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AZTechBrian
AZTechBrian, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Nissan
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Experience:  Owner
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What is the normal RPM at idle on a 2003! Nissan Xterra?

Customer Question

What is the normal RPM at idle on a 2003 ! Nissan Xterra?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Nissan
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

Hello. The base idle speed in park or neutral with no loadn on your vehicle should be 700 plus or minus 50 rpm

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On my 03 Xterra, the hand is just a bit above 1 @ idle. Is that correct?
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

Your rpm are just over a thousand. That's a little high. was your throttle body recently cleaned? do you have any codes?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The only thing that comes up is the SES light, like you said my RPM is over a thousand, could that also affect high fuel consumption?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't think the throttle body has been cleaned before.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

SES light indicates that you have a problem that has resulted in a diagnostic trouble code being stored. If you have access to a scan tool, you could get the code. I think you probably have a vacuum leak though. thoroughly inspect all the vacuum lines and see if they all look good.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The SES light sometimes goes off on it own and later comes on while driving on the road. The vacuum you talked about I guess it's those small black hose. With my RPM above a thousand, could that also lead to high fuel consumption?
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

A vacuum leak could have a negative impact on your fuel economy, but probably not a massive amount. Has your mpg gone way down at the same time as this engine rpm issue occured?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yeah I think so because ever since I purchased the vehicle, (although it wasn't brand new) I noticed it sucks more fuel, it's a V6 engine 3.3L.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

you may have another issue in addition to this, like a dragging brake caliper or something adding to the fuel consumption. I would search for a vacuum leak and check the codes and go from there. Most times a slightly increased idle is due to a vacuum leak. If you do have a vacuum leak, you may have a lean code.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My calipers are okay, am thinking it could be the throttle or vacuum leak like you said initially, but am still wondering why it fuel consumption is much, initially I thought it could be the spark plugs but I noticed the exhaust doesn't produce black smoke.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

worn plugs won't necessarily result in the engine running super rich ( black exhaust). The plugs could be causing worsening fuel economy if they are worn.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When you say a plug is worn, does it mean they are bad?
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

worn plugs are just plugs that are still working, but not as efficiently as they did when they were new. as plugs age, they work a little less efficiently

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
For over 9months now, I haven't change or checked my spark plugs.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

I would change them. It can only stand to make things better. definitely won't hurt. Also get the stored codes. I think your probably going to find lean codes indicating a vacuum leak.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But the engine still run smooth on free way, no hard starting, but occasionally got rough idle but not noticeable. I changed the air filter and fuel filter 2months ago.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

worn plugs won't necessarily make it run horrible or cause a hard start condition. worn plugs aren't failed plugs. I'm not sure though that plugs are the issue. Although I would change them if the mileage warrants it, since it's a maintenance item. I still think the issue here is a vacuum leak. The stored code would help determine that with more certainty.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I notice it doesn't move smartly from a stop, I was thinking maybe it could be the tires(265/70 R16) or transmission.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

a transmission problem, alignment, tires, etc can all affect your fuel economy, for sure. They won't however affect your RPM at idle.

Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

That size tire is one of the three specified tire sizes for your truck, so the size shouldn't be causing you any problems

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It alignments has been check several times and was certified okay. Another thing I actually don't understand about this truck is "How to read the transmission dipstick to know if it oil is properly guaged or not"
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

Sure. I have attached the procedure in detail for checking the transmission fluid on your truck.

TRANS FLUID CHECK

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Am beginning to also suspect it calipers because I remember the last time I had them serviced was 5months ago, and got some dirty potholes I pass through each time it rains, I feel the water particles might have affected the piston inside the clippers causing it not to return fully.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

It's not at all uncommon to encounter sticking brake calipers. We change them all the time. You could try raising the vehicle in the air and seeing if each wheel spins freely or if any seem to be dragging.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alright do I also check the back tires, but can't find anything like calipers on the back wheel
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

Your truck may have rear drum brakes.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alright so do I also spin the back wheels to check for dragging or dragging doesn't affect drum brakes?
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

usually dragging would be caused by a sticking caliper. If the shoes were dragging, it would usually be caused by over tensioned brake shoes. That doesn't usually happen though.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think I do experience dragging on front wheel whenever I switch to 4WD.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

What your experiencing there is likely normal and not related to dragging calipers.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It appears like the front wheels tries to move faster than the back.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
when engaged to 4wd.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

is this something that is recent, or has it always seemed that way?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It always been like that, reason I said it seems faster than the back wheel was because of the dragging I thought it was, so I am thinking maybe the back wheels isn't fast enough to be on the same speed as the front.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

I think what you are experiencing when engaging the*****is normal. Nothing to worry about there. Check for codes and we'll have a better idea of why your RPM are slightly raised.

Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

I have to get going for a bit, but I should be back tomorrow evening. If you can get the code, let me know. Check for vacuum leaks too.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alright thanks alot for your time.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

your very welcome.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Shall keep you posted.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Please I like you send me a picture indicating where the RPM at idel is meant to be.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

I do not own or possess a 2003 nissan xterra so I am not able to take a picture of a tachometer in one. Right now you are just over a thousand RPM. the 1 represents a thousand RPM. You should be just under the 1 at idle. not over it

Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

If you are running your AC, your idle speed will be increased some. See the attachment for verification of proper idle speed.

2003 NISSAN XTERRA IDLE SPEED SPECIFICATIONS

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I checked all my vacuums and couldn't find any leakage, I saw something in form of an adjuster below the throttle body, can I tune it a little?, I guess that could also bring down the RPM to normal.(below 1000)
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

You should not have to adjust your idle. The idle is set at the factory. You had specified earlier in our conversation that your service engine soon light is on. I still think you should check for codes. When the check engine light is on, we always check for codes first. The codes are the cars way of telling you what is wrong or at least pointing you in the right direction. It doesn't make sense to guess at things or spend tons of time trying this or that without listening to what the car is trying to tell you first.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alright thanks, ***** ***** as I chat with you while driving yesterday I stop at the gas station to get some fuel, soon as I was done, entered the vehicle started the car and the SES ligh didn't come up. Few days back I had to replace my fan clutch, after replacement, I started the vehicle and the SES light also didn't come up. I noticed that anytime a work is been done within the engine, the SES won't come up soon as I starts the engine.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

I would check for codes. There is most likely a code stored in the computer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I remember you previously ask me on this trend to check for loose vacuum concerning my RPM which is over a thousand at idle. Now take a look at this picture of RPM level before star, is it okay?
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

That's about 400 rpm. That seems a bit low. What did you do to make it drop so low? I have to assume it did not do that on it's own.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No you obviously misunderstood my chat, that picture I sent you was talking about when I open up the ignition, the engine hadn't started yet. So I was asking if the RPM needle is meant to lift up while the key ignition is set fully open
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

Wait, so your tachometer reads 400 rpm when the engine isn't even running? just when the key is turned to the run position? Its starting to sound like you have a bad instrument cluster. Let me ask you this.... When your engine is running, does it sound like the rpm are too high? Or does it sound perfectly normal like it always has?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think my instrumental cluster isn't functioning properly because whenever the engine has gotten to it normal warn up temperature, the RPM is usually a bit over a thousand, moreover it temperature guage doesn't rises to the middle between the cold and hot, instead is rises just a bit above the C level, so am thinking of opening the cluster and use my hands to reset the RPM and temperature needle whenever the engine reaches it warn up temperature.
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

I think you may be right. I'm not sure that you'll be able to reset the needles though. You may need to replace the stepper motors, or just install a different cluster, assuming that's what the problem is.. I suppose it can't hurt to try and re adjust the needles if that's what you want to do though.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alright shall keep you posted.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think my idle air control valve isn't working because while I tried checking for leakage I pulled out one of those black tiny hose to check if it's pulling in/out air, unfortunately it wasn't, I guess that could also be affecting my RPM at idle, so I guess my IACV has failed, so my question now is "Where exactly is the IACV located in the engine? "
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

Here is an image showing all the component locations along with the IAC

COMPONENT LOCATIONS

Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

It looks like one page, but it's 2 pages so scroll down to see the second page.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alright will do so.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Honestly I couldn't understand the diagram, the sketch is too much. All I wanted is the picture and location of the IACV. Saw some pictures on the net, please take a look, which of these are for the 03 xterra?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Am trying to load both images
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
which of the above IACV goes for the 03 Nissan Xterra?
Expert:  AZTechBrian replied 1 year ago.

I will be gone for a bit and limited only to my phone, so I am going to opt out so someone else can continue to assist you further.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alright thanks.