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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a 1997 Nissan pathfinder that has problems starting in the morning. My mechanic thought the problem was due to fuel flooding the engine, even though I did not touch the accelerator. He showed me a trick how to solve the problem by removing the fuse that feeds fuel into the engine, cranking the engine until it removes the excess fuel from the cylinder, then replacing the fuse and trying to start the car again that I have found works ok though the procedure sometimes has to be retried several times before the engine wants to start. Yeterday I had the mechanic check the car again and he found the spark plugs needed to be adjusted which he did as we both thought was probably the cause of the flooding. But this morning I got the same problem again. Another thing is the mechanic did an oil change putting in 25-50 oil instead of the 5-30 specified in the manual. I thought this could be the cause of the starting problem? But when I asked the mechanic about this he said using heavier oil ie 25-50 rather than 5-30 was standard procedure for old cars like this one, which seems to make sense to me but maybe is just a fairytale? Fortunately once the car does start in the morning it seems to have no problem starting again throughout the day. But sure would like any advice about how to fix this problem.
 

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I would think that if your truck is flooded in the morning than one or more of your injectors are leaking. The whole fuel system is under pressure, so it is very possible that the fuel slowly leak from one injector during a 8 to 10 hours period but not enough to create a problem during the day (shorter period of non running time)...

I would find and replace the defective injector(s).

S.
 

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Curious how cold it is where you live? Maybe your problem is temps that are close to freezing point in the morn. 25-50 is for seriously hot conditions or racing cars I believe. I doubt its good for your Pathfinder. Why not put in proper viscosity oil of the type for high mileage engines?
Maybe Rogoman or someone with more knowledge can comment, but I would be worried about oil that thick and what it might do to your oil pump. I would get rid of it asap and see what 5w30 does for morning starts. Why did your mechanic put it in in the first place. His pet theory or was your engine exhibiting problems???
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I would think that if your truck is flooded in the morning than one or more of your injectors are leaking.
S.
Ouch! Thanks for this suggestion that I will follow up with the mechanic. I am wondering if a scan of the vehicle computer would show the problem if one or more injectors are leaking?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
His pet theory or was your engine exhibiting problems???
His pet theory!

It is not too cold but cool where I live certainly nothing close to freezing so that is not the problem.

As I am not a mechanic it is difficult to tell the mechanic how to do his job but maybe he also has something to learn despite his twenty something years of experience, as he is not a Nissan specialist. I guess asking him to change the oil to a different grade would not be too expensive; if the starting problem then stops then it is clear that was the problem, and if the problem persists then I can always ask him to change the oil back to his recipe again.

;)

Hmmm....maybe good idea to ask what strength oil do others use in Pathfinders of similar vintage?
 

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My understanding of oil viscosity is that the first number in the oil refers to its ability to flow at freezing temp and the second refers to its ability at high operating temperatures.
There would be a fairly big difference between 5-30 and 25-50 oil in terms of how thick it is. I would think that even at 40 to 50 degrees in the morn, it would be like gloop having to flow through your engine. Do you have the owners manual to check what Nissan recommends. I just did online, its 5-30 or 10w30 if temperature is over 0 F or -18 Celcius.
1997 Nissan Pathfinder | Owner's Manual - Page 211
 

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If the thick oil is in there to solve leaking gaskets, I think it will cause more problems down the road. But then I guess you would being seeing your mechanic more....
 

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Ouch! Thanks for this suggestion that I will follow up with the mechanic. I am wondering if a scan of the vehicle computer would show the problem if one or more injectors are leaking?
I'm pretty sure you won`t see this with a scan... one way of checking, is basically to remove the fuel rail and leave the injectors connected and energize the injectors by turning the key just before starting and see wichs one(s) are leaking....

You could also, in the morning, turn the engine a few turns (without starting) and start looking at each sparkplugs... the one that is black and wet is where the injector is leaking...

S.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I would think that even at 40 to 50 degrees in the morn, it would be like gloop having to flow through your engine. Do you have the owners manual to check what Nissan recommends. I just did online, its 5-30 or 10w30 if temperature is over 0 F or -18 Celcius.
1997 Nissan Pathfinder | Owner's Manual - Page 211
This is also what I thought after checking the manual. However when I pointed this out to the mechanic he came with the counter argument that what the manual recommends is for a new vehicle and older vehicles need thicker oil. Looks like time for a cup of coffee with the mechanic - just hope he doesn´t decide to pour his coffee into the engine.
 

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Its harder to crank, doesnt flow as well from the start, could potentially cook bearings and will strain your oil pump. Was there a problem with the engine? any engine codes? Why the drastic increase in viscosity. What was in it before he changed it? Any problems then?
From what I can tell that engine is still being manufactured for cars in china, it cant be considered that ancient. I see you are in Mexico so maybe the mexican nissan specs are different. Maybe you could call a Nissan dealer re what they recommend. Anyway it seems to me I would try oil in the proper range or 10w40 that is made for high mileage engines. Not oil meant for racing cars. Now if yours is a turbo charged diesel engine model it might be another matter and your mechanic could well be right. Maybe there is a sticker under the hood with the oil info, or somewhere on the car. Have him change the oil, maybe even twice to clean up the gloop. I guess old cars are meant to have clogged arteries and to start slowly in the morning...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have a hard copy of the original manual that came with the vehicle and it clearly recommends "5w-30" or for high temperatures "10w-30" so maybe mechanic himself needs oil change?

Thanks for your useful and also encouraging advice and comments. I will report back when this is fixed that may take some time but looks at least to be doable.
 

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''If you use a really heavy oil (e.g. 15W50)...you'll increase the drag on the motor and cause a noticeable loss in power without gaining anything but harder starting and worse mileage...''

Just found this from another thread about heavy vs light weight oil in older engine, and I cant find anybody to agree with your mechanic. It makes no sense to put 25w50 in. Really think you need to flush it out asap, and the worse thing is its going to be slow to drain. You also need to do it because you have been flooding a fuel injected engine a number of times now from what I can tell, and you probably have a good amount of gas in the oil. Its cheap insurance. I wouldn't bother with synthetic, just some good 5w30 that the engine was made to use and that the oil companies developed to be used.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, looks like best way to go is change oil first that as you say is cheap insurance and if that doesn´t fix problem snoop injectors.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
It was the oil!

After draining out all the old oil overnight and replacing it with conventional 5w-30 oil (as recommended in the vehicle instruction manual), in this case Valvoline, the Batmobile started perfectly without complaining whatsoever and did the same again this morning, even though it was quite a cold night.

So looks like problem solved :) that is a great relief, since if it was not the oil then would have had to start fishing for some much more serious problem. The mechanic was also relieved to find out he was wrong for the same reason as I was.

I would not have had the confidence to insist that the oil be changed if it were not for the good advice and encouragement I received on this forum in response to my post, as I am not a mechanic.

So thanks a lot!!

Interesting enough the bulk Roshfrans 22 "titanium" (whatever that means) oil that the mechanic uses for all the oil changes in his workshop specifies on the bucket that it is for all modern gasoline fuel vehicles and also older vehicles. Plus when I went to buy the 5w-30 oil and told the guy behind the counter why he also put up the arguement that older cars with more than 100,000 on the clock also ran better and lasted longer with a heavier oil like the one the mechanic had used.

Looks like for cars like people there is no one size fits all solution and better to follow the advice in the instruction manual than not.

Now just hope also starts fine tomorrow morning...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
oils aint oils

Just in case anybody is curious here is the specs for the Roshfrans Ti-22m semisynthetic oil that didn´t work for morning starting my 1997 Pathfinder, which has 120,000 miles (193,000 km) on the clock, and roughly translated from Spanish to English reads as follows:

Recommended for petrol cars latest model and semi-new ones. Sports cars, vans (4 × 4), trucks and vans.

For cars with mileage from 50,000 - 70,000 up to 140 to 160.000 km (15W-40); and from 90-160.000 up to 200-250,000 km (20W-50).


So cannot blame the mechanic for using this as according to the specs it should work fine.
 

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Glad to hear. Who knows maybe it gave an extra coating of protection to your engine parts even though it didn't flow properly, not to mention the gasoline cleaning from the injectors pumping into the engine which wouldn't turn over properly when cold...Good thing you got it changed. Word to the wise I think your garage is trying to up sell you to their priciest oil. What they initially put in was a top grade synthetic with special additives, kind of similar to castrol Edge 25w50 which castrol describes as

''Contains unique Titanium Fluid Strength Technology™
Maximizes short and long term performance in modified engines including street machine and big bore competition engines
Reduces engine deposits to help maximize engine response
Provides race winning protection, tough enough to handle a hard driving style.''

As I said good for a racing car, and in defence of your mechanic, apparently its a good move for older gm engines, and some others. Yours doesn't need anything that fancy, not even synthetic, just get a name brand 5w30, or 10w30 as long as your engine is running fine. Hopefully that can save you some money down the road.
Given your mileage you should probably have the timing belt changed, unless you know its already been done. At least have it inspected by your mechanic.
 
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