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Discussion Starter #1
I hate to admit it, but the X wouldn't start for the first time today. (other than battery)

The battery terminals are clean and it has never had a better connection. I checked ALL of the fuses and they're fine. I turn the key and the starter turns and cranks the engine over but there's no ignition. Just "vrumvrumvrumvrum." It's the standard rythm of vrum as usual, just no bang to get her started.

To me that means one of two things. No spark, or no fuel. (could be wrong) I checked the caps on the distributor and they're all clean and appear to have good contact. I also checked any wire connection I could see that it was secure and plugged in. Is there a way I can verify the fuel pump is working or that it's getting fuel? There's a small odor of fuel when trying to start, but nothing definitive. Also, the pulley/belts etc are all moving correctly and aren't broken. I also looked on the dash and there's no code or anything that I can see.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions!!!!!!!!!
 

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Well, I think your guesses are good on fuel or ignition.

Can you verify the distributor is turning.
Those gears have been known to sheer off.

If the distributor is turning, then I would go for fuel. Those connectors at the pump have a TSB for corrosion. I would check that out.

EDIT
There should be power on terminal 2 and 5 of the fuel pump relay when the key is on/start, terminal 3 of the relay goes to the fuel pump and terminal 1 is the terminal that the ecu grounds to activate the relay.

If there's not power on both terminals then you've got a wiring issue. The fused wire splits to power both sides of the relay on the same 15amp fuse.


 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info dezurat. What is a TSB and how can I check it? I'll go check the relay ASAP but I don't have a voltmeter with me (my car died at work).
 

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Sorry- TSB is Technical Service Bulletin.

If no one posts it today I will tonight. It was actually a recall for xterras registered in cold weather states where corrosion was an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay, I removed the plastic panel under the steering wheel to gain access to the fuel pump relay. I don't have a multimeter with me BUT I was able to definitively feel the solenoid in the relay click when I turned the engine over. So it doesn't sound like an electrical issue in that regard.

I haven't had a buddy check that the rotor is moving yet. Is removing the top of the distributor cap as easy as it sounds?

Also, I'd like to check the connection that you mentioned the TSB was about. Where should I look for that or gain access to it? Where's the fuel pump for that matter, in the tank?

Thanks again amigo.
 

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It is cake to pull off a distributor cap. it is 2 bolts.
 

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Also, I'd like to check the connection that you mentioned the TSB was about. Where should I look for that or gain access to it? Where's the fuel pump for that matter, in the tank?

Thanks again amigo.
You can gain access to it by lifting the rear passenger seat. Then there is a panel you remove to get access to the connector for the fuel pump/fuel sending unit on the top of the fuel tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update

Okay, update time. Here's what I know:
1. Rotor spins
2. Spark plug generates a spark (took it out and tested it)
3. Nothing came out when I released the tire-like valve on the fuel line
4. I can't hear the fuel pump AT ALL when turning on the engine or turning it over.
5. Using starter fluid through the intake I was able to get ignition but it died within 10-20 seconds - even with pressing the gas pedal
6. The fuel level still registers 1/2 full
7. All fuses were checked and fine

All of this makes me think that it's one of two things, either the wiring TO the fuel pump shorted (but only the pump and not the level guage) or the fuel pump died. I'm at 104k, is this common or expected? Around how much would a fuel pump for an '01 X cost? Should I be worried about the fuel filter? How could I diagnose the fuel wiring? Any other suggestions?

Thanks again for all of your help.
 

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I would check the wires to the fuel pump at the connector. The corrosion causes loss of power to the pump itself while you can still have power to the Fuel Sending Unit (FSU) allowing the gauge to work.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I agree. I think it's important to rule that out before going through the cost and trouble of replacing the fuel pump. I just priced it out at Napa ($160) and Advance ($272), so I'd perfer to not have to pay that unless it's necessary. I'll check it with a multimeter to see if there's any power getting to the pump and then update.
 

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its not the fuel filter, the fuel pump and level guage are two different circuits . if you have voltage at the pump its not the wiring . unplug the pump and do res ck on the pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Still need help!

Another update. I rode my bike back to work where the car is so speedy assistance would be appreciated. This time I brought my multimeter.

I scanned my handy shop manual and tried to get a sense of what I'm looking at and the pictures were relatively helpful.



Judging by the picture and a bit of trial and error the larger of the two connectors is the fuel gauge connection and the smaller is to the fuel pump. So I started investigating there. The voltage on either of the two wires (white and black) are negligable while the ignition is off. Makes sense. When I turn the ignition on the white wire goes live at 10V for roughly 5 seconds. I can hear the fuel solenoid under the steering column both click on and off. The voltage after the 5 seconds turns to nil. The black one I'm assuming is ground because it didn't change at all. (This was all with the negative of my multimeter to the chassis ground)



The resistance across the pump leads was 2.8 MOhm (yes, big M) which sounds completely normal for a motor to me. (could be wrong)

So it seems like the electronics are working fine. There is one possible thing though, I've had bad connections where I'll get a good voltage reading with a multimeter but when I put any load on it (increase the amps) the voltage goes almost to zero because the bad/small connection can't take it. Does anyone happen to know where the corrosion normally takes place ni the TSB? If it's on/near the tank, everything looks fine.

P.S. I wasn't able to find a TSB that looked like it was related to the fuel pump or connection corrosion. I signed up and looked through the ones located here: http://x.nissanhelp.com/forums/Knowledgebase/links/268. Doesn't matter that much now anyway because it doesn't seem like it's an electrical issue.

One thing I have considered doing is taking the battery out and hooking it directly up to the fuel pump (or using another battery altogether). Now before you go all crazy on me. I would only do it for a couple seconds. Normally 12V vs. 10V won't matter a huge amount if for a short while on DC motors. I would then be able to hear if the motor pumps turns on at all.

Thanks for the help thus far. Please continue offering suggestions/advice!
 

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Here you go!

1999-2003 NISSAN FRONTIER, 2000-2003 XTERRA; VOLUNTARY RECALL CAMPAIGN FUEL SENDING UNIT
Nissan has determined that some 1999-2003 model year Nissan Frontier vehicles, equipped with the 6 cylinder engine and 2000-2003 model year Nissan Xterra vehicles, equipped with the 4 and 6 cylinder engine may have a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety. There is a possibility that the fuel pump terminal on the fuel-sending unit may develop a crack in its plastic molding which could cause the terminal strip to corrode under some environmental conditions. If corrosion occurs, the terminal strip could eventually break. This will cause the fuel pump to stop operating and will result in not being able to start the engine or cause the engine to stop running without warning during vehicle operation, which could result in a crash. To prevent this condition from occurring, Nissan is conducting a Voluntary Safety Recall Campaign to replace or repair the fuel-sending unit.


http://x.nissanhelp.com/forums/Knowledgebase/jump/1387/404
 
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Discussion Starter #14
You're the man!!! Sounds like that would account for both the pump and the electrical seeming to work.

Would the dealers still foot the bill to replace it? Any temporary fix so I can get there?
 

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Mike you are the man!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Mystery Solved

Okay, now that I knew what I was looking for (thanks a million for that TSB post) it was easy to spot with a handy-dandy mirror.

I posted some pics mostly for other people's reference in case the same thing happens to them.

Here's the crack and debris/corosion as it was when I found it:


Here's how it looks shining a light through the back. You can see the bright spot where the plastic has broken of, exposing the lead.


And finaly what it looks like cleaned.


Sorry for the cell phone pics but it's the best I could do given the circumstances.

I was able to find the Fuel Sending Unit on autocenter.net's catalog (referred from nissanparts.cc) for $61.01 + shipping. Advanced Auto Parts can't order it and Napa is closed. Any idea if that is reasonable? Has anyone ever replaced the FSU before? From the shop manual it looks like I don't need to drop the tank (good thing) but it also says I need to replace the O-ring (lame). Thoughts?

Thanks again for the assistance dezurtrat and dejablue. Major rep points.
 
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lol....I try to help once in a while...

Yea, and you are correct, you can replace it without dropping the tank. Check out natedawgg's thread though he did drop the tank you don't have to on the '00 to '04's.

http://www.clubxterra.org/forums/showthread.php?t=13179

Just seems like on recalls they would honor it IIRC. It's a safety recall so I want to believe even if you aren't the original owner they would cover the repair but I think you have to get it there. Not totally sure on this though.

Check this out from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web site.

www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov

Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s):
NISSAN / FRONTIER 1999-2003

NISSAN / XTERRA 2000-2003


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 04V230000
Summary:
ON CERTAIN PICKUP TRUCKS EQUIPPED WITH SIX CYLINDER ENGINES AND SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH FOUR OR SIX CYLINDER ENGINES, THE FUEL PUMP TERMINAL ON THE FUEL-SENDING UNIT CAN DEVELOP A CRACK IN THE PLASTIC MOLDING. THIS CAN CAUSE THE TERMINAL STRIP TO CORRODE UNDER SOME ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS.
Consequence:
IF CORROSION OCCURS, THE TERMINAL STRIP COULD EVENTUALLY BREAK CAUSING THE FUEL PUMP TO STOP OPERATION. THIS WILL RESULT IN NOT BEING ABLE TO START THE ENGINE OR CAUSE THE ENGINE TO STOP RUNNING WITHOUT WARNING, WHICH CAN RESULT IN A CRASH.
Remedy:
IN THE FOLLOWING STATES, DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE FUEL-SENDING UNIT. THESE STATES ARE CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, IOWA, KENTUCKY, MAINE, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, TENNESSEE, VERMONT, VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, WISCONSIN, AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN THE OTHER STATES, THE DEALER WILL INSPECT THE FUEL PUMP TERMINAL ON THE SENDING UNIT FOR CORROSION. IF CORROSION IS PRESENT, THE DEALER WILL REPLACE THE UNIT. IF THERE IS NOT CORROSION, THE DEALER WILL APPLY SEALANT TO THE TERMINAL HOUSING TO HELP PREVENT CORROSION IN THE FUTURE. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN ON JUNE 28, 2004. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT NISSAN AT 1-800-647-7261.
Notes:
CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION¿S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
 
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Discussion Starter #19
That's definately sounding hopefull! I have AAA so I think it's time to call in my once a year free tow if the dealer won't cover it.

Thanks again!
 

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Great pics by the way. I would give Nissan a call tomorrow with that number listed in the NHTSA info above and see if they will cover it first.
 
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