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95 Pathfinder XE 230,000+ miles. Originally thought I was having starter problems, rushed in without testing everything and replaced the starter. I figured it was time for things to start going, given the mileage. When I tested the battery it seemed to be in the correct range and the connection between the end of the positive cable and the solenoid was fine as well.

After I installed the starter, the same symptoms occurred. If I drive for short periods of time, the charge dissapates and eventually I get some nice clicking and no turning over of the engine.

I had the battery tested at the local AutoZone. They indicated that the battery is fine and that it could be the alternator. I had been thinking it might be the alternator as well and replaced that today. Before I hooked the negative cable back up to the battery, I charged the battery to make sure it was good to go. I then reattached the negative grounding cable and fired it up. It was a little sluggish while turning over, but started. I let it run for about 20 minutes, turned it off and started it again. It seemed to start with no problems. I let it sit for about two hours, went to start it again and the battery was no longer charged.

I jumped started it again, and just drove around for 1/2 hour to see if that would be more effective for charging the battery with newly installed alternator. After I parked it, I turned it off and started it again. It sounded a little sluggish again. I'll check in the morning to see if it held any charge. If not, I can only guess that there is a short or some sort of wiring issue that is draining the battery.

I've looked for obvious wiring issues, but have not identified any.

Other than throwing a lot of time, energy and money at the situation, am I on the right track?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thx.
 

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A lot of the time when a Pathfinder does that, it's the starter relay or solenoid wire, not the charging system. If the starter's solenoid doesn't energize via the ignition switch and starter relay, the starter doesn't work. Check for poor or loose connections at the starter and the relay under the hood. Try tapping the relay next time it doesn't start. If it works directly after that, it probably needs to be replaced.
 

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Actually, I misstated that. There's not really a "starter relay", per se, but there are three relays that in conjunction can cause you problems.

There is a dropping resistor on auto tranny vehicles that would prevent your vehicle from starting if it were damaged or unplugged.

There's a interlock relay if your vehicle has a manual tranny, which would prevent it from starting if it wasn't working.

There's an interlock emergency relay on MT vehicles.

There's also an orange safety relay on the passenger's side under the kick panel in front of the door near the floor.

There is also an inhibitor relay on A/T vehicles that would prevent starting it if the shifter is in any Drive position or Reverse.

The relays in question are located under the hood on the passenger's side fenderwell near the battery. There's a cover over the important ones. On a Pathfinder, in order from front to back, they are:

Horn relay
Interlock relay
Dropping resistor

Under the cover:
Bulb check relay
Inhibitor Relay
FI relay
Main relay
Fuel pump relay
NP relay(if A/T), Interlock emergency relay(if M/T)

The starter solenoid wire should black with a pink stripe.

Hope that helps.
 

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88pathoffroad said:
A lot of the time when a Pathfinder does that, it's the starter relay or solenoid wire, not the charging system. If the starter's solenoid doesn't energize via the ignition switch and starter relay, the starter doesn't work. Check for poor or loose connections at the starter and the relay under the hood. Try tapping the relay next time it doesn't start. If it works directly after that, it probably needs to be replaced.
Just had that problem on my 88 pathfinder and 87 aerostar replaced the solenoid switch problem cured.I noticed on both as i tryed to crank with the bad switch the battery cables became very hot not good! :cheers:
 
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