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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Wow, yet another problem or maybe symptoms of the cheap Distributor (1.5 yrs old)?
My THIRD post in a week!

Last night GF and I going out for dinner (16 degrees in Bama, I-20, 65 mph) my instruments dropped to zero, few minutes later they come back and freeze at current reading. I stopped and looked under the hood for ?? basically nothing.

I shut the truck off, start up, get back on the road, instruments still frozen on last reading, get up to speed and the ENGINE STARTS SPUTTERING. I mean barely will run, feathering the throttle somewhat, move over into the EM lane & hope we make it to the next exit! (the temp still 16 degrees outside) and we're thinking Oh $h!t...!!
..if this was an old school carb vehicle you would immediately diagnose as fuel pump going bad/clogged filter/blocked pick-up sock/starving for fuel..

We make the exit, slow to a stop (traffic light) she idles just fine, we move forward slowly to the next light, no prob, continue the back way to my house, engine running normal and at normal speeds (prob 50mph). On my street I floor-it! No problem. (THE GAUGES ARE STILL FROZEN).

Fast Fwd to this morning: Just started it, gauges are working, going for test drive.


Thanks for all your time fellas.

BTW, next year after I pay some debts off think I'm gonna go Old-School and buy a real nice/decent old truck! Might cost $10-12,000, but so what. F-this PLC/ECU BS! And the newer the year model the more troublesome it becomes.

EDIT: Test drive normal. Hard acceleration several times all normal.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
My mechanic neighbor said all that input is from the dist. Hope this one lasts a few more days.
 

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Wow, yet another problem or maybe symptoms of the cheap Distributor (1.5 yrs old)?
My THIRD post in a week!

Last night GF and I going out for dinner (16 degrees in Bama, I-20, 65 mph) my instruments dropped to zero, few minutes later they come back and freeze at current reading. I stopped and looked under the hood for ?? basically nothing.

I shut the truck off, start up, get back on the road, instruments still frozen on last reading, get up to speed and the ENGINE STARTS SPUTTERING. I mean barely will run, feathering the throttle somewhat, move over into the EM lane & hope we make it to the next exit! (the temp still 16 degrees outside) and we're thinking Oh $h!t...!!
..if this was an old school carb vehicle you would immediately diagnose as fuel pump going bad/clogged filter/blocked pick-up sock/starving for fuel..

We make the exit, slow to a stop (traffic light) she idles just fine, we move forward slowly to the next light, no prob, continue the back way to my house, engine running normal and at normal speeds (prob 50mph). On my street I floor-it! No problem. (THE GAUGES ARE STILL FROZEN).

Fast Fwd to this morning: Just started it, gauges are working, going for test drive.


Thanks for all your time fellas.

BTW, next year after I pay some debts off think I'm gonna go Old-School and buy a real nice/decent old truck! Might cost $10-12,000, but so what. F-this PLC/ECU BS! And the newer the year model the more troublesome it becomes.

EDIT: Test drive normal. Hard acceleration several times all normal.
I know it's a different platform, but I had the same thing happen to my wife's 2003 Mustang. It acted almost the same as yours, but was intermittent at the beginning, and slowly got worse, her's ended up being the alternator. I don't remember the term, but the alternator can make to much ac current and create "noise" for the dc accessories, and equipment, like radio, and gauges, also confuse the ECU. I'll look and see if I have any of the research I did on her car. Good luck.
 

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The term for this is rippling, her alternator bench tested fine, but at 3800 weird things would happen, finally read about this, and changed out the alternator, no problems since.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
updated

After driving for an hour (lights on) the gauges bottom out. Recently when that happened the engine started to sputter but picked up in a mile or so. I read & watched a video on resoldering the instrument cluster solder joints/pins,etc..which is what I did today.
usually, when the gauges dropped out, the engine wasn't affected, and I could dim the dash lights for a while and the gauges would start working again.
On a 2000 model, there's a pnk/blk wire that connects to MANY devices. Speed sensor, dist, ecu, etc...
 

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yuck. i sure hope you resolve it. i'm leaning towards it some kind of electrical issue too. alternator like mentinoed maybe even a bad/loose ground? check battery terminals? wish i had some advice. keep us posted for sure... I've got a voltage meter that plugs into the cigarette lighter, really handy for checking the alternator's output voltage (and battery voltage when it isn't running) they're like $10 on amazon
 

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Sounds very similar to what I experienced when my vehicle speed sensor (the one that mounts to the side of the transmission) went out. Speedometer and odometer dead. Ran fine to get me home but after that the truck barely ran.

Recommend a genuine Nissan part, whatever it is. Local shop tried multiple aftermarket speed sensors but all failed. Nissan dealer installed a genuine OEM part and problem solved.
 

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I'm quoting great things to check, let me add just a bit. :)

yuck. i sure hope you resolve it. i'm leaning towards it some kind of electrical issue too. alternator like mentinoed maybe even a bad/loose ground? check battery terminals? wish i had some advice. keep us posted for sure... I've got a voltage meter that plugs into the cigarette lighter, really handy for checking the alternator's output voltage (and battery voltage when it isn't running) they're like $10 on amazon
Your comment covers the obvious things that I'd check.

If you know how to check for voltage drop that'd help to. That's where you put a volt meter on both ends of a ground for example. Any amount of voltage it reads is voltage lost through that wire. This is what techs use to get around how inaccurate ohm readers can be as the smallest of current getting through will show up as a low ohms of a resistance.

Again, what I had a hard time with learning on this, you're not putting your voltmeter on negative and positive. You're checking both ends of a positive lead or a negative lead to check for volts that are "used up" in that span.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re-Soldering the Instrument Cluster!!

UPDATE:

I previously stated that the problem would surface AFTER driving an hour or more with lights ON..

Yesterday, drove to my GF house with lights on and the dash lights turned up to max illumination.

No problem, by all accounts it should have malfunctioned like it did in the same town 3 different times.

There are a few similar threads here and I will add the soldering results to those...
 

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If you were my neighbor, I would bet you a cold drink of your choice, that it's the alternator. I chased this on my wife's 03 Mustang Conv. It was exactly how you describe, and was intermittent. The thing that I think is that our 1st gen's. and the 03 Mustang are of the same generations, and have the same problems with the alternator. Good Luck. BTW, the last bet i won, from next door, was a chilled bottle of Cabo Wabo Resposada Tequila.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Actually there's another thread on this that also addresses solder joints cracking due to heat and age.
I watched most of this video for the idea and read some other stuff elsewhere.

No doubt I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
 
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