Should I Buy This Car? 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V

Well I’m new to these forums and just really need help making a decision about buying this car.

It’s a 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V. The Body has 84,000 miles on it and the Engine has 50. Yes Fifty. In as few words as possible the owner ran into a problem where the crankshaft/camshaft were so jammed up with oil sludge that it needed a new engine. A few months later and MANY fights with the NNA and Nissans Consumer Affairs department and the BBB, he got a remanufactured engine under his warranty which just so happened to end the day after he got his engine diagnosed with the sludge issue.


He wants to sell the car for $8,000. I was weary knowing that engine sludge issue only usually occurs when the owner does not take care of the necessary 3,000 mile oil changes policy and lets it go but he had to prove to Nissan that it was THEIR fault and not his so he has all of the paperwork for every single oil change and for any work done on the car so that made me change my mind about that.

That aside if it is worth it what else should I look into when looking the car over, my friend who is a mechanic well be along but I wanted a second opinion and is it even worth looking at? Thanks

This car didn’t get the greatest reviews when it came out, although I was personally a fan of the bodystyle. The shifters are considered to be a nuisance and the interior looks cheap, but I suppose you could do worse.

Now what surprises me is the idea of oil sludging after 34,000 miles. I mean you would really have to let the oil change intervals go for a very long time to do that. I’d want to see paperwork of how many oil changes were done during the period of the original engine and how many he does now. Who wants another gummed up motor.

The price is right if the car is in excellent condition, but I’d want to know the real story with that last motor.

I was actually looking for a good little 5speed 4dr civic but their impossible to find I guess. But while looking I found this “gem”. I asked him “Why exactly did the sludge build up in your car”, and this was his response.

“Nope. Always had the oil changed. Some of the original engines from these cars had oil issues, some of the pre cat burned up in them and scored the cylinder walls of the engine. Also some of them just developed consumption issues. I never had any of those, and had 84k trouble free miles, until this. I guess I wasn’t as lucky as I thought. Since 2003, their reliability has been on par with all the other nissan engines. If you’re worried about the oil changes, I have all the paperwork, and remember, nissan was trying not to pay for that repair, so if my maintenance was suspect, they would have told me to bite it. Lol. I faxed them all of my records from THEIR dealerships and they said they had no reason to think maintenance was the cause.”

Not sure if it was a typo on your part or a miss read but it was 84,000 miles that were on the old engine and currently on the body. Now the only two really big problems with this car I could find were the Burning up of the Pre Cat and the Butterfly valve screw’s coming loose and getting into the piston chamber and tearing stuff up. I also know that if there is a HUGE amount of heat that the engine gets at a certain time b/c of a disabled cooling system or what have you that can happen also. Hell for all I know the oil changing shop just never actually changed his oil, but he says he has the records so not much else I can do i guess but look at em.

If your interest is a 4 door Civic keeping looking. I am guessing fuel mileage is a criteria of yours and this engine while nice and powerful does not deliver.

No typos, but you’ve completely lost me now. The body has 84K, the engine 50K, according to your post. Therefore the original engine had 34 K on it when it was replaced…

I would avoid this car; Aside from the other commesnts, this special engine has a reliability problem history. My wife has a Sentra with the base engine, and it is flawless.

It’s doesn’t have 50,000 miles on it, it has 50 as in 5x10=50.

Aside from the other comments, I want to add one from a different perspective. This model Sentra is not usually driven in a calm, careful manner, simply because it is a performance-oriented vehicle that is marketed essentially to younger drivers.

Even though the engine has been replaced, I would expect that the transmission and the differential (and the clutch, if it is a manual transmission model) have been subjected to a lot of wear and tear from the previous owner, who likely had a boy-racer mentality. Even if the engine is trouble-free in the future, I would expect early failure of the other components that I mentioned.

Oh…Then what’s the problem if the engine is brand new? Keep the oil changed regularly with synthetic and don’t worry about it. I’d probably change the transmission fluid when you get it though.

I think that anything the OP wants will likely be thrashed. That’s the kind of car he likes.

Ricachet, I’d assume that the car was driven hard and have the mechanic check for signs of that. You can reduce the price by reminding the owner of the extra wear and tear that goes along with driving a car hard (if he did thrash it). How many sets of tires has it had? What is the condition of the tries on there now? Make sure the mechanic drives it hard enough to check the clutch and transmission. Make sure to run it up to red line to see how the drivetrain handles the load.

We don’t know what options are included, but $7000 is the dealer price for a cherry car with power moonroof, Rockford Fosgate Audio, and an alrm system. The other options available are CD changer, ABS, and sie air bags. The private party sale price Edmunds quotes is about $6700.

That’s exactly my thought. From what I’ve read Nissan stupidly decided to keep the old 4cyl when mocking up the design for the SPEC V and just completely tweaked the hell out of it making it very fragile. And that’s what I was trying to stay away from when looking for a car b/c I just wanted something reliable with great gas mileage, 4doors and had to be manual b/c I tend to not pay fully attentive when driving automatic.

As far as I know i don’t believe it really has that many options. Heres a Link to the Car And on the top of that page is a link he posted about his adventure with replacing the engine.

for the $8000 he wants for that car.their are alot of cars on sale now that they are trying to get rid of the 08.or bargain with him closer to $6.800.and he would have to prove to nissan that he did do regular maintance on his car.goodluck

A new 2008 car for less than $8,000? I mean I actually wanted to spend more around $5,000 on a little Civic or Protege but this guy emailed me with this and it sounded like a good idea at the time.

I think that ultimately I am going to email him back and thank him for his time and say that the price is just too high. I will be getting a loan from my father for the car and will be paying back on a month basis but 8,000 is a lot of money to pay off.

If you’re looking to spend the least money per mile, go for the Protege. It’s a great little car without the Honda price.

Agree with Protege. Another great value for money with good reliability is the Hyundai Elantra.