2002 Nissan Altima
NHTSA Defect Investigations
The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2002 Nissan Altima, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:
INVESTIGATION: ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRES
NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE02078
Component(s): Engine And Engine Cooling:Exhaust System
Engine And Engine Cooling:Exhaust System:Emission Control:Catalytic Convertor
Summary: The Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened this investigation on October 18, 2002 based on three reports indicating that the engine compartment in model year (MY) 2002 Nissan Altima vehicles equipped with the 2.5 liter engine caught on fire without any warning to the driver while the vehicle was driven at highway speeds.one non-burn related injury was reported as a result of the complainant exiting the vehicle in haste after it had caught on fire.Nissan discovered that one of the hanger pins which holds exhaust pipe in place may catch debris from the road.if the debris were to come in contact with the main catalyst, a fire could result.this condition is also present in MY 2003 Nissan Altima vehicles built thru February 18, 2003.Nissan also stated in its defect information report that on MY 2002 Altima and Sentra (equipped with the 2.5-liter engine) that certain operating conditions may cause the pre-catalyst to overheat, which would cause catalyst substrate particles to flow into the engine.these particles can score the cylinder walls which results in increase oil consumption.if the engine oil level is low, engine noise and damage can occur which could result in a fire.the recall includes 268,000 MY 2002-2003 Altima and 2002 Sentra equipped with the 2.5-liter engine.to correct the condition Nissan will remove the protruding portion of the exhaust pin on the Altima.Nissan is developing a corrective action to address the pre-catalyst.in addition to the corrective action, Nissan will install heat shields on the pre-catalyst and the surrounding exhaust tubing.Nissan will begin owner notification in may of 2003.