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Engines & Components for Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima has won awards from Kelley Blue Book and other automotive experts for its engine?s unusual combination of power and fuel efficiency. To keep your Nissan sedan in top condition, it?s important to stay current with all the necessary maintenance work and to replace engine components as they wear out.

What is a V6 engine?

V engines are internal combustion machines in which the pistons and the cylinders are aligned in two separate banks so that if you looked along the axis of the crankshaft, you would see something that looks like a V. This compact configuration reduces the height, weight, and length of the motor and its components without sacrificing any of its horsepower.

In a V6 engine, two banks of three cylinders are mounted at either a 60-degree or a 90-degree angle to one another. This arrangement fits very well into all-wheel drives like the Altima and other Nissan sedans. A 3.5-liter V6 is capable of producing more than 330 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.

What are some of the components of an engine?
  • The cylinder block: the cylinder block holds the components that form the floor of your motor. It?s where the crankshaft and the cylinder bores are located, and in some vehicles, it?s where the camshaft is located.
  • Pistons: pistons are the cylindrical structures that move up and down within the cylinder. A mixture of fuel and air is inducted into the cylinder while the piston is at its lowest point. This fuel-air mixture is ignited by a spark, which pushes the piston up. The force from the expanding air is then transferred to the crankshaft by means of the connecting rod.
  • Spark plugs: spark plugs supply the sparks that ignite the fuel-air mixture inside the cylinders.
  • Piston rings: piston rings seal the combustion chamber. This is so that exhaust fumes don?t leak into the sump during the compression cycle, and the oil in the sump doesn?t contaminate the compression area.
  • Valves: there are two sets of valves: intake valves and exhaust valves. They?re timed to open and close to optimize the internal combustion process.
  • Connecting rod: each piston is connected to the connecting rod, which, in turn, is connected to the crankshaft. The connecting rod and the crankshaft together form the mechanism that converts the up-and-down motion of the pistons into rotating motion.
  • Crankshaft: the crankshaft works in concert with the connecting rod to turn the pistons? motion into circular motion.
  • Sump: the sump is sometimes called the oil pan. It?s a reservoir that contains oil, which lubricates the moving parts of the motor.
What?s the difference between OEM and aftermarket engine parts?

OEM stands for "original equipment manufacturer." These parts, however, are sometimes sold to a second manufacturer who may brand, market, and distribute them under that second manufacturer?s name. Nevertheless, they?re the same components that were installed in your vehicle when it was first manufactured.

Aftermarket parts are parts that were not made by the original manufacturer but in many instances have been engineered to that manufacturer?s precise specifications.