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Re: changing the spark plugs on 2003 altima 2.5L
Not that simple on newer cars, but you do still need those tools.
Here is a good write-up: Changing Plugs on an Altima that will show you the location of the coil packs that must be removed first (9th picture from the bottom) and what they look like.
Doesn't really need to be done until about the 100,000 mile mark. Do not do it while the engine is hot or even warm. Replace with the factory recommended spark plug. Place a little anti-seize on the threads and some dielectric grease on the top. Be sure you torque them down to the proper setting. I believe it is somewhere around 20 ft. lbs., but if you call the Nissan service desk they should be able to tell you for sure.
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1 plug and check to see if it is fowled. This will show you what one looks like http://www.ehow.com/video_2326832_identify-bad-spark-plug.html and this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6A1keWQAeE is part of my training program at work for my new master techs to view and tested on before they are certified Also, if your car is shaking, your look at BAD TIMING which needs to be set by an auto shop so the vehicle stops shaking. The most cost efficient way to do this is to pay for the TIMING first see if that fixes the problem, then if not you change the spark plugs yourself as you never know what the auto shop will put inside your heads!!! Estimated fees if you want a shop to change your plugs in SC is about $200 for an 8 cylinder and fee for the timing is about $75. Are you also needing the timing "Mark" for this car"???
First, change the fuel filter, and make sure the lines are good. Check the intake manifold bolts for tighness, check all vacuum lines. Best to have it running, wiggle them around and listen for a hiss. Lastly, change idle control sensor, if the other suggestions don't make a difference.
Have you had it checked for codes on the computer, although the check engine light is not on, the car my have some codes stored in the computer.
If you are in the US, I understand that if you take you car to an Auto Zone store they will read off the codes for you, once you have the codes then you can plan a course of action.
Other large auto parts outlets may also provide this service as they want your parts business.