Nissan Altima Used Engines

First introduced in 1993, the Nissan Altima has proven to be a solid seller.  Produced in Symrna, TN, the Altima has come with three engines. First and second generation Altima’s were shipped with the KA24DE, a 2.4L 4 cylinder inline engine. First generation Altima’s were sold between 1993 and 1997, while second generation Altima engines were produced between 1998 and 2001. In 2002, the third generation of the Altima came out. The third generation was distinct from the previous two not just in styling but in the fact that it made use of two engines. The KA24DE of the previous generations was replaced with the new QR25DE, a 175 horsepower 2.5L 4 cylinder inline engine. An optional upgrade was the 250 horsepower 3.5L VQ35DE.

If your Altima engine has failed, what should you know when looking for a used Nissan Altima engine?

Let’s talk first about the KA24DE from the first and second generations. First of all, this is a great engine. I cannot remember anyone ever having what I would call an “early failure” with one of these. Additionally, I’m not familiar with any sludge problems being reported on these engines. I’ve heard many mechanics claim these engines should get 250,000 miles with a good maintenance program. The main problem with these engines is not the engine itself, but the distributor. Distributors frequently fail onthe KA24DE, and are in high demand used. Because of this, most companies selling these engines remove the distributor from the engine prior to the engine selling. When this happens, often times the distrubutor shaft on the replacement engine will need to be resurfaced. In fact, I’ve poken with a shop near Jackson, MS who installed a used KA24DE which would not fire. They thought their tech had broken a wire on the wiring harness while placing the engine onto the cradle, so they disinstalled the engine and checked the wiring harness and installation thoroughly. They could not see what was wrong, so they reinstalled the engine and had the same problem. They called a few buddies, and came to the conclusion that the problem had to be the customer’s old distributor, which they had swapped from the old engine. They bought a remanufactured distributor and had the same problem. They then called into a tech support line they subscribe to, and learned that they needed to resurface the portion of the distributor shaft that the distributor connected in to.

Next, we have the third generation engines.

The VQ35DE engine is flawless. We hardly ever get calls on these engines. The few calls we do get have in all but one or two instances been caused by never-ever-ever-changing-my-oil syndrome (each year, this syndrome affects nearly five million Americans, wink wink).

The QR25DE engine is not as good as the VQ35DE. I recommend only replacing your 2.5L Altima engine with a used engine having under 75,000 miles. There is good availability of these engines, so there is no need to spend the extra $1500 on a good remanufactured engine; a good remanufactured Jasper engine 2.5L engine costs $3,500 plus core and crate charge.

If you need a used Nissan Altima engine, or any other used engine, please contact us at 901-266-9996 or fill out an online request for a free, no obligation quote.

  • Dan Wilkinson

    I want to know why my 2003 nissan altima that i bought in 2005 with only 1 owner and 32000 miles then and now with 97000 plus mostly all highway miles and the engine is shot.I always kept up with the maintnance and always changed the oil when it was supposed to be changed.Had a mechanic look at it and he said that the rings and valves were shot.I am wondering because I bought the car because of the high mileage it gets, at least over 100,000 plus mileage to a better 200,000 plus which I am no where near the minimum standard mileage I should have gotten out of the engine.I have not quite found out a good explanation on this and was requiring a better explanation on the matter.Thank u.

    • Matthew

      Dan, I understand that you’re angry. 2002 and 2003 Altimas are by far the most common QR25DE engines to fail – and I talk to Altima owners every day all accross the country. There are many reasons that an engine can fail, but the most common reason Altima engines fail is due to the rings going out – they sometimes wear out and fail to seal.

      Some Altima users have had luck with Engine Restore. Personally, my luck has been low with Engine Restore, but it’s so cheap and so easy to apply that it doesn’t make sense not to try to use it.

      So what are your options? Basically, you’re looking at getting a remanufactured or low mileage used engine. Remans are expensive. Used engines, due to their high demand, are not cheap either, but they are much less expensive than a quality reman. This is one of our most commonly sold engines.

      If you want to fix your problem, get a used Nissan QR25DE engine from a 2004, 2005, or 2006 Nissan Altima or Sentra. These engines are typically trouble free, and everyone in my company has instructions to never buy from an ’02 or ’03 Altima. Because of this, we have avoided problems with these engines.

  • todd

    How much for a 04-06 qr25de?

    • Matthew

      Todd – give Wade a call at 901-384-5624. He’ll be happy to quote you.

  • ralf

    im tryn to find a new engine for my nissan altima but everywhere i look they seem to coast to much anybody where to get it for cheatper….

    • Matthew

      Ralph, these are high demand engines with a higher than normal failure rate. You’re asking to get burnt looking for one of these “cheap.” You want a good deal, and I understand that, but if you don’t want to throw your money away, this is something that needs to be done right.

  • Hank Culver

    Where can I find the procedures for engine replacement for 2.5 2002 nissan altima with automatic transmission? The haynes manual does not callout these procedures. Can the engine be pulled from the top without transmission?

    • Matthew

      You could purchase a Nissan shop manual online (an actual dealer book). Alternately, I believe a customer once told me they used Chilton’s online repair manuals.

  • Unmesh

    What happens after getting the engine changed ? Does the problem re occure ? I got an 02 Altima which has stalled , i have been informed that the timing belt needs to be changed because i have 0 compresibility on #1 cylinder 120 on #2 60 on # 3 and 70 on #4 . Moreover it has been draining oil for a long time
    too . Its got 122K on it.

    • Matthew

      Hello Unmesh. Compression would have nothing to do with a timing belt needing a change, unless the belt is broken and the engine is out of time. In that scenario, you would have much, much bigger problems than simply changing the timing belt.

      Given that your engine is using oil too, your rings are most likely bad. Verify with a local shop, but you probably need a replacement engine.

  • Walt

    I bougth a used 2002 nissan altima, 2.5 s..About 3 weeks later, i was having problems so I took it back to the dealer, and they told me i need a new engine.. They said they will put a used engine in with 50k miles.Im scared because I believe im still gonna have engine problems with the car. should i woory??

    • Anonymous

      In a word? Yes!

      2002-2003 Altimas had major problems. The most common reason for Altima
      engine failure that we see is flaking from the catalytic converter. This
      tends to “eat the rings” and lead to oil consumption.

      Which leads us to two things:
      1. You need to have your catalytic converter checked. At a bare minimum, the
      dealership should tell you if yours was in the bad range. We have heard of
      Nissan giving some folks free converters (but not paying any labor to
      install them), but this was a few years ago. I doubt they would still do
      2. You do NOT want to replace your engine with an engine in the same year
      range as yours!

      Some dealers do fair work, but by and large they are not your best value. I
      would recommend finding a private shop, and buying the engine yourself. Give
      us a call at 800-709-9233. I hope this information helps!

      • Walt

        Ive seen alot of post where 2002 nissan altima drivers have had there entire catalytic converter taken out.  you think this will do the trick?

  • Allan

    Does it automatically mean that my catalytic converter is bad on my 2002 nissan altima if a dealer says i need a new engine? If so, I should go ahead and get both replaced

    • Anonymous

      No. You need to know why the engine failed, and if your catalytic
      converter is in the bad range. Check that by having the dealer look it

  • Walt

    Soo I got the engine replaced on the car.. 2 days later, service engine light comes on. Code: P0420.. Bad cat??

  • David

    I have a two problems with my ka24de. It dies when it’s in first gear and at low rpms and we check the fuel pump and fuel pump relay and there fine. and a code for the second cycliner came on. Have you heard anything about these problems? It’s an auto by the way and a 98

  • Dadjwizard

    i replace a my  2.5  engine in my 2002 altima it started to fire but now it wont fire do i need to reset the computer? please help!!

    • Anonymous

      The computer won’t be the issue 99% of the time. You need to trace and find out where you are losing the fire. I can’t even guess from here.

  • gias

    i have changed my 2002 altima 2.5 engine, but smoking a lot, mechanic said drive for few hours on highway will go away, is that true prevention?

    • Anonymous

      It depends on why it is smoking. Some suppliers dump oil down the intake manifold and “swamp” engines before storage. However, with the demand for Altima engines, I doubt there would be any need to swamp one.
      It is possible your mechanic bought the cheapest 2.5 he could find, and that you’re now stuck with the same problem.

  • kenny

    I have 2002 Nissan altima with 2.5 engine. The engine no longer has compression. I have read through the info online and the discussions about not purchasing the 2002-2003 QR25DE engine for replacement. Are there any cons of purchasing a used 2010 QR25DE engine and installing?