2000 Xterra V6 DOA...at my wits end - Nissan Xterra Forum
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#1 Old 11-24-2012, 03:41 PM
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Question 2000 Xterra V6 DOA...at my wits end

My Daughter purchased her 2000 V6 Xterra last spring after an internet search for a yellow one.
In September, the automatic transmission went out at 130,000 miles.
I had a reputable local import mechanic find a used one, added some upgraded parts to fix the internal lubrication problems and installed the modified used transmission.
It started giving her other problems a few weeks ago - the first noticed symptoms were the dash lights going out and coming back on.
A few days later, it would not crank, but the lights and radio etc worked.
She waited a few moments and tried to start it, eventually the starter came to life and it started right up.
This happened more than once - no way to predict it...
Last week, she left it for a few hours and it would not start.
I climbed under it, had her hold the key in start position and gave the starter a few "taps" with a hammer - it started right up.
We went directly to the parts store(s) and ordered a reman starter which I installed the following day.
Four days later, it is unresponsive when trying to start it.
I was on a trip, so my nephews tried to jump start it and finally trailered it home.
It is now unresponsive to anything - no electricity at all - no headlights, no interior lights, no door chime.
I hooked my jumper cables up, left another vehicle idling beside it for 30-45 minutes. No start - then with a few wiggles and moving of the jumper cables, I finally got it to start.
I pulled it in to the garage and shut it off - tried to restart it - not enough to crank it, but the headlights worked and accessories worked
OK...I think it must be the battery - so I get a new battery, install it and once again - nothing - no power - no headlights, no accessories.
I start looking at the fusible links - one by one removing them and checking for corrosion - all seems OK, until I get to the 100A battery link - it won't come out (aha..must be corroded, causing my problem) so I end up destroying it - then realize it is held in by screws (duh).
I get another 100A link, spend a few hours removing the P/S reservoir and taking the fusible link box apart to get to the screws - finally get the new link installed, put it back together.
In the process of removing the P/S reservoir bracket, I removed the ground wire from the inner wheel house (broke the bolt off - drilled, tapped and replaced the ground bolt, cleaning the terminal and the wheel house surface down to bare metal - Ohmmeter says it is a good connection).
I reassembled the fusible link box, put the P/S bracket and reservoir back, re-install the new battery and.... no change - not even a squeak out of my door chime or a glow from any lamp.
So... starter is replaced, we have a new battery...but no power going even to the headlights (eliminating the ignition switch?)
I have read where the alternator may be damaged by improper jumping - this should not affect the headlight circuit, should it? (eliminating the alternator as a problem)
I have printed off about 8 pages of the service manual (I found 2001 on line, but not 2000) electrical diagram and will soon start to try to trace the path to find where I could have an open circuit...
At this point, I need some direction - does anyone have any ideas?
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#2 Old 11-24-2012, 04:51 PM
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I had a similar issue with mine and I replaced the starter, battery (got a yellow top), main fuse, and it still would lose power at times like it was dead when the battery tested good.

Then I put new battery cables on with better connection ends for the battery and it hasn't had a problem since. Sometimes a bad connector or cable can cause resistance and even though there is enough power to turn on the radio and such there isn't enough to turn the starter.

May not help you but sometimes it's the little things.


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#3 Old 11-24-2012, 04:59 PM
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Thank you thanks28

I have been considering just that -even though I have absolutely no power to anything.

I may try to fabricate some jumper wires to by-pass the in-use cables - thanks again
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#4 Old 11-24-2012, 05:07 PM
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I would start with the obvious and go back. But it is definitely an electrical issue so start with were power should start and work your way back. Battery connectors and cables.

About two years a go my husband had an issue with mine loosing power and he would leave my door open and go and wiggle the battery connectors and my dome light would come back on so he replaced those with brass one and vol-la. My pathy had the same issue and my husband replace the connectors on there also cause of the same issue.
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#5 Old 11-24-2012, 05:11 PM
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Thanks Ladybug

Sounds like a plan - I will see if I can by-pass the current cables first and go from there
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#6 Old 11-24-2012, 08:47 PM
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Back to life - found 3 things - one must have worked

1) I started working on the terminal connections, following the wires back to the Fusible link box, checking for 12V along the way - then decided to take the box back apart to check for corrosion, etc. I found where I had left the feed wire off of the 100A fusible link (there was a lot of twisting and other monkeying around to re-install that fusible link).
This should have taken care of the DOA problem, but I actually had it before I destroyed the original 100A link - so still not sure of the root cause. I installed the terminal correctly this time.
2)I also found a braided ground cable from the wheel house to the exhaust manifold had rusted/corroded in two. My history tells me these additional ground wires are usually added to countermeasure electrical noise for the sound system but this may have been added to clean up the signal from the oxygen sensors. I could not remove the bolt from the manifold, but I was able to manufacture a replacement cable from some other braided copper I had in the garage. I routed this from the wheel house to one of the valve cover bolts.
3) I re-worked the battery terminals, bending them back to original shape and cleaning them up even more. I added a washer to allow the clamp load to spread out over the terminal, drawing it tighter.
I tried it with everything re-worked but not fully assembled and it started, pulled the battery back out, re-assembled everything and started it back up.

So...I have a new starter (probably was really needed) and a new battery (maybe not needed...oh well) where the root cause may have been bad battery terminal connections and bad ground connections.

Thank you for your help.
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#7 Old 11-24-2012, 08:51 PM
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Glad it worked out.

Doubt it was the ground between the driver's fender and exhaust manifold. I had mine disconnected for a good 500 miles before it even threw a code, and the only one was for the downstream driver's O2 sensor.

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#8 Old 11-24-2012, 10:51 PM
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#9 Old 11-25-2012, 08:14 AM
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Bad terminal connections is very common.. I had the same issue on my 2000. Glad you got it figured out.
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#10 Old 11-25-2012, 08:58 AM
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Nice work, very thorough. Great job!

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