'97 Nissan Maxima 3.0L V-6

billr

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#1
Well, this is going to be one of those stories...

It's a friends car, he had someone replace the engine with a used one and it isn't running too well. He has been trying to contact the installer for a week now, no answer; and he needs to use the Maxima because he has another regularly-used vehicle that is "on the ropes". He called me to see if I had the means to make sure the ECM is programmed correctly for the "new" engine. My first question was "what year is the new engine?"; he doesn't know... so are there going to be any clues if I'm just looking at it??? How about the serial number, would that help, and where is it located? My first visit will be a look-see, armed only with an Equus 3140 scan-tool and a DMM. Help!
 

nickb2

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#2
Yeah, gonna need more info than just "not running well."

A ton of vacuum lines on these engines. Could be one or two messed up or plugged wrong with the swap. Engine grounds were very touchy and could cause all kinds of problems for these 3.0l's. Check em out and make sure they are tight. Check the big three. Your equus will get you codes, not much more. You can check timing on this engine but can't adjust it. But a timing light will let you know if it is in time with the marks on cover and crank pulley. Idles speed is adjustable. AT 650+-50rpm, MT 575+-50rpm. Believe it or not, there is a fast idle cam of the throttle body, that can be checked out also. Post back if you need any schematics or vacuum or wiring diagrams, I am happy to help with what you need. I also have some good experience with these engines.

Also have heard of crank sensor getting interference from power steering pump pulley. Make sure crank sensor is well seated and plugged in and not rubbing wires that are to close to power steering pump. They tend to rub through there and cause code P1335. If, harness needs to be changed and securely strapped and away from P/S. There is a TSB for this. Many more also concerning driveability problems. If you can get me a proper description than what your buddy gave you concerning symptoms, I will track some down for ya.
 

billr

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#3
I'm going to look at it tomorrow morning. I hadn't thought about taking the timing light, thanks for reminding me. How about compression, are the plugs easy enough to get to on that thing? Tomorrow is going to be primarily a "fact-finding mission", I'll let you know what I find. I'm hopeful the Equus will show basic live-data.
 

billr

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#4
Well, I read codes and got P0335 (crank position sensor A), P0325 (knock sensor 1), P0100 (MAF), and P0505 (IAC). I checked everything visually, then started it up and looked at live-data. It all looked reasonably normal, and the MAP correlated to a mechanical gage I T'ed in at the FPR (couldn't find the MAP sensor!). I then cleared the codes and took it for a drive; it ran fine for a short way and then started running rough at idle. I stopped and looked at live-data, nothing new but a P0301 for cylinder #1 misfire. After a bit more driving I realized it was only rough right near idle; any appreciable throttle opening and it ran fine. It's an auto trans, so I loaded the engine against the brakes. It pulled nicely all the up to WOT. In fact, the brakes had trouble holding it; the first time I have experienced that with any vehicle. I think that means poor brakes, but certainly the engine was doing OK. As I got back a coolant leak became apparent, and now the P0325 was back as well as the P0301. I pulled what I hope was #1 plug, passenger-side front bank; it looked OK. I didn't check ignition timing as it is COP and I didn't have an "extender" wire that I could put my inductive pick-up around. Next time. I cleared the codes and the P0301 came back just idling while I was poking around some more. Cleared them again and none came back while idling. One thing I neglected to check was the TPS readings. I know it was "0" with throttle at idle-stop, but didn't check as it was swept through full range. While I was loading the engine against the trans I noticed TPS and it seemed too low for where I felt my foot was into the throttle. I made a note to check the TPS thoroughly when I got back, but forgot! Another "next time".

Now for some of the "back story":

1) This engine is used from Japan. Supposedly they have a requirement there to pull engines for rebuild/replacement after 60K miles! This results in a huge surplus of "good" used engines that are exported for use around the world. Has anyone ever heard of this???

2) The installation seems sloppy to me. Missing fasteners here-and-there, clips on air filter box not fastened, hose clamp replaced and left abandoned on hose, and one coolant hose cut and spliced. Makes me leery of the whole job.

3) The spliced coolant hose is about 3/8" ID and runs along the back side of the rear cylinder head, just above the EGR level. It looks like it was spliced with just a piece of steel tube, no bumps or barbs on it; and, of course, that is where the leak seems to be. Really tough to see in there, much less fixed it properly. I would like to remove that hose at each end and fish in a new one (without splice!), does anyone know where it's ends are?

4) Several times my scanner "lost communication" with the car for no apparent reason. This is worrisome and I looked for basic ground straps, found only the heavy one from battery to engine; nothing from engine (or battery) to chassis. Anyone know where that is? (I crawled underneath and looked from there, as well as above.

5) The IAT sensor is just dangling on its harness. The harness is only about 9" long so the area it should go in is pretty limited, but I couldn't find it. The IAT mounts in a rubber grommet, like you would find in a fire-wall or other thin component. I figure it goes in the plastic ducting on one side or the other of the MAF, but can't find the hole, which would be about 7'8" dia. Anyone know where the IAT goes? If I can't find a place for it, then I'm going to fear this engine isn't quite exactly the same as the original!

6) Oh, yeah... even when the codes are cleared the cat, eva, o2s, and egr lights on my Equus 3140 scanner blink, and the scanner indicates the car isn't ready for emission testing. I can kind of guess what those lights are suggesting, but sometimes the "htr" light also blinks; is that for the O2 sensor heater(s)?
 

nickb2

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#5
Wow, nice mess. Bill, try adding a big gauge jumper wire to chassis ground from engine block. May help with those gremlins, at least it will indicate bad grounding. I wrote about that. Also check for the rubbing at crank sensor harness from P/S pulley. Maybe your code 355. As for that splice, why not make use of it and install a flush "T" adapter with two screw type clamps. You could use this for future maintenance. I included all locations for every sensor for this car, a 7 page PDf named ACE 0, this should help you with placement of IAT and MAP/BARO location. Ass for timing, there is an extender wire from company, it is here in ACE 2. Timing and idle speed adjustment procedures are in ACE 1.



[attachment deleted during maintenance]
 

billr

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#6
Thanks for all the good info nickb2. I am planning on adding a heavy ground between engine and chassis, "just in case". Unfortunately, I just don't think I can get in to where that splice is at all. I think it was done with the engine out, at least part-way. Have you ever heard of that 60K BS in Japan?
 

nickb2

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#7
Nada for the Japan engine 60k rule. Never heard of that. Seeing that these engines can do easily 300-400k km without a major rebuild needed, I would think this is a huge waste of resources for the Japanese. From what I gather, this is a myth, the price of inspections is sky high in Japan, this is an incentive to get rid of the cars sooner than North Americans do. We simply buy the surplus from them. It is cheaper for the Japanese to simply buy a new car than meet the "Shaken" inspection law.

Read here for more info. You will understand why we get their engines and have right hand drive cars from Japan more and more. In Quebec we have tons, In British Columbia, the proximity makes for heaps of em on our roads.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor-vehicle_inspection_%28Japan%29

End of shaken period

As vehicles get older, maintaining them at the standards required by the shaken can become expensive. This is because beyond the tuner scene, most Japanese do not get involved in mechanical repairs, and as a result, mechanics can charge high prices. Vehicles which cannot pass inspection are not allowed to be driven on public roads. Unwanted vehicles must be destroyed and recycled, or as some do to make more profit, export the vehicle. As a result, many Japanese used vehicles are exported to other nations right before or after their shaken is up.
I personally think this is good for us. And for the planet. The more we recycle stuff, the better.
 

billr

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#8
Interesting that the name for it, "shaken", seems so similar to our term "shake-down".
 

billr

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#9
Well, I went at it again today; I'm done, but it isn't. I'm not going to be available to my friend for the next few weeks, so he is probably going get it looked at by someone else. The spot for the IAT sensor shown in nickb2's pictorial just isn't there. It should be on the MAF unit, so the MAF is not same as original; I hope calibration on them is sort of "generic", but that won't cure the IAT readings being off. IAT will be under-hood air temp, not the temp of intake air, which I would hope is cooler. I checked the TPS and it seems OK, but at any throttle opening off of idle (key on, engine off) some electrical device buzzes. That grabbed my attention because it was only at idle that the engine is rough. It sounds like a stepper motor or injector pulsing, at about 200-300 Hz. I snooped around with a hose "stethoscope"; I figured it would be the EGR or an electric throttle actuator. Nope. The sound is coming from the auto trans, in the lower front left, near the valve body. What's up with that. The leaking little hose in the back doesn't go across the engine, it's a small U-shaped one connecting the rear head to block; or maybe one of those to the intake manifold, since I would think this engine came with the heads on. At any rate, one of the clamps had been slid back an inch or so, like you would do to remove the hose; no wonder it leaks. We tried quite a bit to put it back, but just not enough room. I took the screw out of the top-right motor mount, hoping we could rock the engine away from the firewall a bit, but it wouldn't budge, even with a little bit of prying. Is there any easy way to get that beast to move a bit? Unfortunately I found several more loose fasteners and even a flat washer pinched (half-in, half-out) between the rear exhaust manifold and head! I don't have a lot of faith in the quality of this engine change. I did add a good ground strap from engine to firewall, but the firewall sheet-metal is so thin I can only hope it is effective. Sorry if there are typos this time, it was mostly a one-finger job with a 6-month old baby in my lap!
 

billr

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#10
Unfortunately this is just an obituary for it. The guy that did the engine swap wouldn't respond and I guess my friend didn't want to impose on me any more. He's made a deal on something new and is going to tow this in for a trade-in.
 

JimD10796

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#12
Just a FYI about the Jap imported motors, Ive installed a bunch of them with tags on them in the 35k range. Now you pretty much half to long block them(intakes and exhaust are different), we change out all seals, timing belt, water pump, tstat and have never had a redo.
 

billr

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#13
In this case the immediate problem was a shoddy mechanic. A clamp on a small coolant hose way in the rear was left loose, and there was no room for me to get it back on to stop the leak; I figured the engine to come at least part-way back out. Lot's of other signs of poor workmanship, screws left loose or missing, stuff like that. When the owner contacted the mechanic about these issues he couldn't even get a call back, so he decide to cut his losses.