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2001 Nissan Xterra XE 3.3L V6 4wd auto
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in need of some advice from anyone who has an idea... I have 2 problems with my 2001 xterra xe 4wd 3.3 l v6 automatic:
1. Atp light, the lights work but I don't get anything else. No warning lights, gas, rpms, speed or temperature. I've checked wiring, fuses, relays and can't find anything.
2. Alternator is not working, after replacing it twice. The first new one tested bad after installing, so I had to do it again. New battery holds good charge between 12.5-12.7 until I start driving it slowly drops until the X completely dies. Checked all connections, new terminals, new ground on battery, checked all body and engine grounds with mm. All fine, could these be related??? Desperately need some help and advice... thanks in advance I appreciate every input I can get.
 

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2004 Xterra XE 4WD Manual 3.3L NA V6
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Let's start with problem #2: have you checked the voltage across the battery terminals with a multimeter while the vehicle is running? Should be about 14 volts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes I have, the highest its ever been is maybe 12.5 then gradually drops. I think the battery is running everything. I have also checked all the ground wires with a mm, they all match whatever the battery voltage is.
 

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Yes I have, the highest its ever been is maybe 12.5 then gradually drops. I think the battery is running everything. I have also checked all the ground wires with a mm, they all match whatever the battery voltage is.
Yes the battery is running everything as long as it can because the latest new alternator is not charging the battery. Sure would be returning that alternator and asking them to test it and replace it with a functioning unit. Where are you getting these alternators? Are they rebuilds?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've already returned one and had them test the other one right in front of me and it was good
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Should I run another ground wire to the alternator? I've read about people doing that... does it matter where the ground wire connects to the back of the alternator?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm throwing a p0500 vss code and a p0464 code fuel level sensor a circuit intermittent. Does that help? Someone on here mentioned the power to the guage cluster possibly runs through or with the vss, not sure how true that is
 

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Should I run another ground wire to the alternator? I've read about people doing that... does it matter where the ground wire connects to the back of the alternator?
According to the Nissan Field Service Manual your alternator ground is located what appears like a heavy duty bolt down connection to the fender near one corner of the air filter box. Ground A1.
 

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I've already returned one and had them test the other one right in front of me and it was good
Well, if they tested it good then you apparently have a problem as it is installed in your vehicle. Have you tested the voltage output of the alternator directly on the output power lug of the alternator with a multimeter to see if you are getting 14 plus vdc right at the alternator when it is being driven by the belt? If you are getting it there then you have a connection problem between there and the battery [ wire/fuse etc.]. If you are not getting output voltage at the alternator output then the alternator field circuit is not getting 12vdc to energize that to allow for the alternator to make voltage for the battery. Electrical connectors to the alternator have to be properly seated and of course providing the 12vdc. Of course you can do a continuity test with the multimeter to test ground from the alternator to a engine or fender ground point.
 

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From the alternator, there's a fusible link that does down to the starter's battery terminal. From there, the charge makes it back to the battery.

If the wire is severed, or was installed incorrectly or not connected after some starter work, then that could be the root cause.

It's similar to what @XT2015 was saying about making sure you're getting the right voltage out of the alternator to start with, and there being a possible disconnect between it and the battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, if they tested it good then you apparently have a problem as it is installed in your vehicle. Have you tested the voltage output of the alternator directly on the output power lug of the alternator with a multimeter to see if you are getting 14 plus vdc right at the alternator when it is being driven by the belt? If you are getting it there then you have a connection problem between there and the battery [ wire/fuse etc.]. If you are not getting output voltage at the alternator output then the alternator field circuit is not getting 12vdc to energize that to allow for the alternator to make voltage for the battery. Electrical connectors to the alternator have to be properly seated and of course providing the 12vdc. Of course you can do a continuity test with the multimeter to test ground from the alternator to a engine or fender ground point.
[/QUOTE
Yes I have tested the ground wire and I know exactly which one I cleaned it and it tested the same as the battery. I haven't done a direct test on the alternator itself I wasn't sure how to do that exactly. Do you just set it on the voltage setting, positive on the power nut, and ground the negative? Or is there a different setting on the volt meter I use
From the alternator, there's a fusible link that does down to the starter's battery terminal. From there, the charge makes it back to the battery.

If the wire is severed, or was installed incorrectly or not connected after some starter work, then that could be the root cause.

It's similar to what @XT2015 was saying about making sure you're getting the right voltage out of the alternator to start with, and there being a possible disconnect between it and the battery.
I put a new negative ground on the battery, I was going to take the positive off when I get a chance today sometime. I checked all I could get to late one night but never took the whole thing apart. Is there a certain place on the back of the alternator that's for the ground? It tested fine, but I'm just curious.
From the alternator, there's a fusible link that does down to the starter's battery terminal. From there, the charge makes it back to the battery.

If the wire is severed, or was installed incorrectly or not connected after some starter work, then that could be the root cause.

It's similar to what @XT2015 was saying about making sure you're getting the right voltage out of the alternator to start with, and there being a possible disconnect between it and the battery.
The fusible link is the black/red wire that runs from the battery through the fuse box down to the alternator. Right
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Take a look at page EL-79. Interesting the functions match what you are listing as issues here.
Factory Service Manuals - NICOclub
I've been through the manual quite a few times, I'm blowing the #11 fuse everytime the ignition is turned to on or start. Nothing happens if it's in acc or having the key in. Sorry I thought I mentioned that before... probably a good piece of information...
 

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Do you just set it on the voltage setting, positive on the power nut, and ground the negative?
Yes that is exactly it. You would hope to see a positive output DC voltage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OK, so check the input on the alternator first... if I'm getting the right voltage (14ish vdc) then it's going to be the connection or wires between the alternator, starter or back to the battery. If I am not getting it, it's between the battery and alternator. I just need to test it first. I forgot to mention in my original post that my fuse #11 (meter) inside pops every time I turn the ignition to on. Does the alternator have a direct link to the combination meter? Someone else told me the 1st and 2nd gens are famous for having a bad connection point in the receiving wiring harness behind the meter. Could that be related or a different problem all together?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Do you just set it on the voltage setting, positive on the power nut, and ground the negative?
Yes that is exactly it. You would hope to see a positive output DC voltage.
I really appreciate you taking the time to read all my b.s and helping me out. Thank you for everything, now I have a good understanding and a direction to go from here. The way you explained it made it seem so simple and not confusing as hell going through the manual.
 

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OK, so check the input on the alternator first... if I'm getting the right voltage (14ish vdc) then it's going to be the connection or wires between the alternator, starter or back to the battery. If I am not getting it, it's between the battery and alternator. I just need to test it first. I forgot to mention in my original post that my fuse #11 (meter) inside pops every time I turn the ignition to on. Does the alternator have a direct link to the combination meter? Someone else told me the 1st and 2nd gens are famous for having a bad connection point in the receiving wiring harness behind the meter. Could that be related or a different problem all together?
I don't recall reading about the #11 fuse blowing previously. The issue or issues may well be related if the short to ground is taking out the needed voltage that links to the alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I just found it, stuffed clear back under the block right before the alternator. 3 or 4 wires wrapped in plastic ans electrical tape pinned and clipped to everything. Should I replace the entire harness from the battery since it's a short or can I just do the one that's shorted out. It's directly under the throttle body almost on top of the alternator so I never saw it, you can't really see anything at all when you replace it. What's the best way to get it out? There are sensors everywhere and a few different ones that split off. Is there anything important I really need to know before replacing it? Is what I'm trying to say...
 

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I just found it, stuffed clear back under the block right before the alternator. 3 or 4 wires wrapped in plastic ans electrical tape pinned and clipped to everything. Should I replace the entire harness from the battery since it's a short or can I just do the one that's shorted out. It's directly under the throttle body almost on top of the alternator so I never saw it, you can't really see anything at all when you replace it. What's the best way to get it out? There are sensors everywhere and a few different ones that split off. Is there anything important I really need to know before replacing it? Is what I'm trying to say...
Wow, that's going down under! Great news that you have found it. I have a Gen2 so I don't have the same thing to look at for reference with your questions about repairing it. I would venture a guess it may well be easier to try and repair the shorted wire but I don't have any idea how much room you have to work. From what you say it doesn't sound like much. If you can somehow isolate the bad wire and insulate it properly that would likely be the working shortcut to success. I'll be watching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wow, that's going down under! Great news that you have found it. I have a Gen2 so I don't have the same thing to look at for reference with your questions about repairing it. I would venture a guess it may well be easier to try and repair the shorted wire but I don't have any idea how much room you have to work. From what you say it doesn't sound like much. If you can somehow isolate the bad wire and insulate it properly that would likely be the working shortcut to success. I'll be watching.
Absolutely no room to work, but I'm thinking of taking apart the positive terminal and work towards it. There are a lot more splits and connectors the other way, it also ends up going through the fire wall to the other fuse box. THANK YOU for all your help and again I appreciate your time and explanations. It's nice to know there are still great people out there willing to help
 
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