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Long entry, but bear with me. I'm finding timing chain issues are prevalent among Nissans 2005-2010 and I would like to save other owners the grief I've experienced with this problem. Read on....
My 2007 Xterra with 66.5K miles began making a whining noise under acceleration. Thinking it was just a worn belt, I took it to Boardwalk NISSAN in Redwood City, CA where I purchased the vehicle (new) and have it serviced.
After a quick inspection, the technician easily determined the noise to be from my timing chains, tensioners, and guides and quoted me an estimate of $1980! The technician asked me whether I had an extended warranty since I was just past the 60k mileage, but I did not.
He explained that damage to my pistons and valves could occur to which I replied that I was shocked that such a serious issue could happen so unexpectantly when I had followed all the scheduled maintenance.
The technician then said that there was actually a Service Bulletin regarding this very issue and advised me to speak with Nissan Customer Service (1.800.NISSAN.1) about covering the repair. Since I understood the urgency for the repair and am a loyal customer to this dealership, I gave the Go-Ahead to start the repairs. I fully expected a long wait for the parts so I was surprised to find out that they had the parts in stock and the work would only take a few days! I then proceeded to call Nissan Customer Service while I waited for my ride home. I spoke with a rep (Jabriel, 615.725.7444) who took my VIN #, notes about the necessary repairs and an estimate which I faxed within the hour. His tone gave me confidence to fully expect some type of reimbursement.
That afternoon, I found two Service Bulletins online (NTB07-042 superceded by NTB09-128) and similar experiences on the Nissanhelp.com forum: Nissanhelp.com/Knowledgebase/Latest Uploads/Ntb07-042 Vq Engine; Buzzing/Whining Noise. These Xterras were a few thousand miles past warranty and well cared for (just like mine), who were either covered 100% or at least reimbursed for the parts and so my confidence grew. I then spoke with the Nissan rep that afternoon to which he replied, "you can't believe everything you read on the internet". Now I was beginning to have my doubts...
After not hearing back from Nissan Customer Service for two full days, I called them just before picking up my Xterra. I had to leave a message and when I arrived at Boardwalk was asked to pay $1450 (they did not replace the tensioners or guides). I then asked them to call Nissan Customer Service to see if they would be covering anything. Nissan's response was that they'd get back to me later in the day but that I would need to pay first in order to drive my car home. I paid the $1450 and later that afternoon, got an adamant, "NO" for any coverage whatsoever!
Nissan decided they would not cover ANY of the expenses and explained that they review each situation on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration the mileage, the warranty status, maintenance records, etc... but how does my case differ from the others, I do not know!
I intend to plead my case to Nissan Corporate (does anyone know how to do this??). I have lost my faith in how Nissan stands behind its customers and this experience will deter me from buying another Nissan vehicle. I hope that others learn from my experience and look into all Service Bulletins BEFORE their warranty expires. Service Bulletins are not necessarily Recalls - it is clear that even if the issue is not due to any fault of the owner, even if the issue can result in major engine damage, Nissan will not necessarily issue a recall due to the cost to them and/or the prevalence of the issue. I guess economics is more important than satisfied customers! It is ironic that one of the reviews I read before purchasing my 2007 Xterra boasts, "Engine noise, likewise, is kept to a minimum through techniques such as a silent timing chain, microfinished surfaces and Teflon-coated pistons."
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