1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R 2.0 from North America
I'd own two if I could
Previous owners replaced:
- Fifth gear pop out, around 75k.
- Clutch at 115k.
- Had to reinstall fifth gear fork, as it had made 1st and 2nd gear unavailable.
- Fuel filter, possible.
- Clear coat is crap (it's the red paint).
- Headliner removed, adhesive faulty.
- New tires and brake pads around 100k.
What I've done since late 2016 (when acquired):
- Denso O2 sensor.
- Radiator flush and hose replacement.
- Rear trunk reflector garnish (hard to find, it's one piece, had to Craigslist).
- Re-ground MAF, for idle/MPG improvement (this was recommended by Nissan through a service statement).
- "Delete" EGR by snipping connection hose and plug ends with golf tees, for slight surging and throttle response.
- Order and replace fog light lens, it had broken and cracked from a rock.
- Blown exhaust, had entire cat-back redone, around $400.
What needs to be done:
- Constant high idle 1500-3000. This usually corrects itself within 20 minutes of driving, which drops it to a perfect 750. Have not found the cause yet, but this occurs 9/10 startups. Would love some advice!
- Pretty sure I need the timing chain tensioner upgrade. Some rattling on occasional start ups.
- Synchros for 1st and reverse can be stubborn, but never are unusable. Not a common occurrence though.
- Very occasional surging/lack of noticeable throttle response still. Usually between 3rd and 4th, I've noticed.
- I probably need to do my struts sooner rather than later.
- When put in 5th gear; the stick still moves a little, but only initially when the clutch catches. I am hoping this isn't a sign of the fork failing again, but I don't know if this is something that happens to all fixed 5th gear trannys. No loss of power or pop out has occurred yet. Fingers crossed.
- Inaccurate fuel gauge. Like, really inaccurate. Tank is around 13 gallons, and when I hit "empty" according to the gauge I can only fill up around 9 gallons. For a while I thought I was getting less than 17 MPG, but it's realistically around 22 MPG. Not great, but I am mostly city driving. There is a fix for this, that I intend to get to sometime this year.
- Brakes need to be done again. I am pretty adamant about keeping this Sentra bone stock, but really plan on doing the NX2000 brake upgrade, as they're bigger and, well, better. My commute sucks, so stopping to avoid trouble is very necessary. The person I bought my car from used NAPA pads, but they squeal like crazy. I am ordering the OEM ones soon if I don't do the upgrade though.
- Fuel filter. The only reason I haven't done this yet is because I've been meaning to double check the part number. No record of this being done in the service/gas log, but plan to ASAP. Should be an easy fix.
- I am on the fence with this, but I may opt to upgrade the headlights with the more-current Mexican Sentra (Tsuru) model ones as well. Just brighter and better quality, with much better visibility.
If I sound biased on the 9's and 10's I gave this car for its ratings; it's because I probably am. These are my favorite cars and I wanted one since probably high school (I'm mid-20's as of this writing). But the truth is, there's not a whole heck of a lot that can go wrong with these if the proper maintenance is kept up, and you are already aware of or have dealt with the 5th gear issue. In my case, it was already fixed.
One of the greatest things this car provides its owner with isn't just its reliability; but the knowledge and support from which the community of other owners of it provide. Not only can I search Nissan forum archives for advice and part numbers, but while posting want to buy ads for some hard to find parts on Craigslist, I happened to come in to contact with several other owners and enthusiasts who offered help and suggestions on all sorts of different inquiries I had.
Small complaint: I wish the SR20 engine in these did provide its driver with better gas mileage, but its power and reliability more than make up for it. It's very easy to forget about when you're getting such great and fun responses shifting into second and having the redline all the up at 7500 (!).
Oil changes are very easy with the filter right near the top of the engine (with a catch basin and path for any stray oil leading down to where your oil pan is emptying), making it inexcusable to not keep up with changes.
I live in the Northwest, so rust isn't an issue. It is an issue for owners in other USA locations, though.
Anyway, yeah, I love this car. I plan on driving it until it dies. What a fun, cool ride, with a seemingly bulletproof engine if maintained and treated correctly. Keep an eye on your fluid levels, don't treat the transmission like crap, and stay in the know when it comes to common issues and problems that really aren't a big deal. Recommended, but don't buy all of them. I'd really like another one day.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th March, 2017