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Hello! So i've been searching through the forums here for a while but still have some questions about my xterra. I have a 2001 Xterra SE, the 3.3 non-supercharged. For a long time now i've been having problems with a random misfire code along with a knock sensor and oxygen sensor code. It starts up fine, but it has a ticking sound that gets worse when it warms up. It started with noticing a decrease in power that would randomly surge back, but it progressively got worse to where it is misfiring once it gets warm and a constant bad lack in power. I also am burning a fair bit of oil. I don't believe ticking sound is the engine knocking, it doesn't change based off of rpm but based off how much gas i give it. I think it's bad fuel injectors. I myself replaced spark plugs and wires, and tried to clean the injectors myself but wasn't able to. I finally took it to a shop a week ago and it turns out when i replaced the spark plugs i didn't get them tight enough and they where very loose. They tightened them and ran it for a while and said it was running fine and gave it back to me. However once i get it warm and get on the highway the misfire comes back. Not only that but i was having the issue before i even touched the spark plugs so i doubt it's that. I can feel it's definitely not running right even just around town. It does okay until it gets up to about 15mph. I'll be honest, i'm a college student and really struggling on money right now and I can't afford to keep taking it back to the shop. While i'm by no means a mechanic, i've always enjoyed working on cars and i want to learn. I like to believe i can figure most things out. But I'm just stumped by this and not sure what to do next. Should i keep trying to fix the fuel injectors or do y'all think it's something with maybe the distributer? Any advice at all is welcome, sorry if i did a bad job explaining things haha. Thanks in advance
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also, I've been running a Lucas fuel cleaner in my tank for about 2 tanks worth that i thought might be helping. But when i got it back from the shop a few days ago i had to get gas and they only had Seafoam cleaner that i used instead. I don't think it's helping at all and worried it may have even made things worse
 

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Multiple random cylinder misfires. I think someone with experience with the Gen 1 Xterras with the 3.3 V6 are going to start talking about the distributor as a possible source.
 

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The distributor would be my first option. It is fairly easy to replace and if you can’t afford the OE, then you can get an aftermarket on amazon for about $70. If that doesn’t fix the issue then I would go to the injectors as that was the latest cause of my P0300, but, there are many other people on here more knowledgeable than me.
 

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You’re welcome. Also if you do need to replace then injectors but can’t afford the OE, amazon sells rose as well for around $100 for all 6 injectors.
 

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The distributor would be my first option. It is fairly easy to replace and if you can’t afford the OE, then you can get an aftermarket on amazon for about $70. If that doesn’t fix the issue then I would go to the injectors as that was the latest cause of my P0300, but, there are many other people on here more knowledgeable than me.
Gotcha. Is there any way i could check to diagnose the distributer is bad before i replace it? Also, how sketchy would it be to pull a distributer from a pick and save?
 

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You’re welcome. Also if you do need to replace then injectors but can’t afford the OE, amazon sells rose as well for around $100 for all 6 injectors.
Okay good to know, is there anything in particular i would need to be careful about with those sets or are they pretty safe to use for just like 2 months till im back at my regular job
 

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Start it up and unplug the each wire one at a time and see if there is a change in the way it runs. You could get a distributor from a pick and save, but you have a 50/50 chance of it being bad. If it’s good it could last a day or a year, you just never know.
 

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Seth another option to step your way through the trouble shooting is to possibly start with the lower priced pieces of the ignition. I would start by having a close look at the condition of the spark plug wires and pull the distributor cap itself and have a look at the rotor tip and the 6 contact points inside the cap. You also want to look for little hair line carbon tracks along the surface of the distributor cap to see if maybe there is evidence of arcing along the surface. If the distributor cap is suspect then that item is only near to $27. If it comes down to the plug wires they are the next item that costs $50 or a little less. You take smaller bites and maybe fix your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Seth another option to step your way through the trouble shooting is to possibly start with the lower priced pieces of the ignition. I would start by having a close look at the condition of the spark plug wires and pull the distributor cap itself and have a look at the rotor tip and the 6 contact points inside the cap. You also want to look for little hair line carbon tracks along the surface of the distributor cap to see if maybe there is evidence of arcing along the surface. If the distributor cap is suspect then that item is only near to $27. If it comes down to the plug wires they are the next item that costs $50 or a little less. You take smaller bites and maybe fix your problem.
Good to know! Think i'm going to start taking the distributer and stuff apart tomorrow and look around. The shop did look at the cap and said it looked good, but wouldn't hurt to do so myself. I saw online that someone had the coil on the inside of the distributer go bad and caused the same problems i am having. The shop said my car doesn't have one but i think they just misunderstood idk. Or maybe it doesn't have one, i'm not very certain at this point. The video i found was on a 100 frontier v6. It's just the ticking noise that's throwing me off. Could anything from the distributer cause that?
 

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I’m not sure if the distributor can cause ticking. Typically the ticking noise means exhaust manifold is cracked but that isn’t as urgent as fixing the dizzy or the injectors. Don’t forget to set your ignition timing once you swap your distributor so that it’s running properly.

 

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I’m not sure if the distributor can cause ticking. Typically the ticking noise means exhaust manifold is cracked but that isn’t as urgent as fixing the dizzy or the injectors. Don’t forget to set your ignition timing once you swap your distributor so that it’s running properly.

Good to know! I had a new motor swapped in about a year ago and he said i had a hole in the exhaust manifold, so i bet it's coming from there.
 

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We had the random misfire code and in our case it was the first indication of a failing cylinder head gasket. I'm now in the progress of swapping the engine.
 

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Hello! So I've been searching through the forums here for a while but still have some questions about my Xterra. I have a 2001 Xterra SE, the 3.3 non-supercharged. For a long time now I've been having problems with a random misfire code along with a knock sensor and oxygen sensor code. It starts up fine, but it has a ticking sound that gets worse when it warms up. It started with noticing a decrease in power that would randomly surge back, but it progressively got worse to where it is misfiring once it gets warm and a constant bad lack in power. I also am burning a fair bit of oil. I don't believe ticking sound is the engine knocking, it doesn't change based off of rpm but based off how much gas i give it. I think it's bad fuel injectors. I myself replaced spark plugs and wires, and tried to clean the injectors myself but wasn't able to. I finally took it to a shop a week ago and it turns out when i replaced the spark plugs i didn't get them tight enough and they where very loose. They tightened them and ran it for a while and said it was running fine and gave it back to me. However once i get it warm and get on the highway the misfire comes back. Not only that but i was having the issue before i even touched the spark plugs so i doubt it's that. I can feel it's definitely not running right even just around town. It does okay until it gets up to about 15mph. I'll be honest, i'm a college student and really struggling on money right now and I can't afford to keep taking it back to the shop. While i'm by no means a mechanic, i've always enjoyed working on cars and i want to learn. I like to believe i can figure most things out. But I'm just stumped by this and not sure what to do next. Should i keep trying to fix the fuel injectors or do y'all think it's something with maybe the distributer? Any advice at all is welcome, sorry if i did a bad job explaining things haha. Thanks in advance
I have a 2003 replaced knock sensor, pain to change. Also changed all four 02 sensors " parts from rock auto". As far as plugs go I use thread anti-seize on plugs and sure there tight or they will blow out. Last ticking sound maybe lifters sticking, I've used automatic trans fluid in engine " 21/2 quarts oil and 1 quart trans fluid run for a while drain see if it helps or ZDDP additive
 

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Before you start guessing and buying the " popular" parts, check back by the hard to change plug for a vacuum line. It's not big in diameter if I remember right it's less than a foot long. Mine was cracked, replaced for less than 2 dollars... No more 300 code no hesitation, no more service engine soon. Sorry it's been a long time, the hard one was passenger side back ( not really hard just had to find all my extensions and a swivel or 2. Good luck
 
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