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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a 99 Frontier with 353,000 miles on it. I've always self serviced this truck. But I'm running into an issue I can't figure out, and hope someone on here may have had a similar issue. A few months ago I would be driving down the road and feel a slight jerk once in a while. As time has gone by, it has gotten a little more pronounced. It was due for a tune up, so i put in new plugs, wires, dist.cap, rotor, replaced the o2 sensors, and all filters. Since the tuneup the truck has a lot more power. However the jerking only continues to get worse, in fact the other day going home from work, it just died on me. After pulling over, the truck crunk back up on the second attempt, proceeded to drive home and it continued to cut-out. However being manual trans. I left it in gear and the truck would restart itself and got me home. The truck cranks right up and runs great other than the above issues. While at home i let it sit there and idle, after a couple minutes, it would just die or almost die then continue to run fine. (No codes at all)First thing I tried was look for vacuum leaks, found none. I then started thinking maf, as I have noticed my fuel economy was down. I could actually mess with it and mimic the engine dying so I replaced it. I've only drove it a little bit since, it hasn't died as of yet, but I notice it still trys too. I have verified fuel pressure, it's ok even up to the point of it dying. I've read a lot of people have had issues with distributors on these engines and I'm not ruling that out, but it seems to me like if it was losing fire and then getting it back, that I would notice some sort of backfire or smoke, especially when it dies it under load? Btw the inside of my dist. is clean as I see that there are some issues from oil getting inside from other post.
Ideas other than taking it to a $tealership?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
One thing I can add that was noticed. I have to lock a gate behind me when I leave work. I notice that I can smell gas (very strong) when I walk to the rear. However after it's been running a while I don t smell it anymore, I can pull it into the shop after driving it and it's not noticeable at all. Yes even sticking my nose near the tailpipe. (smart I know).
 

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I'm new to doing the forum thing, but I've had my truck for 18 years and with 353k I've dealt with my share of issues without having to lean on anyone for help until now. So if your having issues with something other than what I'm complaining about, hit me up, I may be able to help. Be glad to share what I've learned on the 99 Frontier 2.4L. I'm not a mechanical guru, just a diy kinda guy. I would expect to get over 400k on this truck. When I get this figured out and I will sooner or later, I'll be more than happy to share this as well.
 

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At 350K you should feel good about the truck. Even if it just up and died I would say it lead a full and complete life. I will however now list a couple of things that I would check. Most of these are generic nissan items.
-clean the throttle body.
-measure your resistance. Oil and check any low comp cylinders
-check the fuel injectors. Listen for them ticking with stethoscope or long screw driver. Then check the resistance (ohms spec you need to look up) in each.
-Check your timing.
-Looking into your idle air control valve. There is a way to test, but spraying with inside with WD40 typically fixes it.
-Set your throttle position sensor. There is a voltage spec you need to look up. The number off the top of my head for my nissan 300zx 14.3volts.
-check your fuel pressure regulator. Pull vac line and see if it dribbles gas.

Good luck.
 

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Original distributor or OEM replacement distributor or aftermarket distributor? This is one of those parts that should be an OEM Nissan replacement...not aftermarket. $0.02

I had a lawn mower issue w/ a Kawasaki V-twin where I'd occasionally smell gas out of the exhaust when it would run poorly. Turned out to be a bad coil that would intermittently act up. Not sure if this will help you, but thought I'd share.
 

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...I have verified fuel pressure, it's ok even up to the point of it dying. I've read a lot of people have had issues with distributors on these engines and I'm not ruling that out, but it seems to me like if it was losing fire and then getting it back, that I would notice some sort of backfire or smoke, especially when it dies it under load?
If fuel pressure is good then it's got to be a spark problem. No codes? You should get a code if either the crankshaft position sensor or camshaft position sensor were going out. No codes may indicate that the power transistor or coil is failing in the distributor.

Losing spark while running may not result in either smoke or a backfire since the cat is nice and hot and burning up the raw gas.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I agree, as I said, I'm not ruling ingintion issues out. However I have a good, but not great scan tool that shows mis-fire overall. While I can't view each cylinder it does give an overall count. Wouldn't it show some erratic counts if I was losing fire? I don't know, but would think so? Don't forget the air aspect as well. You can have perfect gas flow, great ingintion, but if the air isn't right, it too can cause the same issues. I do have an update though. I stated that I haven't driven it much after I replaced the maf. After driving it for the last couple of days I haven't noticed any bad behavior while driving. It still seems to want to die when idling for a while, it could be a coincidence that i have 2 issues. I may have fixed the stalling by changing the maf. But may need to look into the iac, as that may be causing the idle issues. Time will tell. Like You said I also used to think if it was a sensor related issue that it would throw a code. But from personal experience and what others say, it is possible for sensor to give bad reads without throwing a code. It throws codes when it detects bad signals or voltage gains/drops. So depending on the conditions it's monitoring, it may give bad reads because of it just being dirty, coated with oil, etc. where its actually doing the reads. You made a good point on the no smoke/ backfire issues. I miss my old 74 C10. If it had issues i could pop the hood and have it figured out in about 10 minutes without a scan tool or book!.All this CPU stuff is good I guess, but when something goes wrong it makes it difficult to trouble shoot sometimes without a book or the right equipment. So if it starts acting up again, the plan is to change the distributor and go from there I guess.
 

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I've got a 99 Frontier with 353,000 miles on it.
...
I miss my old 74 C10. If it had issues i could pop the hood and have it figured out in about 10 minutes without a scan tool or book!
How many miles did the Chevy go without major problems? It may have been easier to fix, but I bet it needed fixing a lot more.

Since the engine just flat out quits, maybe the misfire detection doesn't catch it as a misfire. From the FSM:
1. One Trip Detection Logic (Three Way Catalyst Damage)
On the first trip that a misfire condition occurs that can damage the three way catalyst (TWC) due to overheating, the MIL will blink. When a misfire condition occurs, the ECM monitors the CKP sensor signal every 200 engine revolutions for a change. When the misfire condition decreases to a level that will not damage the TWC, the MIL will turn off. If another misfire condition occurs that can damage the TWC on a second trip, the MIL will blink. When the misfire condition decreases to a level that will not damage the TWC, the MIL will remain on. If another misfire condition occurs that can damage the TWC, the MIL will begin to blink again.
2. Two Trip Detection Logic (Exhaust quality deterioration)
For misfire conditions that will not damage the TWC (but will affect vehicle emissions), the MIL will only
light when the misfire is detected on a second trip. During this condition, the ECM monitors the CKP sensor signal every 1,000 revolutions. A misfire malfunction can be detected on any one cylinder or on multiple cylinders.
I hate to shotgun parts to fix a problem but with no codes I think I agree with replacing the distributor if it acts up again. Or maybe stick a spark tester inline with one of the spark plugs wires at the distributor to see if spark really does go away when (if) it dies again.
 
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