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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok guys I need some help. I bought a 2004 frontier 3.3l, supercharged, 4x4 with a manual transmission. I bought the truck after the previous owner had the timing belt fail on him. Before that he said the truck ran great, but I have no proof or ever saw it. After towing the truck home, we tore the motor down. We found that several teeth on the timing belt had been stripped off probably due to lack of tension on the belt. We then tore the motor down to remove the heads. Had both heads rebuilt by a good machine shop. They said that none of the valves hit the pistons. We put it all back together with new gaskets, timing belt, spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor. When we started the truck it was immediately apparent that it wasn't running right. The motor would shudder and shake bad. When reved up, the motor would hesitate, then shudder and shake and eventually smooth out a bit at above 3000 rpm. We let it warmup and then timed it and it got a little better but was still pretty bad. Took it out on the road and could barely get it up to 60 mph! The ses light did come on and when I ran the codes it came up with P0335, crankshaft position sensor and P0118, coolant temp sensor.

Since then I have replaced the coolant temp sensor, fuel filter, cleaned the MAF, retimed or verified timing several times. I also replaced the entire distributor assembly, including cap and rotor. All of this has resulted in no change at all. It still shakes and shudders and has little to no power. It still shows the same codes even though I changed the coolant temp sensor. I didn't change the crankshaft position sensor since I read that it was a pita and wasn't used for engine control according to the FSM.

I am stumped and need some of your knowledge to think of what else I should check or replace based on your experiences. Any help would be great. Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Bump
 

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How's fuel pressure? Tee in a gauge just before the filter and compare to specs, fuel pump could be going out

My next guess is your timing may be off.. and your distributer adjustment is not enough to compensate for it, meaning check the cam and crank alignment marks

Sounds like that may be the issue if when you adjusted the distributer it got better

Also check to make sure that your distributer is at #1 when you've got everything at #1 tdc compression for the belt side

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies guys. I just checked the fuel pressure and it is 42 psi when the pump shuts off and before the truck starts. With the truck running at idle it sits are 34 psi so this is right on spec. When the engine is rev'ed the fuel pressure stays in the range of 34 psi and doesn't drop below 30 psi. I put the fuel pressure gauge in line just after the fuel filter.

I removed the upper timing belt cover and made sure that when the crank was at 0 degrees, both cams were aligned with their respective timing marks in the FSM and that the distributor rotor was pointing at #1. I adjusted the timing again with no change.

This thing is not even close to proper operation. With it in first gear and the gas pedal to the floor is will take a couple of blocks to get it up to 25 mph and I haven't been able to get it past 60 mph on the highway. When I turn on the AC, the engine lugs so bad it almost dies. I'm starting to think there is a problem with the ECM. Has anyone had to replace their ECM?

Any other suggestions? I am stumped.
 

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How about plugged cats? You have four kitties on these.

You pretty much went through all that I could imagine. It sounds like your timing is off.
 

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Hopefully, when you checked the cam sprocket timing, you didn't go by the marks on the rear timing cover, because they are about a tooth off. When the timing belt was installed, there should have been an arrow on the timing belt and three lines, one of them dashed. The arrow should point towards the front of the vehicle. The dashed line should mate up with the timing mark on the right bank timing sprocket (the passenger side). The two solid lines should make up with the timing marks on the left bank cam sprocket and the crank sprocket timing mark, respectively; the crank mark will be in the 5 o'clock position. If that's how you installed the belt, then, mechanically speaking, it should be in time. When the distributor is properly installed and lined up to #1 TDC, the distributor hold down bolt should be just a hair off of being dead center in the adjustment slot. It the bolt is at the far end of the adjustment slot, something is off. Of course, if the mechanical timing was off, it should show up when performing a compression test, which would be a good idea at the point. You always want to start at the basics when diagnosing such a problem. The other thing you'll want to make sure is that the insulator in the harmonic balancer didn't fail and cause the outer part to slip, causing the timing marks to be in the wrong location.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the detailed explanation. I did just use the marks on the motor to time the motor since that is how I did my older 3.0L. I will redo the timing belt the right way based on your description and the FSM as well as check the harmonic balancer and try again. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Well I re-did the timing belt installation, the correct way this time and it made a big difference. I did check the harmonic balancer and it was not apparent that it had slipped. I reinserted the distributor according to the FSM and timed the engine. The distributor adjustment is just shy of centered in the slot. Now the truck runs well above 2500 rpm, but still shudders below that, also still seems underpowered, but I don't have any history on this truck's performance.

I scanned the codes and now I have a P0328, Knock sensor. It sounds like this one is common and I will be reading the sticky on relocation because I don't want to rip the engine apart again! Is the shuddering and under performance common for the knock sensor issue? Makes sense as it would retrard the timing.

Just a reminder, I also have a crankshaft position sensor code (P0335) and engine coolant temperature sensor code ( P0118 ). Would these have anything to do with the issues? As I read the crankshaft position sensor isn't used by the ECM, but I would imaging that the coolant temp sensor is. If the ECM thinks the engine is cold, then it would likely change the mixture ratio until it saw the engine is warm. Thoughts??
 

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Knock sensor won't cause an engine to run poorly, but, a poorly running engine will cause the knock sensor code to trigger. On the VG33ER, when the ECM detects a knock via the knock sensor, it will cut the boost, which does affect power. The P0118 will affect engine management. If it sees the engine is too cold, it will leave the engine management in "open loop," basing fuel injection off of the mass air flow sensor and not the oxygen sensor input, as it does in closed loop. I would perform the diagnostic procedures in the service manual for the P0118 and address that as you know there is a problem there. Also, inspect the boost actuator operation and component test it per the service manual, as these sometimes go bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks smj999smj. I was under the impression that a knock sensor code would result in the ecm retarding the timing, which could result in a rough running engine and hesitation.

I did check out the engine coolant temperature sensor ( P0118 ) issue and I get no voltage or ground connection from the ECM to the sensor, so I think this is a broken wire situation. Is this common or have others seen this?

Also, I can't find the crankshaft position sensor. I looked all over the transmission bell housing and can't find anything with wires coming out of it. Has anyone dealt with this one?
 

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Even if an engine's timing was retarded a few degrees, it still wouldn't cause it to run "rough," just a lack of power. That said, people often see the knock sensor code and figure that the code means the sensor is bad, rather than it being triggered in reaction to another problem which is often the case. So, anytime a knock sensor code is stored with another code or an engine that is not running properly, it is important to address the other issues first, then erase the knock sensor code and see if it returns.
The crank position sensor is located at the top of the transmission housing, slightly towards the driver side. From the factory, there is a small, stamped sheet metal heat shield over it which can sometimes be left off if it has been removed in the past. It is bolted down with a single, 10MM head bolt. It is difficult to access and is usually reached from under the vehicle, squeezing your left arm up past the side of the transmission (on 4x4's, between the transmission and the front driveshaft). Another way some try to access it is by removing the left-front wheel, bending back the sheet metal of the body and going at it through the wheel well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks again smj999smj. That explanation helps. I will take another crack at finding the CPS as well as trying to find the wiring issue to address the coolant temp sensor.

Another question. The plastic cover on the ECM connector that protects the wires going into the connector, is it removable? I pried at it a pit and had no luck, but I was hesitant. If it was removable, it would make measuring continuity much easier than removing the connector from the ECM, trying to find the right pin and then holding the probe into that pin with the connector free-floating.
 

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If you are talking about the white plastic cover, yes, it is removable; it clips into the back of the ECM harness connector. It'll pull off with a little force. You'll have to remove it if you are back-probing the connector for testing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, that's what I was talking about. I guess I will have to be a little less hesitant!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Well I figured out the issue. The coolant temperature sensor and crankshaft position sensor both run into a single connector (F102/F38 ) that is located on the passenger side valve cover. Also in this connector are 3 of the 6 fuel injector signals. Well that connector was not fully engaged. It looked connected, but I pulled on the connector and it came right out. I fully engaged the connector and immediately the truck came to life! No more codes, CEL and smooth as could be. Lots of power!!!!

So now I feel like an idiot, but at least it is fixed. Thanks again for all the help!
 

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Awesome that you fixed it. It can usually be anything. I had a recent issue with my truck running sluggish. I had the fuel filter changed and am running on Shell gasoline almost 100% of the time now. Truck is running great.
 
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