Check engine light is on, reports "catalytic converter" error - Nissan Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old Apr 18th, 2004, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
rch
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Question Check engine light is on, reports "catalytic converter" error

I have 2001 4x2 4cyl frontier, and it recently developed a habit of turning on the check engine light. My mechanic said the error code is something like the catalytic converter is not working at full effiency.

He reset the light a couple of times, but it keeps coming back, especially durnig the rainy weather.

So far, the mechanic had the truck in his shop for 4 weeks (!) and he can't fix the problem. He said he is pretty sure catalytic converter is not a problem... he also said that recently Nissan came out with a technical bulletin saying something like "if this error code shows up, do not replace the cat, probe somewhere else".

I tried searching the web for this problem description, but I can't find anything.

Any ideas?

Rch
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post #2 of 14 Old Apr 18th, 2004, 09:44 AM
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Frontier TSBs

Did your search include Nissan's TSB's here RC
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post #3 of 14 Old Apr 18th, 2004, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
rch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RatioCynic
Did your search include Nissan's TSB's here RC
No, I don't have a subscription, but my mechanic does. Unfortunately, I have rely on his retelling of these documents.
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post #4 of 14 Old Apr 18th, 2004, 12:32 PM
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Nissan TSB's

Its relatively cheap at $20 also provides an opportunity to download the Nissan service Manual for your truck.
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post #5 of 14 Old Apr 23rd, 2004, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
rch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RatioCynic
Its relatively cheap at $20 also provides an opportunity to download the Nissan service Manual for your truck.
Thanks for suggestion. So, something like this does show up in the TSB... however, my mechanic says I still need to pay for work being done to fix the problem.
Would a dealer fix the problem that shows up in TSB for free?
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post #6 of 14 Old Apr 25th, 2004, 06:53 PM
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Depending on the Cat code (prob P0420)... I believe there is a reprogram for that model and that specific year. I would suggest trying a Nis dealer as they have the software to upgrade your ECM

-Corey
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post #7 of 14 Old Jul 1st, 2004, 12:55 AM
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DTC P0420...continued

I've run into a remarkably similar problem with the Check Engine light coming on on my Pathfinder a few times in recent months. I've posted this to freshalloy, but thought I would try here as well.

The first time, Dealer said it was the Cam Timing sensor and replaced that. Shortly thereafter, the light came back on. A few times after that, the light would go off as I was pulling into the dealership to get it looked at (literally...quite frustrating as the dealership said they wouldn't guarantee they could do anything but still charge me the minimum service fee). So I just made another appointment for another week to come back.

The last time it was in, they checked the light and the DTC light returned was P0420 (made sure to check it this time). The dealership told me that the computer needed to be reprogrammed, but they couldn't do it as their facilities were under repair.

This is where my problems are:

DiagnosticDialog.com says that the code text is Catalyst system efficiency below threshold (Bank1). The Nissan Service manual suggests that this is related to one of a number of things...but the primary culprit is usually one of the oxygen sensors. Either there is a problem in the air intake side, or on the exhaust side. I believe that it also recommends looking into leaks in the air intake or exhaust or plug problems.

Is there any merit into what the dealership wants to do? I'm kind of worried about the difference between my research and the dealership. At the same time, I do see the posts about the same DTC on the Frontier/Xterra that resulted in a reprogramming of the computer.

Also, there is a TSB (NTB02087) for this DTC code (not sure what the details are though), and I've seen posts elsewhere about this light coming on for the oxygen sensor on the 00 - 01 pathfinders.

Is there anybody who can help me fill in the details on this?

The truck is going back in on Friday morning...I w ould like to get more information by then. If not, I'll update the group with what the dealership tells me.

~ciao
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post #8 of 14 Old Jul 1st, 2004, 04:37 AM
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i had the same code come on my 96 pathfinder se 4x4.. the p4020, low cataylst efficiency... had autozone clear the code, stayed off for about 1000 miles and then came back again, did the same and still not on yet. is there a tsb for my truck also or is it the catalytic converter.
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post #9 of 14 Old Jul 1st, 2004, 07:57 AM
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It's really one of two situations:

1) It's not really a problem, except that one of your oxygen sensors is getting lazy or gone bad. There's an oxygen sensor before and after your catalytic converter(s), and the computer will compare the differences it's seeing from those O2 sensors and calculate the "efficiency" of the converter. If one of the sensors is bad, the computer is getting bad data, and the converter may not be at fault.

2) The O2 sensors are good, and the catalytic converter(s) are bad, or slow to respond, etc. In this case, the computer is calculating an inefficiency in the converter(s), and is reporting it as such. However, I wouldn't expect something as new as a '96 or '97 to have a bad converter already.

The cheapest thing to do first is replace the oxygen sensors. I don't know of a way to "test" an oxygen sensor, so I think it'd be pretty hard to determine if they're a problem...other than replacing them.

Jason Adcock
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post #10 of 14 Old Jul 1st, 2004, 04:43 PM
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i replaced all 4 O2 sensors back in december of 2003.... could they be bad all ready?
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post #11 of 14 Old Jul 1st, 2004, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonecollector
i replaced all 4 O2 sensors back in december of 2003.... could they be bad all ready?
I doubt it.

Jason Adcock
Always Tread Lightly!
1995 4x4 XE King Cab - 189,000 miles
1997 Cadillac Seville - 141,000 miles
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post #12 of 14 Old Sep 6th, 2005, 08:22 PM
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over a year later.....

well without doing anything from the P0420 code coming on last year in july, it stayed off this long.. just came on about a week ago on the way home from work. took it to autozone to have the code pulled, P0420 again.. just had them clear it. hopefully its not the converter, just not gonna do anything and see what happens.
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post #13 of 14 Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 01:07 PM
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I have an 01 Pathfinder SE and it's doing the same. I had a misfire in one of the cylinders and got that fixed back in 04 and the engine light came on a couple months after. Took it to nissan about 4 months ago and got a diagnostic check on it and they said that their is a evap leak. Don't know what that mean but they said it is not serious so I left it alone. Yesterday my engine was shaking like crazy and the engine like keeps blinking. I'm thinking that the misfire problem is back. Another thing that I noticed is that the exhaust smells like rotten eggs. I think that is related the the catalytic converter. Anyone have any ideas? I will be bringing it to a friend who has a diagnostic tool. I'll keep you guys posted on what problems it'll have and what i did to fix it.

Last edited by nycl3g3nd; Mar 22nd, 2006 at 01:11 PM.
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post #14 of 14 Old Mar 28th, 2006, 03:24 PM
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i had this same problem a while back.

if the truck is bucking in the rain,as mine was,i'd check the distributor cap for condensation or water,or maybe just replace it in general. It tends to play with the electrical system in general.

1999 Nissan Frontier XE KC 4X2-K&N,Customized body damage,Pace setter headers,
1982 El camino-350 swap,Lunati voodoo cam,Holley 4130 carb,Race built TH350,MSD distributor,four bolt main caps,Dry sump oil system,Hole from floorboard from improper jack use,Straight Dual system,Exhaust cutouts (located at the header.)
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