2000 Xterra Rough Idle, Stalling, & Bad Driveability - Nissan Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old Oct 25th, 2010, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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2000 Xterra Rough Idle, Stalling, & Bad Driveability

Well here it goes. Please help me.

I have a 2000 Xterra, 3.3 v6 with 4wd and 112,000 miles. About a month ago, My check engine light came on with code p0440. (minor Evap system leak) I figured the most common thing is the gas cap. I cleaned off the o-ring on the gas cap, cleared the engine code, and good to go. The car ran fine with no issues.

About 3 weeks ago, my check engine light came back on with code p0440 (minor Evap system leak) This time I replaced the gas cap. Then about a day or so later, I noticed the car having very poor driveability. Cruising at about 2300rpm, the car would sputter dropping to about 1800rpm, ten surge right back to 2300rpm, and so on and so on. When I got home, I turned the car off, then restarted it to a horrible idle. The car would idle like normal, then drop to 800rpm, then back to around 1100rpm, then down to 400 rpm, back up, and eventually would just stall out. Awful. I began looking into other possible issues. I disassembled the purge control valve under the hood, and cleaned that out (could have possibly been sticking) but it was actually pretty clean. I took off the vent valve on the side of the charcoal canister under the car to make sure that was operational, (it was). Took off the distributor cap and cleaned the points off. Checked all my fuel system hoses, found no leaks. Thought it could be just bad gas, but I was on 1/4 tank and had JUST started having problems. Went to start the car again, still had a very rough idle.
At this point I broke down and took it to a friend of mine who works at pepboys. He did a smoke test looking for the Evap system leak. Turns out the gasket under the fuel pump was leaking. But he did not at all think that had anything to do with the poor running conditions of the vehicle. The car would not act up very badly for him while it was in the shop, so he couldn't do too much to trace it. I picked the car up, and on the way home, the car almost choked out and stalled on me while going about 45mph. I barely limped home. When I got home, I turned the car off, then back on to the same old horrible idle. I re checked the engine codes (no check engine light was on) and this time I got code p0180 (gas tank temp sensor or circuit fail). WTF? So the car sat for about 4 days untouched. I went out today and started it up, and it idled and ran fine for about 5 min. Then it started choking and sputtering a bit. Eventually it went right back to its rough idle and just cut out.
The mechanic seemed to think the issue is that I need a new distributor. I have done some research and found many many different resolutions to this type of issue. I have read success stories by simply replacing the gas cap, but I have also read stories of having to replace the ECU. I am kinda strapped for cash right now, and I am really hoping someone has some insight on what could be causing this. I am very mechanically inclined, and would be able to replace or fix a broken part, but even the mechanic wasn't 100% sure the problem was the distributor. I know it's hard to diagnose a problem over the internet, but ANY help would be GREATLY appreciated. THANKS!!!!

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post #2 of 3 Old Oct 27th, 2010, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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For anyone who is having the same issues, the problem was the distributor. I bit the bullet and had a new one put in. $450 later, the car runs great.
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post #3 of 3 Old Nov 22nd, 2010, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by nis00X View Post
For anyone who is having the same issues, the problem was the distributor. I bit the bullet and had a new one put in. $450 later, the car runs great.
Quick question for ya.. I have a 2001.
Got the evap code p0440 just cleared it didn't really think too much into it???

I have about 135k everything seems like it's running great!! I changed the rotor, cap, plugs, and wires... Etc little tune up..

The reason I did this is person I bought it from said he thinks the knock sensor is shot..
Cuz he said he could here the knock or ping...

I also heard same noise but it's not the knock sensor!!!!

Sounds like the rotor and cap are having a battle in there!!!!

Now to my question sorry just wanted to give a little background..

Did you notice an extremely loud knocking from the distributer cap when all this started happening....

The reason I ask is cuz my ecu is yelling me at idle my timing is anywhere from 2-8.... I know it's supposed to be at 10..

I have to replace the timing belt so I was wondering if I should just replace the
The distributor also???

Sorry so long winded! But appreciate any help here.. Thanks ahead!!
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