Nissan 240SX/Altima 1993-1998 Repair Guide

Engine

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OIL LEVEL CHECK



See Figure 1



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Fig. Fig. 1: Correct engine oil level is between the H and L marks in the crosshatched area

Engine oil level should be checked every time you put fuel in the vehicle or are under the hood performing other maintenance.


WARNING
Operating the engine without the proper amount and type of engine oil will result in severe engine damage.

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface.
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  3. The engine may be either hot or cold when checking oil level. However, if it is hot, wait a few minutes after the engine has been turned OFF to allow the oil to drain back into the crankcase. If the engine is cold, do not start it before checking the oil level.
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  5. Open the hood and locate the engine oil dipstick. Pull the dipstick from its tube, wipe it clean, and reinsert it. Make sure the dipstick is fully inserted.
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  7. Pull the dipstick from its tube again. Holding it horizontally, read the oil level. The oil should be between the H and L marks in the crosshatched area. If the oil is below the L mark, add oil of the proper viscosity through the capped opening on the cylinder head cover.
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  9. Replace the dipstick, and check the level again after adding any oil. Be careful not to overfill the crankcase. Approximately one quart of oil will raise the level from the L mark to the H mark. Excess oil will generally be consumed at an accelerated rate even if no damage to the engine seals occurs.
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OIL & FILTER CHANGE



See Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11



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Fig. Fig. 2: Oil filler cap, drain plug and filter locations



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Fig. Fig. 3: Loosen the engine oil drain plug with a box end wrench. This prevents rounding the hex head on the drain plug



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Fig. Fig. 4: Unscrew the drain plug by hand, pushing gently inward to keep oil from running past the threads



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Fig. Fig. 5: Inspect the brass drain plug washer and replace it if damaged (since a damaged washer may cause an oil leak)



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Fig. Fig. 6: The oil filter is located at the rear of the engine, above the right side halfshaft. The oil filter is only accessible from under the vehicle



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Fig. Fig. 7: Loosen the oil filter using an oil filter wrench. When tightening the filter (illustrated), rotate it approximately 3/4 turn beyond the point where it makes contact (or follow any instructions which are provided on the filter or parts box)



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Fig. Fig. 8: Wipe the oil filter mounting pad clean prior to installing a new oil filter



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Fig. Fig. 9: Place a small amount of fresh engine oil on the oil filter gasket. This helps ensure a good seal with the engine



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Fig. Fig. 10: Pour a small amount of fresh engine oil into the filter prior to installation. This prevents a lack of lubrication when the engine is initially started after the oil change



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Fig. Fig. 11: Engine oil should be added through the oil filler hole in the cylinder head cover

The engine oil and filter should be changed every 7,500 miles (12,000 km) under normal service and every 3,000 miles (4,800 km) under severe service.

It is a good idea to warm the engine oil first so it will flow better. This can be accomplished by 15-20 miles (24-32 km) of highway driving. Fluid which is warmed to normal operating temperature will flow faster, drain more completely and remove more contaminants from the engine.


CAUTION
The EPA warns that prolonged contact with used engine oil may cause a number of skin disorders, including cancer! You should make every effort to minimize your exposure to used engine oil. Protective gloves should be worn when changing the oil. Wash your hands and any other exposed skin areas as soon as possible after exposure to used engine oil. Soap and water, or waterless hand cleaner, should be used.

The engine oil and oil filter should be changed at the recommended intervals. Though some manufacturers have at times recommended changing the filter every other oil change, it is recommended that you always change the filter with the oil. The benefit of fresh oil is quickly lost if the old filter is clogged and unable to do its job. Also, leaving the old filter in place leaves a significant amount of dirty oil in the system.

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
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  3. Make sure the oil drain plug is at the lowest point on the oil pan. If not, you may have to raise the vehicle slightly higher on one jackstand (side) than the other.
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  5. Before you crawl under the vehicle, take a look at where you will be working and gather all the necessary tools: such as a few wrenches or a strip of sockets, the drain pan and a clean rag. If the oil filter is more accessible from underneath the vehicle, you will also want to grab a bottle of oil, the new filter and a filter wrench at this time.
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  7. Position the drain pan beneath the oil pan drain plug. Keep in mind that the fast flowing oil, which will spill out as you pull the plug from the pan, will flow with enough force that it could miss the pan. Position the drain pan accordingly and be ready to move the pan more directly beneath the plug as the oil flow lessens to a trickle.
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  9. Loosen the drain plug with a wrench (or socket and driver), then carefully unscrew the plug with your fingers. Use a rag to shield your fingers from the heat. Push in on the plug as you unscrew it so you can feel when all of the screw threads are out of the hole (and so you will keep the oil from seeping past the threads until you are ready to remove the plug). You can then remove the plug quickly to avoid having hot oil run down your arm. This will also help assure that you have the plug in your hand, not in the bottom of a pan of hot oil.
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CAUTION
Be careful of the oil; when at operating temperature, it is hot enough to cause a severe burn.

  1. Allow the oil to drain until nothing but a few drops come out of the drain hole. Check the drain plug to make sure the threads and sealing surface are not damaged. Carefully thread the plug into position and tighten it with a torque wrench to 22-29 ft. lbs. (29-39 Nm). If a torque wrench is not available, snug the drain plug and give a slight additional turn. You don't want the plug to fall out (as you would quickly become stranded), but the pan threads are EASILY stripped from overtightening (and this can be time consuming and/or costly to fix).
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  3. To remove the filter, you will need an oil filter wrench, since the filter may have been fitted too tightly and/or the heat from the engine may have made it even tighter. A filter wrench can be obtained at any auto parts store and is well worth the investment.
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  5. Loosen the filter with the filter wrench. With a rag wrapped around the filter, unscrew the filter from the boss on the engine. Be careful of the hot oil that will run down the side of the filter. Make sure that your drain pan is under the filter before you start to remove it from the engine; should some of the hot oil happen to get on you, there will be a place to dump the filter in a hurry and the filter will usually spill a good bit of dirty oil as it is removed.
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  7. Wipe the base of the mounting boss with a clean, dry cloth. As applicable, partially fill the filter with fresh engine oil. This will prevent the engine from running out of oil when started. When you install the new filter, smear a small amount of fresh oil on the gasket with your finger, just enough to coat the entire contact surface. When you tighten the filter, rotate it approximately 3 / 4 beyond the point where it makes contact (or follow any instructions which are provided on the filter or parts box).
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WARNING
Never operate the engine without engine oil, otherwise severe engine damage will result.

  1. Remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle, then immediately refill the engine crankcase with the proper amount of oil.
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  3. Refill the engine crankcase slowly, checking the level often. You may notice that it usually takes less than the amount of oil listed in the capacity chart to refill the crankcase. But, that is only until the engine is run and the oil filter is completely filled with oil. To make sure the proper level is obtained, run the engine to normal operating temperature, shut the engine OFF , allow the oil to drain back into the oil pan, and recheck the level. Top off the oil at this time to the FULL mark.
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If the vehicle is not resting on level ground, the oil level reading on the dipstick may be slightly off. Be sure to check the level only when the vehicle is sitting level.

  1. Empty your used oil into a suitable container for recycling.
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