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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Earlier today my 2000 Xterra 3.3L 4x4 started fine and drive but about five minutes into the drive the radio rest twice. I stopped for coffee, came out and started the car fine but then I died suddenly when I went to put it into gear. Now there is a clicking and whirring in the dash and the car won’t even turn over. The really odd thing is that with the key in the off position and totally removed all of the warning lights will come on if you hit the brake pedal.
 

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Say it ain’t so! I’m wondering if it’s a ground issue or if it’s possible that the power or ground from the alternator is loose. Idk.
its possible as well, but with the fact the lights are staying on after you have ignition off and keys out i would lean towards a shorted hot wire somewhere over ground. have you had the battery checked? its possible that the battery and its cables to the car are bad, i would start with a battery check since it is simple and easy to do, if you cant drive it, remove it and take it to a parts store they can test it for free. then move on the alternator if the battery checks fine or takes a charge (if drained) and isnt bad after the charge and the cables are corrosion free and secured good at both ends, also have you noticed anything odd with brake lights staying on? from the sound of it you may have a short in the brake light switch wiring, the switch lives under the dash at the top of the brake pedal. not sure of 1st gens if it is traditional you push the brake pedal it hits the button and the lights come on or opposite where you hit the brake pedal, it releases the button and the lights come on. if it is traditional it will be behind the brake pedal itself up towards the top by the firewall, if opposite that it will be mounted in front of the brake pedal up towards the top of the pedal, if its traditional the lights will usually be stuck on and wont turn off which can cause battery drain and if the wires are shorted it may be doing the same thing, if its opposite then it usually means you get no brake lights period when it fails but a short could be causing them to stay on if its shorted to a wire thats always hot
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You are a wizard. Those are great ideas. The truck has an optima yellow top. It’s possible it failed. And it recently got run down with the interior light on a few days back. I’ll give it a shot when I get off shift on Saturday. Thanks!
 

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You are a wizard. Those are great ideas. The truck has an optima yellow top. It’s possible it failed. And it recently got run down with the interior light on a few days back. I’ll give it a shot when I get off shift on Saturday. Thanks!
How old? Optimas arent what they used to be 10 years ago, they simply dont last as long anymore. Johnson controls got cheap. Make sure where you take it for testing if it does need a charge before they can determine if its good or not knows how to charge optimas/agm batteries and has a charger that can do so, they require longer trickle charging especially when drained real low. Autozone has ones you tell it the battery type, even has the different optimas listed (red/yellow/blue) and charges it correctly for what you select the optima charge cycle is odd it starts out fast if the percentage is low but voltage is still around 12v then after a few minutes goes slow then fast then slow. If its below 12v it raises the voltage slowly then starts these cycles
 

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Earlier today my 2000 Xterra 3.3L 4x4 started fine and drive but about five minutes into the drive the radio rest twice. I stopped for coffee, came out and started the car fine but then I died suddenly when I went to put it into gear. Now there is a clicking and whirring in the dash and the car won’t even turn over. The really odd thing is that with the key in the off position and totally removed all of the warning lights will come on if you hit the brake pedal.
It’s about 4 years old but has had a vey hard life. Ran a trash water pump deep cycle before going in the truck. Could have damaged it.
Check the main fuse too, mine went bad a few months ago and my car did all sorts of weird things.
 

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You either have failing cells in that Optima or you have a main bulkhead connector in the firewall loose, bad ground, or combination thereof


Earlier today my 2000 Xterra 3.3L 4x4 started fine and drive but about five minutes into the drive the radio rest twice.
That was your 5 minute, first and second chance to turn around and go home unfortunately

I stopped for coffee, came out and started the car fine but then I died suddenly when I went to put it into gear.
As KMS has presumed as well, a battery with failing cells will/can cause this, the additional power needed by the engine obviously overwhelmed the power available but at the same time If you have a DVOM I would test the battery yourself. Should rest at 12.4v. If you think it will start, either have someone crank it for you so you can watch the DVOM or set it up so you can clamp the leads to the proper battery terminals and see the display and crank it yourself. If it starts but the battery voltage drops below 10.5-8v then the battery has bad cell(s). Also while/if it starts, watch what the voltage says on the DVOM to see if the ALT is charging too. You should see between 13.8 to 14.4 volts across the terminals. if not, the issue could be a failed Alternator and it killed off the battery if its below 12.8v its a slow and low charging alt and should be swapped.

Depending on what you run in the truck for accessories, stereo gear, or just overall habits if the Alt is shit too now, be a great time to address the needs of those accessories and maybe upgrade the alternator to a higher output. If you're basically stock with your needs, that may not have any value to you.

Now there is a clicking and whirring in the dash and the car won’t even turn over.
The clicking is either the shift solenoid acting out because of the lack of voltage or under dash relays. The whirring noise could be the squirrel cage to the blower motor on low still, again under powered.

The really odd thing is that with the key in the off position and totally removed all of the warning lights will come on if you hit the brake pedal.
If the Alt or Battery are bad and back-feeding I could see this being an issue.

Keep us up to date
 
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Check the main fuse too, mine went bad a few months ago and my car did all sorts of weird things.
if the main fuse was blown he would have no lights and it wouldnt even try to crank. you know how much power it would take to blow the main fuse by accident? now if its loose as it does sit on the terminals then yes it can cause problems but it takes quite a few amps (over 100) to blow a main fuse and he would know if that was the case no interior or dash lights no trying to crank no door open chime nothing would work.
 
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You either have failing cells in that Optima or you have a main bulkhead connector in the firewall loose, bad ground, or combination thereof



That was your 5 minute, first and second chance to turn around and go home unfortunately


As KMS has presumed as well, a battery with failing cells will/can cause this, the additional power needed by the engine obviously overwhelmed the power available but at the same time If you have a DVOM I would test the battery yourself. Should rest at 12.4v. If you think it will start, either have someone crank it for you so you can watch the DVOM or set it up so you can clamp the leads to the proper battery terminals and see the display and crank it yourself. If it starts but the battery voltage drops below 10.5-8v then the battery has bad cell(s). Also while/if it starts, watch what the voltage says on the DVOM to see if the ALT is charging too. You should see between 13.8 to 14.4 volts across the terminals. if not, the issue could be a failed Alternator and it killed off the battery if its below 12.8v its a slow and low charging alt and should be swapped.

Depending on what you run in the truck for accessories, stereo gear, or just overall habits if the Alt is shit too now, be a great time to address the needs of those accessories and maybe upgrade the alternator to a higher output. If you're basically stock with your needs, that may not have any value to you.


The clicking is either the shift solenoid acting out because of the lack of voltage or under dash relays. The whirring noise could be the squirrel cage to the blower motor on low still, again under powered.



If the Alt or Battery are bad and back-feeding I could see this being an issue.

Keep us up to date
yes, he could also have a short to the brake switch, i have seen this happen before the switch gets a short and the dash lights come on if you hit the pedal (granted it was in a 90s honda but brake switches are all pretty much the same inside)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok guys, check this out. Came home from shift and wiggled the stuff under the center console by the gas pedal and it fired up. Drove it home. Like there was no problem. Then parked it and same issue. If you push the horn it turns all the dash light on too and the interior light go out. Clicking in the box in front of the shifter is still going on and it will click for hours then sometimes stop. I put a new battery in it and nothing changed. The old battery was at 11.3V when I took it out to put it on the charger.
 

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you have a short somewhere under the dash, could even be whats called the clock spring inside the steering wheel (its what allows the buttons on the wheel to get power and communicate (piece of plastic that fits around the steering column and allows the wires to pass and spin around as you move the wheel without tangling and ripping.) its how your cruise, horn and airbag all work. well bad news if it is this piece is they have been discontinued by nissan so junkyard is the only way, or you might find a body shop local that can source you a new one hiding somewhere. investigate other things first, i would say crawl up in the foot well and give all the wires under there a good looking over, see if you see any that are loose in their connectors or missing the shielding on them. also pull the horn fuse and see if it magically starts working, if not im wondering if you dont have an issue with the anti theft. either way it sounds like a crossed wire or 2 under the dash.
 

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yes, he could also have a short to the brake switch, i have seen this happen before the switch gets a short and the dash lights come on if you hit the pedal (granted it was in a 90s honda but brake switches are all pretty much the same inside)
Well if you're right on the brake switch, i owe you a beer. But I'm forced into my gut of a lose connector on a wire harness or bulkhead connector.

HA Watch us both be wrong tho.. lol
 
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Well if you're right on the brake switch, i owe you a beer. But I'm forced into my gut of a lose connector on a wire harness or bulkhead connector.

HA Watch us both be wrong tho.. lol
no kidding, hell it maybe his brake switch wire has come into contact with the steering wheel harness wiring as it comes down behind the dash and thats why everything is acting so wonky. electrical issues suck!
 

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if that yellow didnt have patina on it i might consider, lol man its an 18 year old truck and still running strong, you got er fixed why sell it? keep it as a beater. many cars get grounding issues as they age and the wires corrode or loosen from the mounts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Meh, body is straight, very little frame rust as it lived in Utah all its life. It would be a good rig for someone looking to get into Xterra stuff. It’s time for something newer now (even though it’s had everything done at this point).
 

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Meh, body is straight, very little frame rust as it lived in Utah all its life. It would be a good rig for someone looking to get into Xterra stuff. It’s time for something newer now (even though it’s had everything done at this point).
thats why i suggest keeping it as the beater, you have already fixed everything, no need to waste the money selling it. hell, i would recommend a 2nd gen (09+) x though, i ahd a 2000 x and now a 2011 and the 2011 is far superior in every respect, engine is smoother with much more power especially at the low to mid range, way easier to work on, tons of room in the engine bay. the vq40de has been around for a long time and shares many parts with the 350z/altima/maxima 3.5v6 and the 370z/g37 vehicles as well as the frontier and pathfinder as well as the titian until the redesign outside the engine so parts are everywhere. the interior is much more roomy and the seats are much nicer in the 2nd gen if you go 09+ you avoid the issues with the radiator breaking and ruining the tranny that may or may not have been fixed on the older ones. the plastic bumpers hold up better in the sun and its overall much more reliable than my 2000 3.3 was. (been about the same as the 98 pathfinder 3.3 i had, but it had 2 break downs in 4 years and 60k miles of owning) so far the 2011 x has had 1 issue that was major because of the way they had to replace the parts but otherwise would not have been major (axle seal leaks) i have put over 20k miles in just over a year and its a118k and running like a champ
 
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