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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
P1320 Code on a 2000 Nissan Frontier Crew-cab 4x4 5 speed 3.3L V6

The Problem:
So... I Was driving home on my lovely 4mi commute from work yesterday and she stalls out and dies on the busiest road in town. I start it back up and she runs for about 10 seconds then stalls again and is unable to start. Wife is at home with 2yr old and newborn so no help there. Two closest friends are out of town for work so my only saving grace was to have the old girl towed home. $85 later she is in my driveway and I pull the only code in the system, P1320.

The Diagnosis:
I see several threads on this forum and others with no real "fix" other than most people say "Must be a Bad Distributor. I bite the bullet and check auto parts warehouses and see a few of them have a new distributor in stock. I would rather have "OEM Nissan" parts but did not have time nor the patience to order and wait so I bought the AZ Duralast Gold Distributor $220. Came with cap and rotor and and looks decent, only time will tell. I am well aware there are much cheaper and probably better alternatives (Rock Auto $150, Courtesy Nissan $240) but I needed the truck back in action pronto.

The Fix:
Replacing the dist is surprisingly easy.
Do not take the plug wires off the cap yet until the new dist is in.
First take the cap off by unscrewing the two Phillips head screws and set it off to the side still attached to the plug wires.
take a sharpie, or in my case the wife's least favorite color of nail polish and mark the current location of the rotor on the dist.
unplug the two wired connectors (note the smaller one has a green clip that slides into the connector using a small flat blade screwdriver)
IMPORTANT! before you take the dist out make sure you mark the location of where the rotor is pointing! Also the rotor will turn clockwise as you remove it, this should happen.
Find the 12mm bolt on the drivers side and use a socket with a u-joint and an extension to remove it.
Carefully pull up on the dist, the rotor will move when you do this.
IMPORTANT! mark the location of the rotor after the dist is removed (should be a an inch or so clockwise from the first mark. This will be the location you will need to put the new rotor at BEFORE installation.

Remove the cap on the new dist and be very precise in transferring the marks you made on old dist to the new one.
turn the rotor to the 2nd mark you made (the one made after you took out the dist)
Insert the dist making sure the rotor is pointing in the correct position (2nd mark) and the 12mm bolt hole lines up. Remember the rotor will now move counter clockwise to the first mark you made as you push it down for installation. If the mark does not line up pull it up, re position and try again.
Carefully reinstall the 12mm bolt and tighten down.
Reinstall the two wired connector clips.
My old and new cap was marked with the the spark plug/firing order and I simply swapped out each wire one at a time to the new cap making sure all 6 were in the same place as before.
put the cap on the rotor and cinch down the two Phillips head screws.
Check to make sure everything is tight and does not move.
Cross fingers, pucker the brown eye and crank her up.
Check that she idles smoothly and take her for a drive around the block.

Note; Since I was meticulous in putting the rotor and dist back in the same place I did not need to use a timing light.

This was my fix for the p1320 code. This may not be the fix for your issue but this worked for me.

Hope this helps someone out there.

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Since posting my "Fix" I have had several issues since then.

About 2 months ago the truck was running like crap and the p1320 code came back again. I scratched my head and though well it is an autozone distributor and I guess I got a crappy one so I used the warranty and replaced it again and everything seemed fine. However, I had been noticing some strange small electrical problems here and there like headlights with the soft blinking or sometimes my radio would just turn off and back on randomly, and I swear I could hear a faint whistle from my hvac blower that would get louder as my engine RPMs got higher. I had the battery and the alternator tested, batt was good but the alternator was deemed defective so I replaced it. It was the original (16 years old) so I thought nothing of it. Anyway the weird electrical stuff continued until yesterday while I was driving I turned on the defrost and went from off to full blast and my engine RPMs suddenly dropped severely and came back up, it felt as if I hit the brakes for a split second and really had me worried so pulled over and tested it again and sure enough the hvac blower motor going from off to full blast would drop the engine RPM's about 600-700 and come back up.

Suddenly, the truck ran like crap and seemed to be "missing" between the 2500-4000 rpm band, I pulled another p1320 code and said you have got to be kidding me, 2 distributors in 4 months! So, out of curiosity I had the whole electrical system tested again, this time they said the batt was good but the starter failed and the voltage regulator in the new alternator was also bad. I left with more questions than answers and replaced the distributor again. While I was setting the timing the engine suddenly died and the dash was lifeless. both the + and - cables were on tight but when I touched the + cable the lights came back on. Now mind you I had never had a problem starting this vehicle so I had no intentions of thinking there was a weak battery to cable connection but I was soooo wrong. I pulled the cables and sanded all the connections really well and put them back on.

the next day I went back to the same store and had the electrical system tested again and everything passed with flying colors. Now its only been one day but all the weird electrical stuff I have been experiencing is gone. I really think my weak battery to cable connections was the culprit the whole time!

Lesson learned, just because your engine starts doesn't mean you have a "good" battery connection, always double check the simple stuff first!
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