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Hello everyone, new to the forums here but a lurker for a while. We have had this 2000 xterra for about 1.5-2 yrs now and it has been flawless since we bought it till now. It has 263,000 kms or 163,000 ish miles. Runs and drives great but occasionally it develops this weird issue. So its perfect when cold, nothing wrong. If you've been driving around for a while, engine at operating temp, shutting off and restarting the engine (for example, running some errands and stopping at multiple locations) or just driving around for a while (a few hours)...when you stop at a traffic light or have it in park idling, the rpms will all of a sudden drop to the point where the whole suv is shaking and it feels like its going to stall out, and sometimes it does stall out. Put it in park, give it gas, rpms go up, come back down and starts to rough idle again. But, if you give it gas in gear and move forward and resume driving, the issue goes away and may never return for another few days. Some days you can drive around for hours and the idle issue is gone, some days it'll just happen once out of the blue and then everything will be fine and dandy again. It's weird because it doesn't happen everytime you drive, it may only happen once a week, once in two weeks, once every day etc. Engine codes have been there since we bought it being a knock sensor and fuel temperature sensor, no other new codes. After reading numerous threads about rough idle issues, we bought a new distributor from ebay and changed it out but the problem is still there. Old distributor didn't seem to have any issues with it but I don't know if that was the problem or not. Also replaced the air filter because it was pretty dirty. Timing belt was done by the previous owner around 60,000kms ago. No power loss when driving or accelerating, only at idle and once in a blue moon. My dad thinks its a fuel filter, i dont think so. I think its electronic related, maybe MAF? But wouldn't it throw a code if it was? I guess we could take it out and clean it with maf cleaner and see if it goes away, but theres no way to tell if it does unless you drive it for like 2 weeks and see if it does it at any time. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks
 

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Few things Ithat could be. Distributor which you said was changed so cross that off. How about tune up wise? Plugs and wires? Maybe #6 plug hasn't been changed but I don't think that's it cause it probably wouldn't be erratic. Fuel filter. And throttle position sensor could also be the culprit. Fuel filter never hurts to be changed. But the tps is what I'm thinking. Also when the idle drops never ever ever touch the screw to make it idle higher or whatever. It will make the computerror of whack and than you'll need to get a feeler Guage to reset it.
 

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Another thing it could be would be your throttle body could use a cleaning too. Mine would surge but the rpms wouldn't drop that much like your descrbing. And if it has had the intake resonators removed. When mine started coming loose (the plug) which if you have resonators yours won't have a plug. Mine would come loose on idle sometimes and make it run rough and almost stall. And one last thing... welcome to the club.
 

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Thanks for the reply, i'm unsure about fuel filter because wouldn't that cause it to lose power while driving and/or accelerating? Throttle position sensor could be a possibility. I can't really think of anything else, MAF maybe? but its not throwing any other codes apart from the knock sensor and fuel temp sensor. I also didn't mention that the gas gauge fluctuates after the tank gets below 1/2 a tank, it'll go up and down and sometimes the gas light will come on, its been doing that since we bought the vehicle also....i think my dad has a spare fuel sending unit system lying around for it somewhere. I guess the only way to fix is to start throwing parts at it and see what fixes it. Thanks again
 

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The gas guage and that sensor you speak of could possibly be the problem but thats an aspect i havent learned on the x yet so dont quote me on that. new tps is what im thinking it needs. New maf wouldnt hurt either but those can be a little more if your tight on cash. Though a fuel filter there like 12 bucks out here in fl at advanced auto and a simple task. Never hurts to change those if you dont know when it was changed. My x had 160k miles when i got it and when i pulled the filter it had the nissan logo so it was oem. God knows how long it was on there and it looked bad.
 

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Try adding some Lucas oil fuel supplement or injector cleaner. you might have an injector that is clogging. When it runs lean it will detonate sooner and at a higher temp which could be the cause of the knock senor and fuel temp sensor throwing the codes. Running at a higher temp will burn up a valve and then you will be really screwed. The lucas oil will add additional lubrication to the cylinder wall too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies, will definitely try the lucas additive and see what happens. Will have to get around to trying the fuel filter and sending unit etc. after exam period is over lol. Will do what i can as soon as i got time and report back if any changes occur or with what solves the problem. Thanks!
 

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im having a very similar issue. 2000 x, about 130k on it.
after warming up (at least 25 minutes of running\driving) sometimes it will start running badly. Low idle, loss of power\acceleration. Shaking.
Gives me a knock sensor code and a random misfire code. but the misfire code only comes up when its happening.
The SES light flashes while its running bad, but turns off when it starts to run good again.
sometimes it will only run bad for a few minutes, then start running fine again. Even while driving 60+ mph on the highway.
only seems to happen when everything has warmed up.

After a lot of reading in the forums, I determined it was the distributor, so i replaced it, along with new plugs (ngk iridium), Wires (njk). The problem still occurs.
It was a cheap distributor off Ebay, but the problem came back the next day.

Im kind of at a loss. Ready to take it the the mechanic.

Are there any last ditch efforts i can do or check? bad injector? Maf sensor? Egr valve maybe?

Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
^Our situations are pretty similar except our x doesn't have any loss of power or stumbling at all when driving, only at idle and the ses light doesn't flash either, its just solid with a knock sensor code and fuel temp sensor. If you do end up finding a solution, if you don't mind posting it back in this thread that'd be sweet. I wonder if theres anything wrong with the cheap ebay distributor, as the distributor i took out of the xterra didn't seem to have any shaft play or binding or grinding feeling when we spun the gear around and the new ebay distributor didn't make much of a difference as our idling issue only happens once in a while. Would a bad ground cause something like this too?
 

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I'm not sure if a bad ground would cause it. Making an appointment for a full diagnoses tomorrow. I'll post back with any information.
 

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What code is the CEL throwing? It could be a multitude of things causing "rough" idle. Pre-detonation, dirty MAF sensor, torn intake boot or vacuum leak, failing injectors. Go to a parts store that will scan your ECU for free and then post the code. That will help us help you.
 

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P0325
Code says "Powertrain - Ignition System or Misfire - ISO/SAE Controlled" "Knock Sensor 1 Circuit" "Bank 1 or Single Sensor"
 

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When the air/fuel mixture is ignited prior to the spark plug firing, the two flame fronts collide, causing the pinging/knocking noise. An engine can ping because it is too hot. This is another uneven combustion scenario that is caused by the air-to-fuel mixture "lighting off" by itself.

It doesn't sound like an ignition issue, since you replaced the dizzy, plugs and wires It sounds like an air/fuel mix issue. If your injectors are clogged you would be running lean and that can cause pre detonation. It wouldn't hurt to run injector cleaner in your gas for a while and make sure you are using 91. I prefer the lucas oil fuel additive. Check your intake boot for cracks also. Since the MAF is toward the front of it. Any leaks after it will allow extra air in and would also cause it to run lean. This happened to me when my engine mount started failing and the boot was being stretched and pulled a hole open. At other times I would get a rough idle upon starting. Lucas oil resolved this.

P.S. The codes are stored, so scanning it while running bad will probably give you the same message.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mini-update: Changed out the fuel filter and added some lucas to the gas tank 2 days ago. Hasn`t done it since but only time will tell. Have a feeling its going to come back but will report back if it does or does not. Thanks
 

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I did the Lucas oil and it helped but didn't fix it. Now I'm looking into a heat soaked injector. Symptoms seem to match up. Thanks for keeping this thread going!
 

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I have a similar issue almost to the T and here is the Update I put on my post hope it helps... I checked the distributor and bearing seems fine. I spoke to my uncle who is a retired master mechanic. He said it is most likely the the EGR valve. When the car gets to a certain temperature air seeps into the vacuum hose at the top of the EGR valve to maintain a steady idle and if there is any blockage from the exaughst Circulating through the EGR valve then it can restrict air feeding into the planium (he used high tech words to describe it but had to dummy it down a bit for me). Once the car is warm and it does the misfire thing again then I should unplug the vacuum hose at the top of the EGR valve and that should stop the misfire. If it does then the EGR is my problem I should clean it or get a new one. I'll let you know what happens because currently it's not doing the misfire and the check engine light is no longer on and all codes are clear.
 

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Unplug the vacuum hose at the top of the EGR valve when it idles rough to see if that fixes it. If that stops the rough idle then the EGR is your problem too. Clean it or get a new one brother.
 
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