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A few months ago, I replaced the valve cover seals and timing belt on my beloved manual transmission 2000 X VG33. Soon after, my ABS light came on, no big deal.
I basically have just ignored it since, until I was paging through my Haynes manual to learn how to replace my rear brake drums. It says you need to ground the #8 pin on the data connector in order to get the blinking code to determine what's actually wrong with the ABS system.
The picture pointed to the bottom left corner of the data connector, simple enough. So I found a long piece of wire, stuck one end in the "#8 pin" hole and shoved the other end between some metal parts of the steering column. I turned the ignition to "on" as prescribed by Haynes.
Nothing happened. The lights came on as normal, and the ABS light did not blink. So I pulled the key out and reseated the loose end of the wire, making sure the connection was secure.
Put the key in, turned it, and this time, something happened. The instrument cluster went dark. I tried to turn the engine on, but nothing - no engine engagement, no sensor lights... But the radio worked, and the fuel pump was still pressurizing!?
I needed to go get lunch so I could be back to meet my wife, and so the drama really began. Thankfully, the X was parked on a hill, so I was able to bump-start the engine and drive out to the Five Guys to get some burgers.
The parking lot there is really flat, and I wasn't sure what exactly had happened, so I left the engine running while I ordered some awesome, juicy burgers & fries. Of course they make it fresh, so I snacked on some peanuts while I waited, for some reason half assuming that the X would die while it was sitting out there.
Thankfully it hadn't died. So I got back in and headed out for home, a three or four mile drive. Oh, so while I was on the way there, the engine ran fine, but the instrument cluster was dead, and the radio started acting flaky - powering off randomly. So as I was headed home, I really wanted some tunes, but the radio completely quit working. I thought about taking the interstate, but instead chose a side street (maybe I knew there would be trouble...)
Made it about halfway home, when the engine started stumbling. At first it was just a little bump, but didn't take long on the uphill route to become a serious problem. My mind immediately started racing, remembering an alternator failure I went through years ago with another car.
I came to a stop at a light, and idled for a minute, and when the light turned green, I was most of the way across the intersection when the engine completely died. Since I was still in the intersection and I was on an uphill, I had to think fast. I braked and let the traffic pass, then coasted in reverse back through the intersection. To stop the X, I let my right wheels get up on the curb and e-braked the truck.
I tried starting the engine, and it was acting like there was no electrical power. I hit the hazard lights, they clicked really fast, so I turned them back off. I got out and checked the battery connections, since I've had issues with that over the last few months. (will probably replace the battery soon.)
After dis/reconnecting the negative cable, turning the key produced the chime, but not much more. I sat there for a few minutes trying to imagine what the problem could be, trying to determine whether I needed to get my wife to pick me up or (ugh) have it towed...
* I HATE paying people to work on my X. ESPecially towing! *

I'm guessing you already figured out what the problem was. Somehow I got the idea of checking the fuses. I started going through the ones that seemed connected to the alternator / instrument cluster and found that I'd burned out the 10A "meter" fuse. I replaced it, but didn't find any others were bad.
I turned the key, and some of the sensor lights came on, but for whatever reason, the engine would only click-click, not turn over.
So I had connectivity and function, but no battery power. So I'm left with a dilemma. And that dilemma could only be solved by getting out and pushing the X backwards until it fell off the curb and jump back into the drivers' seat to stop it before it rolled into traffic. And then, after all the cars passed, to bump start it in reverse and hope nobody comes flying around the curve to hit me.

Can't believe it worked. It bumped to life, so I switched to first and the X worked like nothing had ever been wrong. Except for the ABS light, of course.

Morals of the story:
1. check to make sure your data connector is in the same orientation as the Haynes picture. (Mine was upside down, so i actually grounded the 9 pin, I think)
2. even though it acted like an alternator failure, the only real issue was the meter fuse failure
3. there is nothing quite like the adventure of trying to fix something, screwing up something else, and learning along the way!
 

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around here garage charges $29 to read the codes for you. Or in my case it was free with an inspection.the advantage is you take no chance on frying the computer. Now have to figure out how to fix it.
 

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around here garage charges $29 to read the codes for you. Or in my case it was free with an inspection.the advantage is you take no chance on frying the computer. Now have to figure out how to fix it.
ABS codes are separate from ecu codes. Most consumer level readers will not pull them so you have to use this method (i tried). Most auto parts chains in the states will pull ecu codes for free if your check engine light is on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thankfully, the computer is not fried. X ran great this evening, and I used the shorting method to pull the codes from the abs. I love when technology works!
 

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I have an abs light on right now and tried shorting the pin and had the same thing happen, blew the fuse for the dash. I also blew the fuse for my rear tail lights too, and didnt notice it till I was trying to back down my driveway about 3 days later in the dark. You might want to check that and make sure they are working.

but on to my point, which pin did you actually need to ground. if you are looking at the connector where is it. I dont want to touch another sensor unless I know just which one it is. I tried pulling one of mine off to see of there was some water in there from when i went out playing in a creek and the bolt sheared off with not too much force applied to it. ended up having to pull the axle shaft and drill it out and re-tap the hole. The bolt was in there so tight I snapped a $30 extractor I had bought from sears just for removing the bolt. Sprayed it with tons of pb blaster and took a torch to it and it just wouldnt move.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I also blew the fuse for my rear tail lights too, and didnt notice it till I was trying to back down my driveway about 3 days later in the dark. You might want to check that and make sure they are working.

but on to my point, which pin did you actually need to ground. if you are looking at the connector where is it. I dont want to touch another sensor unless I know just which one it is.
thanks for the tip! I will check today.
To find the ABS code, you have to get to the data connector inside the cabin. Mine is below the steering wheel, hidden up behind the dash panel on the left. (It's white.)
on the 2000 Xterra, you have to ground Pin 8 on this connector to get the ABS codes. You'll probably notice that the connector is shaped like this:
_______
\_____/
The pin 8 is in the bottom left corner. If you have a 2001, you need to ground Pin 9 which is in the top right corner.
On mine, the connector is upside down, so it looks like this:
______
/______\
Because it's upside down, pin 8 is at the top right position, and pin 9 is at the bottom left. Make sense?
 

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Thanks for the info. I have a 2000 and must have grounded pin 9. I only had one light in my dash after shorting the pins which was an atp light. I honestly dont think I have ever seen that light before and I'm not really sure why it was still working, but my truck still fired up an ran with no issues. just had the problem with the brake lights. i eventually sat down and went through all the fuses and those were the only ones blown.
 
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