2004 V6 Xterra speedometer / engine issue

25

Asked by Jul 11, 2007 at 01:21 PM about the 2004 Nissan Xterra

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

We bought a used 2004 V6 Xterra with 70,000 miles last year. The car normally runs well.  But occassionally (maybe once a month), the speedometer & odometer both stop working while driving down the road. The engine keeps running, but the car is completely unresponsive to the gas pedal -- it slows down to 0 even when pressing the pedal to the floor. After 30 or 40 seconds, it returns to normal. But once this starts during a driving trip, it keeps repeating the off/on pattern until I park the car for a while. Then it'll act normally for a while until it happens again.  The local Nissan dealership doesn't have a clue, even after hooking it up to a diagnositic machine (came back clean).  Any ideas on what the problem is, or what I can tell them to check?

9 Answers

34,795

Could be a number of things. I would have them check the carburetor first.

0 people found this helpful.
10

If you say it's effecting your tach and speedo so they just go 'dead' and the needles go to zero, when you are still rolling along, and the engine dies or simply goes to idle, that would sound like the main ECU, or Engine Control Unit. It is responsible for both the gauge display information and the engine/injector control. If it's something that you can trace to: a) after prolonged running b) hot weather c) heater on I would suggest that it's temp related and the ECU is overheating inside. It could be something as simple as a bad solder connection that opens up as it heats up and things expand. If it's more something that happens when it's damp, raining, or after a wash, then I would suggest a connector that is allowing water in and possibly pulling down the power supply so the ECU craps out. But that is less likely. Either way, it sounds like it's electricl. Since it's the engine and the gauges, it sounds like the ECU. Best of luck!

1 people found this helpful.

I dont think it's an electrical problem, because the computer would have read that theres an electrical problem. You might wanna check to see if the accelerator and that section of the engine is fine, simply because all three of those (tach, speed, and gas) dont respond all at the same time.

2,265

it is definate that it's a compute problem. Many of todays OBDII diagnostic systems do not store temporary info if what is occuring does not fall out of the 'normal' range. I've dealt with a few Nissans and the TCM (transmission control module) and ECM/PCM (engine control module/powertrain control module) communicate together to produce the signals needed - if one fails, the other uses 'default data' to continue doing what it 'thinks' is right and does not set any codes. the only real way to have it checked is on one of your trips - when it starts acting up, take it to a dealer and have their shop forman drive the vehicle. don't shut it off as any info that is stored will likely be lost. Also, you could see if a 'data recorder' is available that they can give you to record data as the problem happens. many manufactures have this available, not sure if nissan has it or not.

80

I know it was 6 years ago...they sure keep these things up here for a long time. But I agree with Robert....it has to be the computer codes getting erased when you shut the car off. If it was mechanical all three of those things wouldn't be related and wouldn't occur together...So what was it? The bad part of these forums is the person with the problem never says if it was fixed and if so, what it was!!! Thanks , KM

25

jstplncrz - Yes! They DO keep these things a long time. I was surprised to receive your question in my email, after all this time. As for the Xterra -- sadly, we never diagnosed it. We gave up on the mechanics at our local Nissan dealership and started checking with other small shops in the area. Three months later - still no luck. We had bought the car for our 17 year old son, but he was never really able to enjoy it because we were afraid the problem would happen with him at the wheel. We finally traded it in to a dealership (with full disclosure), took our loss, and moved on.

I'm having this same issue. Tach doesn't die though, only the speedo. Shifting to neutral and back to drive (automatic transmission) always fixes it... I'm determined to diagnose it. Starting with a new Throttle Position Sensor, new ATF fluid and filter, new ECU, new Gauge Cluster. Already tried replacing the Speed Sensor, and disconnecting the gauge cluster to no avail. I was thinking there's a chance it's transmissions related since shifting to neutral and back always fixes it... If anyone else has suggestions, I'd appreciate them.

I have a really good Mechanic looking at mine now it's a frontier but having the same problem as graysick I will let you know what he figures out

I have just begun having this issue with a 2004 SE 4x4. Only the speedometer drops sporadically unitl tapping on the instrument panel. Seems like a sporadic RPM limit at about 1700 rpm. No rhyme or reason when it happens or when it stops happening. Did just have a code pop up for the speed sensor. About one of the few parts left to replace on this truck.

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