29th Mar 2006, 15:27

Also have problem with the distributor "o" ring. Can't seem to find a a parts list in order to ask for correct part. Vehicle has over 140,000 miles on it and drives great. Need to fix the oil leak from the distributor.

31st Mar 2006, 21:56

This seems to be a common problem.

I have looked at various car repair books, among them Chiltons, Haynes, and even an actual black bindered 1996 GXE Altima FACTORY manual about this problem. There is no mention of this O ring problem, let alone a repair tactic. Is this an Altima dirty little secret?

Is Nissan offering FREE repair for this?

I wonder... Does anybody know where I can even attempt to find a picture of a stripped down or pictorial of the physical breakdown of a

1996 Nissan Altima distributor with the actual location of these o rings and how to change them? Anybody?

5th May 2007, 14:37

In most cars a PCV is easy to replace, but not in the 1994 Altima. It hides at the back of the engine. It is very difficult to reach, even harder to replace. In my opinion the PCV location and the distributor are bad designs.

4th Jun 2007, 12:47

Worse than anything I have read on this page, Nissan Altima has a very bad cylinder head material/ design. I have fixed a few Nissan Altima from 1993 to 1997 model year to find burned cylinderhead. Many case, the aluminum gap between the 2 exhaust valve totally melt. The melting section makes the valve seat to be dislocate to create a lot of leak through gap bt valve and valve seat.

5th Jun 2007, 01:04

Pull out the disributor, take off the old o ring and put on a new one. Slide the distributor back in and you're done. Make sure its facing in the same exact location though.

13th Aug 2007, 18:41

I got a new distributor with a lifetime guarantee for the same price as a rebuilt one that I could find locally. The distributor actually uses an electronic part to time the engine. Incidentally there are seals inside and outside which most individuals cannot replace because of the needed tools. I kept my 96 Altima running by using an electronics plastic safe spray cleaner and let it dry thoroughly for about an hour before using the car. Three days later the part to arrived and I installed it.

2nd Oct 2007, 21:49

I had the same problem with a 1996 Nissan Altima. It started missing, died, and then wouldn't start (this was in a parking lot). Came back the next day... it started and ran well enough to get home. The car would run sort-of okay for about 20-30 minutes, then start missing a bunch, die, and not start.

It was indeed the distributor. My brother and I took it out, took the rotor off (and the plastic cap under it). There was a whole lot of oil in there. We did see the O-Ring on the shaft, but couldn't see how that could possibly be letting all the oil in. Seems like it was something else internal. Bought a distributor at the parts store for about 150, and put that in. Runs great now.

It was actually fairly easy to replace. Just keep track of which way the rotor's pointing. Didn't have to set any timing in our case.

17th Nov 2007, 20:34

It is very useful for me. I just get the same problem. I spent CAD$350 to change my distributor one and half year ago.

Few days ago start to loss power during high way driving. Taking to the mechanic, he told me have to change distributor again. Oh my god.

Open it and find some oil inside.

My question is what size O-ring it is and what kind of, so I can get it back before I open to fix it by meself.

Thanks for your information.

16th Apr 2009, 22:01

The O ring can be purchased from Advance Autoparts for about 60 cents. And just follow the procedure for the write up.

11th May 2009, 20:57

I have the same problem but I don't think its the oil problem. Also the distributor is not serviceable internally. This is the cars third distributor. 2 Factory ones and 1 aftermarket.. I thought it was the heat it encounters being mounted on the head. I got the car for free since my neighbor had so many repair bills from it... so I guess I can't complain.. I just thought I would rehab it since it was initially so cheap. I thougth the aftermarket Distributors had dealt with the problem.!!! Guess not..

Ill check for oil but not sure it would be the problem since I only bought it a year ago and the oil rings should last longer..

16th May 2009, 14:42

I just changed the distributor on my daughters 93 Altima. Had all problems you have described took too dealership and they told me the problem. Of course they said the last thing you should ever do is put an aftermarket one in. They wanted to charge me $700 and if it fails again I am just SOL. Went to O'Reilly's spent $170 on distributor, cap, and rotor with lifetime warranty. Took about an hour to change (including going to pick up parts). Runs great and if it goes out again I am only out my time to change it. Nissan has a racket going on with this common problem.

30th Jun 2009, 04:22

I just changed the distributor on my 1994 Nissan Altima. One other thing to look for is the plug that goes into the distributor. Most are in bad shape, mine crumbled upon removal and the wires were frayed. I replaced the distributor and the car did not run good until I replaced the wires leading to the distributor. I spliced in a new plug and it runs perfect now. It took me 3x before I realized the wiring was bad.

Also I went to 4 U pull it junk yards and all of the Altimas had the distributor plug and distributor missing, so it's a very common problem. I took a similar plug off of a Nissan Sentra. (black, orange, yellow, blue). With some modifications to the new distributor (breaking the plastic where it connects to the wiring harness) I was able to make it work. I put high temp silicone around it afterwards to give it a nice fit. The car runs great now, before it would almost stall at every light and the RPMS would go up and down. Next I'm going to tackle the PCV.

26th Nov 2009, 12:51

Yep it happens to every Nissan Altima 1993 and up.

14th Mar 2010, 00:10

After Toyota has recalled millions of cars, maybe Nissan should recall Altima to fix the distributor problem that causes the engine stall.

5th Apr 2010, 01:29

Yup, my Altima 95 SE has the same problem. Just gonna change it before it gets worse, but other than that, I love my car.

20th Apr 2010, 23:30

Yeah, just wanted to post and say that I just bought a 1996 Nissan Altima, and put maybe 5,000 miles on it. Running perfect one minute, and the next stalls out and doesn't want to start. Sounds just like what I've been reading. Thanks for all the info, because at first I was lost and didn't know where the problem was.

30th Apr 2010, 00:06

Wow... glad I found this post! I have a 96 Altima with 116,000 miles on it. It's run perfectly since I bought it used about a year ago. Just yesterday it wouldn't start... and I suspect the distributor. All the info here confirms this. I'm going to go with a new unit from Dorman and see if that fixes it. Glad I found this info! I'll keep the old one and the O ring in case I need to make that repair at some future point, I'll know what I need.