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98 pathfinder 3.3L - cuts out at idle intermently, no

Customer Question
driveability problems off idle, will...
98 pathfinder 3.3L - cuts out at idle intermently, no driveability problems off idle, will sometimes die at stop lights, always restarts normally.....
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Nissan
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Answered in 46 minutes by:
8/30/2010
Nissan Mechanic: Jay, Nissan Technician replied 7 years ago
Jay
Jay, Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 21,606
Experience: 20+yrs experience with Nissan & Infiniti Trained & Certified.Currently still working for Dealer
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Jay :

Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer.com

Jay :

Do you have a Check Engine Light on when the truck is running?

Customer:

I do have a check engine light on with a P0400 EGR system fault but customer stated that code was there over 2 years ago and this problem just started about 2 weeks ago.

Jay :

Are you a repair shop?

Customer:

Yes. I have limited experience with imports but can usually work them out. This one has me stumped.

Jay :

Can you start the truck up with a scanner hooked up and tell me what the air and fuel mixture readings are?

Customer:

I'm using the snap-on modis scanner, no air-fuel ratio data but O2 sensor readings are ranging from 650 down to 0, pauses at o for about 1 second and climbs to 650 in about 2 seconds and then back down to zero. Switching back and forth between rich and lean about every 2 to 3 seconds. Inj pulse width running at 3.7 to 3.9 ms at idle and 3.2 to 3.6 ms at 2500 rpm. O2 sensors ranging up and down very quickly at 2500 rpm.

Jay :

It has to have the readings. Nissan calls it ALFA, see if it reads that.

Customer:

ST alpha B1 - 95% ST alpha B2 95% LT alpha B1 99% LT alpha B2 98%

Customer:

Thats at idle, ST drops about 2 or 3% at 2500 rpm

Jay :

ok

Jay :

thats good

Customer:

ST are up to 97 and 98% now that it has idled about 5 min.

Jay :

Means the MAF sensor is good, and the 02's switching is good also

Jay :

You said you have a P0400 right? is that the only code?

Jay :

Oh, here, Try this!

Jay :

remove the intake duct, and clean the throttle chamber. Use a tooth brush and some carb cleaner and clean it good, then take it for a quick road test and see how it is.

Jay :

It will be hard to start after you do this, just blow it out once you get it started

Customer:

That is the only code and it has not reset but I have only road tested about 10 miles. The rest of the run time has been here in the shop.

Jay :

have you experienced the stalling?

Jay :

If it stalls coming to a stop or at idle, try cleaning the throttle chamber and see if that helps. Carbon build up can restrict base idle air flow and cause it to stall

Customer:

Its 6:00 pm here and I have to close the shop for a few hours but I will clean the throttle chamber later tonight or in the morning. Guess I can log back on tomorrow and let you know how it worked???

Jay :

Sure, I am here mainly in the evening though. I will try checking in tomorrow at lunch time to see how you made out.

Jay :

it's 7 pm here, so your a hour behind.

Jay :

I will be online till around 10 tonight if you would like to get back to me. Thanks Jay!

Customer:

When this thing cuts out it's like an ignition cut out, not a low idle. For the last 30 minutes it hasn't cut out at all while we were checking fuel ratios, does that change your thoughts any?

Jay :

Not yet.

Jay :

Stalling due to a dirty throttle chamber is common.

Jay :

The other common thing would be a distributor

Customer:

I'll check it as soon as I can and get back with ya. The dist sounds very likely to me, any certain part in the dist or do you just replace the whole thing?

Jay :

Na, you have to replace the whole thing.

Customer:

I cleaned the throttle chamber, no help, still rough idle and dying. I noticed while it was idling rough and dying that the ST fuel trims went up to 112% and 107% then after a few minutes they were down to 88 and 90%. Any help?

Jay :

Try this and see what happens.

Jay :

Unplug the MAF sensor and start the truck and see if it idles smooth. I did not know it was idling ruff.

Customer:

Unplugged the MAF and the engine died, restarted with MAF unplugged and it's still missing, running rough at idle.

Jay :

I had no idea it was running ruff.

Jay :

I thought it was just stalling.

Jay :

does it seem to be misfiring?

Jay :

Now it's starting to sound like it may be a distributor

Jay :

Like the internals may have spun a little and it's not firing at the proper time.

Customer:

Yes, it seems like a misfire at idle but it is very intermentent. Visual inspection of the dist looks good, no loose, corroded, or bent parts. I would think if the internals had spun that we would have a consistent problem, not intermentent, and this problem is also heat related because 99.9% of the time the vehicle runs good with a cold engine and starts its problem after a*****or so.

Jay :

Yeah, distributors can be heat related also. I would put a distributor in the truck.

Jay :

I know they can be hard to verify when there on the boarder of failing

Jay :

But, I believe you have a distributor going bad.

Customer:

I have had mixed results with reman dist from NAPA or O'Rileys, some work fine, others don't seem to last but about a year. Do you recomend getting a dist from nissan dealer or is a reman good enough. I've also found them pretty cheap online. Any experience with them???

Jay :

I feel the same as you. I don't like after market electrical parts. I would go to the dealer

Customer:

I will let you know if a dist fixes it. Does "just answer.com" pay for the dist if it don't fix it? ha ha

Jay :

No it doesn't sorry. Let me know how you make out. Thanks Jay!

Customer:

Still working on the pathfinder. Distributor didn't fix it.

Jay :

Does it stall at any speed? Or when coming to a stop?

Jay :

does it still run ruff?

Customer:

Didn't change anything. Runs fine but when you come to a stop sign after about 2 seconds of idle time it starts cutting out erratically. sometimes dies, some times don't. It would remind you of a bad plug wire arcing to ground but only at low idle.

Jay : does it still run ruff?
Customer:

It runs smooth. Accelerates fine, good power, etc., only cuts out at idle usually after engine is warmed up.

Jay :

didn't it run ruff before?

Customer:

No. The problem has always been at idle only. Customer complaint when it came into the shop was "Sometimes at a stoplight it will idle rough and even die sometimes."

Jay :

Hold on, I have to re-read this question to see everything you have done and everything I have asked.

Jay :

If you unplug the bottom TPS connector, what does the truck idle at? What Rpms?

Customer:

About 700 to 750.

Jay :

You cleaned the throttle chamber right?

Jay :

It idles at 700 to 750 with the bottom connector of the Throttle position sensor unplugged?

Customer:

I cleaned the throttle chamber before I replaced the dist. Yes 700 to 750 with it unplugged.

Jay :

hmm, and the truck stalls only when coming to a stop or at idle? Have you experienced it yet?

Customer:

Yes I have experienced it. Usually drive it about 10 miles, come back to the shop, and it will act up. It won't die or cut out when coming to a stop, only after it has idled for 2 or 3 seconds after you stop, after IAC comes down to normal idle speed. Anything above idle and it runs perfect.

Jay :

hmm

Jay :

This is a good one.

Jay :

With the truck running, if you grab the EGR diaphragm and lift it, does the truck stall?

Customer:

Ha Ha, tell me about it. It's about to drive me crazy. If it weren't for my dam ego i would have already shipped it somewhere else. Lifting the EGR will change the idle, makes it rough, but I haven't held it long enough or far enough to see if it would kill the engine.

Jay :

Lets see if the engine stalls when you lift it and hold it. It should stall the truck.

Jay :

I hear ya with the Ego thing. I don't like to give up. I love figure stuff like this out. It's just hard to do it on this end

Customer:

Don't have the truck here at the shop right now. She came and got it about an hour ago cause she needed it for the weekend but hopefully I'll have it back wed or thur.

Jay :

Alright. Lets check that egr valve then and we can go from there. I am normally here in the evenings around 7 pm EST. Thanks Jay!

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Jay, Nissan Technician
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