19th May 2010, 21:42
So happy I have found this, I just got a '95 and I am having the same issue. Went into Canadian Tire, and of course they charged me $100 to try and figure it out, only to tell me he looked online and found this kind of info. Wanted me to buy a entire new distributor. If it wasn't for the stripped screws I'd replace it myself, but after calling all around, it turns out Canadian Tire is helping me out in the end by finding me a rebuilt one for 230.00. Just wish I didn't have to pay that 50.00 in labour of a 1/2 hour. I'm hoping they will be honest, and if they suspect a bad o-ring, they will just fix that for me... we'll see I guess.
Ty in Halifax.
29th Jun 2010, 22:22
My 94 Nissan Altima has just had the same problem. The first time it died at a traffic light - embarrassing. Then I used AAA to tow it to a repair shop. They did a tune-up by changing the wires, spark plugs and distributor cap, which cost $275.
Then it was dead again on a busy road. I had my car towed to the same repair shop. This second time they found out the distributor problem and charged me another $475.
So the entire thing cost me $750!!! I think it's way over-priced.
17th Aug 2010, 00:10
I have 1996 Altima with about 197K miles. I have already replaced the distributor 3 times (all new ones from Cardone brand from Kragen) and 2 of them in the last 5 months.
I read that oil may be getting in due to a clogged PCV valve causing added pressure which tends to go toward the distributor area. Also, changing the PCV which is underneath the intake manifold and right of the oil filter is a "nut" to change, about 3 or 4 hours according to what I've read.
Will give a go this week at the PCV valve and see if this helps.
23rd Nov 2010, 18:23
Did the o-ring replacement on my '94. Worked for about 40 minutes. The distributor is leaking internally, not from the o-rings. No way to get at the inside of the thing.
Looks like a new PCV valve and a new, non-rebuilt distributor might be the solution. The car was free though, so I guess I can afford an overpriced distributor.
29th Nov 2010, 17:48
Just open the distributor and clean with electronic cleaner. At the dealership they tell you that the distributor is not a serviceable part.
I wanted to buy a gasket ring. The old one lost shape from the hot oil. I cut out the excess and joined parts with instant glue. After installing a new shaft o-ring, the car started and was working well for about a month. I will have to take it apart again.
Today it died in the middle of an intersection.
9th May 2011, 08:49
Unfortunately, yes. You could have changed this out simply by removing the distributor cap (2 screws), removing the dust cover simply by popping it off, and there it is in plain view. Now there is a rotor plate right there that cannot be touched, blown on or anything at all because it is the firing control module. One fingerprint will fry this plate and replacing this plate will cause you to have to replace the distributor.
Now there is a second O-Ring, if you are looking at it, look at the electric sensor there and you will see that it goes all the way around the sensor in a square like and the circles around the distributor. If you are having this problem with a leaking O-Ring, you have it broken down to replace it, you want to replace them both to ensure you don't have to do this again.
Remember, do not touch the rotor plate.
5th Jun 2011, 21:34
What was apparently the same symptoms turned out to be a failed crank sensor... Good luck all. :)
27th Jul 2011, 22:15
Rebuild Altima Hitachi Distributor
9th May 2012, 19:36
The only way to solve this problem is to buy the distributor directly from the Nissan dealership. The ones that are sold from parts store will only last for a while. I have bought three different ones that lasted a few months, until I finally purchased a re-manufactured one from a Nissan dealership. I know it's more expensive than the ones from the parts store, but it will last for a long time.
27th Aug 2012, 04:46
Hi there. I am a proud owner of a 1996 Nissan Altima (here in Australia, it was sold as the Nissan Bluebird U13).
Recently I rebuilt the engine after 385,000 kms done, and shortly afterwards, started to have the same problems as I read here; oil going through the distributor, causing it to stall. I did as many here did, replaced the distributor twice, and within a couple of months, the problem came back again.
Reading and trialing many things, I found out that when the oil goes through the distributor, it's only due to a clogged PCV valve. The pressure inside the crankcase increases, forcing the oil to go up the head and well, leaking wherever it has gaps. I tried also a few seals, but the oil is being forced out by the crankcase pressure through the distributor shaft, not the seal. I changed the PCV valve, and fitted just in case, an oil catch can between the PCV valve and intake manifold. I did also fit a breather filter to the valve cover, and the car runs now as it never did before, not even as a brand new car.
The valve cover breather filter can be bought for only 5 dollars, and the catch maybe 50 dollars, including a breathing filter on it, plus the new PCV for 5 dollars. I laugh now, but it did cost me over 1000 dollars to learn about it.
Hope this can help others with their Altimas.