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woo-hoo
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, my lovely 04 nissan frontier has choked apparently. After some moderate off-roading last Sunday my "battery" light and "brake" light came a few times for no more than a minute on Wednesday. Did it again on Thursday, and on Thursday I cleaned out the engine bay and the under side of the truck from all mud. Well yesterday my ABS light started coming on randomly and my XM quick working on my stereo, but no more battery or brake lights. Tonight as I was driving to a friends house I noticed the lights getting dimmer but still the battery light was not on. As I was driving down the highway the ABS light came on again and then everything began to shut down! the radio shut off and the engine was barely running and then the airbag light started flashing and the truck started making the loud clicking noise in the dash. Well I pulled into a parking lot, Thank God! and now the truck is dead. The interior lights and warning lights work... but no start. Could moderate off-roading have done something to the electrical system that would have taken almost a week to kick in? Isn't the batter light supposed to come on and stay on if the alternator quits charging? Man I'm so sick of this truck already. I wish I had my 03 Fronty back :rolleyes: I'm sure the dealership will see some of the mud still on the frame and wheel wells and blame it all on me. I know these trucks are tough! I seriously buried my 03 in some bad mud before and never had a problem, why am I now?

Any insight here is appreciated... otherwise it's back to the nissan dealer!

later
 

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black_knight said:
Well, my lovely 04 nissan frontier has choked apparently. After some moderate off-roading last Sunday my "battery" light and "brake" light came a few times for no more than a minute on Wednesday. Did it again on Thursday, and on Thursday I cleaned out the engine bay and the under side of the truck from all mud. Well yesterday my ABS light started coming on randomly and my XM quick working on my stereo, but no more battery or brake lights. Tonight as I was driving to a friends house I noticed the lights getting dimmer but still the battery light was not on. As I was driving down the highway the ABS light came on again and then everything began to shut down! the radio shut off and the engine was barely running and then the airbag light started flashing and the truck started making the loud clicking noise in the dash. Well I pulled into a parking lot, Thank God! and now the truck is dead. The interior lights and warning lights work... but no start. Could moderate off-roading have done something to the electrical system that would have taken almost a week to kick in? Isn't the batter light supposed to come on and stay on if the alternator quits charging? Man I'm so sick of this truck already. I wish I had my 03 Fronty back :rolleyes: I'm sure the dealership will see some of the mud still on the frame and wheel wells and blame it all on me. I know these trucks are tough! I seriously buried my 03 in some bad mud before and never had a problem, why am I now?

Any insight here is appreciated... otherwise it's back to the nissan dealer!

later
How much mud did the alternator get hit with?
Any belt problems?
If it's not the alternator, sounds like it could be a ground somewhere.

Good Luck.
 

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Take it to the car wash before the dealer. If its non-op, at least spray a hose under there. You don't want to deceive anyone, but you don't want to give them a bogus excuse to blame this on you either.
 

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woo-hoo
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Discussion Starter #4
well luckily the truck is pretty clean since I washed it on Thursday... there are a couple of spots of mud on the frame rails and skid plates, but I have a friend with a trailer so I'm towing it in to the dealer today so it will be sitting there nice and early in the morning!

later
 

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You fried your alternator. End of line. Swap in a Quest 110 amp unit and you'll be much happier with the overall power output and performance.
 

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Drippy Alternator

Yes, sounds like a bad alternator.
Probably shorted a Diode in the rectifier.. That usually will cause the Brake light and the alternator light to fluctuate or just stay on at the Dash.
Dimming lights, and sometimes you will hear a odd whine from the alternator means that the unit is electrically leaking. (Alternators make A/C current, and then convert it to DC voltage).
When those diodes crap out, and the regulator can get a nice fat AC Spike, thats the end of it.. Usually caused by too much water in the alternator shorting it to ground. Sometimes, the Regulator can short the Diodes too, so it can go both ways.
A Bad Battery can also wear out an Alternator prematurely if you have a Cell Go bad in it.. That will Force the Alternator to permanent Full Output because it thinks the battery only has Approximately 10 volts (2.2 volts per cell, 6 cells make up a auto battery for 12.65 Volts normally).
Usually, they can take a hit or 2, and they can usually survive a submerging, but if you manage to get any water in the Regulator housing itself, that will almost always ruin it.
Another nice way to ruin an Alternator (and battery) is by not recharging your battery to full power before you run your new alternator.
MAKE SURE its at full juice, (or very close to full).
ALternators are ment to top off batteries and maintain them.. but they arent really made to Recharge them!
Well, they will recharge a battery, but what happens is the Alternator regulator sees that the power at the battery is low.. So it POUNDS out the Amps (full power) to recharge the system AND maintain the electrical as the truck is running!
This will create tons of heat, massive brush wear and can wipe any life out of an older well used alternator post haste if its got alot of miles on it.
So, when you get that alternator, be sure you use Some Dielectric Grease on the wireharness connector terminals to the Alternator, and that will help keep it clean, and prevent corrosion from crap being sprayed on it. (or in it).
In the future, be very careful not to spray High power jet sprays of water (specially watch out with engine cleaners AND water blasts!)
Its ok to gently hose off the outside of the alternator housing, but dont Slam it and blow crap into it.
Probably just as well to not spray anything at it at all. :)
 

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Blacknight, did you get your vibration or tranny shifting issue resolved before this came up?
 

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woo-hoo
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Discussion Starter #8
nope... and now the transmission comes out of gear and revs up during shift, the torque converter can't seem to make up it's mind whether to stay locked or unlocked and it still shifts like junk ! I'm not sure if that will ever get fixed...

later
 

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Blacknight, It almost sounds like a Control Module on the trans is getting odd signals from the ECM (main computer).. Or visa versa.
The Control Module on the Trans adjusts ALL shift points.. The RPM is cross checked by the ECU to determine Load for Timing and fuel Injection Duration, and also setting cruise (if you have it).
Thing is, they both talk to each other and if either has any crap in the Harness connectors from the transmission back to the Main computer, it will wreak HAVOK on your drivability.
You were mentioning alot of muddy style driving, and some spraydowns.
Check all connectors at your transmission.. Pull them apart and physically LOOK at them. Make sure the are clean and well Dielectrically greased.
Lack of Lock up in 4th gear has is directly related to the Transmission control Module.
Now, you were also saying that the Trans is Slipping out of gear? Are you serious?
Check all your Fuses in your fuse box, and recheck all your Battery connections.
Might be a good idea to check over ALL your electrical connections to your battery.
Corrosion is corrosion, so even sitting a week or 2 after a good mud incursion could kill your electrical system if it gets in the right connector.
That clicking you were speaking of sounds like it could have been a power relay possibly?
Without actually looking at your rig, and doing systematic diagnosis, at this point.. all you can do is look over the obvious, and then start looking at Computer trouble codes if you can. That would be my last hope before looking into the dealer.
Good luck with that.
:)
 

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He was actually having these tranny issues well before this off road situation.
My 04 has 15k on it now without any issues.
You may want to try for lemon law and maybe they can get you in a left over 04 or even better a 05!
 

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woo-hoo
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Discussion Starter #11
Well the alternator is fried... the dealer said that it just went out and it wasn't caused by off-roading. They said that they think the Alternator may have been overcharging the system and spiking in it's output levels but they won't be sure untill the new one is put on and they can test the electricals system. They said that if the alternator was putting out funny voltages that it could have messed up the electronics in the tranny but they aren't sure... It isn't supposed to be fixed till wed... so we'll see! here is a funny poem one of my friends wrote for me!

I Had a Frontier
It was really cool
but all my friends told me
that i was a fool

I took it wheelin
and it sure was great
but it broke
now i own a paperweight

hahaha

till next time!
 

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woo-hoo
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Discussion Starter #12
well we are getting close to the end of the week and guess who still doesn't have his truck!!! I'll give each of you one try....

Apparently they got the truck all finished this morning and the new alternator they put on was bad!!!!! it started blowing fuses! DOES ANYBODY SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THIS???? so they call me today to tell me that they are waiting on another alternator and that I probably won't get my truck till friday... and they haven't even been able to look at the tranny yet because the truck is just a big 5000 lb paperweight! Man I hate complaining as I am not usually a complainer but I'm really getting at the end of my rope with all of this! I feel so betrayed by Nissan! Specially after my 03 was the best vehicle I had ever owned. Is there some kind of balance that must be maintained, and nobody informed of this? is the 04 making up for the 03 fronty's good servitude? I think this truck was built in overtime on a saturday night when nobody wanted to be at work!

I feel a little better now that I have vented!

Till next time!
 

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For the most part, shit happens. Dealerships are generally known to be the worst place to take your vehicle for simple troubleshooting because they like to delay everything, throw brand-new parts at problems instead of troubleshooting them and tell you the wrong thing at the wrong time 99% of the time...

I'm a great fan of DIY. If it's done right, they can't say a goddamn thing about doing it yourself, warranty-wise.
 

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Sorry to hear that the replacement Alternator was bad dude.
I agree about the do it yourself attitude and fixing what you can and doing it right. Not all dealerships are good, nor have the gumption to do a "through" going over of your electrical.
Since the Main connector in your Alternator is directly into your wire harness.. if they got the wrong plug type alternator it WILL blow fuses and ruin stuff.
I know alot of early toyota Pickups and cars were FAMOUS for getting alternators that were appearancewise, "exact" only to discover that the Alternator had position of the L and E connectors in opposite positions.
What it does is exactly that.. Blow fuses sky high because the Polarity is incorrect.
When I worked At Als Auto supply (Grand Auto in california) (I was there till 2000) I was the "tech man" in almost every case there was. I wasnt paid for it, but I was always "called upon" for ideas. man, Could be SO stressful sometimes when busy!
Anyway, I saw THOUSANDS of Alternators and Starters from Every model and Brand you can think of.
The Engineers seem to think its funny to make alot of "revisions" to this and that in the wiring harnesses due to an "added option" or what have you.
Its the stupidest and most dangerous thing to happen.
Now, if the Nissan Dealership was PAYING ATTENTION, they might find that there are more than one type of alternator, or someone was just "assuming" they had the right one, and it may have been for a Older D21 Series Hardbody, Instead of a Frontier that they swapped the Pulley with.
Also, Clock postion, and Amperage is another consideration, and (as I said before about option packages) might have been inadvertantly installed in your rig.
Anyways, As far as your problem is concerned.. The Fuses can be replaced.. Your Rig had fuses working fine before the new alternator, and we can HOPE that this time around, they will get the right one this time. :)
As path88offroad said, Dealerships arent always competent.. It just takes one Mungulow to mess up the experience due to being Impaitent and racing too fast (there are almost always errors when you do that) and or the service writer being reamed by the Dealership owner about not getting "enough" done and making more mistakes due to stress.
Im not trying to defend the dealership, but I feel they should be sure that the customer is treated as fair as possible regardless of situation.
You have a Legitimate problem, and arent trying to screw anybody.
One thing that seems to help alot of times is be sure to say, "Take your Time"..
Dont know what it is, but it seems to make people concentrate more on the repairs.
When you get pushy and all anus about it, you can get really bad service 8 out of 10 times.
Advice from a man thats been there.
Hope it all works out man.
 

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woo-hoo
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Discussion Starter #15
yeah the last time I took it in for the transmission problems I told them to take their time. I had another car to drive at the time and I told them I wanted it fixed. After dropping it off on monday and not hearing back from them by Thursday I called them... they told me (after 4 days) that the fluid was fine and no codes and they drove it all over and didn't notice any problems. I got it back and checked the mileage and there weren't even 5 more miles on the ODO! I agree with 88pathroad also about DIY. I've rebuilt 3 engines and done tons of other work on my own cars. But I shouldn't have to do the work myself on a 2004 because the dealership is incopetent! That's why I bought a NEW truck, because it is my only car and I just don't have time for the engine or something to break and have to fix it myself. I'm just frustrated really and this is just all blowing my mind. I don't know why the alternator is blowing fuses, but something is wrong. My battery light came on a total 5 times for just a few seconds 4 days before the truck died. and it didn't gradually died. It died within 2 minutes from being what seemed perfectly normal. the dealership said it looked like the original alt was overcharging the battery and spiking the electrical system I just hope that it didn't fry my stereo and amp... I will seriously be pissed then! thanks for the advice. I'm just gonna have to wait this out anyway, it's out of my hands anyway.

till next time,
 

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woo-hoo
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Discussion Starter #16
wow... this just get's better and better everyday... the dealership called me a little while ago and informed me that my 2nd new alternator got shipped to the wrong place so I'll be lucky to see my truck by this weekend! This is awesome!!!!! :rolleyes:

till next time
 

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Yeah, I hope they get things figured out.
Sounds like you have been a good guy about it, and the dealership has been a bit less "caring".
If you have an optional dealership near you, Might want to look into it next time.
You mentioned how they tested your Truck. 5 Miles isnt enough to WARM the Engine and Transmission for Gods sake!
Most Drivability problems occur when the engine computer goes into closed loop and that only happens at operating tempratures.
Not sure why they dont just have a drivability expert DRIVE the Rig!..
I almost went into that very field, and I know whats expected of them.
Computer Techs make pretty good money figuring out the exact issues you are experiencing.
ASE Certified doesnt mean much... Im Not ASE certified, but all the years of doing engines, Diagnostics, and maintaining my own rigs and others rigs, I have grown into a rather profiecient Tech. Not to mention my 7 years working in an Autoparts store listening to thousands of different people and situations!
What does matter is Integrity and a desire to do the job right.
Not all people that Are in office, or other political affiliation do thier jobs "the same" each time, so to "err is human" (as they say).. Is very real.
The Nissan Dealer here where I live "Midway Nissan", is pretty decent. Ive heard some good things about them, but they arent clean whitey tightie types of techs either. They have fumbled the ball on occasion, so Id give them an "average" labeling.
As you said, Its more your thing to DIY. And Man, I agree.
But with a New rig, if you want your warranty to stick, etc etc, you have to follow the Rules of the Road and get your stuff covered while the rig is new, and sort out any "flaws".. Thats what the warranty is for.
But, the Manufacturer tells the Dealerships to do things a certain way, but they arent FORCED to do everything they say and there is a common misconception that say "Nissan" is bad or this or that.. Well, 9 out of 10 times the Dealership (since they process warranties for claim and get credits for labor and parts from the Factory) Can pretty much blow as much smoke as the service writer deems necessary.
The Techs arent always competent, and that is one more problem in this loop.
(as mentioned earlier).
If this problem continues, and they cant get it fixed, Keep ALL your documentation and consider the "lemon law" for your area.
It differs from State to State, but if they cant fix it in I think its "5" times and the problem comes up again, they have to get you a new rig.
Electrical is BAD to have problems with.
Its hard to diagnose Electrical Gremlins, but it can be done.
If worse came to worse, they could just change out the Wiring Harness and be done with the whole Issue.
Could be a bad ground, or a bad Power lead wire, or A Chaffed harness, what have you.. But the fact remains, if the Hardware that powers the electrical is bad, then it can damage wiring. Thats a simple truth.
Well, Again, I hope you get it figured out.
And if you cant through your current dealer, even if its more inconvient, go to another Nissan Dealership, and explain your troubles.
In this next case, if they still cant get your truck fixed, Get the Factory in the loop. Explain your complaint, and make some copies of the work orders and send them in. They are usually sympathetic to customer issues and they KNOW when a certain dealership is "a problem site". They are usually graded and on a scale of how well they conduct business.
Thats why they "clean house" in the service departments if there are enough complaints!
Good luck. :)
 

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woo-hoo
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Discussion Starter #18
Well I got the truck back this morning... Finally! It seems to be okay for now. the Tranny still sucks but oh well. Amazingly enought though I did miss my nissan. Weird how they do it to ya. I've been looking at cars since I will more than likely be getting a GMC 4x4 as a company truck here soon. I really like the Altimas and if you get the 4 banger 5spd you can load it up quite nice and still keep the price down... that and I wouldn't mind getting in the mid-high twenties for gas mileage :) I don't know we'll see what happens. My trust is just gone in the truck now... :rolleyes:

till next time,
 

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woo-hoo
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Discussion Starter #19
well the truck has gone back to the dealer this morning!!! the tranny started slipping pretty bad on Sunday so now they are tearing it apart to see if they need to replace it with a new one... OH well... Hopefully we'll get somewhere with this.

later
 

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Blacknight.. Had a feeling that be happening with the transmission. :(
Make sure they replace the Transmission Control Module. That MAY be what caused your trans to slip so much it fried your Friction plates in the first place.
Automatics rarely go out due to general use or with low mileage (unless the torque converter was built poorly).
Id Say if you towed uphills alot with a big load, then its obvious that it may overheat and burn your fluid due to slipping.
Burned fluid not only doesnt flow good, but that very same burnt lubricant can accelerate the problem if its beginning to slip, and you continue to drive with it.
This isnt unheard of, and you would barely notice in most circumstances.
Slipping is always bad on Automatics.
There is natural simple slip from gear to gear so there is always small wear like a clutch on a 5 speed.
But, if the Module allowed too much slipping, the transmission fluid heats, breaksdown, and the transmission will likely take more damage as the module tries to compensate for the engine RPM and the vehicle speed sensor spinning on the transmission saying the RPM and Transmission speed are not within parameters.
That will cause the trans to "hunt" between gears, and never run smooth.
Basically, the Transmission KILLS itself. :(
Im really sorry about this dude.. I hope they get you a new Trans, Torque converter and Module.
Its only right to replace all that as a matter of course.
Make sure when you get all this done, that the fluid levels are checked for about a 1000 miles, and then after that, get it changed out along with a filter.
Its just good maintenence to replace cheap transmission fluid with fresh stuff.
Glad to hear your problems will be solved soon.
:)
 
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