1992 Nissan Maxima ERATIC DOWNSHIFTING

Tiny
OEHLEY
  • MEMBER
  • 1992 NISSAN MAXIMA
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 170,000 MILES
1992 nissan maxima downshifts eratically and cuts out every now and then. I also noticed that the car acts up way more when it is hot out and it has been in the sun for some time. In the morning on the way to work, when the air is cold (even after car is at running temp.) It goes much smoother. The transmission has a sport/comfort mode switch. When the car acts up, no matterwhat mode it is in, the sport mode light fashes randomly. I noticed today that if I turn the overdrive of, the problem goes away. I have replced the transmission, TPS, fuel pump, spark plugs, injectors, oxygen sensor, MAF, coolant temp sensor, ECM, TCM, ICM, speedo head. I suspect the speed sensor. It has been to 3 mechanics who gave up including the dealer. I have put in huge amounts of money.
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Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 AT 2:04 AM

13 Replies

Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi oehley,

Thank you for the donation.

What is the model of your transmision, RE4F02A or RE4F04V?

When the Power indicator lights flashwes, it indicates an error has been detected and you need to retrieve the trouble code to find out what is wrong.

SELF-DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURE
NOTE:
Perform self-diagnosis with engine at normal operating temperature.

1. Ensure engine is at normal operating temperature. Turn ignition switch to OFF position. Set transmission mode switch to AUTO position, overdrive switch to ON position, and selector lever to "P" position. Turn ignition switch to ON position, but DO NOT start engine. POWER indicator light should come on for 2 seconds.

2. Turn ignition switch to OFF position and move selector lever to "D" position. Set overdrive switch to OFF position. Turn ignition switch to ON position, but
DO NOT start engine. Move selector lever to "2" position. Set overdrive switch to ON position, move selector lever to "1" position, and set overdrive switch to OFF position.

3. Depress accelerator pedal to floor and release pedal. Record POWER indicator light flashes.

NOTE:
The term "Judgement Flicker" refers to light flashes of the POWER indicator light.
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Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 AT 10:29 AM
Tiny
OEHLEY
  • MEMBER
I did the transmission test and it seems to be fine. It does 10 short flashes followed by a long flash. I have the RE4F04V. I noticed today that it does have the problem even when overdrive is off.
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Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 AT 3:50 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Are all the 10 flashes same or is any in between that is slightly longer than the rest?

Did you perform the trouble code retrieval immediately after turning off the engine as soon as the POWER light starts flashing?

If no trouble codes are present, it could mean a fault with the TCM or its wiring circuit that intermittently fails, especially when warmed up. This could mean a loose or contaminated wire connection somewhere.
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Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 AT 7:58 AM
Tiny
OEHLEY
  • MEMBER
All ten flashes are the same. I have not tried to retrieve the code as soon as the light flashes but will do so.

I have replaced the TCM but I guess it could be the wiring. I will see if I can get a code.
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Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 AT 10:48 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Keep me informed of the outcome.
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Thursday, October 7th, 2010 AT 9:45 AM
Tiny
OEHLEY
  • MEMBER
After a number of attempts, I did manage to turn the car off while the light was flashing and the diagnosis showed that flash 1 and 2 were long which looks like speed sensor issues. The dealer claims to have replaced the sensor in the speedo head and couldn't find anything wrong with the revolution speed sensor. I feel like I am making progress - thanks very much for the advice. When I unplugged the revolution sensor, it made no difference to the way the car acted?
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Friday, October 8th, 2010 AT 4:18 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
The first long blink is the starting indicator and if the next one is prolonged, it means a revolution sensor fault code.

REVOLUTION SENSOR CIRCUIT TEST
Revolution sensor is a voltage generating sensor and should be tested using a voltmeter set on AC scale. Check voltage between ATCU terminal No. 25 and ground while driving vehicle. Voltage should rise gradually relative to vehicle speed. At zero MPH, voltage should not be present.
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Saturday, October 9th, 2010 AT 8:09 AM
Tiny
OEHLEY
  • MEMBER
I got a revolution sensor and a VSS and a new instrument cluster and installed them and there is no change. Does the computer need to be reset?
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Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 AT 4:56 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Have you reconfirmed the trouble code?

Have you tested the wires for continuity between sensor and TCM?
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Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 AT 9:22 AM
Tiny
OEHLEY
  • MEMBER
After doing the self diagnosis again, I got one code - the second flash was long (VSS)
I began to check the speed sensor circuit and I started with cleaning the connection between the sensor and harness. I was just getting started on checking the output at the TCM but had to run an errand. To my amazement, the car ran perfectly and has done so for the last couple of days. Do you think it was the connection or maybe because I messed with the wiring harness under the dash to get to plug in my spare TCM for easier checking? I am kind of confused as to why it is fixed. I unplugged the VSS and took a drive and it still performed perfectly? I was just wondering. I understand that the Revolution sensor takes over from the speed sensor when there is a fault with the speed sensor. Could it be that if there is an intermittent break in connection of the VSS while driving, is there a short delay in swithching to the Rev sensor which makes the TCM think for a split second that the car is not moving and causes it to kick down a gear or two before the revolution sensor or VSS takes over again?
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Thursday, October 14th, 2010 AT 10:45 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
From what transpired, I believe it was the wireharness that caused the problem and it could be near the VSS or underdash.

Recheck the connectors, especially those between the engine and TCM. Some could be contaminated or loose and if it is contaminated, problem might recurr when contact deteriorates again.

The TCM would provide a backup for any failed sensor and the blip was when it was changing to backup mode.

Hope problem is has been fixed permanently.

Have a nice day.
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Thursday, October 14th, 2010 AT 3:25 PM
Tiny
OEHLEY
  • MEMBER
Thanks very much for the guidance it is much appreciated. This has been an on going problem for the last couple of years and as I may have mentioned, 3 mechanics and the dealer could not fix the problem. I will double check all the connections.
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Thursday, October 14th, 2010 AT 3:36 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
For such problems it sometimes need a stroke of luck and you bingoed, lol.

Since many people had tried and failed, I would believe the problem is more likely to be underdash rather than out at the engine.
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Thursday, October 14th, 2010 AT 4:11 PM

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