1990 Nissan Sentra



January, 10, 2009 AT 1:24 AM

Engine Mechanical problem
1990 Nissan Sentra 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 180000 miles

Basically the car smokes and runs hot when idle and fluid from somewhere starts squirting out or dripping out I can hear it squirting and hitting the engine. I can also smell it and see the burn off because the car begins to smoke a lot. When I press on the gas I can hear fluid sounds. The car has oil problems the previous owner ran it on too low oil, for too long so I have to put oil every month/every other month and the coolant has started running low. I've filled it twice in the past 2 days it might need filling again I haven't checked.

Anyways i'm hoping the oil pan just needs to be changed or their is a leak somewhere that I can just put some liquid sealant in. Please let me know your opinions.


7 Answers


Service Writer

January, 10, 2009 AT 8:16 AM

You need to get into the engine compartment and look around for the source of the leak. Use mirrors and good lighting.

What fluids are low? Coolant? Oil?

IF oil is getting onto something hot enough to smoke, it is a fire hazard.

Sealants are a poor choice to use, but if you decide to use one, follow the directions verbatim.



January, 11, 2009 AT 12:41 AM

Well the problem has gotten way worse. The car gives out now when I go too slow(below 5 miles) and when I step on the gas there is a rumbling sound. I'm hoping it just needs some type of fluid. Is it possible for me to check the transmission fluid and if so where is it located on a 90 nissan sentra. The car is pretty much impossible to drive now. Since i'm not able to stop at stop signs or stop lights without it cutting out. Also the car is smoking a lot when it cuts out. It starts again if I wait 5 mins for it to cool down.

Also there is a reservoir that has some greenish liquid the top says something about coolant. It is low. Do I pour more coolant into it or do I just add coolant in the big plastic container. I've been adding water or coolant to only the plastic container near the winshield wiper fluid.

Please advise me on any fluids that need to be checked that could be causing this problem and how to locate them. Thank you.


Service Writer

January, 11, 2009 AT 6:55 AM

Don't drive this in this condition or more damage is going to possibly be done.

The coolant being low will ruin the engine. By the sounds of it damage has already been done.

With all due respect, you may be better off having a mechanic look at this. Not knowing where the fluids go isn't a good sign.

There is a dipstick for both the oil and transmission fluid. The coolant should be at a 50/50 mix of coolant to water. IT goes in the reservior, where the coolant cap says " coolant" and it also goes into the radiator. On the radiator in the front of the engine compartment there is a metal cap that is pressed down and turned counterclockwise to remove. Do this when it is cold to prevent any spraying of hot coolant or steam on you.

By your description of what is happening it sounds like this may have started as a coolant leak, it overheated and a fair chance of a headgasket failure may be present. Since this engine has been previously run low on oil and damage is already present I think the current overheat problem you are having may have pushed it over the edge.



January, 11, 2009 AT 11:21 AM

Okay i've been poking around in the engine and have discovered most things. Turns out the transmission dipstick is not marked and just has a black ball on top. I just happen to pull it and wah-la its the dipstick and the transmission fluid is fine. So is the oil. Although it is darker than it should be so it needs to be changed. The reservoir that I was talking about before is not in fact the coolant place, but power steering which is a red liquid and low so it needs to be changed.

I turned on the car and let it run for 5 mins I smelled that burnt smell and heard that searing/weezing. But instead of smoke coming out of the engine there was lots of white smoke coming from the tail pipe. The water level was still fine. I decided to add anti-freeze 50/50 to the radiator in the front of the car and let the engine run for another 5 mins. The smoke reduced dramatically. Basically none. I didnt know how much coolant to put in the radiator so I only put about a pint. Also since the car already had water in the coolant reservoir I didnt know if I should be adding them. Is it okay to add the 50/50 anti-freeze even though there is already water in there and how much antifreeze does it need. Should I stop when it's visible.

Also can you please tell me if there is a radiator cap in the front of 94 chrysler concorde there doesnt seem to be a radiator cap only a big plastic reservoir.


Service Writer

January, 11, 2009 AT 11:31 AM

On the coolant, if you have been adding water, you may want to add the antifeeze undiluted.

The Radiator gets filled to the top, but the reservior should have some marking to where to fill it to.
When the engine is cold, recheck the radiator and add more if needed.

The moisure in the exhaust system is probably burning off. IF there is a head or head gasket problem, it will return and you will keep losing coolant.

I don't believe the concorde has any other access than the reservior on that one.



January, 11, 2009 AT 7:33 PM

Thank you for your help. I have one more question I was reading some other replies and saw a question about the heater effecting the coolant. I had my car serviced a few months ago and there was no problem, so I find it very odd all of a sudden my vehicle is inoperable. Anyways I was wondering if the heater effected the coolant level and that's basically why my car is totalled now. I have been running the heater a lot in the past few months just about everyday at the highest level.

Just an update I drove the car I wanted to see if it was drivable I drove it for about 15 mins it didnt give out on me. It did drive rough though and acted like it didnt want to go above 20 miles. When I parked it there was a pool of coolant underneath it. The coolant was on the passenger side and the noise of like spraying/weezing is coming from the passenger side bottom half. Its hard to tell where it is coming from wthout getting under it. Is the head gasket on the passenger side way under the bottom. I'm hoping not. Please tell me there is nothing but a hose under there lol.


Service Writer

January, 12, 2009 AT 11:45 AM

You need to find that leak. Use a camera if needbe and post pics here. However that will not resolve the performance problem.

The only realtionship the heater has to this is there is unit called a heater core that has coolant flowing through it. A blower motor blows at it to provide heat. So there is no connection for the speed of the heater you have it set on to the leak.

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