Hard or No Cold Starts [Archive] - Nissan Xterra Forum

Hard or No Cold Starts

11-22-2010, 06:59 PM
Just bought a 2007 Off Road - 4.0L V-6 Auto with 82000 miles on it. Don't know how long it sat on dealer's lot. Gas tank was almost empty for the whole time. Our weather has gone from 30's at night and mid 60's during the day to -5 at night and 0-5 day times in less than a week. I filled the tank last Wednesday (the day I bought it) and drove it fine for 2 days. then the cold hit. yesterday and today, I went out in the morning to start it, cranks fine, sounds like fuel pump is pressuring up, but no gauges to tell. but it won't start. cranks until battery droops. then quit and and wait, put a trickle charger on it. It did finally start when the charger went under 3 amps (basically fully charged). Added a magnetic oil pan heater yesterday afternoon. and left it on all night. went out this morning and repeated the whole scene again. Went to town and talked to O'Reilly's parts guys, they suggested spark or water in fuel. Neither really made sense since it would start if battery was warmed and fully charged, but I put some red botted HEET in it anyway after I got it started this afternoon. Are these beasts usually so warm blooded? the batteryy is a 2 month old Nissan stock replacement, so it should be the right CCA rating. I frustrated as all get out (especially when the dealer says "Bring it in and we'll check it out" when the bloody problem is that it won't start.

11-23-2010, 08:56 AM
Tell them to come get it and fix it! It should be on them and not you!
I have not heard of this being a problem. It is not as cold in Oregon, so I have no base to offer suggestions. I am sure a coolant heater woukld be a good move for you though, as it heats the heads and not just the oil.
The fuel filter may have water in it and is blocking the fuel from reaching the injectors. I am not the best person to give infor for your rig, because I am a gen 1 owner.
I am sure someone will chime in and help you out better!
best of luck.

11-23-2010, 09:21 AM
x2 fuel filter, and some injector cleaner, could be a minor clog or sediment that relocated after you drove it home...id just take to to the dealership and say i want it fixed, and a rental! Plus bring in your reciepts and say you want reumbursed for that stuff, or threaten to return the vehicle, give them a hard time, if you JUST bought it theres many laws making them responsible for not giving you a "lemon", or tell them to tow it in, don't let them mess around with you, you JUST got it. Ive never heard of people on here complaining of cold start issues too often gen 1 or gen 2(which you have)

Creepy Cruiser
11-23-2010, 10:49 AM
Did you get 2 keys when you bought it? Maybe try the other key if so, just for the heck of it. I had a very similar problem with a customer years ago, they bought a used car from a dealer and they gave them 2 keys, but didn't program the second key for the transponder system. So depending on what key they grabbed, it would start just fine, or just spin and not start, lol. Worth a shot and cost you nothing.

I've not heard anybody (including myself) say anything about hard cold starts. It's supposed to be -18 here and my 06 starts just fine.

11-23-2010, 07:00 PM
I played with it more this morning and I think I got it licked, the dealer definitely didn't help, I'll be talking to Nissan national later. Anyway back to the dead red X, Tried cranking it again this morning at only -1 with oil pan heater in place with no fire in the hole. Jumped it from my son's Dakota and got it running. Ended up go to O'Reilly's and bought a 725 CCA rated battery and installed it when I got home. Their database calls for a minimum 650 CCA for the 4.0L. Called the dealer their "service manager" said all it needs is a 550 CCA. Tomorrow is the big test, It's already -16 and I pulled the plug from the oil pan heater. I love the quote my the guy at O'reilly's, "Any newer car with the right oil and a good battery should start down to 30 below better than 99% of the time." We'll see and let everyone know. Just a warning for folks out there in cold country, watch your battery capacity, Nssan hasn't got a clue!


11-23-2010, 07:15 PM
my areas "service manager" told me that hes never seen a knock sensor be a problem or have to replace one HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, i should be a service manager (as long as TJ writes the manuals and mails them to my shop!)

02-26-2011, 11:22 AM
I have been having the same trouble with my 2009 and I did the battery replace with the 725 CCA. It worked for a while but now the problem is back again. I have replaced positive terminal and checked all of the grounds everything looks good. The local mechanics can't find anything wrong, I'm about ready to drive this thing up someones As!@@$^. This is my Second X , should have kept the 2000. Anybody with any suggestions?

02-28-2011, 07:56 AM
Mine's back in the shop again (3rd time since we bought it in Nov), took it in last Thurs when it was going to be bad a$$ cold (-22F when I got up Fri) - guess what, they couldn't get it to start either, gee, maybe this customer has a clue. They had to set up the battery charger to start it. Did find out there was a recall some time ago on a set of X's and Pathfinders for ECM relays tightening up in the cold. They replaced it and set it back outside until Sat morning - it was only -12 and still wouldn't start, still waiting for further diagnostics. Hit your service dept with the recall info and see if yours falls into the group and share my experiences - they'll love the story. God, I love living in Montana:kalt-big:

02-28-2011, 03:13 PM
more info - they stuck my ECM in the dealer freezer (our outside temps around freezing now - we're out of the real trouble range) and let it cold soak for 5 hours, put it back in and the things started. They're thinking it's either the ECM or the crankshaft position sensor causing the no start condition - let's see, replace a $30 part or a $650 part. We're trying the CPS (I know, I'm a cheapskate) and pray for a warm spring so I can start saving beer cans to recycle for the real expensive part. Hope you have better luck than me, I'm stuck for 7 hours of diagnosis $$ time without a guarantee on the fix. Boy, I'm so glad I bought the Xterra instead of the 4 Runner.

02-28-2011, 03:46 PM
rwweiss: You might just look over at the 4 runner forum:
You will see that both have issues and both can cost a bundle to fix. It is the nature of any brand and model. It comes down to luck of the draw!
It is easy to say I should have bought ....

12-29-2011, 09:47 AM
Hey, did you ever solve the COLD morning start problems? I just moved to a colder climate and I am having the same problem with my 2007 Exterra when it drops below 32.
The only was I can get it to start is to jump it. I thought it needed a new battery (even though the one in it tested good) but that didn't fix it.
It is VERY consistent about not starting on a COLD mornings, it just cranks away. NO codes have ever showed up and it starts fine the rest of the day, so it sounds like you and I have the same issues with our Exterra.

12-29-2011, 11:28 AM
I am still having the same problems with mine. Nobody has a clue here as it starts fine until the temps get below 30s then the trouble comes back. If you get some info please let me know as this problem is really annoying.:aufkopfhauen-big:

01-01-2012, 11:45 AM
Since it seems to ALWAYS start when I hook an extra battery to it, I somehow think it has something to do with amp draw not being high enough for something?...not a low voltage problem, so I am going to look at every circut that has a HIGH amp draw on START UP?
I felt for sure a new battery would solve the problem, and was VERY frustrated when it didn't.
I am thinking maybe I should have gotten the highest COLD CRANKING START battery I could fit in there, but that would have been another $100.00... maybe it would have been money well spent now?

I will let you know If I find anything else new.

01-01-2012, 01:39 PM
would love to know if you ever found an answer! I have a 2008 I bought last year, 6k miles on it. Bought in October and when the cold weather hit began having the starting issue. Changed plugs, run premium gas, have run cleaner and dryer thru the tank, upgraded battery to largest I could find that would fit but still when it is below about 30 degrees have a heck of a time getting it to start. It usually will but takes forever and sometimes have to jump. Then it kicks off pretty quick. Have had the alternator checked and was ok and does not seem to be a power drain anywhere. I have asked several dealers and they all dont seem to have a clue. Only answer I got was maybe a poor ground.

SO any ideas?

02-15-2012, 03:01 PM
Update: Took X to shop and parked it there on a cold night and did not start when they tried in the morning. ( They believe me now). Found no power out of main relay center. They replaced the relay for the main power circuit, not sure if they are telling the truth as I can't find that in the diagrahm, but it has cured the problem, I think. Still waiting for it to get below 20 F. I hope this helps someone more electrically knowlegable than myself.

02-19-2012, 09:51 AM
UPDATE Again: Temps got to 14f and NO START! Taking it back to shop in the morning I will update again with better info. I hope.
Anybody else get this fixed?

02-20-2012, 08:36 AM
I haven't had a cold start problem since I keep the battery plugged in to a charger when I am not driving it, and my gas milage is upto 18.2 mpg.
I have had several below 32 mornings, so I now am comfident something with Xterras WILL NOT allow the car to start (but cranks just fine) when the battery is below a certain level.
That means:
Somewhere the Xterra is slowly draining the power from the battery. If you drive it daily it MAY keep it charged enough to hide it...but cold mornings need more amps and that's where we get in trouble.
I stopped plugging it in a night for a week and although it started fine at first, my milage started dropping and then it ALMOST happened...a 28 degree morning it cranked a bit longer than the normal fire up.
I have now plugged it back in at night until I can get to the bottom of the slow discharge.

02-25-2012, 11:17 AM
I have had my 2009 xterra into the shop several times with no success. when it gets into the 30's it will not start. Started turning the key on and waiting until the check engine light starts blinking and then it will start. Last time in the shop they were looking at the battery but that is not the problem. Once I got it back I verified that the battery was fine and tried to start it at 36 degrees. Once it would not. I put a charger on it, once again it would not start. Then I took the a hair dryer put it into the air intake hose and the car started immediately. Anyone know if there is a temperature sensor in the airflow intake?

02-25-2012, 09:21 PM
I believe the sensor is part of the Mass air flow sensor located just to the inboard side of the airbox attached with 2 screws. Kind of expensive to replace just for a try. There are some resistance reading you can do to check it but I don't have a manual to know what the proper reading is. I am going to try the hair dryer to see what happens with mine.

02-25-2012, 11:05 PM
Hmm I have an 08, no issues at all yet, but then again this is the year that winter has forgot here so far. It will be interesting to see if I have that issue, I love working on electronics, but then again that is part of what I do for a living.
I have had no issues down to about 22 so far though. If I find some wiring diagrams and find the proper ohm readings for the MAF I will put them here.

02-28-2012, 10:12 AM
I have been turning the key to the on position and wait 5 seconds, but not engage the starter, then turn off 3 times, then on the 4th time I turn the key and engage the starter and has started every time in weather that has been from 16 to 20 F. I think fuel pump?? Give it a try and see if it will work for someone else. Any Ideas??

04-07-2012, 11:40 PM
I am right there with you man. I try to start it once and if it doesn't crank first try i turn it off and on and crank everytime until usually on the fourth try it starts like clockwork. If i crank on it without it turning off and on it won't start from what i can tell. Just kills the battery. Mechanic says there is a recall on ecm module. Mechanic also believes the throttle body needs to be cleaned out completely with bgs products and i haven't done either. . And I even have a secondary sodium battery in the garage just in case the first brand new battery dies.

12-21-2012, 08:32 PM
Anyone ever find a solution to this? Having the very same problem

12-21-2012, 08:44 PM
Check with a dealer it is a recall on all gen 2 xterra it's a ecu relay

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12-21-2012, 08:45 PM
Bring to a dealer and see if the recall counts on yours is what I meant to say had the same problem with mine

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12-21-2012, 09:22 PM
Is it ECM or ECU? Unable to find any ECU recalls but can find ECM all day

12-22-2012, 06:28 PM
Ecm = ecu (sometimes they get called Ecm other times ecu)
Ecm = engine control module
Ecu = engine control unit

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01-23-2013, 04:47 PM
i have an 08 xterra and today it wouldnt start.. it was -41 C, turned over a few times but then the gages started siesuring then it all stopped. no clicking or nothing. the car with key in it warning light and highbeams light flash... is that just dead battery? i have it in the house gonna charge it over night. Hope thats all it is

02-28-2014, 05:10 AM
Did anyone ever get a fix for the cold no start I have a 08 S and had the battery and fusiable link replaced solved the problem for about a month at 3F this morning its cranking away again.........

11-17-2014, 10:11 AM
Hi Guys,

I have a 07 Pathfinder and have the exact same cold start issues as I've read in your posts. Two new batteries (this one a 925 CA / 750 CCA) and my second winter of these issues here in frigid Wisconsin and I'm BEYOND frustrated.

If I jumpstart, the engine fires off immediately. I've thought the same thing as you, fuel pump issues maybe? However, I keep thinking if that is the case jumping it off shouldn't make an impact. Are you still starting with your on and of method?

Or did you ever find a fix for your issues? Thanks man.



12-01-2014, 04:41 PM
I live in Canada and have had my Xterra for 7 years. I've gone through some incredibly cold winters (most times i plug in the block heater) but on occasions i don't and my car always started....until this summer. I think i bought a cheap battery and it oxidized like crazy to the point where my car wouldn't start and when it got boosted it died within 20 minutes. My buddy removed the oxidation and cleaned up the terminals and it was back to normal until the cold hit, now it doesn't start if it gets below -5'ish. I've swapped out the battery for a quality one but that didn't work. I plugged in the block heater on friday, tried to start it saturday morning and saturday afternoon and it wouldn't start however on sunday morning it did start repeatedly throughout the day even though it was -15 (the car was plugged in the whole time). However, this still gives me no confidence that my car will start regularily in the cold. I'm going to try the ignition on/off game next time my car doesn't start to see if that is the issue. I'll also be calling nissan to see if i was one of the vehicles that needed to be recalled beacuse of the ecm. If i find out anything else i'll check back in.

12-27-2015, 02:15 PM
OK- so this is about the 3rd 4th time now.
THought it was the battery; battery was checked out couple weeks ago when car wouldnt start- it was a cold night

Went to start car Christmas late afternoon- dead. GO Nissan on phone said it was the FOB; got fob replaced, did not work; had car jumped not starting.

Now its SUnday- have to work tomorrow. Firestone is my only option.

From what I am reading this could be the EMC Module?

Has anyone else had this problem- frustrated.

Otherwise my Nissan has mechanically been great.

Why wont it start??? I need my car now!

Thank you

01-09-2016, 12:36 PM
Car is still not starting if I don't have the block heater plugged in and it's sits for 4+ hours in below 0C temps. Have tested and concluded that it's not the alternator or the battery that's the issue. Also pulled every fuse individually to see what could be draining the battery when the car is off, nothing unusual found, also pulled every relay to see if any were stuck but they were all fine, even unplugged the entire ecu but still nothing unusual. This thing has me stumped. It's gotta be a parasitic drain from somewhere. In the interim I bought a battery booster pack, if the car doesn't start I hook it up and let it sit for a few minutes (depending how cold it is) and it starts right away. I have to hook up the negative clamp directly to the negative battery post, sometimes if I ground the negative clamp from the booster pack the car won't turn over. Hooking up both clamps to both terminals works every time.

01-10-2017, 11:23 AM
Took it to Nissan and they were no help at all, they basically did all the tests I did at home (pulled fuses/relays, battery change) except they fully removed my remote start (and didn't reinstall it after they realized it was not the issue). They also swapped the battery and threw out my old one, which I told them not to do. They also swapped out my IPDM and ECU with ones they had in shop, no luck there either. So after all is said and done I had my remote start removed, got a new battery, the problem was not fixed, and I paid for 2 hours diagnostics (they spent 5 on it though). All in all it cost me $360 bucks to have Nissan confirm what I already know and I'm short one remote start now.

My temporary solution is going to be to try an auto battery disconnect to disconnect the battery when my car is parked, comes with a remote and will auto disconnect once he battery reaches 12V. http://www.wirthco.com/battery-life-preserver-automatic-battery-disconnect-switch-p-1190-l-en.html

On another forum I did finis "solution" that seems be working for this woman. In Summary "...The next day they call me and turns out there was no communication between the TCM and ECM. They found a used ECM part for me here is the part that is says on my invoice KRTP USED ECM for $525.00 labour $260.00 And its now been 4 weeks and I have left my vehicle out in -19 Celsius till its completely cold and so far it's started up instantly every time....". I'm trying to get clarity if it was an ECM swap or just a part within the ECM. If it's a ECM swap I'm not confident in that solution as others have tried that and it failed.