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Persistent Problem... would love help figuring out my next step

803 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  forcefed420a
2008 Xterra 4.0L

I have been to two mechanics who were not able to pinpoint the source. Both said to take it to the dealer. However, the car behaved very well and the dealer was not able to duplicate the problem. However, when I picked it up (after hours), it had the same symptoms.


-Rough start - shakes/vibrates rough for 10-30 seconds (or if I shut it off and restart it.. sometimes takes multiple times). Happens most frequently on cold starts.
-Vibrates at idle - ceases vibrating with any amount of power
-Twice the check engine light has flashed at me -
-First time, P0303 (Cylinder 3 misfire). Stopped flashing after pulling over.
-Second time, no OBDII code was read, even with check engine light flashing. Pulled over and it stopped flashing.
-In July, I did randomly get a Cylinder 3 misfire while I was waiting to some leaks in my Cat system. No codes came on after the leak was fixed.
-Sound on accelerating under load growing more frequent, especially uphill (the best way to describe sound is almost a loose valve or something churning that isn't quite locking in)
-About six weeks ago, I got a P0171 (air fuel ratio too lean), but it was cleared and has not come back on.

A bit of background that may help. In August 2015, my ECM went bad while driving on a rural highway causing Cylinders 3 and 5 to misfire due to the coils blowing. The local mechanic was able to get Cylinder 5 to fire again, but not Cylinder 3. (no output from the ECM for that cylinder). He deactivated the fuel injector to Cylinder 3 and I drove home (about 5 hours) on 5 cylinders so I could get a replacement ECM from the the Nissan dealer. The above mentioned sound was first heard about 2 hours before the ECM went bad and has grown much more common since then. I bring this up because I still occasionally get Cylinder 3 misfire - could be related or a coincidence, but it is over a year since this happened.
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