1995 Nissan Altima GXE 2.4 from North America
Good value, durable sedan
New front pads and rear shoes at 95k, pads seem to last about 30k, but are $12 a set.
The original steel wheels had kerb damage, found a secondhand set of GXE/SE alloys online for $120. Tires last 25-30k (Bridgestone RE930i).
Replaced distributor cap and rotor arm, rotor arm was loose (had a helper) and damaged posts.
Replaced radiator, it developed cracks in the plastic around the filler cap that couldn't be sealed. New radiator was $120 online and easy to fit, and replaced the thermostat while the system was empty.
Needs CV boots, will replace shafts for ~$65 per side since it's easier, quicker and less messy (NB hub nuts are high torque and must be replaced).
A/T pan gasket hard to seal, likely due to pan damage; grey "import" gasket sealant easily fixed that.
Leaks oil from breather separator, need to remove PAS pump to remove it and remake the gasket (more sealer!), replace PCV valve while you're there as it's impossible to change any other way.
Reasonable performance (quicker than a 2.0 Accord), easy to drive in traffic, good value, chain cam engines (KA24DE) last well (lots about with 150k+), most stuff easy to fix. Handles fairly well, good ride, brakes good at the front, four disc cars are better.
Driver's seat wears, not great for your lower back.
Headlights are not great for illumination, and rubber seals let in condensation; need to make sure the back covers are on square and use silicone to seal to keep out moisture.
Back seats do not fold, but there is a ski hatch.
SE manuals with leather are sought after, worth a bit extra over GXEs. Newer shape 97-on are mechanically the same, with some revisions in the OBDII cars.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th April, 2005
3rd Aug 2005, 05:38
Update: Just about to do pads and discs at 130k, otherwise everything else still working.
O2 sensors replaced 12 months ago to cure CEL (oxygensensors.com); front one was corroded in place, but Nissan used a spacer nut, which removed easily after the sensor was abused off the manifold. Rear 02 sensor necessitates removal of heat shield (same on most cars), four 10mm bolts all corroded, 2 needed to be drilled and reamed out, but otherwise straightforward.
Split EGR BPT transducer (emissions hose) caused intermittent CELs; easily tracked down with the help of the OBD and a Haynes manual.
Needs a valve cover gasket for oil seepage ($15), but otherwise drives and handles as it did 40k and 2 years ago. Still gets ~24 MPG.