So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

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So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:52 pm

My love for Nissan, V8s and luxury vehicles has sent me on many M45 excursions and I have noted a lot of engine failures due to oil starvation. This thread is sort of a poll to gather info, and maybe we could find a way to prevent these engine failures.topic603283.html#p6669030 This post and the side topic in that thread is what made me start this thread.

Although this post will seem oil-heavy after the template, I encourage sharing all other modes of failure.

Template:
1. Year and model of your vehicle
2. How many miles to failure
3. Symptoms of failure
4. Immediate discernible cause
5. Root cause (if applicable)
6. Corrective action



Some background:
The earlier VK45DEs (03-04 M45s, and similar generation Q45s) had oil consumption issues. I haven't heard of very many complaints from the FX45 owners, but that doesn't mean they're not prone to it.
The 06+ model year M45s did not have very many oil burning issues reported, as compared to the previous generation. However, these model years are the ones with the oil starvation issues.

In my experience working on a number of these engines, the 03 and 06 are similar in all functional respects. The internals are the same, all accessories bolt right up, and even though the intake and exhaust manifold configurations are slightly different the holes line up. Some differences are that on the 06+ engine, the starter is on the driver side of the block and the oil pan is a little deeper (Yes, this too bolts right into the same locations as the 03 oil pan did on the block).

Suppose someone with good intentions said, "Hey, I know of an easy way to stop the oil consumption issues in the current VK45 engines."[Ignore whispers about piston ring and valve lifter design] "Let's lower the oil level just a little, so that it will not be excessively scooped up and burned off during normal operation. We can do this cheaply by reconfiguring the oil pan and leave all else untouched." :gapteeth:
-I really like this theory, but I am open to someone helping me understand why the newer engines had deeper oil pans on the same block, yet required approximately the same oil capacity. Note that the newer engines called for approx 1/8 quarts less during oil changes.
2003 M45:http://www.nicoclub.com/FSM/M/2003/ma.pdf
2006 M45: http://www.nicoclub.com/FSM/M/2006_M45-M35/ma.pdf

Now, some level of oil consumption is expected for most vehicles (Again, this is my experience with different makes and models). Let's consider some factors:
1. Normal oil consumption
2. Wedge profile of the oil pan (deeper in the front, shallow in the back)
3. Aggressive driving maneuvers that slosh oil around
4. Innocent and non-aggressive situations like parking with your car facing down a rather steep slope

When you combine these factors, you would guess that at some point, oil will be in short supply below some of the cylinders, most likely the rear cylinders. Lack of a sufficient oil bath for the cylinder connecting rods would lead to some form of damage: dry bearings, overheated bearings, spun bearings, scoured crankshafts etc... which manifests in a tapping or knocking sound as the clearance between the journals-bearings-connecting rod is increased.

What are your thoughts?
Last edited by EdBwoy on Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:13 pm

I'll start:
1. Year and model of your vehicle
2006 M45 RWD
2. How many miles to failure
Bought the car at 122K miles. No evidence of prior engine work
3. Symptoms of failure
Loud tapping sound, major loss of engine power but no check engine light or codes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-RxN5eMWQE
4. Immediate discernible cause
Upon disassembly, I located the sound at very loose #8 rod big end, and slightly loose #5 rod big end. Lots of metal shavings within the oil pan
5. Root cause (if applicable)
#8 rod bearing was completely gone and the rod had eaten into the cranskshaft. All other bearings were well-scoured.
Also, the lower oil pan had signs of very dark caked residue, and smelled of burned oil.
6. Corrective action
Replaced the engine with a 118K mile engine that seemed to be in good health.
06 oil pan was accidentally cracked, and replaced with an 04 oil pan+dipstick+dipstick tube+oil strainer

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby Double E » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:36 am

I've done plenty of root cause analysis...
The rod bearings, shavings and loose fitment of components are results, not causes.
The true root cause would have to go further to find why the oil level was low.

Assuming a perfect (or properly operating) state prior to the event, it's a matter of considering what condition changed first.
All else is a result of that change.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby jiggersplat » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:42 am

The VK45 in my 08 was replaced under warranty for piston ring failure before I bought it at around 63k miles.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:10 am

Double E wrote:I've done plenty of root cause analysis...
The rod bearings, shavings and loose fitment of components are results, not causes.
The true root cause would have to go further to find why the oil level was low.

Assuming a perfect (or properly operating) state prior to the event, it's a matter of considering what condition changed first.
All else is a result of that change.
True. There are many methods to identify root causes. This is not a comprehensive RCA by any means. Just enough to catch a short chain of events that led up to engine failure.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:13 am

jiggersplat wrote:The VK45 in my 08 was replaced under warranty for piston ring failure before I bought it at around 63k miles.
Thanks for your contribution jiggersplat. I've not heard of many problems with the 08s.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby FlawleZ » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:15 am

No failure here. 2006 with 113K. I do notice about a quart of oil consumption over 4000-4500 miles which is when I change my oil. I always use Royal Purple which is rated at much longer longevity but I still prefer being consistent about 4500 miles. I feel like determining a cause for failure on many of the engines will be difficult because we won't have accurate records and/or accounts from the moment the vehicle was purchased new. I feel like a lot of failures can be attributed to improper maintenance schedules and/or improper service done to the engine.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby ple99 » Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:15 pm

Hey Ed, well you know I had problems with mine. 2008 leased new. Rod bearing at 50000 miles. Engine was well serviced and cared for as verified by Infiniti factory rep at the dealer. I will say I was running it hard at the time it went bad and it was in fact a quart low. Infiniti put a new short block in it and so I bought it off lease and figured I was in good shape.

Then, boom, another rod bearing 75000 miles later. This time the engine again was well serviced. Furthermore it was not low on oil and was being driven easy when it went. Was not even under acceleration at the time.

Your theory about the deeper oil pan makes sense if the 06's down didn't have these problems and nothing else notable has changed. Based on your knowledge of these engines do you think it would be reasonable to maybe shoot for a half quart or so overfill on the newer ones?

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:54 pm

FlawleZ wrote: 1... I do notice about a quart of oil consumption over 4000-4500 miles...
2. I feel like determining a cause for failure on many of the engines will be difficult because we won't have accurate records and/or accounts from the moment the vehicle was purchased new. I feel like a lot of failures can be attributed to improper maintenance schedules and/or improper service done to the engine.
1. I think you bring good information - that oil consumption is normal, but it varies from engine to engine over different seasons, using different oil grades and under various operating conditions. I think key is getting to know what your engine consumes and staying on top of the refills/oil changes
2. I also agree with your second point. Failure (or reliability) = maintenance + operation + design. And I think it's timely that ple99 has just contributed to the thread.
Last edited by EdBwoy on Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:17 pm

ple99 wrote: 1st failure
1. Year and model of your vehicle
2008 M45s
2. How many miles to failure
Leased the car new. Failed at 50K
3. Mode of failure
Rod bearings
4. Caused by
Running engine hard while 1-qt low on oil
5. Solution
Replaced the shortblock under warranty

2nd time
1. Year and model of your vehicle
2008 M45s
2. How many miles to failure
New shortblock at 50K. Failed 75K miles later
3. Mode of failure
Rod bearings
4. Caused by
?? No immediately obvious cause. Not driven hard, and not low on oil
5. Solution
Replaced the entire engine assembly*

Your theory about the deeper oil pan makes sense if the 06's down didn't have these problems and nothing else notable has changed. Based on your knowledge of these engines do you think it would be reasonable to maybe shoot for a half quart or so overfill on the newer ones?
Ple99, I have taken some liberties with your post. Correct me where I'm wrong.
And thanks for sharing your history. As I mentioned above, we probably won't get to the bottom of all this in 10 posts, but all the info we're gathering sure helps.
For example, we might point at improper maintenance causing your first failure, but who knows. Even the user manual acknowledges that oil will be low sometimes and just tells you to top it off. The second failure happened despite your gentle operation, but I guess "hard driving" is relative, :naughty: right? And I'm not running off pointing fingers at the design either...just like installing catch cans in the earlier engines, we could all say, "we have found that these engines can run fairly decently when we alter some minor aspect of the factory design. How about we top it off to the upper mark on the dipstick, then add another 1/8 qt of oil?"
My engine doesn't burn any noticeable amount of oil, as gauged by the dipstick, but I am willing to go first and overfill it by about .25 quarts. My guess is that if this amount is truly excessive, it's just gonna burn off faster and my oil will settle at it's happy level?

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby jiggersplat » Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:26 am

Well if it's truly excessive you might blow out a front or rear main seal.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Tue Oct 20, 2015 3:21 pm

And we wouldn't want that to ruin our day, now would we? Damn! I can deal with a front seal but the rear seal is a lot more involving with the drive train still in the car.

Also, I am rethinking my oil & oil pan depth assumption. Looking at the crankshaft setup, it seems that the rod bearings are lubricated from oil passages within the crankshaft that feed into the back side(bearing- connecting rod big end) of the bearings. I know at least one half of the bearings has a hole to allow oil into the inner side(bearing and crankshaft journal) of the bearing. :facepalm:

I know that the oil level is definitely below the crankshaft level, and we have a windage plate/baffle that tries to limit oil sloshing around as well as oil being whipped and getting frothy due to the crankshaft speeds.
Oil delivery to the bearings shouldn't be a problem as long as the oil pickup tube supplying the oil pump is close enough to the bottom of the pan. I still don't know why the pan had to be reconfigured for 06+ though.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby ple99 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:40 am

Well the first engine was exercised well. (How many have hit 150? They get to 130 easy and 140 fairly well but that last 10 to 150+ is a bit tough). But the second engine had a fairly normal life and never low on oil. All I know is these engines are clearly prone to rod bearing failures. I had the car since 8 miles to 125000+ miles and I'm on my third engine (had a total rebuild done on the 2nd).

I've had lots of v8's and driven them all enthusiastically. Even ran nitrous through a corvette for 30000 of its 85000 miles. Not once have I had these problems until the vk. I guess I'll just consider it a cost of doing business with this engine. It does rev couple thousand more rpm's than the other engines I've had. I'm sure that doesn't help any with these failures.

I plan on running this third engine however long it wants to go now. Did new hubs, all the control arms, shocks, and steering rack this past year too. So the car still runs and drives like new. I've loved the car overall but I can't say that I'll be in the market for Nissan/Infiniti v8 engines in the future. Not that any v8's will be around much longer the way things are going.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:09 pm

Some of us have gotten pretty high on the speedos: top-speed-in-your-infiniti-m-t166016.html

I might have hit a snag in this investigation, but I'm not known to give up easily. Once I clear my garage, I'll bring out the old crankshaft, oil pan and engine block to do some hands-on stuff.

I know some people could be pushing over 200K miles with no issues, but some haven't been as lucky. I don't know what side I land on, but meanwhile, I'll keep stretching her legs as often as I can. If I tell my friends I damaged my engine, the story isn't as cool when I say I was just driving Miss Daisy. This car is pretty fun to drive and seems to have a lot of pedal left whenever I decide to slow down. I can only imagine what the M56 feels like. I won't give up on the Nissan v8s yet, and hopefully we can get a workable fix for the fraction of owners with rod bearing issues so that when Nissan also switches to tiny turbo and supercharged engines, we can still keep a few of these on the road.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:34 am

EdBwoy wrote:...Also, I am rethinking my oil & oil pan depth assumption...
Oil delivery to the bearings shouldn't be a problem as long as the oil pickup tube supplying the oil pump is close enough to the bottom of the pan.,.

A video that I came across on oil delivery, slightly different from what Nissan decided to do decades later, but it's pretty illustrative.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby jiggersplat » Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:25 pm

That video was awesome.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby trayday » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:53 am

ple99 wrote:Well the first engine was exercised well. (How many have hit 150? They get to 130 easy and 140 fairly well but that last 10 to 150+ is a bit tough). But the second engine had a fairly normal life and never low on oil. All I know is these engines are clearly prone to rod bearing failures. I had the car since 8 miles to 125000+ miles and I'm on my third engine (had a total rebuild done on the 2nd).
On my second engine, I have hit 150 with a custom cat back exhaust, cant remember if I had the secondary cats replaced with the test pipes or not. Definitely before the G37 VLSD installed. The original engine was replaced at 88k with a 2008 engine with 8k miles on it due to rod knock from #8 (didn't burn a drop of oil). How much was the cost of the engine rebuild and where at? I have the original engine sitting in my car and I am trying to decide if I should make use of it or make scrap of it. I ended up trading the M45 for a 15 Tundra limited.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:15 pm

trayday wrote:... The original engine was replaced at 88k with a 2008 engine with 8k miles on it due to rod knock from #8 (didn't burn a drop of oil). How much was the cost of the engine rebuild and where at? I have the original engine sitting in my car and I am trying to decide if I should make use of it or make scrap of it. I ended up trading the M45 for a 15 Tundra limited.
Thanks for the contribution trayday. Odd that oil consumption wasn't an issue for you either.
At least we are seeing more #8 failures and that might be something to focus on when I start my garage investigation.
If you chose to scrap your engine, how much is it worth to you?

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby trayday » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:12 pm

Thanks for the contribution trayday. Odd that oil consumption wasn't an issue for you either.
At least we are seeing more #8 failures and that might be something to focus on when I start my garage investigation.
If you chose to scrap your engine, how much is it worth to you?
I meant to say the engine is sitting in the garage. Also, when I hit 150, the car wasn't tuned yet either. If I can have it rebuilt for $2.5-2k then thats what its worth to me because its such a smooth revving engine that makes a good amount of power. Without a quote from a shop, its only worth about $500 sitting as not running.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Tue Nov 24, 2015 5:30 pm

EdBwoy wrote:...I know some people could be pushing over 200K miles with no issues, but some haven't been as lucky. I don't know what side I land on, but meanwhile, I'll keep stretching her legs as often as I can. If I tell my friends I damaged my engine, the story isn't as cool when I say I was just driving Miss Daisy...
Well, you can add me to the list again. This couldn't have been timed any better. 4-5K miles after the rebuild, my engine crapped out in a major way. Granted, there could have been an issue with the workmanship, but this is not the first engine I have rebuilt. That, and I had 3 M45s to compare with and all sounded relatively the same and performed the same. This really happened with no warning.

I had just topped off the oil the previous day, as it was about half a quart low in the 3K miles since an oil change(I have a reminder to check my oil every 1k miles at minimum)
Started in the morning with the usual cold start top end tick/rattle that stopped in a minute or so.
Drove on the highway for approx 10 mins, going about 70. A reasonable 70 mph, mind you, no crazy acceleration or anything.
Rolled down the exit smoothly to the stop sign.
Taking off from the stop sign, the car propelled itself for about 10 feet then there was a loud bang under the dash area followed by a grinding noise, smoke, the car loosing power and the engine eventually cutting off. Part of me was hoping I had somehow ran over one hell of an animal or perhaps ran over a rock that took out the exhaust...among other hopeful scenarios; but the smell was unique.I coasted to the side of the road and inspected the trail of clean fluid I had left behind me ending in the middle of the car. Touched the stuff and my heart sank, confirming it was oil.
There was some temporary relief as I couldn't see any coolant from where I was. (Very shortlived in fact - when the tow truck had the car tilted with the bed, coolant and oil ran from the underbelly tray thing).

The tow truck driver mistakenly started the car due to some confusion with the pushbutton. It starts and it runs, but doesn't sound good at all. I would bet good money I threw a rod, but I am not in the least excited in going under that car again after how much time I spent on it this summer. The inspection can wait until after Thanksgiving.

*Probably important to note that the only modification done was removing the mufflers.


**This is the kind of stuff that makes an otherwise reasonable man trade all his toys and buy a brand new M56/Q70 with the longest warranty money can buy. :gapteeth: :gapteeth:

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:53 pm

I decided to replace the engine. While starting the removal process yesterday I picked a small gift wedged in the power steering lines under the engine:
Image
This, my friends, is a mangled connecting rod. Both #7 and 8 rods were missing from the crankshaft although I only retrieved this one. The pistons are wedged in the block, wrist pins nowhere to be seen plus the oil pan baffle is missing.
Expect more pictures for your viewing pleasure in the near future.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby 94jedi » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:12 pm

You guys have me worried now. I'm about to buy a 2007 M45s w/ 86k on the clock. 1 owner, well maintained. Should I be worried? I like to drive hard but I don't want to be replacing engines left and right.

Is this a common issue? I know there aren't many of these beasts running around but these cars get great reliability ratings. What gives?

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby TTThornhill » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:49 pm

94jedi wrote:You guys have me worried now. I'm about to buy a 2007 M45s w/ 86k on the clock. 1 owner, well maintained. Should I be worried? I like to drive hard but I don't want to be replacing engines left and right.

Is this a common issue? I know there aren't many of these beasts running around but these cars get great reliability ratings. What gives?
im with 94jedi on this. i'm almost done with my motor replacement and i was planning on selling my 14 Tacoma to drop my monthly payment and pocket 10K, use the M45 as my daily. but if this is real issue, it may be in my best interest to flip this car.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby TTThornhill » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:49 pm

also if this is an oil starvation issue, would any additives help?

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby EdBwoy » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:57 pm

Relax my forum brethren. I was hoping this thread wouldn't scare prospective buyers of the M45s. I still see a disproportionate number of M45s for sale throughout the nation with damaged engines, but I'd say judging by the participation in this thread, that the issue isn't as bad as I want to believe.
94jedi wrote:You guys have me worried now. I'm about to buy a 2007 M45s w/ 86k on the clock. 1 owner, well maintained. Should I be worried? I like to drive hard but I don't want to be replacing engines left and right.

Is this a common issue? I know there aren't many of these beasts running around but these cars get great reliability ratings. What gives?
94jedi, I can't think of any other 07 car you can buy for the price of an M45 that will be as powerful, look as good, handle as well and have the comfort features. I'd still have it checked out by a good tech at a dealership and if it checks out and you keep up with the maintenance, the odds would be in your favor.
im with 94jedi on this. i'm almost done with my motor replacement and i was planning on selling my 14 Tacoma to drop my monthly payment and pocket 10K, use the M45 as my daily. but if this is real issue, it may be in my best interest to flip this car.
...also if this is an oil starvation issue, would any additives help?
TTThornhill, I'd also say the same for you. No need to flip it in worry. If the new engine seemed okay when you installed it, just check the oil levels frequently and it will still be happy.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby 94jedi » Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:54 am

Had me seriously reconsidering there for a moment. There's a guy on Reddit that was complaining of low oil issues, especially after driving hard.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby jiggersplat » Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:17 am

Does anyone else get just absolutely crazy valve train noise for about 30 seconds after not driving the car for a week?

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby MaxBolus » Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:42 am

jiggersplat wrote:Does anyone else get just absolutely crazy valve train noise for about 30 seconds after not driving the car for a week?
yeah, but I can't correlate it to having been parked for a while, it just seems random. I'd estimate that about once every 6-8 weeks, I get a big cloud of smoke on startup, and maybe 3-4 times/year I get the extended valve clatter. Sometimes it goes on for over a minute.
But this has happened since I've had the car, so it doesn't rattle me ( :chuckle: ) anymore. 191K btw.

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby 94jedi » Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:49 am

jiggersplat wrote:Does anyone else get just absolutely crazy valve train noise for about 30 seconds after not driving the car for a week?
Yikes, is that "normal" for these engines?

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Re: So, what happened to your V8 engine?(VK45DE)

Postby jplaya517 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:53 pm

So I have been told that my motor needs to be replaced by the dealership. Car has 180k on it. Took it to another place and they said that the connecting rod(s) need to be replaced. What do you guys think, flip the car, find a motor that won't kill the pocket book, or just remove the head and replace the connecting rod myself? I'm no mechanic but I am good at putting things back together.


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