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2004 Xterra 4WD Non-Supercharged 3.3L 6Cyl
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I put in a brand new distributor, distributor cap, and rotor button, spark plugs, and wires since summer. The distributor was literally just put in within the past couple of days. After putting in the distributor I has to time it though and found out the timing was WAY off and had to wait for parts and help to arrive to get the timing done right (I needed the socket and breaker bar and someone to turn the harmonic balancer). Anyhow, that was done yesterday, so I got the timing taken care of and tried to start it and found it had beautiful crank but absolutely no start. I used a start tester to test the wires for spark and all of them have spark, no doubt. From the no start manual I have, and all of the testing I was able to do on the distributor with the start tester, there is no problem with the distributor or it's wiring. I have not checked fuses but I'm not sure what to check there. I'm guessing if a fuse was bad the distributor wouldn't have spark either but I could be wrong. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. My toddler grandson flooded my house in the middle of the night, thankfully I am a light sleeper and woke, and before I could grab the wet dry vac the ladies of the house grabbed a ton of clothes and sheets and towels and threw them onto the water. Only problem with that is our dryer died back in november and we have no working truck. Now we have baskets full of wet molding cloths and bed sheets and can't get them to a laundry mat. There are times I could swear my life is a greek tragedy lol. Or a hidden tv comedy like Truman.
 

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2004 Xterra 4WD Non-Supercharged 3.3L 6Cyl
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
From what my father and I figure, my timing may be off even though my vehicle was set to TDC. There is one HIGHLY disconcerting thing though that neither of us understand. The timing marks... There are 5. We were under the impression that the far left is 0, zero. the center is 3, and the far right is 5. When I set the truck to top dead center this time, the TDC was on what we believed to be the number 5 mark, dead on.

Is the far right mark zero?

Or basically is it not starting because the timing is so far to the right of zero (the far left mark) that it won't start.
 

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2001 se 4x4 5spd 32"
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247 Posts
Did it run at all before putting the new distributor in?
 

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2004 Xterra 4WD Non-Supercharged 3.3L 6Cyl
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59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Before the new distributor, yes it did although I started getting a lot of misfiring and even started getting backfiring from the exhaust and got code 1336 which ended up indicating that I needed a new distributor because of a bad cam sensor inside of the old distributor.
 

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2004 Xterra 4WD Non-Supercharged 3.3L 6Cyl
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
RacerXXL, the truck won't start, therefore I can't get the rpms up to 2,000 rpms lol. I wish I could. I know how to time it. I just can't get it to start in the first place. I did discover that the timing is way off. Instead of being at top dead center which is far left marking, it was at the far right marking. Now I have to get it to top dead center all over again manually which is a pain because I have no one here that will help without complaining and quitting as fast as they can. Irritating. Anyhow, I wish I had smaller hands. I need to remove the fan and then put it back on afterwards. Putting it back on afterwards is the real pain because my hands shake, a familial trait, and with my hands being so big I drop the nuts... so I have to get help from people that don't want to help. Yesterday they lost one of the nuts and started pitching a fit and quit. Luckily they got the other 3 on first. Now having to take it off again and ask for their help again is not going to be fun. My first task though is that my father and I believe that my timing light, which was bought cheap mail order on his end by my sister, is a cheap piece of junk. We think it doesn't work right basically. We need another vehicle to test it out on before we go trying to time my truck with it. I've tried to time the truck with it three times now and the light either doesn't show up or it strobes erratically. In other words way, way too fast or way way too slow, or fast then slow, or slow then fast. Problem is we have no other vehicles around here on a usual basis. My oldest daughter was letting my youngest daughter borrow her car to drive to work after she drove herself here to drop the car off here and then my youngest daughter would drive her fiance and my oldest daughter (who work together) in to work and then she would go to work, hence her car would be here most days of the week, BUT my oldest daughter is sick as a dog (we are hoping it's not covid related at this point) and missing work (of course) and so isn't driving over here. The only other car that sometimes comes here is my daughter's fiance's mother's and there is no telling when that may happen.
 

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2000 Xterra XE 4x4 3.3L AT
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Forget about the 2000 rpm’s. Bring it to TDC on number 1 on the compression stroke then adjust from there per the instructions.
 

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RacerXXL, the truck won't start, therefore I can't get the rpms up to 2,000 rpms lol. I wish I could. I know how to time it. I just can't get it to start in the first place. I did discover that the timing is way off. Instead of being at top dead center which is far left marking, it was at the far right marking. Now I have to get it to top dead center all over again manually which is a pain because I have no one here that will help without complaining and quitting as fast as they can. Irritating. Anyhow, I wish I had smaller hands. I need to remove the fan and then put it back on afterwards. Putting it back on afterwards is the real pain because my hands shake, a familial trait, and with my hands being so big I drop the nuts... so I have to get help from people that don't want to help. Yesterday they lost one of the nuts and started pitching a fit and quit. Luckily they got the other 3 on first. Now having to take it off again and ask for their help again is not going to be fun. My first task though is that my father and I believe that my timing light, which was bought cheap mail order on his end by my sister, is a cheap piece of junk. We think it doesn't work right basically. We need another vehicle to test it out on before we go trying to time my truck with it. I've tried to time the truck with it three times now and the light either doesn't show up or it strobes erratically. In other words way, way too fast or way way too slow, or fast then slow, or slow then fast. Problem is we have no other vehicles around here on a usual basis. My oldest daughter was letting my youngest daughter borrow her car to drive to work after she drove herself here to drop the car off here and then my youngest daughter would drive her fiance and my oldest daughter (who work together) in to work and then she would go to work, hence her car would be here most days of the week, BUT my oldest daughter is sick as a dog (we are hoping it's not covid related at this point) and missing work (of course) and so isn't driving over here. The only other car that sometimes comes here is my daughter's fiance's mother's and there is no telling when that may happen.
Sounds like the belt is wore out. They will get so sloppy you can’t really get the distributor right on
 

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2004 Xterra 4WD Non-Supercharged 3.3L 6Cyl
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The belt was just replaced a few months ago so it's brand new. Actually that's what started this hell (excuse the language). Thankfully nothing broke when It broke. BUT the master mechanic that was helping me with it, my father, was 81 years old at the time and had a doctor's appointment at home up in the mountains two days away that he couldn't miss and he had to go back home before he could time it correctly. He did a quick timing which we thought was correct BUT it was not. It caused the engine to overheat badly along with other issues and even though I live in a famous town internationally known the mechanic shops around here are known for ripping you off and lying to you. You always end up having to do it yourself. Plus, after calling every shop I could, per my father's request to see if anyone would time it, no one would for less than $200 including the nissan shop and they wanted to do a diagnostic test for $65 first. Ugh. I think That was included in the $200 though. Still all I needed was the gun though. I had simply never timed one myself and dad didn't know if I could do it because it can be so finicky. I timed it perfect. It worked for MONTHS perfect. Then my daughter and her fiance couldn't afford their expensive car they were renting to own so it got repossessed (no matter what they say) and they started taking my only vehicle to work. Problem is my truck is Old and they both worked in two different towns out of town in opposite directions from our home so they were driving hours upon hours every day and low and behold my truck was filled with fast food trash every day so they were making extra stops not just going to work in my truck plus they were taking their kids places. My wife and I never got to use my truck after that and the truck started having Huge issues and breaking down. It started having multiple codes. Everytime I thought I had some fixed, because she was having to uber at $40 a pop to go to work and then get home, once I had it somewhat fixed she would hound my wife to let her use the truck and grab my keys from my pants pockets while I slept and drive the truck half broken to work, knowing it wasn't fully fixed and then scream at me when it broke down once she got home that she barely got home and I would find more new codes.

Thankfully, I finally narrowed it down (and she hasn't driven it) to needing the new distributor which I have put in twice now and timed to TDC twice now.

Here is my problem and it is DRIVING ME INSANE because I cannot SEE what is going on inside the distributor shaft. At the bottom of the distributor shaft are gears (not on the distributor but the shaft it seats into). On the distributor itselt, at the bottom are gears with three markings. In a video I watched, it says to ignore the top "indention" marking and line up the black dot hole on the distributor gear with the "tit that sticks out" that is near the indention (the tit is to the left of the indention). He said if you line it up with the indention, your top dead center will be off but if you line it up with the tit your top dead center will be correct.

The problem I am having, is when you drop the distributor into the shaft, the gears meshing with gears MOVE the rotor button, therefore move the top dead center.

Having previously, manually as RacerXXL said, gotten the truck to TDC twice now before putting in the distributor, I have found that putting in the distributor afterward MOVES the darn TDC and rotor button WAY out of position and screws EVERYTHING up.

My timing light also died on me so I had to wait for money to order a new timing light which arrived last night, hence why I wasn't posting until now.

My father believes, and I hope he is correct, that everything will boil down to getting the timing right on this truck. That and maybe cleaning the egr sensor if that code still comes up afterward. Putting this distributor in is not as simple as I thought it was going to be. This is ridiculous honestly. I have no help around here that wants to help which makes things ten times worse. They are all mad that the truck doesn't work but they aren't willing to help make it work. My wife is going to help me get it to TDC around 3pm this afternoon. If anyone has any ideas about seating this darn distributor I would greatly appreciate it.
 

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2004 Xterra 4WD Non-Supercharged 3.3L 6Cyl
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
RacerXXL, Based on your diagram, is TDC, the middle mark? the 10 degrees mark?

I thought it was the 0 degrees mark...

The first time I timed it, sadly, it was at the 20 degrees mark but it wouldn't start... it would crank but it wouldn't start. I didn't try turning the distributor at the time, which is what I should have done but it was getting dark and my timing light I learned at the time had gone bad and I couldn't get a good light with it so I couldn't trust what it was showing me.

Now, that I have a new timing light, the timing is so far off again, I can't see the markings at all and the markings are bold. Oddly enough the cut marks are shiny silver so the light flashes silver back at you when the light hits them. It's fairly easy to see. Not perfect but you can see them. If you can't see them, you Know they aren't there.
 

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2000 Xterra XE 4x4 3.3L AT
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Zero is far left when looking down at the vehicle. Follow the method below for installing the distributor.


 

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2004 Xterra 4WD Non-Supercharged 3.3L 6Cyl
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
`Okay, Thanks to you folks and my father, finally today some great news. Not perfect but definitely heading in the right direction! Following your instructions, I got everything to TDC and the truck now starts find AND *when not in drive goes up to 4500 (most I tried) rpms no problems. I goes in reverse and drive no problems at slow speeds. The problem I am running into is that when you put it into drive, it Only goes up to 1,500 rpms. It refuses to go past that at all. I am getting no codes and based on the past I'm worried about driving it around to "force" it to come up with codes. That caused backfiring and misfiring before which caused the timing to jump off by a Huge amount. I can probably, hopefully come up with a code that has not been completely confirmed by the system yet. I forget what that is called. I was told that a code only causes a check engine light once it has triggered a specific number of times. Before that it is called by a different name like a pre-sensor code or something like that, I forget. It's a real code but one that just hasn't been triggered enough that the system thinks it's an ongoing issue. Edit/// I just checked for the current codes... 328, 340, 731,732. Now 340 from what I remember is just cleaning the egr valve. I figured I would have to do that. I could be wrong about that code but that's what I seem to remember. 731 and 732 are transmission codes. I tried to use the transmission control module diagnostic system to get a reading on exactly what the issues were but the light on the dash board stayed solid each time I tried and I tried several times with my father's help. There were no mistakes made so I don't know what happened there other than the possibility that my transmission control module may have gone bad (the control module from what I have heard is hidden behind the radio and can cause the transmission to fail shifting into different gears as well as refusing to give readings) but I don't know how to test the module. Apparently someone around here misplaced my brand new in the delivery box very nice multimeter that I purchased months ago. I hope I can still find it. Do you folks have any ideas why it won't change gears in drive? By the way, it Will go up to 4500 rpms in neutral. It will Not go past 1500 in drive, 1st gear or 2nd gear.
 

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2001 se 4x4 5spd 32"
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When you are in first gear at the 1500 rpm how fast is the truck moving?
 

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2001 se 4x4 5spd 32"
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Is the transmission slipping?
Is it still backfiring and misfiring ?
 
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