mark the oil level?" I hope not on the dipstick, since the maxima dipstick SUCKS for showing the oil level. Pull it out 5 times in 5 minutes, it will look different every time.
yes the dipstick. if the engine lost 1 quart you will be able to tell (like last time when they admitted it was losing oil)
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:49 PM   #31
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i just checked the reciept and they also changed the PCV hose...most likely cause it was all gunked up with oil. that means the intake manifold is full of burned oil.
ya'll know what that means....SEAFOAM!!
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Old 08-14-2006, 10:55 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepik
sounds like a bandaid

ask to see the old PCV valve, i bet they will tell you they already threw it away
if u don't let them know same day, why would they keep it..
be in the perspective of the technician dealing with the problem
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Old 08-15-2006, 07:21 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soonerfan
As some people may remember, I am among the many people losing oil in their 3.5. I have been losing about a quart every 1,000 miles which causes the timing chain to rattle.
I took it to the dealership a few days ago and they just called back and said "we replaced the PCV valve that was stuck open".
I have 6,000 miles left on my warranty and I want to make sure they arent simply putting a bandaid on the problem until the warranty runs out.
So my questions are -
1. Could there be another problem that actually caused the oil leak and the PCV valve simply got stuck because of all the oil?
a pcv valve can definately cause it, however, if it was 'stuck all the way open', it would have thrown lean codes, guaranteed.
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Old 08-15-2006, 07:27 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff92se
But if the oil is being burnt out of the tailpipe like I suspect (bad rings), I would think an exhaust sniffer would pick up all the oil in the exhaust. It's easy to get an emission's test. The trick would be to be able to interprete the readings that the machine spits out as excessive oil

it would show up as high CO readings, and a small bump in HC count depending on the severity. the shop may even have a 5gas analyzer that they could test with.


in fact, why dont you find out, and then you can find out for sure if its actually being burned (probably). and then you dont have to go pick up your car until theyve verified that its been fixed. if that requires engine replacement... cool.
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Old 08-15-2006, 07:33 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff92se
Well one sure way NOT to get warrantied is to ignore my advice.
ditto. as long as youve got it documented that the problem was occuring under warranty, theyll be required to repair the car until its fixed, under warranty. ive seen it happen several times.


Quote:
Originally Posted by getbigtony
if u don't let them know same day, why would they keep it..
be in the perspective of the technician dealing with the problem
if it was replaced uner warranty, then the part got turned back in to parts, in case nisan wants to inspect it. it didnt get thrown away.
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Old 08-15-2006, 07:35 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soonerfan
UPDATE
i picked up the car from the dealership a few hours ago. i asked what all was done and he said "we replaced the PCV valve that was completely stuck open. thats the best place to start. we marked the oil level and need you to come back in 1K miles so we can see if that fixed the problem"

'thats the best place to start' = 'were guessing at the problem'



ive kinda been considering working for nissan, but seeing how they treat you guys, and the csi for nissan nationwide is at the bottom of the ladder, im leaning away from it.
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Old 08-15-2006, 07:36 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getbigtony
if u don't let them know same day, why would they keep it..
be in the perspective of the technician dealing with the problem
I recall there being a clause that repair shops and dealer service areas have to follow. If they replace parts, they are to keep the old parts unless the customer advises them not to. Or maybe it's the other way around, but if he initialed something that stated keep old parts, then they should not have thrown it away.

Just do not know if this was just a courtesy clause, or if all service shops were to follow it, but I do know it exists.
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Old 08-15-2006, 09:30 AM   #38
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According to the dealer, my car lost 3 quarts of oil in 1200 miles. Every time I give it moderate to heavy acceleration the car smokes (all this after the cat was replaced, the car was fine until then). The dealer told me the PCV valve was cloged. I spent over 300 bux at the dealer for two new valve covers and gaskets. The car is still doing the same thing and in about a week (less than 500 miles) there is no oil registering on the dipstick.

I'm almost temped to do a motor swap and just be done with all of this!
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Old 08-15-2006, 09:39 AM   #39
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The PCV valve was clogged so they Replaced the valve covers?? Sounds to me like they put u through the ringer.
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Old 08-15-2006, 09:42 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EH STEVE!!
According to the dealer, my car lost 3 quarts of oil in 1200 miles. Every time I give it moderate to heavy acceleration the car smokes (all this after the cat was replaced, the car was fine until then). The dealer told me the PCV valve was cloged. I spent over 300 bux at the dealer for two new valve covers and gaskets. The car is still doing the same thing and in about a week (less than 500 miles) there is no oil registering on the dipstick.

I'm almost temped to do a motor swap and just be done with all of this!
Blue smoke out of the tailpipe? Probably the pistons rings then... they're probably loose and/or not "offset" right.
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Old 08-15-2006, 09:42 AM
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