2.5L 4cyl - improved from since '02?
I have a 2002 Nissan Altima, which I initially loved. Within the first couple weeks of me owning it, I noticed that it used more oil than any other used cars I've owned. It eventually came to using a quart per 140 miles! The catalytic converter clogged too. I researched this year Altima and found that it is common to have catalytic converter and excessive oil consumption issues. I removed the engine for a rebuild and discovered a thrust bearing laying in the oil pan that appears to have come from the #3 cylinder. I was told that improvements were made in the 2.5 L mid-year 2003. Is this true? My car is a manual transmission, which I hear more typically has this discharged thrust bearing. I have a chance to get an '06 2.5L with 42k miles on it, and it was used with an automatic trans for $1900 and I'm wondering if I should go with this engine, get a rebuilt short block from JIS in Texas (I already have a rebuild head) or ditch the car. I came across numerous complaints about Altimas up to '06 for the same issues as the '02, so was this engine really improved? Am I safe with a low-mileage '06?