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Jay
Jay, Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 18692
Experience:  20+yrs experience with Nissan & Infiniti Trained & Certified.Currently still working for Dealer
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2000 Nissan Frontier SE - V-6 3L motor - well cared for

Customer Question

2000 Nissan Frontier SE - V-6 3L motor - well cared for -165,000 miles - few problems other than Knock Sensor and Distributor failure (injectors not working) which we fixed some time ago. Truck generally runs quite well. Now has an intermittent misfire that comes and goes and shows code P0302. Check engine light is on and flashes when running very roughly. Engine seems to be missing on more than one (not just #2) cylinder when running roughly. The intermittent issue would seem to rule out sparkplug, intake leak etc. Any thoughts???
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Nissan
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** thank you for your question.

What brand spark plugs do you have in this engine?

Let me know

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Need to get at my tools tomorrow Jay. I'll pull #2 plug then and get back to you.
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

ok

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Spark Plugs were replaced with NKG Rock Auto Part Number 6371 in October 2014 at 153,000 mi. Current plugs have about 10,000 mi. FYI was able to drive at moderate speed and normal operating temperature for approx 20 miles with no engine misfires. Put vehicle under load by using passing gear which produced full power and no misfires.
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

Are you still getting a misfire or running ruff issue after inspecting the spark plug?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
2 is buried under plenum only accessible through hole and I don't have the $50 Snap-on magnetic 5/8" plug socket. Will try to find decent one with rubber holder inside. If plug drops out of socket I've got a big problem and need to proceed cautiously. Any hints you'd like to share?
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

The spark plug socket I use has a rubber boot on it to hold the plug. You can try to put the plug on the socket and put a piece of tape around the end of the socket to hold the plug so it doesn't drop and pinch to tip.

You should be able to get right to the plug. But as far as reaching it, maybe put some tape on the inside of the socket to see if it can grab it.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
New socket worked well. Pulled both #1 & #2 plugs - they appeared to be identical and in good shape. I swapped them and erased all codes. Lets see if we get a #1 misfire now and then we'll know yes or no on the plug. Do injectors ever get dirt or crud on them that might mechanically hang them up intermittently??
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

Injectors are rare to cause misfire issues on these engines. The most common if it's not a plug, is the distributor.

Let me know how you make out

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Jay. After swapping plugs I still had the misfire but car wouldn't give me a code so I couldn't tell whether it was now cyl#1. I went ahead and ordered cap and rotor from Rockauto. As I drove truck it continued to misfire intermittently but wouldn't give me a code although I noticed it was more pronounced as I entered and went up hills until I put my foot into it. This made me even more sure it was Dist Cap. Cap arrived today and I put it in but still missing a little worse actually. Truck finally gave me a code though - missing on # ***** same as original. Would you go for the plug wires at this point? Pretty sure they're original and I had to move them around when changing cap which might have made it worse.
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

ordering the Cap and Rotor for a distributor issue is not the answer I gave you. When I say Distributor, I mean the Whole Distributor. After Market ones are not recommended. So until you replace the distributor, you will keep having misfire and running issues.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I was reluctant to replace entire distributor since it had been done just 35,000 mi ago with factory part. I will go ahead and order one. How easy is it to screw up the timing when swapping one of these out?
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

It is very easy to mess up the timing. You have to pay attention to the Rotor Position before you remove the distributor so you can install the new one in the same spot, then you need a timing light to set the timing 15 degree's above top dead center.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Distributor installation went pretty slick. Timing dead on but no change in misfire I'm afraid. It is most consistent now as truck comes to a stop where it will idle smoothly very briefly and then drop to misfire and rough running. Does not like idle much it seems but not always. It has all kinds of acceleration with no misses or stutters and seems to run well at moderate speed. I will erase codes tonight and drive it for a day or so unless I get flashing check-engine light. I smelled converter one day when this happened and don't want to buy a new one of those. Please advise what we ought to look next. Wires have 165K on them. What should be resistance of a plug wire??
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

If you grab the EGR diaphram while the truck is idling, and lift it does it stall the truck?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Not quite but damn near it
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

If it doesn't stall, you need a EGR. It should stall if you lift up that diaphragm

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Idle drops way off but truck continues to run - barely
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

Then you need a EGR valve

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Looks like kind of a pain in the ass job but we'll get one and put it in
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I'm surprised I didn't get some kind of egr code.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Jay - there are several parts listed for EGR unit - the valve - a valve control solenoid motor and a vacuum solenoid - will just getting the valve be sufficient?
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

Just the EGR is all you need

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thanks
Expert:  Jay replied 5 months ago.

Your welcome

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Replaced EGR. Not the problem. Same issue. Runs for a while with flashing "service engine soon" but no code. After a while of this it throws P0302 code and intermittently flashes but service engine stays lit at other times. #2 plug and others have an orange spark at plug but #2 no different than others which are also orange. Does this thing have a coil or is it built into distributor?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
There is a change in idle sequence at cold start. Previously cold idle pegged at 1500 rpm suddenly falling off to about 1000-1100 as it warmed up to final steady idle at 900. Now cold idle is about 1800 but smooth and feels like car is on all 6 cylinders, it then drops off and seems to lose a cylinder, chugs and wanders up and down for some time running roughly and smoothly then settles to a rough idle at about 1000 or less. Misfire is more pronounced when gently applying throttle, seems to go away when coasting and smooths out if aggressive throttle is applied. If you believe code though I have a dead #2 cylinder. How can I check injector function (its buried under intake plenum)? How do I prevent motor from starting when I check #2 compression? Does Nissan have better diagnostic tools that can zero in on this rather than throwing more parts at it?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Well Jay - the misfire at #2 has been solved. Since #2 was the problem I decided to just focus on it. I knew the plug was firing and I could hear the injector clacking away so I went for compression. After I pulled #2 plug I climbed up on the motor with a flashlight to exactly locate the plughole in order to thread in my compression gauge, There was a 1/8" wide piece of something that looked like metal spanning the bottom of the plug hole. I rigged up a wire hook and pulled it out the hole - it bent easily and so I think it was a carbon flake that had been shorting out the spark. I vacuumed the area with a shopvac and a straw taped on to the hose to clean it all up - it had 140 lbs compression - put the plug back in and no more misfire. Got lucky with the flashlight move. But maybe you can tell me why I can't get my idle set where I want it after the Distributor and EGR swaps - it wants to wander and drop too low when put in gear and then not fall off when coming to a stop. I'm pretty sure about the timing and played a little with the blue air control unit on the intake but can't seem to get it to settle down. Could it be a linkage issue? What would you do. Thanks Tim

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