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07 Xterra Off Road, AT with 102k miles. Recently started running very rough. Worse than a misfire and shaking very badly, feeling as if it will die at any moment. Had P0021 camshaft position timing over & P0300 random misfire codes; engine was very hot but oil temp was normal. It was also 2.5 qts low on oil. The truck has never burned oil and couldn’t find any signs of leakage. (Recently did an oil change with Mobil 1 EP.) I had it towed home and have had it parked ever since (5/3).

I did an oil change [it was black even with 2.5 qts of oil added (on 5/3) and not driven] and added Sea Foam to the engine and gas tank. Idles much better than before but still rough. *Because it is running rough and I’m freaked out about how low the oil was, I don’t want to drive it so I have only started it a handful of times and let it idle. New codes P0300 & P0303. Changed the coil packs #’s 1, 3 & 5 because I just changed all the plugs on 1/25 & 2k miles ago as well as coil packs on bank 2. I replaced IVTC solenoid on bank 2 and got a P0081 code so I put the original back in (I checked the resistance and got 7.7 ohms. New ones and original all checked within specs.) Pulled plug #3 and it was black. I put plug #4 into 3 and put the new plug into #4 (plug from 4 looked like a new plug). Now getting P0300 code and flashing CE light. I did the accelerator, throttle body and idle air relearning as well, which did nothing.

I have read up on past posts regarding similar symptoms but haven’t seen a common issue. (For the record, I haven’t done the timing chain guide replacement yet and I know I need to because the sound has gotten louder recently. I realize if it jumped, it could cause issues but haven’t heard any issues other than noise with the timing chain guides?) Without guidance, I plan to do a compression test (pray that isn't the issue),
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clean the MAF sensor, check for vacuum leaks again, change air filter even though it looks good, check and/or change camshaft and crankshaft position sensors, fuel injectors … Does anyone have any thoughts … please?
 

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A lot of moving parts here. P0300 and P0021 could be related or unrelated. P0011 & P0021 can set if the timing isn’t advancing or if it stays advanced. We also see these codes if the primary chain jumped because the computer will think that one or the other is not at 0. Most often I see these codes set due to low oil levels causing the camshafts not to advance, and second most common would be a tie between skipped timing or a failed gasket in the rear timing cover causing internal pressure loss. I generally use a scan tool to isolate this but if your oil pressure gauge is functional then usually you can infer a pressure loss by where it sits while running.

Accelerator, throttle position and idle speed will not contribute to this

not sure off the top of my head what a P0081 is but it’s likely you caused it from either turning the key on with a connector unplugged or by using a cheap replacement part

I see many aftermarket coils work poorly or not at all within weeks of installation. Some don’t work out of the box

I would never recommend pouring sea foam in your engine or in your gas tank, especially when trying to diagnose an issue. This gipsy juice does not work well as a fuel and will cause an engine to run poorly. Even those who swear by it tend to describe “a lot of smoke” means it’s working or “running it through” to get it out. This will cause damage to your catalytic converters if your engine is not otherwise running properly.

Fuel injectors are not usually an issue on these vehicles. I wouldn’t clean the MAF in an attempt to correct this. Dirty MAF sensors are only an issue when cheap air filters are used. Sensors can become contaminated by debris(insects or thistle seeds usually) if care isn’t taken when inspecting the filter or cheap filters are used or most commonly, the air box is not sealed due to poor installation

a compression test could help determine if the chain has skipped by showing low numbers across the board but this is time consuming and not always conclusive.

sensors and other parts replacements without a diagnosis is probably time and money wasted

I would strongly suggest using a obd2 tool that has a data stream to view relevant monitor items before going any further. I also will disconnect coils or injectors one at a time to isolate which cylinder(s) are misfiring.

Good luck. This may need to go to the dealer if you want a definite answer but the 2.5 quarts low is very concerning. Oil cooler seal may be suspect but you’d almost certainly see spots in the driveway. If your engine is consuming that much oil, I’d plan on replacing that engine and very likely the converters as well.

on a side note, those look like the wrong plugs anyway. I’m not working this weekend but if I remember off the top of my head, your car calls for the PLFR5A11. Probably not an issue but seeing that the car only gets plugs once or twice in its life, it’s worth putting in the correct ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the help!

P0081 is IVTC solenoid bank 2. I got the code only after swapping the part as part of troubleshooting. The original checked out on the meter so I put it back in.

I do have aftermarket coils but the (current) problem appeared with the original coils on bank 1 and only then did I swap out the remaining coils. I am not opposed to trying coils again but I purchased six coils back in January for a #1 misfire and the coil resolved the issue. (I first changed the plugs since I was at 100k anyway but the problem didn't go away so I ordered coils. Before buttoning it back up, I swapped the coil from #1 to #2 so I could just drop it into #2 when it arrived.)

I am working on getting an OBD ll that will do a live data stream so I can get data on the cylinders. Agreed, I don't want to spend any money on parts that may not be an issue.

(You are correct, the plugs should be the platinum NGKs and I have the NGK LFR5AIX-11 Iridium plugs. I figured iridium was an upgrade. Did I make a mistake?)
 

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Iridium should be fine but I’m not a spark plug expert. When I want something to run exactly as it did new, I assemble it exactly as it was new. Tends to work out well. You can go on ngk’s website and find out what all the letters mean. There’s reach and heat range and electrode type, etc. but I’m not sure if different electrodes are harder on the coils or not. I’m not sure anyone that works outside of building spark plugs REALLY knows either. If I was at work, I could cross reference the coil part number and see if that coil is used on anything with iridium plugs. My guess is that you’d be fine.
 

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Iridium should be fine but I’m not a spark plug expert. When I want something to run exactly as it did new, I assemble it exactly as it was new. Tends to work out well. You can go on ngk’s website and find out what all the letters mean. There’s reach and heat range and electrode type, etc. but I’m not sure if different electrodes are harder on the coils or not. I’m not sure anyone that works outside of building spark plugs REALLY knows either. If I was at work, I could cross reference the coil part number and see if that coil is used on anything with iridium plugs. My guess is that you’d be fine.
iridium is OE plug type for 2nd gen at least 2010 and up anyways thats what i put in my 2011 was the oe oart numbered iridium ngk's
 

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Thanks for the help!

P0081 is IVTC solenoid bank 2. I got the code only after swapping the part as part of troubleshooting. The original checked out on the meter so I put it back in.

I do have aftermarket coils but the (current) problem appeared with the original coils on bank 1 and only then did I swap out the remaining coils. I am not opposed to trying coils again but I purchased six coils back in January for a #1 misfire and the coil resolved the issue. (I first changed the plugs since I was at 100k anyway but the problem didn't go away so I ordered coils. Before buttoning it back up, I swapped the coil from #1 to #2 so I could just drop it into #2 when it arrived.)

I am working on getting an OBD ll that will do a live data stream so I can get data on the cylinders. Agreed, I don't want to spend any money on parts that may not be an issue.

(You are correct, the plugs should be the platinum NGKs and I have the NGK LFR5AIX-11 Iridium plugs. I figured iridium was an upgrade. Did I make a mistake?)
have you had this done yet? VQ Engine Secondary Timing Chain Noise - Revised TSB's (tsb is attached in top post) timing chain guides in early vq's had issues and could be your problem
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Iridium should be fine but I’m not a spark plug expert. When I want something to run exactly as it did new, I assemble it exactly as it was new. Tends to work out well. You can go on ngk’s website and find out what all the letters mean. There’s reach and heat range and electrode type, etc. but I’m not sure if different electrodes are harder on the coils or not. I’m not sure anyone that works outside of building spark plugs REALLY knows either. If I was at work, I could cross reference the coil part number and see if that coil is used on anything with iridium plugs. My guess is that you’d be fine.
Admittedly, I’m obviously not an expert on spark plugs but since iridium lasts longer due to it being harder (although the electrode is smaller because of this), I figured it made sense. Granted, I didn’t account for the possibility of negative effects that may not be detected but could cause harm in the long run. I also noticed many other owners made this switch and we’re happy.

Your point is taken and makes sense. The engineers would specify the part that performs best and to think otherwise, probably isn’t wise.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
iridium is OE plug type for 2nd gen at least 2010 and up anyways thats what i put in my 2011 was the oe oart numbered iridium ngk's
I saw that as well and helped with my decision to upgrade. The platinums are specified for my 07 however.
 

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have you had this done yet? VQ Engine Secondary Timing Chain Noise - Revised TSB's (tsb is attached in top post) timing chain guides in early vq's had issues and could be your problem
No, I have not as of yet. I am aware of the TSB as well as the grueling process to get this done. I did mention in my original post that the noise was getting louder so I was planning to do that soon. Everything I’ve read up on it thus far indicates that the sound grows louder but nobody has heard of catastrophic failure. I was actually getting the parts list together before this happened. It was/is going to be the next thing I address(ed) after getting this issue resolved. (I didn’t want to put all that time in if it turns out I have a bad valve and need a new engine.)
 

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07 Xterra Off Road, AT with 102k miles. Recently started running very rough. Worse than a misfire and shaking very badly, feeling as if it will die at any moment. Had P0021 camshaft position timing over & P0300 random misfire codes; engine was very hot but oil temp was normal. It was also 2.5 qts low on oil. The truck has never burned oil and couldn’t find any signs of leakage. (Recently did an oil change with Mobil 1 EP.) I had it towed home and have had it parked ever since (5/3).

I did an oil change [it was black even with 2.5 qts of oil added (on 5/3) and not driven] and added Sea Foam to the engine and gas tank. Idles much better than before but still rough. *Because it is running rough and I’m freaked out about how low the oil was, I don’t want to drive it so I have only started it a handful of times and let it idle. New codes P0300 & P0303. Changed the coil packs #’s 1, 3 & 5 because I just changed all the plugs on 1/25 & 2k miles ago as well as coil packs on bank 2. I replaced IVTC solenoid on bank 2 and got a P0081 code so I put the original back in (I checked the resistance and got 7.7 ohms. New ones and original all checked within specs.) Pulled plug #3 and it was black. I put plug #4 into 3 and put the new plug into #4 (plug from 4 looked like a new plug). Now getting P0300 code and flashing CE light. I did the accelerator, throttle body and idle air relearning as well, which did nothing.

I have read up on past posts regarding similar symptoms but haven’t seen a common issue. (For the record, I haven’t done the timing chain guide replacement yet and I know I need to because the sound has gotten louder recently. I realize if it jumped, it could cause issues but haven’t heard any issues other than noise with the timing chain guides?) Without guidance, I plan to do a compression test (pray that isn't the issue), View attachment 74797 clean the MAF sensor, check for vacuum leaks again, change air filter even though it looks good, check and/or change camshaft and crankshaft position sensors, fuel injectors … Does anyone have any thoughts … please?
I got a severe vibration about a week ago. Turned out the rubber tube that connects the air cleaner to the throttle body was ripped at the bottom. After replacing the rubber the engine smoothed out and hs been fine ever since.
 

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Side note Yesterday I changed the plugs with Iridiums removed the throttle body and cleaned it and changed the oil with mobil 1 I then using my scanner did the relearn and manually adjusted the idle up to 725 rpm that really smoothed out the engine. I don't get that vibration when the idle drops below 650 rpm anymore. I don't even notice the slight increase in idle when stopped at a light etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
P0081 is your VVT. solenoid drivers side. If you plug it in and unplug it, does it change the idle?
I didn’t try that specifically. I got a new one and swapped it out and that’s when I got the code for the first time. The idle didn’t change with the new one so I put the original back in. Problem is still there but the code P0081 is gone.

I did a compression test today and at least that checked out okay. I was fearing the worst but everything was between 155-168 psi. Of course, now I’m back to looking at camshaft then crank sensors?
 

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I got a severe vibration about a week ago. Turned out the rubber tube that connects the air cleaner to the throttle body was ripped at the bottom. After replacing the rubber the engine smoothed out and hs been fine ever since.
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I got a severe vibration about a week ago. Turned out the rubber tube that connects the air cleaner to the throttle body was ripped at the bottom. After replacing the rubber the engine smoothed out and hs been fine ever since.
See below. Did a compression test. Also sprayed fluid on hoses and the idle never changed. My check engine light flashes. The only code now is P0300.
 

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During the winter months my X would start up and run rough for anywhere between 3-7 minutes. When the seasons changed, the engine would do the same thing and smooth out in two minutes.
While replacing the valve cover gaskets, the mechanic at my garage noticed that the spark plug tube seals needed to be replaced. He replaced them and the rough idling and missing cylinder issue disappeared, even when the car sat for three days.
So try checking the tube seals.
 

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During the winter months my X would start up and run rough for anywhere between 3-7 minutes. When the seasons changed, the engine would do the same thing and smooth out in two minutes.
While replacing the valve cover gaskets, the mechanic at my garage noticed that the spark plug tube seals needed to be replaced. He replaced them and the rough idling and missing cylinder issue disappeared, even when the car sat for three days.
So try checking the tube seals.
Thanks for the tip! I think that there would be oil present if the seals were bad and all my coils and tubes looked fine with no oil or carbon buildup. Someone let me know if this is not the case. I am at the dreaded remove & replace stage!
 

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man, any video clips you could upload o a public dropbox type site and link us to so we can listen with you?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
man, any video clips you could upload o a public dropbox type site and link us to so we can listen with you?
I will try to do that later. It idles rough with a lot of vibration. Not nearly as bad as when it first happened whereby I subsequently had it towed back home. An interesting thing happened when I started it today to let it idle (I topped the water in the battery the other day). I got P2101, 0223, 0123, and 0300 codes. I haven't done anything since the compression test a week ago so this is a new one. I guess I'll remove the throttle body and have a look at it (after making sure all the wiring is intact and okay).
 

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I will try to do that later. It idles rough with a lot of vibration. Not nearly as bad as when it first happened whereby I subsequently had it towed back home. An interesting thing happened when I started it today to let it idle (I topped the water in the battery the other day). I got P2101, 0223, 0123, and 0300 codes. I haven't done anything since the compression test a week ago so this is a new one. I guess I'll remove the throttle body and have a look at it (after making sure all the wiring is intact and okay).
hm.... thats interesting yes check the wiring harness for the throttle body and the pedal postion switches very well, you might have something wrong with the bcm or ecm
 
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