Electrical/loss of acceleration

Tiny
STINCH
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 NISSAN XTERRA
  • 136,000 MILES
?2001 Nissan Xterra SE, automatic 4WD. When I drive for awhile, the tach, odo, and temp gauges go out. Also the digital mile gauge goes out and doesn't record miles. Shortly followed by a lurching and loss of power whenever I try to accelerate. Its pretty dangerous on the interstate. On the online forums ive been searching, the problem is common but no solution yet. I'm looking into a bad ground. Sounds like it could also be a bad circuit board or control module. It cant be the alternator because the stereo and lights still work during the problem. Only the dash and acceleration are affected. I also put a new battery in the last several months. Any help would be awesome!
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Sunday, October 9th, 2011 AT 2:18 AM

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Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
Use a multimeter and see what sort of voltage you have at the battery with the engine running. It should be between 12.8 and 14.2 volts.
Checking all of the grounds is a good start. Also check all connections and make sure they're secure.
Find a shop that'll scan codes and grab live data with the engine running. See what it says for the O2 sensor and exhaust stream.
You say loss of power-does the engine cut out or does the power just drop off?
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Sunday, October 9th, 2011 AT 2:33 AM
Tiny
STINCH
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The o2 sensor was replaced recently. In doing research it was mentioned that it could be the speed sensor on top of the transmission. The power cuts out completly down to almost nothing. The engine seems to be getting fuel fine, as its not sputtering or acting like it wants to stall. Its not throwing any codes for a check engine light. I have a code reader and its got nothing.
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Sunday, October 9th, 2011 AT 2:46 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
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Find a shop that does scanning for free. Your scantool is probably only checking for hard codes.

The speed sensor would explain the odometer and speedometer issue, but not the tach or temp gauge issue. The tach gets its signal from the ECU and the coil, while the temp gauge gets its signal from the ECU and coolant temperature sensor.

The only thing common to all of those systems is the ECU.
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Sunday, October 9th, 2011 AT 2:59 AM
Tiny
STINCH
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In researching this on xterra forums, someone said that they only have the issue when their instrument cluster is not dimmed down to almost nothing. They said they replaced the speedometer servo (?) And the circuit board for the cluster panel. This is diferent from the ecu? Is there any logical reason why not having the lights on in the instrument cluster would fix this (heat from lights maybe?).
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Sunday, October 9th, 2011 AT 3:17 AM
Tiny
STINCH
  • MEMBER
And if it is logical that the backlighting for the instrument cluster could be causing this, would it be most cost effective to replace the whole cluster, or would that not replace the 'speedometer servo' and the circuit board for it? Or are the servo and circuit board not contained within the cluster? Thanks again
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Sunday, October 9th, 2011 AT 3:49 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
Yes, the instrument panel circuit board is completely separate from the ECU. No, electronically speaking, there is no reason why dimming the lights would cause it.

Most speedometers these days utilize a stepper motor to drive the speedo needle. A stepper motor is a type of motor that is minutely controllable, and, unlike other types of motors, doesn't "creep" after power is removed and doesn't require a motor brake to stop the output instantaneously. A servo is similar, but not exactly identical. Logically, this motor is integral to the instrument panel.
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Sunday, October 9th, 2011 AT 4:14 AM

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