Mechanics

ENGINE SHAKES WHILE COMING TO A STOP.

2003 Nissan Altima • 173,000 miles

Hi CarPros,

My vehicle is a 2003 Nissan Altima S, with the 2.5L engine, approximately 173000 km.

I was hoping I could get some advise about an issue which started happening recently.

It started with the Service Engine Soon light coming on. Then the car (engine) would shake violently while coming to a stop, almost as if the car was going to stall.

I had the Service Engine Soon code checked and it was showing up as a P0301 - Cylinder 1 misfire. Thinking the engine shaking was related to the misfire, we had new spark plugs and ignition coils put in. Unfortunately, that did not resolve the issue. As a follow up, we had a compression test done and had the fuel injectors checked as well. No problems found.

The interesting thing was by putting the car in neutral just before the engine started to shake would prevent the shaking from occurring. Did not really notice much fluctuation in RPMs either.

After doing much research on the Internet, it appears this is a fairly common problem, but the diagnosis ranges from bad motor mounts, faulty head gasket, transmission problems, replacing spark plug wires, needing to reprogram the computer for idle under load, faulty camshaft / crackshaft sensors. The list goes on.

Before taking it to the dealer and having them diagnose this, I was hoping someone else has may have encountered this and has a better idea what the issue could be.

Also the car is burning oil, which is another known issue with the 2.5L engine, but not sure if the shaking engine problem is related.

Thank you!
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Jopo1973
October 2, 2012.




Is the SES light back?
Engine vibrations can be due to excessively low idling speed and in your case could be due to the misfiring. Bad engine mounts would cause the vibrations to be felt, more when gear is engaged.
What is the idling speed at operating temperature?

KHLow2008
Oct 2, 2012.
Hi khlow2008,

Thanks for the reply. Yes, the SES light came back on shortly after replacing the spark plugs and ignition coils.

I did a little more testing and discovered that while braking the RPMs surge to a little over 1000 (gearing down - automatic transmission?) And then as it drops to about 500 RPMs the car starts shaking. Typically the shaking lasts for anywhere from a few seconds to 15-20 seconds depending how long I am stopped. If I pop it into neutral the shaking stops and the RPMs rise to a little under 1000, which is at normal operating temperature.

The other thing I noticed was that the shaking can also occur simply by stepping on the brake and putting the car into gear. It doesn't seem to happen when putting it into reverse though, just any of the forward options, D, 3, 2, 1, although the shaking happens much more frequently while braking.

Thanks!

Tiny
Jopo1973
Oct 3, 2012.
Have the throttle body and IAC cleaned and retest. Idling is erratic causing the vibrations and engine mounts could be in poor condition as well.

KHLow2008
Oct 3, 2012.
Hi khlow2008,

Thanks for the suggestions. I will try to check things out this weekend and let you know if it helped.

Have a good weekend!
AD

Tiny
Jopo1973
Oct 6, 2012.
Same to you and good luck.

KHLow2008
Oct 6, 2012.
Finally had this issue diagnosed by a Nissan mechanic. After many different things, he found it was a problem with the intake manifold gasket. Just had it replaced today and car runs normal again! Hope this info can help someone else in the future.

Tiny
Josephpo
Mar 12, 2013.
Thanks for the input and glad to know you have resolved the problem.

KHLow2008
Mar 24, 2013.

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