A Series of Unfortunate Problems. - Nissan Forum

 
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post #1 of 9 Old Jan 26th, 2017, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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A Series of Unfortunate Problems.

Being the excited 16 year old buying his first car, I elected to pick up a wobbly 2001 Nissan Pathfinder LE (146k) for $2,750. After dropping another $2,750 or so into fixing nearly all of the death wobble and clunking in the Suspension, I am left with a series of fairly minor issues, of which I would like to try and figure out the potential cause and solution. If you are able to suggest anything or answer any questions of mine here, it would be much appreciated to help out a new car owner.

1. Extreme Sports Clunk
My first and most worrying issue is the remainder of the clunking in my suspension. I've been told the rear shocks are practically done for, but I'm not concerned as they seem incredibly simple to replace at a later date. However, when going over rough stuff, such as a very uneven, icy road, or even hitting stuff at bad angles causes a noticeable clunking noise to come from what seems to be behind the front passenger's wheel. I'm certain that it isn't the struts, as they were just replaced recebtly, and have about only 250 miles on them. Any idea what this Clunk may be? On normal, decent condition roads, it drives like any typical car without issue.

2. CD Error 2
So the CD player is jammed. Yep. The repair seems fairly easy, but I'm concerned about wiring. The unit obviously still gets power and whatnot. I'm planning to potentially replace it with a used, stock unit as I don't trust myself to do anything else, auto shops will charge a fortune, and It's a first car! It's going to have issues. So if I take out the done unit and slap in the new one, will it work just plugging the cables back into the new unit? No adapters, extra cables, splicing or anything like that?

3. Rumble Rumble!
This is a series of issues I assume are related. So first off, after the car has been sitting for a few hours in any and all Temps or weather, it struggles to start. It cranks and turns on just fine, yet it will stall and fail to maintain idle. The solution to this is to press on the gas pedal and hold it at about 1,000RPM or so until it can hold idle. Starting it after that goes fine, until it ends up sitting for a few hours, starting the issue again.
Relating to that, it idles really low. I'm talking a range of about 300-750RPM.
Once she's going, there is a fairly noticeable vibration that seems to be coming from about where the front passenger may place their feet. It's a deep rumbling noise, which noticeably shakes the car. Once it gets into gear and is moving, this is either very minimal or doesn't occur until coming to a full and complete stop once more.
Anybody got any ideas what these issues may be?

4. Tick, Tick, (Boom?)
The Windshield defroster sounds like a time bomb. The heater works perfectly fine on Economy, and there is a minor background buzz on Automatic. However, when I turn on the Windshield defroster, a very loud clicking sound comes from the vents that defrost! Air does still blow, but this noise is so loud, you can't think! Sometimes if I'm lucky, it will go away after awhile. Other times, it stays in forever until I turn the thing off. Any ideas what this could be (and a potential fix?) I'd love to have an alternative beyond using an ice scraper against half an Inc of ice on my windshield while it's 10° F at 7:30AM.

5. Rattle Rattle!
This is more of an annoyance, but the rear window seems to rattle around on the rougher stuff. It's not too big of a deal but, anybody got an idea on preferably a cheap and easy fix?

Recent and Known Repairs (Professional Mechanic):
Late December:
Both Front Struts (Really Badly Worn)
Steering Rack (Leaky/Worn)
Rear Radius Rods (Wobbly)
Tie Rod Ends (Dunno)
Ball Bearing Repack (Reasons?)
Tires (Snow is a thing)

Oil (October/November 2016, Obvious Reasons)

Thanks for taking the time to read my rambling, and hopefully respond with helpful advice! Just know, I'd only be DIY on the simple stuff, such as (hopefully) the CD Changer, as well as the rear shocks at some point in time. The rest of this stuff would be done by a professional/expensive mechanic. Thanks for helping the amateur car dude!

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post #2 of 9 Old Feb 4th, 2017, 01:44 PM
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For 1) check your roll bar mountings and end links.
For 3) I have this BTW, I assume when I change plugs and clean intake this will improve.
If there are no code or pending code that point to a problem look up the idle setting and Idle up.
Download the FSM, Factory service Manual.
Look IE search, for working links. If you cant find PM me.
This could also be the temperature sensor, have read about that.
Read all starting and idling posts till you get tired or bored.
4) no idea, again search for posts.
I am surprised your rear shocks are shot. I changed mine chasing a noise and found the replacements made no difference and there was nothing wrong with then.
It was rear roll bar bushing and continued with new ones, had to take apart again and grease.

2003 Pathfinder from 2004 SE 4WD
1997 SER 5sp Manual from new Rear Ended 2009 !!
Gone to the Knacker yard...
New ride 3.0 manual RWD not a Nissan !!! Gone 2016 from Hail damage.
1997 Sentra GXE from new .... Sold 2008
2001 Sunny N16 RHD from new (N16 Nissan Bluebird Sylphy) Sold
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post #3 of 9 Old Feb 4th, 2017, 05:37 PM
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1) One of the keys you mention is it happens at adverse road conditions. I'm wondering if you may be hearing your ABS actuator working? It is located in the engine compartment, at the rear on the passenger side and just behind the right-front strut.

2) R&R the audio head unit isn't hard at all. You could get a used, stock unit. If it's an LE, then it is likely a Bose unit, so, make sure you replace it with another Bose unit because Bose tends to use 1-ohm and 2-ohm impedance speakers, and not the more-standard, 4-ohm speakers that are used on the non-Bose and most aftermarket systems. The amps are also set-up for those Bose speakers, as well. Installing a non-Bose head unit would mean you would also have to get a line-out converter. A line-out converter makes it possible to go with a more updated, aftermarket head unit. Crutchfield.com is a good source of audio equipment and often provide the instructions and harness adapters for free with the purchase, along with free support. One more option is you can send your head unit out for repair. There are a number of companies that do this and you can find them with a simple Google search.

3) The idle air control valve (IACV-AAC valve) is responsible for cold start fast idle as well as maintaining base idle under loads. If the base idle speed is not properly adjusted, it can cause the IACV-AACV to not operate properly. It's also possible that the valve is bad or dirty. Sometimes, the valve will leak and short out, burning the circuit board of the ECM in the process. In those cases, the check engine light is usually "on" with a stored P0505 trouble code stored. This issue requires replacement of the valve and repair or replacement of the ECM. Replacement of the ECM will require the keys to be initialized or the anti-theft system will prevent the vehicle from starting.

4) This could be one of a couple issues. If the noise changes with the speed of the fan, I would suspect leaves or debris stuck in the blower motor fan or a bad blower motor bearing. If the "ticking" is a steady noise that doesn't change with fan speed, but does change when you change modes (direction of air flow, i.e. going from heat to defrost, etc.), the problem is likely a stripped plastic gear inside the mode door actuator. Mode door actuators usually run about $25-35, but, depending on where they are located, can be a bit of a chore to replace; some require removal of the dashboard. There are usually three of them to operate different mode doors within the heating and cooling unit.

5) Rattle noises are hard to diagnose without being able to see the vehicle in person. Check for worn glass lifts (struts) or worn hinges, possible missing rubber bumpers (if used) or a worn latch mechanism.
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post #4 of 9 Old Feb 4th, 2017, 05:59 PM
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Why cant I edit my posts above for typo's ?

2003 Pathfinder from 2004 SE 4WD
1997 SER 5sp Manual from new Rear Ended 2009 !!
Gone to the Knacker yard...
New ride 3.0 manual RWD not a Nissan !!! Gone 2016 from Hail damage.
1997 Sentra GXE from new .... Sold 2008
2001 Sunny N16 RHD from new (N16 Nissan Bluebird Sylphy) Sold

Last edited by IanH; Feb 4th, 2017 at 06:12 PM.
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post #5 of 9 Old Feb 4th, 2017, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smj999smj View Post
1) One of the keys you mention is it happens at adverse road conditions. I'm wondering if you may be hearing your ABS actuator working? It is located in the engine compartment, at the rear on the passenger side and just behind the right-front strut.

2) R&R the audio head unit isn't hard at all. You could get a used, stock unit. If it's an LE, then it is likely a Bose unit, so, make sure you replace it with another Bose unit because Bose tends to use 1-ohm and 2-ohm impedance speakers, and not the more-standard, 4-ohm speakers that are used on the non-Bose and most aftermarket systems. The amps are also set-up for those Bose speakers, as well. Installing a non-Bose head unit would mean you would also have to get a line-out converter. A line-out converter makes it possible to go with a more updated, aftermarket head unit. Crutchfield.com is a good source of audio equipment and often provide the instructions and harness adapters for free with the purchase, along with free support. One more option is you can send your head unit out for repair. There are a number of companies that do this and you can find them with a simple Google search.

3) The idle air control valve (IACV-AAC valve) is responsible for cold start fast idle as well as maintaining base idle under loads. If the base idle speed is not properly adjusted, it can cause the IACV-AACV to not operate properly. It's also possible that the valve is bad or dirty. Sometimes, the valve will leak and short out, burning the circuit board of the ECM in the process. In those cases, the check engine light is usually "on" with a stored P0505 trouble code stored. This issue requires replacement of the valve and repair or replacement of the ECM. Replacement of the ECM will require the keys to be initialized or the anti-theft system will prevent the vehicle from starting.

4) This could be one of a couple issues. If the noise changes with the speed of the fan, I would suspect leaves or debris stuck in the blower motor fan or a bad blower motor bearing. If the "ticking" is a steady noise that doesn't change with fan speed, but does change when you change modes (direction of air flow, i.e. going from heat to defrost, etc.), the problem is likely a stripped plastic gear inside the mode door actuator. Mode door actuators usually run about $25-35, but, depending on where they are located, can be a bit of a chore to replace; some require removal of the dashboard. There are usually three of them to operate different mode doors within the heating and cooling unit.

5) Rattle noises are hard to diagnose without being able to see the vehicle in person. Check for worn glass lifts (struts) or worn hinges, possible missing rubber bumpers (if used) or a worn latch mechanism.
1. I don't think that it is the ABS thing, as it seems more like it is something directly behind the wheel. It sounds and feels like a ball joint, but it is too lose and moves around, but I got my ball joints repacked when I did my struts and whatnot, with less that 1,000 miles since that occured.

2. I've been thinking that if I fixed a probable blown fuse, I found get my car chargers to work and use an Bluetooth Radio Transmitter to get the music. The only issue is, I don't know which fuse in the box is for the car chargers, and the map is no help. Any ideas?

3. I'll have my mechanic take a look at the IACV, as I have no idea on the basics of cleaning/replacing one. As for the underneath rattle, I have a coworker who's brother had the same issue on the same make and model car, where the issue was the Catalytic Coverter. Is there any way to diagnose this, without just spending lots of money to replace the converters?

4. How would leaves get stuck in there? I suspect that to be the likely situation, as they are everywhere in my car. I pulled my air filter today to visually inspect the age of the MAF, AND there were some leaves in the air box of all places.

5. As an interesting thing I noticed, the big plastic engine cover was only partially bolted down. Could that be causing some engine rattle?


Quote:
Originally Posted by IanH View Post
For 1) check your roll bar mountings and end links.
For 3) I have this BTW, I assume when I change plugs and clean intake this will improve.
Please keep me posted on this, as I think I'm planning to take my car down for a general tune up soon!



As a final note for either of you, I've been recently experiencing some engine spluttering during acceleration. Any ideas what that may be, or is that a "diagnose in person" thing?

Thanks!
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post #6 of 9 Old Feb 5th, 2017, 01:25 AM
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1) You can't pack ball joints, but you can pack wheel bearings. You can grease ball joints if they have fittings to do so, but that still won't fix a bad ball joint. Were new strut mounts installed with the new struts? Assuming the strut re-assembly was good, the only other thing I can recommend is have the front suspension and steering components inspected for worn bushings and excessive play.

2) Get a 12v test light, turn the key to the "on" position, and just make sure there is power on both sides of the fuses, keeping in mind some fuses (like lights) may not have any power going through them unless the item is "on." If you find a fuse with power on one end and none on the other, you know you have an "open" in that fuse. A lot of times the power socket fuses are in the engine compartment fuse box and not under the dash.

3) If you are referring to a restricted or clogged converter, they can be tested for restriction using an exhaust back pressure tester. If you are referring to the rattles, a rubber mallet can be used to bang on the exhaust system and converters to check for noises.

4) Leaves and plastic wrappers can get in the blower through the fresh air intake. This is becoming less of an issue on newer vehicles as they have cabin filters to keep debris out of the blowers.

5) Sure...a loose cover can cause a rattle.

"Sputtering" is often caused by a misfire. It could be worn out spark plugs if they are original; they are due at 105,000 miles. There really isn't much to tune up. Replace the air filter, the fuel filter (which is above the rear axle) and replace the spark plugs. When removing the ignition coils, check for signs of oil in the spark plug wells (an indication of leaking spark plug tube seals which can cause a misfire) and for signs of burn marks on the coil boots. If you do replace your plugs, go with NGK #6240 as they are the original type plugs for your vehicle; they usually run about $10 per plug but last 105,000 miles.

Some additional info: I would highly recommend you get a factory service manual for your vehicle. It'll answer a lot of your questions and is a wealth of information. Nico Club's website has many downloadable service manuals for free, so it would be worth checking there. There is also a lot of good info in the R50 section at TheNissanPath.com, where I'm also a moderator.
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post #7 of 9 Old Feb 16th, 2017, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Just as an update, I just did the front sway bar end links, and had the spark plugs replaced with some top quality stuff.

The bumping in the front is gone now. It was the links. I'm just curious but, is it normal for it to be a little harder to steer? It's a little tighter in a sense, if that makes any sense.

The spark plugs turned this into a beast. The car runs better, revs higher, and just performs better.
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post #8 of 9 Old Feb 16th, 2017, 04:23 PM
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Well, if the link were bad, new links can make the handling "tighter." Hopefully by "some top quality stuff" you mean NGK spark plugs.
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post #9 of 9 Old Feb 18th, 2017, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crillion View Post
Just as an update, I just did the front sway bar end links, and had the spark plugs replaced with some top quality stuff.

The bumping in the front is gone now. It was the links. I'm just curious but, is it normal for it to be a little harder to steer? It's a little tighter in a sense, if that makes any sense.

The spark plugs turned this into a beast. The car runs better, revs higher, and just performs better.
What sparfk plugs did you use,
Thanks Ian.

2003 Pathfinder from 2004 SE 4WD
1997 SER 5sp Manual from new Rear Ended 2009 !!
Gone to the Knacker yard...
New ride 3.0 manual RWD not a Nissan !!! Gone 2016 from Hail damage.
1997 Sentra GXE from new .... Sold 2008
2001 Sunny N16 RHD from new (N16 Nissan Bluebird Sylphy) Sold
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