Sputtering and missing

Tiny
DEREKDODD
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 NISSAN XTERRA
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 130,000 MILES
My vehicle began to miss about two weeks ago. I first thought it may be an injector stopped up so I added a fuel treatment and began running high octane gas. I also replaced the fuel filter. The problem has progressively gotten worse. I changed the plugs, plug wires, distributor cap and rotor button. The problem began only after the engine reached operating temperature, but has sense started as soon as the engine runs. There are no warning lights or check engine light on. I did have the codes checked and a knock sensor code is being thrown. I have been told that this should not effect the timing enough to notice. What may be my problem? I have stumped local mechanics and would like to fix my wife's truck.

If it was one of the sensors would it not throw a code in relation to the sensor? The only code that is showing is the Knock Sensor. I have been told that it will not affect performance. Is there anything specific that can be tested rather than replacing every component on the engine?
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Monday, October 19th, 2009 AT 10:05 PM

26 Replies

Tiny
JBSTEVENS8
  • MEMBER
I had a similar problem. Truck would misfire and rough idle after engine was warm. Same knock sensor code. Sputtering and exhaust manifold was glowing bright orange.

I had a distributor bearing that failed in the distributor rotor. When engine was cool, the rotor was moving in all the thick grease so no problem. Once engine warmed up, the grease thinned out and was rotating in all the metal shavings causing it to lock up. The truck was surging, cutting off, rough idle, extreme heat in exhaust.

Mechanic said the rotor looked like a rats nest of metal shavings from the failed bearings and washer.

Replaced distributor cap, distributor rotor, spark plugs, and wires. ($1,100.00 total) Now I need to replace the valve cover gaskets since the intense heat melted the gasket and is causing a minor oil leak. ($600.00)

Heat was caused from the misfiring, which opened the injectors, causing them to dump huge loads of fuel into the cylinder (ten times as much according to the computer measuring injector opening time). All that gas caused the temperature to skyrocket. Fortunately, I did not ruin the catalytic converters with the heat.

Everything is fine now. Saving money to get gaskets changed out.
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Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 AT 9:52 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Hey Derekdodd.

This sounds like it could be one of two things. First you could have a vacuum leak which can be found by following this guide:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-use-an-engine-vacuum-gauge

Or you have a mass air flow sensor that has gone bad and needs replacement. This kind of problem may not set a trouble code because the computer cannot detect a small variance but the engine sure can.

You can try cleaning it first though to save a couple bucks.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-replace-a-mass-air-flow-sensor-maf

and

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/mass-air-flow-service

Please let us know happens so it will help others.

Best, Ken
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Friday, December 2nd, 2016 AT 4:40 PM
Tiny
SHANNON DEYOUNG
  • MEMBER
I have this same vehicle, same issue. I have replaced the bearing ( 26mm o.D 10mm i.D 8mm w), the distributor and rotor, all new plugs. Set the timing, replaced TPS and MAF sensor. Thing still runs badly. It will accelerate, but runs very rough trying to maintain speed. At this point, I think it has jumped time and will replace the timing belt. Idles nice by the way, but runs rough after. Either the timing belt or maybe a plugged catalytic converter?
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Wednesday, May 16th, 2018 AT 12:50 PM
Tiny
SHANNON DEYOUNG
  • MEMBER
I marked the rotor button position before I removed the distributor from the engine when I replaced the bearing, went right back in on the mark.
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Wednesday, May 16th, 2018 AT 12:51 PM
Tiny
SHANNON DEYOUNG
  • MEMBER
Put all new platinum plugs in it yesterday. Adjusted the TPS, again.
Car will idle just fine. Put it in gear and try to go and spits, sputters, backfires. With the money I have spent on this stupid thing, I could almost buy another engine. At my wits end with it.
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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 7:47 AM
Tiny
CHESTICLES
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 NISSAN XTERRA
XE model 4x4, 3.3L six cylinder, 32,400 miles on it.

Anyway, when sitting still idling my engine sputters just a little bit. I figure it is not that big of a deal since it is not very noticeable. However, it is my new toy and I want her to run great. I have not taken it in to get codes checked or anything, I would just like to get an idea of what it could be before I head to the dealer to get warranty work.

Could it be I just need to take it in for a tune up?

Thanks for any help.
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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 10:30 AM (Merged)
Tiny
DATSUNRAISED
  • MEMBER
Is the car actually sending a check engine light? If so, just try heading to an auto parts store that lets you check codes. I know Checker (Schucks, Kragen) will help you diagnose for free.
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-1
Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 10:30 AM (Merged)
Tiny
CHESTICLES
  • MEMBER
No, there is no engine light on so that is why I figured I would asked first before taking it to be checked out. I am very new to car repair but I tackle complex electronics and mechanics quite a bit at my job so I am not afraid of it.

As I said before. It is just a very slight sputter while it is at idle. If you were not feeling for it you might not even notice it.
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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 10:30 AM (Merged)
Tiny
DATSUNRAISED
  • MEMBER
Well that is why you got to love warranties then. But when it does get fixed if you could post the problem that would be great.
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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 10:30 AM (Merged)
Tiny
CHESTICLES
  • MEMBER
Took it to Autozone and got the computer checked. Came up with the code P0328.

Code P0328

Knock Sensor 1
Circuit High Input
Bank 1 or 1 Sensor

Could this be the cause of my idle problem, or is the sensor just detecting something's wrong and not giving me a CEL?
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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 10:30 AM (Merged)
Tiny
DATSUNRAISED
  • MEMBER
The Knock sensor only tells you when there is excess vibration in your engine, which you already know. You are still looking for something else.
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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 10:31 AM (Merged)
Tiny
SHANNON DEYOUNG
  • MEMBER
These cars love only giving that code. I have replaced the plugs, distributor cap, rotor, TPS and MAF sensors. As well as the bearing in the distributor. Car still does not want to maintain speed without spitting, sputtering and backfiring.
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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 10:31 AM (Merged)
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
To me it sounds like the MAF sensor is having a problem. I would try replacing it with a new one which is a normal maintenance item anyway. When this sensor gets off a little because of the hot wire contamination it makes the computer think the engine is running taking in less air then turns the fuel down which makes the engine surge buck and backfire.

Here is a guide that can help:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/engine-backfires-while-running

Please run down this guide and report back.

Cheers, Ken

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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 10:31 AM (Merged)
Tiny
SHANNON DEYOUNG
  • MEMBER
Replaced the MAF. This is the third one. Though I digress, I got them used. I tried cleaning it with choke cleaner. No improvement. Guess I will throw another $100.00 at it and see if that fixes it. Thanks
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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 10:45 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
The other thing it can be is a weak fuel pump or plugged fuel filter. Here is a guide to help you check the system pressure:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-fuel-system-pressure-and-regulator

Please run down this guide and report back.

Cheers, Ken
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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 10:50 AM
Tiny
SHANNON DEYOUNG
  • MEMBER
I found a vacuum line has been taken off and capped at both the air box where the filter is and on the back of the engine drivers side.
The car ran well before the distributor bearing went out though.
Well, replaced it. Did not fix the issue.
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Thursday, May 17th, 2018 AT 11:18 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Can you shoot a quick video on how the engine is running so I can see? You can upload it here.
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Friday, May 18th, 2018 AT 9:32 AM
Tiny
SHANNON DEYOUNG
  • MEMBER
Yeah, I will send you one. I just dropped a brand new MAF sensor in it. No change.
Car runs well at idle. A little miss in it. Really acts up going down the road.
Video in a few minutes.
Put a code reader on it. Multiple misfires on multiple cylinders. Coil pack. And fuel issues according to what came up.
Cannot really hear what it is doing in the video. But it has a slight miss at idle. Going down the road it backfires and sputters badly. The new MAF sensor is helping it maintain speed, but it still pops and sputters. Does not quit running at idle or stop lights.
Going to check the injectors next.
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Friday, May 18th, 2018 AT 10:33 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Thanks for the video, are the spark plugs OEM? They must be one of the following spark plugs:

NGK Single Platinum Tipped

Standard Type FR5AP-10
Cold Type FR6AP-10
Hot Type FR4AP-10
NGK Double Platinum Tipped

Standard Type PFR5G-11
Cold Type PFR6G-11
Hot Type PFR4G-11

Any other spark plug will cause a misfire, also did you replace the plug wires with OEM as well? Also when you did the distributor did you replace the ignition coil?
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Saturday, May 19th, 2018 AT 8:47 AM
Tiny
SHANNON DEYOUNG
  • MEMBER
The plugs are the NGK single platinum suggested for the car.
I did not replace the ignition coil.
A have new wires to put on. Will get them today.
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Saturday, May 19th, 2018 AT 10:18 AM

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