Not much new information here. I'm posting this more for my own information and for those of you who care to see all the steps.
2001 XTerra SE, 3.3L, Auto, RWD
Before beginning, the engine starts beautifully, but makes that awful screeching noise on startup associated with a dislodged harmonic balancer pulley and the fast, somewhat random clicking noise associated with that harmonic balancer clacking around because its rubber seal to the crankshaft pulley is blown.
•Disconnected battery and removed it from the engine compartment
•Dry brushed to clean, then tightly wrapped up MAF and other electrical connections with aluminum foil to avoid getting them wet
•Degreased (with all purpose cleaner, not a strong engine degreaser) and washed the engine and underside of the hood
•Allowed to dry for 48 hrs
•Removed fan shroud, fan, belts, and harmonic balancer (diagnosis correct - it has a blown rubber seal, and the back pulley just falls right off)
•Installed new harmonic balancer and reassembled, properly tightening all belts
•Removed distributor and replaced with new one
•Cleaned out spark plug wells and replaced spark plugs
Crank, no start, no code.
•Verified engine timing with induction light
•Checked all fuses (audio fuse was blown, but I don't have a stereo at the moment, so ... whatevs)
•Verified spark at each port of the distributor and at each plug to test wires
•Checked fuel pump by listening for it to turn on when ignition is in "on" position and smelling fuel while cranking
•Removed fuel pump fuse for about 10 minutes with the ignition in "on" position to depressurize fuel lines. Replaced fuse.
•Let sit overnight. Crank, no start, no code.
•Visually inspected MAF and tested with multimeter. Sensor power supply normal(Black/Pink wire, 12.4 V). Can't properly test it without the engine running per the service manual.
•Visually inspected TPS and tested with multimeter. Sensor power supply normal (Brown wire, 5 V). Can't get normal readings from the TPS Blue wire (should be 0.2 - 0.8 V with throttle closed, and 3.5 - 4.5 V with throttle open).
•Sprayed starter fluid into intake. Backfired. Crank, no start, no code.
•Visually inspected three fuel injector connections (not the ones under the intake manifold) and tested with multimeter. Resistance across contacts of 11.3, 11.5, and 11.9 Ohms for the three injectors tested (higher than the 'normal' range of 7.3 - 9.9 Ω).
At this point, I find that there is the potential that I need to replace the MAF, TPS, and all six injectors, but I have a high degree of certainty that
(A) I would have to go replacing other components after these
(B) these items do not actually need to be replaced at all, and the problem lay elsewhere.