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I have a 2016 Frontier PRO-4X with 18K miles that has an…

I have a 2016...

I have a 2016 Frontier PRO-4X with 18K miles that has an intermittent acceleration problem. The first time it happened, it felt like the rear tires went over a small patch of ice and slipped for a split-second, and then lurched forward as they regained traction. The next few times I took notice that there was no ice - it just felt like I let off the gas and quickly punched it back down - very noticeable split-second hesitation and "lurch" forward. It happens in 2 wheel or 4 wheel, under normal acceleration or just while maintaining speed, never while stopped or idling. It's been happening fairly regularly now, but not every time I drive, and not "reproducible" - it just happens randomly. Any ideas?

Mechanic's Assistant: Has the vehicle turned into a gas hog? And how does it start -- same as usual?

No - starts and runs normally otherwise. No change in gas mileage.

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your Frontier yourself? What have you tried so far?

Not unless it's something simple. The only thing I've tried so far is searching online for answers to the problem, and posting my question here - hah!

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

No I guess not - everything else with the truck is great.

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Answered in 6 minutes by:
3/12/2018
Jake
Jake, Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 4,373
Experience: Experienced automotive repair technician, Pulaski Tech graduate and DSM hobbyist.
Verified

Hey there, when this happens do you notice the AB / VDC / or traction lights?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
No - haven't noticed anything other than what I described. I haven't been looking at the dashboard when it happens, but nothing there caught my attention either.

Thanks, ***** ***** hesitation could be an electronic throttle restriction if it resembled a slip condition.

The possibilities unfortunately could be a few different things, that warning lights might help isolate the most likely.

The throttle and accelerator pedal are a electronic, if the ABS system indicates a slip condition (abnormal wheel speed reading) then it will restrict the throttle temporarily to help correct the condition.

with no lights on and ONLY those symptoms it's kind of a guessing game since it's so intermittent.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Well I figured as much, but thought I'd ask the question here before taking it to the dealer and hearing "not reproducible - nothing we can do". I will pay attention to possible lights on the dashboard next time it happens.
- I assume that no error code will be present unless the problem is occurring while connected to the computer?

generally your not going to see an error code unless there are some warnings coming on, be it ABS, service engine soon, etc.

even if the lights go back off the codes are generally stored for a short period.

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The good thing is IF any lights do come on, even if temporarily. It gives us a clear direction to go into (whether it be ABS related, or engine control related)

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Okay - so if I do notice any lights in the near future, can I post back here - or will I have to start a new thread?

You can post back here. I leave my questions open for all my customers until resolved. Just keep in mind if it goes like 7 days or so without a response it will time out and close itself.

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I tell everyone I help, I am happy to allow follow up on the same question as long as you need. Just be certain that you remember to leave a kind rating it all.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Okay, great - I'll get back as soon as I know something different. Should I rate now, or wait until after I get back to you?

it makes no difference when you rate, whatever is better for you.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Alright - thanks for your help thus far. I will post again tomorrow (hopefully)

your welcome, talk to you soon.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I paid attention today and there are absolutely NO lights or indicators of any kind coming on during the "hesitation/shudder/lurch" thing. I should add that I have the 6-speed manual trans in this truck - don't know if that makes a difference, but I only mention that because it dawned on me today that it also feels like what might happen if I punched the clutch in and let it pop back out really fast while driving.
Another note: having the traction control system on or off makes no difference - it happens under either condition (and the traction control system is working normally otherwise)
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
on 2nd though, it's not exactly like the clutch disengaging for a second, because the engine doesn't rev while it's happening.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Okay - now that I've really paying attention to this, it seems more like the engine is just cutting out for a split second - rather than an ABS, Traction Control or Transmission problem.

Thanks for the clarification.

with a hesitation like your talking about or lurching with not obvious faults presented, you need to look at the intake duct for a loose hose or clamp that may be allowing unmetered air in. Obviously there are quite a few things that could cause a hesitation, but with no other indicators one of the more common ones is a leak at the intake either from an air filter replacement or other inspection.

let me know please.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
you're saying it might be something as simple as replacing the air filter? I will give that a shot and check for any other intake leaks tonight and get back to you tomorrow.

Not neccessarily replacing the air filter unless its really dirty.

I am saying it's not uncommon for people when changing the air filter to pinch it in the box and not get it closed all the way. This can cause hesitation issues and surging.

Jake
Jake, Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 4,373
Experience: Experienced automotive repair technician, Pulaski Tech graduate and DSM hobbyist.
Verified
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Dude - I think you nailed it! One of the loops that the 3 tabs of the air filter box lid slide into to keep it closed had snapped off, and all 3 tabs had come out - meaning that even though the two latches on the upper edge of the lid were still closed, the lower edge was quite open. I re-seated the air filter (which was still very clean), engaged the lid tabs into the remaining 2 loops on the box, C-clamped the corner of the box with the missing loop to the lid to close and seal it completely . . . and the engine hasn't chugged/surged/hesitated in 2 days!

Excellent, If you ever need help in the future you know where to find me.

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Customer reply replied 29 days ago
it's been a full week now since I clamped the air filter box shut, and there has not been a single incident since then! I have to say, I was a bit skeptical when you first suggested it might be a problem with the intake or air filter - but as I mentioned earlier, wow - you absolutely nailed it my friend . . . Thanks so much for sharing your expertise!
No problem at all, have a Good Friday!
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