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Jay
Jay, Certified Infiniti Technician
Category: Infiniti
Satisfied Customers: 15049
Experience:  20+years, Nissan and Infiniti experience and currently now working for a Infiniti Dealer
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1996 infiniti I30: mornings..oil leak..frontend..itwantedto stall

Customer Question

1996 infiniti I30 engine control problem.
The car has been hard to start in the mornings for a few months but I recently sprung a substantial oil leak that I have been staying on top of while I got other issues like front end taken care of.
Two days ago I started and went down the road and it acted like it wanted to stall at lights. I was close to job site so I made it. When I left job it was much worse and I have to rev to keep running. I stopped for fuel and upon leaving gas station I was burning white smoke that smells like starting fluid. I went to (2) auto parts places and had them do a scan which came back [NO CODE]. The check engine light comes on very dim.
I pull one injector at a time along the back with no change but if I pull two it dies. I noticed oil running from behind what I think is the top camshaft sensor and there appeared to be oil in the end that the harness plugs into. Car does not start at all without this sensor so I cleaned and replaced.
Now the car starts immediately but surges like a coil pack or injector plug off after about 30 sec.
Note: Yhe previous day I noticed a miss or a skip but that evening (prior to breakdown)I cleaned the carpets with a lot of water and an extractor but I'm fairly sure I didnt get the computer soaked so it hard to say for sure whether or not it was going bad the whole day previous.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Infiniti
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
FixUrInfiniti :

Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer.com

FixUrInfiniti :

Did you pull the coil pack to see if there was oil in the spark plug galleys?

Customer :

No but I have been playing with it and the symptoms have changed.. All white smoke is gone, still no codes or check engine light and runs great down the road. foot on brake in park and its wanting to hold at about 800 rpm but once in nuetral (park jams, old problem) the idle surges frommmm(NNN) NNN-NNNNRP and sometimes stalls

Customer :

synptoms changed just from sitting a couple of days then putting a few miles on it. Maybe computer is drying out? the clicking is in the fast idle valve (parts house calls it)

Customer :

I will go do that if you want

FixUrInfiniti :

Do you find you have to keep your foot on the gas to keep it running at idle?

Customer :

someties it drops so low that I either have to tap the pedal or release the brake and let it lunge forward a little

Customer :

but again : it seems to be changing. my last trip it did not stall at all until I went back into neutral

FixUrInfiniti :

Try this and see if it helps. Get a can of carb cleaner and a old tooth brush and clean the throttle chamber.

FixUrInfiniti :

Scrub it clean and wipe down with a clean rag. It will be hard to start after you do this, but it will clear up and see if that resolves your problem.

Customer :

I know where the throttle body is but are you talking about the entire 4" diameter aluminum piece from the intake to the plastic breather assmbly?

FixUrInfiniti :

No, not the whole thing. Just the throttle chamber. Pull the throttle cables to open the butterfly up and clean the area of the throttle chamber on the bottom and top of where that butterfly seats.

Customer :

or are you saying to pull the fast idle valve and clean behind there?

Customer :

oh ok

FixUrInfiniti :

No, just remove the intake boot, and clean the throttle chamber. Do you need a image of it?

FixUrInfiniti :

Full Size Image

Customer :

I just moved the operation to my driveway and started to pull everything apart as you instructed and when I pulled the big hose that goes to the neck of the fast idle valve I noticed oil all on the inside of it so I figured I would stop there and let you know. All the way home (8 miles) the problem only occured in neutral.

Customer :

I'm going back out to clean it but I also dumped some Sea Foam in the tank

Customer :

Dude this think is VERY NASTY!!! Do you think I should pull the F/I sensor and clean behind it too?

FixUrInfiniti :

You must have a lot of miles on this car. Just clean the throttle chamber to start and see what happens.

Customer :

200+ but im not sure how good I'm getting behind the butterfly cuz the toothbrush aint no Reach

Customer :

lol

Customer :

I'm not making this up: the air filter had about 25oz of solid black sand in it so I'm goint to get one as soon as I get it back together. Judging by that, I'm wondering how much good I'm doing just getting past the butterfly

Customer :

FixUrInfiniti may have called it. I'm going to test drive around the corner to get breather filter but I'm noticing a top-end tap that was not there.

Customer :

How could this be related?

Customer :

Nope- still surging. The problem is constantly changing (mostly for the better)but still there. Now when I pull the pigtail to that same coil pack it makes a difference but then again I guess I'm wasting my time trying to second guess a computer that switches many time a second.

Customer :

Oh- keep in mind that it did idle real nice for about 15 min. straight right after I put her back together so you must be close

FixUrInfiniti :

Make sure the throttle cables are not to tight. What does it idle like after the 15 mins

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I will let her run for 15 mins now. but is there anything you want me to chek while shes cold? I will wait for a few for your reply before I do.

BTW, I'm going to accept your answer either way and I only have a copule hours before I go to church but I would like to try everything or at least pinpoint the problem. I just realized you helped me with this car several months ago when my ignition ciruit took a crap.

Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Ok, After it has been idling for 15 mins, the car just starts to surge on it's own?

Let me know, thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I will but I want to run something by you first:

I'm pulling the coil pack/plug to the cyl that I had no change on before.

Remember my oil leak? I probably have no idea what I'm talking about here but my oil seems thin and over full (cold) despite the leak and seems to have a faint smell of fuel.

Could I have had a ring washout or whatever you gurus call it? If so, could it have corrected?

 

Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
I was starting to think that your MAF sensor may be causing the fuel mixture to be off. That was where I was going to go next.

When you check the oil, after you pull the dipstick, flip it over and check. It will always look over filled on the one side. So double check that. If it's still over filled, then I would drain some of it out till you can set the correct oil level.

Let me know how that goes, and also let me know if the car starts to surge on it's own after 15 mins at idle.

Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

graphic

Its hard to see but the end is kinda carboned. A little fuel/oil but nothing that seems unusual. I caleaned and replaced. The oil is full to the hum on the dipstick on both sides.

I'm not sure if it matters but the car is slightly leanin to the dip stick side in my front yard. If it is overfull the gusher leak should take care of that, right? I added a quart of this two-part Bars engine treatment to it yesterday.

Starting now and will report back.

Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Ok, I will be here. Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay jay at 2 min it surged for about 20 sec. and went away. now it has been 15 and its idleing steady at 1 grand.

I have to confess: as an electrical contractor I know better than to change shit in the middle of troubleshooting but I couldnt resist playing with the black, plastic screw. I didn't turn it far though. What should my warm idle be? Is it fixed or do I need to test drive or restart?

Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
In order to set idle by turning that screw, you need to unplug the TPS bottom connector, and then turn it. You want idle to be around 750 to 800 rpms.

Still waiting to hear about those throttle cables and see if they are too tight?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
no cables are nice and loose. the TPS is the one with the grey and brown pug on top, right? And dumb question but AC should be off too, right?
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Yes, the AC should be off, and Yes, the TPS is on the side of the throttle chamber with the gray and brown connector.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay now it idles real nice but as soon as it goes in gear the surging starts

 

Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Try this. Turn the car off, and unplug the MAF sensor. Then start it back up. Do not rev the engine, just let it idle, and put it in gear and see if it still surges.

Let me know, thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Will do but dude I'm sorry- I had left a small vacuum line off last night that I just spotted. I replaced it back to the breather assy. and the surging returned in idle.

There is other line off near front end that has an angle down towards the ground but appears to go nowhere and when I place propane bottle to it the engine does not rev so I have to assume its not a factor.

Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Is that hose you found by the air fitler?

Let me know, Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

TPS is pulled and no surge. Here is the line I found (besides the one I replaced to the metal nipple on the plastic breater):

graphic

Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
That hose goes to the top of the trans. That is the trans breather hose.

So with the TPS unplugged the surging stopped?

Let me know, thanks Jay
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

yes it stopped but (idle/ not tried in gear) still no check engine light and I'm sure it works.becuase it works with key on and was on steady before breakdown.

BTW, oil leak just cam back in a major way.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I swear I hear air leak when I'm standing away from car on passenger side

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Jay- are you there?
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Sorry, JustAnswer was having some technical issues, so I couldn't respond.

How loud is this air leak? Did you try spraying carb cleaner around the intake to see if there is any change in the way it runs?

Let me know, thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
JA server going buggy on this end too but I tried propane bottle. It could be something else.
I did plug off the brake booster with no change. It idles just fine with the MAF pulled but no check engine light
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
It doesn't surge with the MAF unplugged?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No it doen't. And I'm pretty sure what I'm hearing is actually a pulley. I sprayed all around the tree, canasters and anything else I could find with carb cleaner but no change
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Well I hate to say it, at this point you are probably going to need a scanner to see the Air and Fuel mixture readings. Monitoring the Air and Fuel mixture and 02 sensor operation will normally help you isolate what the problem is.

By unplugging the MAF sensor, the computer defaults to a rich condition. So if you have the car running rich, it doesn't surge. Now you need to look at the readings to determine if indeed there is a vacuum leak causing the problem. The readings would tell all.

If you have any more questions on this please feel free to ask. Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So this is not the same as a trouble code scan, right? Because they come back [NO CODE] 3 times in a row. Do I have to go to shop for this?
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Yeah you may have to. A code reader only reads codes where a scanner can monitor all sensors and view them.

I am at that point where I would need to see the air and fuel mixture values to determine where to go next. That requires a scanner. Scanners are over 1k bucks, so don't think you can run down to your local store and just pick one up. I would take it to someone who has a scanner that can perform these checks for you.

Thanks Jay!
Jay, Certified Infiniti Technician
Category: Infiniti
Satisfied Customers: 15049
Experience: 20+years, Nissan and Infiniti experience and currently now working for a Infiniti Dealer
Jay and 5 other Infiniti Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay man thanks for all your help. I obviously cannot leave MAF sensor unplugged, right? I'm 4/1 on JA now so I'll try to find you the next time
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Yeah, you can't leave it unplugged. That is just a test.

Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Jay I just found this cut in the hose and there appears to be tranny fluid in the brass nipple going into the head. Remember the surge changes when in gear. Is there anything to this?

graphic
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
That could be your problem. That is a cross vent between the valve covers.

That would create a vacuum leak and cause the car not to run right.

Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yeah well that tube is wasted! Hard and dry rotted. I'm about to ask a new Q.
I thought I would do as much as could before Tuesday so I pulled the high idle valve and it was gunked up bad. With the valve out I carefully removed the brown switch and all electrical contacts are in new and clean condition so I cleaned the inside.
What I found that was unusual is that when I pushed in on the purple valve it sprung in and out just fine but the pink valve does not move. Could this be related or is it supposed to be static?
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
I would have to see the valve and see what you see to see if it should do it or not.

Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
last time:
I have the O/D Off light flashing at me on startup now. Remember I was worried about the computer getting wet from cleaning the carpets? Wekk I spilled an entire 30oz coffee down the center console. The O/D Off light was on that whole day. Could this be something or could there be a vac line underneath off?
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
I don't remember you saying anything about coffee spilling. Where about did it spill? by the shifter and ash tray? The computer is right around there. I wonder if something is shorted in the computer?

Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I didn't say about the coffee just that I cleaned the carpets and soaked the floor boards before extracting. I can see the computer and don't think I got it but the coffee went all down the shifter and E brake holes. The E brake skirt is at upholstery shop so whatever is under there got it good. The O/D OFF light came on and stayed on all day and, come to think of it, that is exactly when all the problems started.
The O/D OFF was only flashing when I was trying to play with the TPS and Fast Idle valves. I have the surge down to a managable-for-now problem but it sure seems like vacuum.
My big question, aside from the obvious, is why all the smoke and stalling in the beginning of the problem. Could a valve have hung up? Because the engine is noisier now and I'm thinking the oil might be broke down by fuel.
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
I am now just starting to hear about the OD light. Now I am thinking you may have something going on in the TPS. The only time I have seen these cars surge, is when the throttle cables are to tight, and TPS. Now the TPS has two connectors. One for the engine and one for the trans. The OD light flashing means there is a code stored in the transmission control unit. A code reader can not communicate with the trans computer. So you will have to have a advanced level scanner hooked up to see what code is in Transmission and work on from there. At the same time while the scanner is hooked up, you can have the air and fuel mixture checked, and the TPS settings as well as the open and close switch for the TPS. So that is where your going to want to go next.

Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay thanks Jay! I went on an emergency service call about 30 miles from home so I decided to unplug the valve on the high idle that I thought was sticking (pink plug) with ;ittle to no change. When the car does not start right away the OD light comes on dim but other than that I saw no light (funny thing is- I had check engine light for weeks prior to this event and now I don't).
But, I'm starting to wonder if the fuel level is not effecting the problem. As I was on my way home and under 1/4 tank I noticed the engine skipping rather than just surging and I remembered that lately the car acts as if its running out of gas with the needle just above E. This is all probaably speculation but I'm the type that "has to know". Anyway, I have an appointment at Midas tomorrow so I will let you know. Thanks again!
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
You got it, let me know what they find. Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The friend of a friend mechanic said the only thing he saw was that the TPS was giving no codes. He adjusted the TPS on its sliders a little and played with the black plastic screw to no avail. I noticed that when he had the screw turned in too far that clicking increased on the high idle valve.

Does this tell you anything? Otherwise I have an apointment at the Nissan dealership in the morning and theyn want $100 to put it on their scanner.

Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Yeah, that is where I am at also. I would need to see what is going on with a scanner. I thought maybe the tps out was out of adjustment maybe, but I guess we will see what the dealer says.

Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hey Jay! The dealer diagnosed it as the computer. Mechanic tried his spare and the problem went away. I found one for $150 at a place call European and Japanese Used Auto Parts but they said I would have to have it re-keyed. The dealer says its not necessary for a 96 which makes sense if his computer fixed the problem. But, I'm not sure if it was because of the emphasis I put on the idle control valve but he said to replace it too because it could be shorting out the computer and he's seen it before.
I tend to think it was the gallons of water on the floor board.
What do you think?
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
What do you mean the gallons of water on the floor board? Was this car in a flood?

Let me know, thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No. In the original post I commented that the day before the problem I had spilled coffee all over and that the carpets were so messed up because of that and the previous slob owner that I basically saturated the floor boards with water and extracted them with a carpet cleaner. I can see the computer clearly and I'm sure the water level wasnt nearly that high but it could have got splashed. I thought you knew this the whole time. That mechanic at Midas had told me that if it was the computer it would be a no-run. This was prior to this conversation so I didnt harp on it.

BTW, the dealer left me with a dead hole (hearing that deep thump thump thump in the exhaust from within the cab when I step on gas) and NO oil. I just found this out and I'm worried.
I'm trying to restore this thing but $ is tight right now.
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
Oh, ok. I think I may have mentioned the computer way back in the beginning of this question.

If the dealer tried a known good computer and the problem was resolved, then you will need a computer. I know Maxima's did not have a chip in the key feature in 96, and either did the I30's, so you would not need to have the keys programed.

You had the car at the dealer, and now there is no oil in the car? Did you add oil and did this noise go away?

Let me know, thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
the noise is coming out of the exhaust and I just brought it home which is when I heard it and then I heard the knocking in my driveway. I have a quart to get me to the corner in the morning. They left something adjusted out. The thump thump thump is the same exhaust noise you would hear if you pulled a coil pack. the knocking however...

But he was saying I should also replace the idle valve because they are known to short the computer out but I'm questioning that extra $210 expense knowing what I do about the water on the floor boards..
Expert:  Jay replied 4 years ago.
I have seen these IAC valves go bad, but they don't short the computer out like the 2000 and 2001. So I wouldn't go crazy over that. As for the noise, it's tough for me to say since I can not hear it. I would check your exhaust to make sure all the mounting is ok, and that the noise you are hearing isn't the exhaust rattling around. Just go under the car and bang on it with your palm, and see if it's secure or if it's loose. The front exhaust hanger and the rear hanger are known to rust out, so the exhaust may be on the support and rattling.

Thanks Jay!

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Jay
Jay
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20+years, Nissan and Infiniti experience and currently now working for a Infiniti Dealer