Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L Index of Articles http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Table/Nissan-Index-of-Articles/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/ Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:55:48 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-us troubleshootmyvehicle@hotmail.com (troubleshootmyvehicle.com) How to Troubleshoot a No Start [br](Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L) http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/how-to-test-a-no-start-condition.html http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/how-to-test-a-no-start-condition.html nissan/3.0L_3.3L_3.5L/b, charset=utf-8, articleId:405, --> How to Troubleshoot a No Start (Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L)

What stinks about having your Nissan crank but not start, is that sooo many things can cause it. For example, the no start could be caused by a bad fuel pump, or a blown head gasket, or a busted timing belt, and unfortunately the list goes on.

In this tutorial, which is a primer on what can cause a cranks but does not start condition, I'll share some insights and tips, based from my actual experience, that will help you narrow down your troubleshooting efforts. Whether you Nissan V-6 is front wheel drive (FWD) or rear wheel drive (RWD) or a 4X4... the testing tips and suggestions will apply!

Here are the contents of this article at a quick glance:

  1. Difference Between a No Start and a No Crank Condition.
  2. No Start Condition Basics.
  3. No Start 1: Checking for Spark.
  4. No Start 2: Checking for Fuel.
  5. No Start 3: Checking Engine Mechanical Condition.
  6. No Start Summary.
  7. Related Test Articles.

Difference Between a No Start and a No Crank Condition

Since all of the articles I write are geared toward the Do-It-Yourself'er (DIY'er)... I want to clarify that a No Crank and a No Start Condition are not the same thing. Here's a brief description that'll help you make sense of this tutorial (and will help you find even more info online):

Cranks but Does Not Start Condition: Means that your Nissan's starter motor is cranking the engine but the engine is not starting. This is usually due to a fault in the ignition system, or in the fuel system, or there's an engine mechanical problem (like a thrown rod, etc.).

Does Not Crank Condition: Means that the engine is not cranking when you turn the key to crank the engine. In other words, the engine doesn't turn over at all. This is usually due to a bad starter motor, bad ignition switch, bad neutral safety switch, or the engine is locked up.

If your Nissan doesn't crank and you suspect the starter motor, here's a tutorial that'll help you test it: How to Test the Starter Motor (Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L).

No Start Condition Basics

OK, to start opening up about the most basic (and the most important) information you need to know to successfully diagnose the ‘cranks but does not start’ condition of your Nissan... is that the engine needs 3 things to start and run. These are:

  1. Air.
  2. Fuel.
  3. Spark.

When your Nissan Cranks but Does Not Start...it's because one of these 3 things is missing from the mix. It's as simple as this! I know, I know... I may be over-simplifying it all... but knowing that only one of three things is missing really helps to put the problem into perspective!

Now, knowing this means that when your or my Nissan doesn't want to start... my job (or your job if you're the one diagnosing/troubleshooting the problem) is to find out which of these 3 things is missing.

To get down into the nitty-gritty details- this means that troubleshooting the problem requires that you or I check for spark (with a spark tester), check fuel pressure, and if necessary, check the engine's health with a compression test.

I'll go into more specific details in the following headings:

1.)  Ignition System

  1. The Ignition System is the one tasked with creating and delivering spark to each of the 6 cylinders. Without spark, the engine will crank but Not Start.
  2. The Ignition System of the Nissan vehicles covered by this article use either distributor type system or a COP (Coil-on-Plug) ignition coil system. In a COP ignition coil system, each cylinder has its own ignition coil; thus eliminating the distributor entirely.
  3. In my experience, the most common component failures, of the Ignition System that cause a No Start No spark Condition are:
    1. Ignition control module (ICM) -most commonly known as the igniter (if distributor equipped).
    2. Ignition coil.
    3. Distributor cap (if distributor equipped).
    4. Distributor rotor (if distributor equipped).
  4. All of the above Ignition System components can be tested in a methodical way to find out exactly what has failed (if indeed something has).

2.)  Fuel System

  1. The Fuel System is the one responsible with supplying the engine with fuel.
  2. The Fuel System component that causes the majority of No Start No Fuel problems:
    1. Fuel pump relay.
    2. Fuel pump.
  3. The fuel pump can be tested to make sure it has really fried using a fuel pressure gauge.

3.)  Engine Mechanical System

  1. The components that are responsible for drawing in the air the engine needs are the: engine pistons, cylinder head valves, and all the other related components like: timing chain, etc.
  2. Although rare, internal engine mechanical problems can and do cause No Start Conditions.
  3. Possible internal/external engine problems are:
    1. Blown head gasket.
    2. Blown engine.
    3. Busted timing belt.

OK, the list of possible things that can go wrong looks pretty long... but it is rare to see (or have) two different components go BAD from two separate systems at the same time.

The cool thing is, is that there is a diagnostic strategy that you can use to figure out exactly what's wrong with your particular No Start problem. Let's find out more about it in the next subheading...


No Start 1: Checking for Spark

If your Nissan is suffering a cranks but does not start condition, my suggestion to you is to start by checking the ignition system. Specifically, what this means is that you should check that all cylinders are getting spark.

Testing for Spark can very easily and safely be done with a dedicated spark tester.

My suggestion, about testing for spark, applies whether your Nissan has a distributor-type ignition system or the more modern COP ignition coil system (in the Coil-on-Plug (COP) ignition coil system, you don't have a distributor anymore but 6 individual ignition coils sitting right on top of the spark plug).

If the Ignition System is the cause of the No Start, you're not gonna' see spark at any of the 6 spark plug wires or 6 COP ignition coils. If there is spark being fed to all cylinders... then you can eliminate the ignition system as the cause of the No Start condition and can move on to other tests (like testing fuel pressure).

Remember, the idea behind checking for spark is to see if all of the engine cylinders are getting spark. Here are the most common causes of a No spark result:

CASE 1: Spark was present in all cylinders This result tells you three very important things: 1.) the crank sensor is functioning correctly, 2.) the ignition control module (also known as the igniter or power transistor) is OK -this applies to distributor-type systems, and 3.) the ignition coil is good. You don't have to spend any time testing them or any money replacing them.

Your next step is to verify fuel pressure. Go to No Start 2: Checking Fuel.

CASE 2: Spark was NOT present in all of the cylinders (DISTRIBUTOR TYPE): This test result tells you without a doubt that the No Start Condition of your Nissan is due to a malfunction in the ignition system.

Now, with no spark in any of the engine cylinders, this what I would suggest:

  1. Check for spark directly on the ignition coil tower using a spark tester.
    1. This is the best way to test the distributor cap. The distributor cap and rotor are infamous for causing No Spark No Start Conditions.
    2. If you do get spark coming out of the ignition coil tower, you now know beyond a shadow of a doubt the distributor cap and rotor must be replaced.
  2. Test the ignition coil and ignition control module (also known as the: igniter or power transistor).
    1. If no spark is firing from the ignition coil, then the next step is to verify that the ignition control (igniter) is activating it. This is a pretty simple test.
  3. The following tutorial will give you some specific testing tips: Power Transistor Test & Ignition Coil Test 3.3L Nissan (1996-2004) (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).

CASE 3: Spark was NOT present in all of the cylinders (COP IGNITION COIL TYPE) This test result tells you without a doubt that the No Start Condition of your Nissan is due to a malfunction in the ignition system.

It's almost impossible for all 6 COP ignition coils to fail at the exact same time... so the most likely cause for this No Spark condition is a BAD crankshaft position sensor.

No Start 2: Checking for Fuel

Checking that the fuel pump is delivering fuel to the fuel injectors is not that hard on your Nissan (since you're able to tap into the rubber fuel pressure hose that connects to the fuel injector rail with a fuel pressure gauge and its appropriate adapter).

A BAD fuel pump will cause your Nissan to Crank but Not Start... since the fuel pump is the one responsible for supplying fuel to the fuel injectors.

The absolute best way to test the fuel pump is with a fuel pressure gauge... using any other method is not as accurate. Still, the other method that I've used to test for a lack of fuel... is spraying starting fluid into the throttle body and then having a helper crank the engine. If the engine starts... then I now know that I need to take a closer look at the fuel pump to see if it's fried or not.

When testing the fuel pump (with a fuel pressure gauge), you'll usually see one of two results:

CASE 1: fuel pressure is at specification. Not only does this result tell you that the fuel pump is OK but that the following components, that supply the fuel pump with power, are OK too:

  1. Fuel pump fuse.
  2. Fuel pump relay.

And so, there's no need to spend time testing them or money replacing them.

CASE 2: fuel pressure is not present. This usually means that the Pump has failed, but not always. I would recommend testing/checking the following before condemning the fuel pump:

  1. After verifying that no fuel pressure exists, check that the fuel pump is getting power by tapping into the power circuit that feeds the pump with 12 volts with a multimeter.
  2. Once you're tapped in, have a helper crank the engine while you observe your multimeter in Volts DC mode. If Voltage is present (12 Volts), then you have confirmed that the fuel pump fuse and fuel pump relay are working perfectly.
  3. Confirming power to the fuel pump (with a multimeter) also verifies that the fuel pump has failed and needs to be replaced.
  4. If no Voltage is present, as your helper cranks the engine, then the cause of No Fuel Condition is due to either a BAD fuse, fuel pump relay (known as the Main Relay).

No Start 3: Checking Engine Mechanical Condition

One of the most overlooked areas, when testing a hard to diagnose No Start, is the mechanical condition of your 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L Nissan vehicle.

Checking the engine mechanical condition usually means making sure that the timing belt hasn't broken (if equipped with a timing belt). Also, you may need to do: an engine compression test, a blown head gasket test, among a few tests to make sure that an internal engine problem is not the root cause of the cranks but does not start condition your vehicle is experiencing.

Here are some specific tips:

  1. When performing an engine compression test, what you're looking for is an average compression reading of NO LESS THAN 120 PSI across all or the majority of the engine cylinders.
  2. If you have one or just two readings that are under 90 PSI your Nissan vehicle will still start and run, albeit with a Misfire Condition.
  3. The following tutorial will help you do a compression test:
    1. How to Test Engine Compression (Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L).
  4. NOTE: A broken timing belt will cause all 6 cylinders to output 0 PSI compression.

No Start Summary

By this point, in this tutorial, you now know that the cranks but does not start condition of your 3.0L, 3.3L, or 3.5L equipped Nissan is due to a lack of one of the following:

  1. Spark.
  2. Fuel.
  3. Air (from a lack of cylinder compression).

Also, that you can verify if these things are missing or not... which means that you can: test for spark,... you can test the fuel pump (fuel pressure), ... and you can test the engine compression.

Thankfully, all of these things can be tested with simple tools... which leads me to the next talking point...

...To check the basics, you need tools. There's just no way around it. One of the analogies that I've always enjoyed repeating, about doing a job without the right tools is like trying to eat a bowl of soup with a fork.

So besides knowing what to test, you need tools to do those tests. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg, since you can buy a lot of diagnostics tools that are tailored for the pocket-books of the serious do-it-yourself-er. Here are some of the basic tools you'll need:

  1. Fuel pressure gauge.
  2. Spark tester.
  3. Compression gauge.
  4. Multimeter.

Most of these tools you can buy or rent for free (after you leave a cash deposit which you'll get back when you return the tool) at your local auto parts store (mainly AutoZone and O'Reilly Auto Parts). Or, if you want to save some bucks, you can buy them online.

Related Test Articles

You can find a complete list of articles here: Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L Index of Articles. Below, is a sample of articles you'll find in this index of articles:

  1. How to Test the Starter Motor (Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L).
  2. How to Test Engine Compression (Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L).
  3. Power Transistor Test and Ignition Coil Test 3.3L Nissan (1996-2004) (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
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troubleshootmyvehicle@hotmail.com (Abraham Torres-Arredondo) Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L Index of Articles Sun, 20 Jan 2013 14:06:00 +0000
How to Test the Starter Motor[br] (Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L) http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/how-to-test-the-starter-motor.html http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/how-to-test-the-starter-motor.html nissan/3.0L_3.3L_3.5L/a, charset=utf-8, articleId:388, --> How to Test the Starter Motor (Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L)

The starter motor can be tested on your 3.0L, 3.3L V-6 equipped Nissan Pathfinder (D21, Pick Up, or QX4) with some very simple tools to see if it's BAD or not.

In this tutorial I'll show you how test the starter motor in a step-by-step way. All the tests are explained in plain English and are accomplished with basic tools.

Here are the contents of this article at a quick glance:

  1. Important Safety Precautions.
  2. Symptoms of a BAD Starter Motor.
  3. Tools Needed to Test the Starter Motor.
  4. STARTER TEST 1: Applying 12 Volts to the Starter Motor S Terminal.
  5. STARTER TEST 2: Verifying the Start Signal.
  6. STARTER TEST 3: Voltage Drop Testing the Battery (+) Cable.
  7. Related Test Articles.

Important Safety Precautions

Suggestion 1: This is an On-Car Test of the starter motor on your 3.0L or 3.3L Nissan Pathfinder... so you don't need to remove it to test it. The photos I'm using show it off of the vehicle just to make it easier to show you where to make your connections.

Suggestion 2: It's important that the battery in your Nissan be fully charged to perform all of the tests. Also, the battery cable terminals and battery posts must be clean and corrosion free.

Suggestion 3: Use jack stands to keep your Nissan Pathfinder (D21, Pick Up, or QX4) up in the air... don't trust the jack alone! Take all necessary safety precautions, like using jack stands to hold up the vehicle, wearing eye-protection (safety glasses), etc.

Suggestion 4: If your vehicle has a standard transmission... make sure that it's out of gear and in neutral, and the parking brake is activated/on.

Symptoms of a BAD Starter Motor

When the starter motor goes BAD on your 3.0L, 3.3L Nissan Pathfinder (D21, Pick Up, or QX4), you'll see one of the following symptoms:

  1. Then engine doesn't turn over (crank) when you turn the key to start the engine.
  2. A jump start does not help. The vehicle's engine still refuses to crank.
  3. The battery has been charged and/or replaced and still your Nissan does not crank.
  4. When you turn the key to crank the engine, all you hear is a small knock and nothing else.

Although the above list is a not a very complete list of symptoms... the theme that runs thru' them, and any other related symptom, is that the engine will not turn over when you try to start it.

Tools Needed to Test the Starter Motor

You don't need expensive test equipment to test the starter motor on your 3.0L, 3.3L 6 cyl. Nissan Pathfinder... but you do need a few things. These are:

  1. Jack.
  2. jack stands.
  3. Remote starter switch.
    1. If you'd like to see what a remote starter switch looks like, you can follow this link: Actron CP7853 Remote Starter Switch.
    2. You can either buy this tool online or you can buy it at your local auto parts store (AutoZone, O'Reilly, Pepboys, etc.).
  4. Multimeter or a 12 Volt automotive test light.
    1. If you don't have a Multimeter or need to upgrade yours, check out my recommendation here: Buying a Digital Multimeter for Automotive Diagnostic Testing (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
  5. A wire piercing probe.
    1. This tool is not an ‘absolute must have tool’ but I can tell you from experience that it makes it a whole lot easier to probe the S terminal wire for the Start Signal.
    2. If you'd like to see what this tool looks like, you find out more about it here: Wire Piercing Probe Tool Review (Power Probe PWPPPPP01).
  6. A helper.

As you can see... you don't need anything expensive. OK, let's turn the page and get starter with the first starter motor test.


STARTER TEST 1:
Applying 12 Volts to the Starter Motor S Terminal

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This first starter motor test will let you know right away if the starter motor is fried or not.

What we're gonna' do is to simply apply 12 volts to the starter motor solenoid S terminal using a remote starter switch.

NOTE: Getting to the starter motor solenoid S terminal (to manually apply 12 volts) can be quite a challenge... but not impossible. What I do is use a wire piercing probe to pierce the S terminal wire and then I connect my remote starter switch to it and proceed from there... I suggest you do the same (to see what this tool looks like, go here: Wire Piercing Probe Tool Review (Power Probe PWPPPPP01)).

OK, this is what you'll need to do:

  1. 1

    Jack up your Pathfinder (D21, Pick Up, or QX4) and place on it jack stands. Remember, to only way to gain access to the starter motor is from underneath your Pathfinder.

  2. 2

    Disconnect the battery negative terminal.

    You'll reconnect it back in one of the following steps, for now, it's a safety precaution as you set up the test.

  1. 3

    Attach a remote starter switch to the S terminal of the starter motor solenoid.

    This is easier said than done... so take your time and make sure the connection is on the S terminal of the starter motor solenoid.

    Also, in case you're wondering... you can leave the starter motor solenoid's S terminal wire connected to the engine's wiring harness connector or not, the test will work either way.

  2. 4

    Reconnect the negative battery cable to the battery negative post.

    Now, apply 12 volts to the S terminal wire of the starter motor starter solenoid with your remote starter switch. As you apply these 12 Volts (to the S terminal wire of the starter motor solenoid), you'll get one of two results:

    1. The starter will activate and will turn over the engine
    2. -OR-
    3. The starter motor won't do a thing.

Let's take a look at what your test results mean:

CASE 1: The starter motor cranked the engine. This test result let's you know that the starter motor is OK and functioning. It also tells you that the probable cause, of it not working when you turn the key to start the engine, is a lack of the 12 Volt Start signal on the S terminal of the starter motor solenoid.

The next step is to go to TEST 2 and see if the starter motor is getting the 12 Volt Start signal on the S terminal wire (circuit). Go to TEST 2: Verifying the Start Signal.

CASE 2: The starter motor DID NOT crank the engine. This usually means that your starter motor is BAD and needs to be rebuilt or replaced.

I suggest 2 more tests and these are make sure that the starter motor is getting its 12 Volt Start signal and to test the battery cable (that attaches to the starter motor starter motor) for corrosion. This can be accomplished very easily with a voltage drop test.

  1. Go to: TEST 2: Verifying the Start Signal.
  2. Go to: TEST 3: Voltage Drop Testing the Battery Cable.

STARTER TEST 2: Verifying the Start Signal

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As you may already know, when you turn the key to crank/start the engine... the starter motor gets 12 Volts on the S terminal wire of the starter motor solenoid. These 12 Volts are known as the Start signal.

So, in this test step, we're gonna' see if the starter motor solenoid is getting this Start signal on the S terminal wire. Since you already have your vehicle up on jack stands... this test won't be that hard to do.

You can use a multimeter or a 12 Volt automotive test light. OK, here's what you'll need to do:

  1. 1

    Lift the vehicle and place it on jack stands (if it isn't already up in the air). Now, while underneath the vehicle, connect the RED multimeter lead to the S terminal wire of the starter motor.

    The S terminal wire, of the starter solenoid, must remain connected to it's engine wiring harness connector for this test to work.

  2. 2

    Attach the BLACK multimeter lead to a clean and rust-free spot on the engine or on the vehicle frame.

    Here I'm going to recommend something to you: Use a battery jump start cable to ground the BLACK multimeter lead to a clean ground point on the engine. The reason why is that depending on how rusty and dirty the underneath of the vehicle... you may NOT be able to find a clean and rust-free spot to ground the multimeter's BLACK lead.

  3. 3

    Now, have your helper hop inside the vehicle and turn the key to crank the engine.

    The engine won't turn over, but the idea is to verify that the starter motor solenoid is getting the 12 Volt start signal from the ignition switch.

  4. 4

    Your multimeter is going to register one of two results: Either 10 to 12 Volts DC or no voltage at all.

    Alright, let's interpret the results of this test...

OK, let's make sense of the readings that your multimeter recorded in the test:

CASE 1: If your multimeter registered 10 to 12 Volts: This test result let's you know the starter solenoid is receiving the Start signal (crank signal).

This means that we can forget about the Safety Neutral Switch and the Ignition Switch being BAD. OK, now the next test is to do a very easy and simple voltage drop test. Go to TEST 3.

CASE 2: If your multimeter DID NOT register 10 to 12 Volts: This result exonerates the starter motor. Your starter motor is not BAD.

Here's the reason why... without this 10 to 12 Volt Crank Signal, the starter motor will not crank the engine. Now, although it's beyond the scope of this article to test the Neutral Safety Switch or the Ignition Switch, you have eliminated the starter motor and this means saving money by not buying a part your vehicle does not need.


STARTER TEST 3:
Voltage Drop Testing the Battery (+) Cable

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Although you've probably already cleaned the battery cable terminals and the battery posts of corrosion... there's still a good chance that hidden corrosion (on the battery positive cable) is blocking battery power from reaching the starter motor (this condition is known as a voltage drop).

The absolute best way to eliminate this possibility, is with a simple voltage drop test of the battery positive cable that attaches to the large stud of the starter motor solenoid.

To further explain what a voltage drop is: a voltage drop is simply a condition in which unseen corrosion blocks a lot of the battery power from reaching the starter motor. When this happens, the starter motor will not be able to crank the engine in your Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L Pathfinder (D21, Pick Up, or QX4), even though the battery is in a fully charged state.

OK, to get started, this is what you need to do:

  1. 1

    Place you multimeter in Volts DC mode. Attach the RED multimeter lead to the center of the positive battery terminal. If the positive battery post isn't clean... clean a spot right on the top of it. It's important that the multimeter lead make contact right in the center of the positive battery post.

    You may need two helpers for this test step, since someone will have to hold the RED multimeter lead onto the battery positive terminal and someone else will need to crank the vehicle while you perform the next step.

  2. 2

    With the BLACK multimeter lead, touch the center of the starter solenoid stud to which the big battery cable attaches to. You'll maintain the BLACK multimeter lead in this position throughout the next step.

  3. 3

    Now, have a helper turn the key to crank the engine from inside the vehicle. This is important, since a voltage drop test has to be done while the component in question is working (or trying to work).

  4. 4

    OK, if all is good (no voltage drop), your multimeter will register 0 Volts (.5 volts is still 0 Volts). If there's a voltage drop, your multimeter will register voltage (usually above 7 Volts DC.)

OK, now that the testing part is done... let's take a look at what your results mean:

CASE 1: Your multimeter registered 0 Volts (no voltage drop): This result indicates that the starter motor is receiving all of the battery voltage and Amperage it needs to crank the vehicle.

This also means that the starter motor is BAD, and here's why:

  1. In STARTER TEST 1 you confirmed that the starter motor doesn't work when you apply power to the S terminal wire of the starter motor solenoid.
  2. STARTER TEST 2 you confirmed that the starter motor is receiving the crank signal.
  3. In this test step you have confirmed that no voltage drop exists on the battery positive cable.

These 3 test results, taken together, indicate that the starter motor is BAD. Replacing the starter motor should solve your No Crank Condition.

I'm going to make two more recommendations to you. 1.) Before removing the starter motor, manually turn the engine using a 1/2 ratchet and the appropriate socket.. just to make sure the engine or the A/C Compressor have not locked up and causing the No Crank Condition and 2.) Bench Test the starter motor after removing it. This is a super easy test to do and you can find this article by clicking here: How to Bench Test a Starter Motor (Step by Step) (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).

CASE 2: Your multimeter registered 5 Volts or more: This result tells you that a voltage drop does exist and this is not a good result.

The good news is that this can easily be corrected, since a voltage drop is always caused by some sort of corrosion issue on the battery positive cable or terminals or the battery positive post.

The solution is to thoroughly clean the battery positive post and the battery positive terminal (both the end that attaches to the battery positive post and the end the connects to the starter motor solenoid).

After cleaning, try cranking the engine. If it cranks and starts, no further testing is required.

Related Test Articles

You'll find a complete list of Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L tutorials in the following index: Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L Index of Articles.

Here's a small sample of the articles/tutorials you'll find in the index:

  1. Power Transistor Test & Ignition Coil Test Nissan 3.3L (1996-2004) (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
  2. Engine Compression Test Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L.
  3. Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Test 3.3L Frontier, Quest, Pathfinder, XTerra (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
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troubleshootmyvehicle@hotmail.com (Abraham Torres-Arredondo) Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L Index of Articles Fri, 28 Dec 2012 14:37:00 +0000
How to Test Engine Compression[br] (Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L) http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/how-to-test-engine-compression.html http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/how-to-test-engine-compression.html nissan/3.0L_3.3L_3.5L/b, charset=utf-8, articleId:305, --> How to Test Engine Compression (Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L)

A compression test can help you to nail down a hard to find misfire condition, since it's one of the most overlooked tests when diagnosing a rough idle or misfire condition.

The compression test will also let you know just how healthy (mechanically) the engine is on your Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L car, pick up, SUV or mini-van.

This article will walk you thru' the engine compression test and more importantly, I'll show you how to interpret the results of your compression test.

Here are the contents of this article at a quick glance:

  1. The ‘Dry’ Engine Compression Test.
  2. Interpreting the Results of the Engine Compression Test.
  3. The ‘Wet’ Engine Compression Test.
  4. Why an Engine Compression Test?
  5. Which Compression Tester Should I Buy?
  6. Related Test Articles.

The ‘Dry’ Engine Compression Test

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If your Nissan vehicle starts and runs, it's important to keep in mind that the engine compression test should be done with the engine slightly warmed up.

If your vehicle doesn't run, then don't worry about doing this test with the engine cold.

One last thing, this test is done with the engine cranking... so be carefull and take all necessary safety precautions, your safety is your responsibility

OK, let's get started:

  1. 1

    It's important the engine be slightly warmed up for this test, yet it can not be hot (technically: normal operating temperature) So, if the engine is completely cold, start her up and let it idle for no more than 15 minutes. If the engine has been running for a long period of time, let her cool down for about 1 hour.

  2. 2

    Disable the Ignition System.

    If your vehicle has a distributor, you can easily accomplish this by disconnecting all of the distributor's electrical connectors.

    If your vehicle does not have a distributor (equipped with 6 Coil-on-Plug Ignition Coils), then you'll disable the ignition system when you remove then in the next step.

  3. 3

    Remove all of the six spark plugs. Be careful and don't drop any of the spark plugs. Dropping them could cause their ceramic insulator to break... and this will cause a misfire.

    Important: If necessary (on distributor equipped vehicles), tag each spark plug wire before you disconnect them from the spark plugs... so that you'll know where they go when you re-install them.

  4. 4

    Hand-thread the engine compression gauge into the spark plug hole that you've chosen to test first. Do not use any type of tool to get it tight, hand tight is enough!

  5. 5

    Once everything is set, have your helper crank the car or mini-van till the needle on the compression tester gauge stops climbing. It normally takes about 10 seconds or engine cranking to get to this point. When the needle stops moving, you have reached the maximum compression pressure of that cylinder.

  6. 6

    Record the reading on a piece of paper along with the cylinder the reading belongs to. Now, repeat this exact same test on the remaining engine cylinders. The illustration in the image viewer will help you to identify what cylinders you're testing.

  7. 7

    Now, look at all of the four compression readings that you just wrote down. They should be within 15% of each other. Now, if you don't understand this 15% part, don't worry, the next part of this article will show you how to interpret what you have just done.

Interpreting the Results
of the engine compression test.

Now, I'm gonna' show you how to interpret all those compression pressure values you wrote down for each specific engine cylinder. Here's what you need to do with them:

  1. 1

    Grab a calculator and multiply the highest compression reading recorded by .15 (.15 is the decimal equivalent of 15%). So let's say, for the sake of this example, that the highest reading was 165 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). Multiplying 165 by .15 gives us 25 (24.75 rounded off).

  2. 2

    Subtract 25 from the highest reading. In my example, the highest compression reading is 165... so subtracting 25 from this reading, I get: 140.

  3. 3

    So then, 140 PSI is the lowest possible compression reading that any one of the rest of the engine cylinders can have. Any compression reading below this.. and that engine cylinder will misfire.

Let me give you another, but more specific, example: Let's say that my 2002 Nissan 3.3L Frontier (or Nissan Quest, Pathfinder or whatever), produced the following compression readings:

  1. Cylinder #1 = 165 PSI
  2. Cylinder #2 = 85 PSI
  3. Cylinder #3 = 145 PSI
  4. Cylinder #4 = 160 PSI
  5. Cylinder #5 = 170 PSI
  6. Cylinder #6 = 165 PSI

The next step would be to apply the formula above and I get 145 PSI as the lowest possible reading (170 x .15= 25, 170-25= 145). So, now I know that cylinder #2 is the one causing the misfire!!


The ‘Wet’ Engine Compression Test

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The next step, after finding out that you do have one or more cylinders with low compression, is to add about 2 tablespoons of oil to them... and then retest their compression once more.

The Oil that you're gonna' add to the cylinder will help determine if the low cylinder pressure or pressures you recorded in the ‘Dry’ compression test are caused by worn piston rings or worn cylinder head valves.

Depending on whether the compression pressure rises (on your compression tester) or not, you'll be able to say that the problem lies in the Piston's rings or in the cylinder head valves.

This test... in which you add engine oil to the cylinders, is known as a ‘Wet’ compression test.

OK, this is what you need to do:

  1. 1

    Add a small amount of engine oil to the cylinder that reported low compression or no compression in the ‘Dry’ compression test.

    1. The amount should be about 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil.
  2. 2

    Install the compression tester onto the cylinder.

    1. Do not use any type of tool to tightened the compression tester... hand tight is fine.
  3. 3

    When all is set up, have your helper crank the engine.

  4. 4

    You'll get one of two results, either the compression value will go up (from the one you recorded before) or it will stay the same.

CASE 1: The compression value shot up.. This tells you that the piston compression rings are worn out and thus the problem is in the bottom end (block) of the engine in your 3.0L, 3.3L, or 3.5L Nissan.

CASE 2: The compression value stayed the same.. This confirms that the problem is in the cylinder head valves.

Why an Engine Compression Test?

An engine compression test is one of the most important tests to perform when trying to solve a hard to diagnose misfire condition / rough idle condition. If only one cylinder has below average compression (compared to the other 5 cylinders), that cylinder will not contribute to engine power... and you're gonna' feel it.

Also, no matter what you replace, the misfire condition or Misfire Codes (P0300, P0301, P0302, P303, P0304, P0305, P0306) will not go away! Unfortunately, the engine compression test is one of the most overlooked Misfire troubleshooting tests. Now, testing the compression of each cylinder is usually done after verifying that each cylinder is getting spark (this can be easily accomplished by using a spark tester).

Which Compression Tester Should I Buy?

There are lot of engine compression testers to choose from and many places to buy them. I'm gonna' make two recommendations to you:

1) Which one to buy:  The engine compression tester that I have always used is the Actron CP7827 compression tester Kit My only complaint about this engine compression tester is that it does not come with a case to store it in.

Engine Compression Gauge Testers

     

2) Where to buy:  You can go down to your neighborhood auto parts store to buy an engine compression tester, but you'll pay a whole lot more (usually double) than what you can buy it for from the ads that appear in the blue box above.

Related Test Articles

You can find more ‘How To Test’ articles for your 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L equipped Nissan car, pick up or mini-van at: 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L Nissan Index of Articles.

Here's a small sample of the tutorials you'll find in the index:

  1. How to Test the Starter Motor (Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L).
  2. Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Test 3.0L Nissan Maxima (1995-1999) (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
  3. Power Transistor Test & Ignition Coil Test 3.3L Nissan (1996-2004) (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
  4. How to Test the Throttle Position Sensor (1996-1999 3.0L Maxima) (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
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troubleshootmyvehicle@hotmail.com (Abraham Torres-Arredondo) Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L Index of Articles Mon, 20 Aug 2012 00:54:10 +0000
Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Test 3.5L Nissan Pathfinder (2001-2003) http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/mass-air-flow-sensor-test.html http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/mass-air-flow-sensor-test.html The MAF (Mass Air Flow) Sensor on your 3.5L Nissan Pathfinder (2001-2003) can be easily tested with a Multimeter. No Scan Tool is required. This section includes info that’ll make the MAF Test on your Pathfinder a breeze and some basic working theory, that I recommend you take a look at before jumping into the tests. This MAF Test article covers the Nissan Pathfinder SUV (with a 3.0L V6) for the years: 2001, 2002, and 2003. There are 4 other Nissan MAF Sensor Test articles: How to Test the Nissan MAF Sensor Frontier, Quest, Pathfinder, and Xterra 3.3L V6 (1999-2004). How to Test the Nissan MAF Sensor: Maxima 3.0L V6 (1995-1999). How to Test the Nissan MAF Sensor: Sentra 1.6L 4 cyl. (1995-1999). How to Test the Nissan MAF Sensor: Sentra 1.8L 4 cyl. (2000-2002). Common Symptoms of a BAD Nissan MAF Sensor Here’s a basic list of symptoms that your Pathfinder will experience when the Mass Air Flow Sensor goes BAD: MAF Codes that light up the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT (CEL) on your Instrument Cluster. P0100, MAF Sensor malfunction that DOES NOT light up the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT (CEL). Lean and/or Rich code(s). Fuel Trim code(s). A tremendous lack of power upon acceleration. Black smoke coming from the tail-pipe. BAD gas mileage. Vehicle may idle rough and stall. What tools do I Need? The most important tool that you’re gonna’ need is a Digital Multimeter (or an Analog Multimeter), this bad boy doesn’t have to be an expensive one. A Scan Tool (Automotive Diagnostic Scanner) is not needed. I would also recommend using a Wire-Piercing Probe to to test the Signal of each wire (to see what this tool looks like, click here: Wire-Piercing Probe. Circuit Descriptions of the Nissan MAF Sensor Connector HTML_CAPTION HTML_CAPTION 1 / 2 Previous imageEnlargeNext image The Mass Air Flow Sensor’s connector, on your Nissan Pathfinder, has slots for 5 wires but only has 4 wires attached to it (with one slot being empty). I’ve labeled the wires with the numbers 1 thru’ 4 to help you identify them and to describe what each one does: Number 1: Battery Power (12 Volts). Number 2: Ground. Provided internally by ECM. Number 3: 5V Reference. Number 4: MAF Signal. I recommend using a Wire-Piercing probe to test the Signals in the wires, since this method will be the most effective and easiest way of getting to the signal. If you need to see what this tool looks like, click here: Wire-Piercing Probe. Independent of the method you use, be careful not to damage the wire(s). Take all safety precautions. How Does the Pathfinder’s MAF Sensor Work? The Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor’s job is to measure the amount of air that the engine is breathing. And this measurement of the air flow is sent to the Pathfinder’s Fuel Injection Computer as an Analog DC Voltage Signal. This means that since when the Pathfinder’s 6 cylinder engine is revved up to, let’s say about 2,500 RPM’s... the MAF Sensor will output a higher MAF Signal than when it’s just idling at of 900 RPM’s. It’s as simple as that! When testing this DC Voltage MAF Signal on your Pathfinder with your Multimeter, the important thing to know is not an actual Volts DC number at a specific RPM, but to look for crazy and extreme fluctuations in the MAF Voltage Signal that don’t correspond to the actual air intake (RPM's) of the engine or NO SIGNAL AT ALL. In the TEST 3 section of this article, I'll show how you just how to test this so that you can confirm that your Nissan Pathfinder’s MAF Sensor is bad or not. Pathfinder Application Chart Nissan Pathfinder 3.5L 01, 02, 03

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troubleshootmyvehicle@hotmail.com (Abraham Torres-Arredondo) Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L Index of Articles Mon, 20 Aug 2012 00:45:42 +0000
How to Bench Test a Starter Motor (Step by Step) http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/how-to-bench-test-a-starter-motor.html http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/how-to-bench-test-a-starter-motor.html Bench Testing the Starter is the most effective way to find out if the Starter Motor is in fact BAD. This is an easy test that you can accomplish yourself without having to take the Starter Motor to AutoZone or O’reilly or Pepboys Auto Parts. This is an OFF Car test. So you'll need to remove the Starter Motor from the car or truck to bench test it. It's a very easy test to do. The hardest part is removing the Starter Motor. Below you're gonna' find some useful and important tips that'll make this test a breeze. Common Symptoms of a BAD Starter Before we start you may want to know what are some of the most common symptoms of a BAD Starter: You turn the key to Start and nothing happens. The engine won't crank. Or you turn to key to Start and all you hear is just one loud click. The battery is good. You know that because: You have already replaced it with a new one. or you have tried to jump-start it. Guidelines for Bench-Testing Starter I have seen so many folks have trouble with this very simple test. By following these simple guidelines you'll be able to correctly diagnose a BAD Starter. You'll need some Battery Jumper Cables. A Jumper Wire. The most important thing will be that you'll need a working Battery. It can NOT be a new Battery. This Battery should come from a working vehicle if possible. You CAN NOT use a Jump Box instead of an actual battery. You need to place the Starter in a vise if you have one. If no vice is available, you'll need to have a helper hold it while you do the test. All safety precautions must be taken to not get fingers or anything else caught in the spinning Pinion Gear. Following these simple guidelines will save you a headache and or having to replace a good starter. Bench Testing the Starter: A Step by Step Test Whether your car or truck is a Ford, a Chevrolet, a Nissan, a Mazda, a Dodge, a Chrysler, a Toyota or whatever... This Starter Bench Test applies. If you have already read the important tips on Bench Testing the Starter, we can now start. The photo of the starter motor used in this article is a generic one for ease of explaining the tests. The Starter Motor on your vehicle will look similar. STEP 1: The Circuit Descriptions To Bench Test the Starter you'll need battery jumper cables, a jumper wire, a working battery, and of course the Starter Motor out of the car or truck. These are the circuit descriptions of the photo above: number 1: This is where the Start/Crank wire is attached to. When you turn the Ignition Switch to Start/Crank this wire delivers 12 Volts to activate the Starter Solenoid. This in turn makes the Starter Motor work. number 2: This is where the Cable from the Battery is attached to. number 3: The Grounding point. The Starter Motor is grounded thru' its case.

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troubleshootmyvehicle@hotmail.com (Abraham Torres-Arredondo) Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L Index of Articles Sat, 18 Aug 2012 22:16:00 +0000
Fast and Easy On Car BAD Alternator Test http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/fast-and-easy-on-car-bad-alternator-test.html http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/Nissan-3.0L-3.3L-3.5L-Index-of-Articles/fast-and-easy-on-car-bad-alternator-test.html This is the EASIEST on car test for testing a BAD ALTERNATOR! If you've been wondering how to test the Alternator on your car... this is the test to do. It'll help you to diagnose a BAD Alternator in a pinch. It's a fast test and more importantly an effective test to find out if the alternator is in fact bad. This ON CAR TEST doesn't require any tools, such as a multimeter or anything else. And whether you're driving a Ford, a Chrysler or a Dodge or a Plymouth, a Nissan, a Mitsubishi, a Volkswagen or whatever, this test will work. Also, you can avoid the most common mistake made when testing an alternator of disconnecting the negative terminal of the Battery while the engine is running. Not to mention that this is a really, really bad way of checking for a bad alternator. Common Symptoms of a BAD Alternator Here are the basic symptoms of a BAD Alternator: The vehicle does not start. You know it's not the Starter Motor because if you Jump-Start the vehicle it Starts and Runs but: A few minutes or seconds after you disconnected the Jumper Cables from your vehicle's Battery, the vehicle dies. Or the vehicle may stay running for a while until you start turning on accessories (like headlights, a/c, wipers, etc.). The Battery light comes on and stays on the whole time the vehicle is running. At dark, when you turn on the headlights, both headlights and dashlights are very dim. Tests to See if Alternator is BAD or Not Ok, lets get started..... The test works in this way: You'll be using the vehicle's dome light to diagnose the charging system. You can do this test by yourself or you can have someone helping you. Step 1 Start the vehicle. Either jump-start it or charge the Battery to get it started. Open the door and leave it open so that the dome light can come on and stay on. Step 2 Disconnect the jumper-cables or whatever it was that you used to start the vehicle. Go back to the inside of the vehicle and eyeball the dome light. Step 3 If the vehicle stayed running after disconnecting whatever it was that got it going, then notice the dome light's intensity. Now turn on the headlights and notice the light's intensity once again. The light should dim a little and then resume its brilliance to the way it was before the headlights were turned on. If this happens the alternator is doing good. If the light dims and DOES NOT return to its previous intensity and CONTINUES to dim, the alternator is faulty. Step 4 With the vehicle running and with the headlights still on... Turn on the blower motor on high and notice the light's intensity once again. The light should dim a little and then resume its brilliance to the way it was before the headlights and the blower motor were turned on. If this happens then the alternator is doing good. If the light dims and DOES NOT return to its previous intensity and CONTINUES to dim, the alternator is faulty and not charging the Battery or supplying the vehicle's electrical needs. Interpreting the Results of Alternator Test Here's an overview of the results from this simple and basic test: If the alternator is BAD, as you turn on load after load (headlights, blower motor, wipers, turn signals, etc.) then eventually the dome light and the headlights will get very, very dim till the vehicle stalls. If the alternator is not BAD, then the dome light and the headlights will stay on and brightly lit (after a slight dim as the load normalizes) no matter what you turn on. It doesn't matter how discharged the Battery is. After the vehicle is started, either by a jump-start or by charging the Battery, this test applies. And it doesn't matter what type of vehicle it is (whether it's a Chevrolet, Hyundai, Buick, Pontiac, Honda, Suzuki, Oldsmobile or whatever), this simple test will get you going. If you are a Do It Yourself-er, after you have removed the alternator from the vehicle, have the autoparts store (where you're buying your alternator from) test it on their bench tester to eliminate any other potential cause of your NO CHARGING Condition. For a more in depth look and test of the Alternator, take a look at the second article on TESTING for a BAD ALTERNATOR:

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troubleshootmyvehicle@hotmail.com (Abraham Torres-Arredondo) Nissan 3.0L, 3.3L, 3.5L Index of Articles Fri, 17 Aug 2012 22:06:00 +0000