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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2.5 SE X-Trail 2004 with 110 000 kms on the clock.
Recently I experienced the same problem which I quote from the forum by nosrac:-

"The X-Trail made an awful noise in attempt, but failed to the start the engine. Weird, but no panic, try again. SAME thing, it sounded like a 10 years old car which can not start because of whatever reason. It just happens that my neighbor walked my car, and mentioned to me that as it was trying to start the engine, there was a cloud of dark smoke came out from the exhaust. Sure enough, after 15 minutes of failing to start to car, I gave up, cancelled the tee off (with no refund). I walked back out, gave it one last trail before I call someone to tow it. Surely, with a great deal of difficulty, it started. It struggle at 200-300 rpms for about 5 seconds and it finally fired up."

Similar startup has now occurred twice in the last two weeks and this makes the car untrustworthy. This happened once when engine cold and once when warm. My gut feel is that there is a sensor which is responsible for the starting mixture and this thing gets stuck or something. If it would be known how this works - it could be replaced before total failure. And because it is an intermittent fault it is hard to pinpoint by the dealer. Help anybody?
 

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Hi edelbert,

I have experienced this once and it sounds like it is an occurance known as "bore wash".

Modern cars have piston rings which are not as tight as they used to be because of the requirement for fuel efficiency but this can occasionally cause starting problems in some cases as you have had.

It happens because the injectors pump a higher amount of fuel into the cylinders when starting and if the engine does not run long enough the excess fuel will run down the sides of the cylinder washing the oil past the rings which means the cylinder does not have compression until more oil is pumped back to the cylinder walls on the next starting attempt. This can take 5 - 10 secs of continuous cranking until it starts with the accompanying temporary rough running and black smoke when it does start.

It usually occurs if the Xtrail has been started and turned off shortly after and left for a period of time.

Not really a problem when you know about it. Just make sure to let the Xtrail run for a while at normal idle after starting before switching off.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This problem was finally solved. At some stage after a problematic start, the orange Engine light indicator came on. Before that it was difficult to pinpoint the cause of the problem. The dealer could then plug in their analyzer which pinpointed the problem to be the two crankshaft sensors. (cost was about 250 usd - 1 hour labour).
And now the engine also shows a distinct gain in power. I am happy again.
 

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Good news the dealer found the sensor problem before it got worse.
Let us know in a month or so if the starting problem resurfaces.
 
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