out of time? safe to drive?


Asked by Jul 10, 2013 at 12:46 PM about the 2004 Nissan Xterra SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

i changed the timing belt on my 2004 Nissan xterra. it was running fine at first, but after driving it a bit, my service engine soon light began flashing. diagnostic showed a "random misfire" and it seems to be idling low. did it get out of time or maybe plugs?? will the computer reset over time and is it safe to drive? its my only transportation. I have to drive 30 miles to work, hwy.

24 Answers

get your diagnostic trouble codes read at an autoparts store or read them ye self with ye own unit~


I had it read at the parts store, all its showing is "a random misfire"

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

if all six horses are helpin' with no misfires...yes take it...but best if we knew which connections were jarred loose during the timing belt replacement~....the ground connection to chassis is critical~

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

what Pxxx code was revealed? this is what we need to know to affect a solution~


would it show the "random misfire" if maybe the timing is off by one notch?

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

misfire could be caused from a crank angle sensor not installed properly, had it's lead scrubbed and is not providing a reliable signal...of course misfire, this is a consequence...not a cause~ anyways not given a reliable signal from the crank sensor would put it into "limp mode" and throw a CEL up...perhaps flashing.~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

he didn't tell me the pxxx code, just told me it was reading "a random misfire"

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

the ignition system/coil packs were perfectly okay before the timing belt job?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

...well these are okay, but the signal to fire is not all that...I'd check the chassis ground...so that the ECU would have a reliable connection~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

my starter has been giving me some issues lately

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

you might just disconnect the battery for 15 seconds to clear the codes and perhaps introduce a load such as pumping the brakes several times to omit any latent charge that could affect the "fresh" approach once the battery is re-connected~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Aha...grab a coarse wirebrush and wirebrush the connection at the other end of the battery 1/0 cable, the one that bolts to the inside of the frame/fender this one has to be shiny and comfortable pulling 300 cold cranking amps...here and the connection to the motor...again 1/0 battery cable connected to the motor block near the alternator~


just tell me if I drive it to work, its not gonna throw a rod or explode when im going down the road

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

the battery has to be newer than five years old...they are made from a tin/antimony alloy [no more lead] and stop accepting a charge ten percent per year...a destructive 'load test' whereby a dead-short is introduced for three seconds...if the battery is good will still start the car after the dead short...if not....kaput~

Certainly cannot speak for the health of your car...there are only a couple of dozen CRITICAL areas....all of which must be examined...I'd pony up for a new crank angle sensor 'cause it sounds like the lead has been scrubbed, chafed, pulled on....whatever is no longer producing a reliable signal and causing the misfire..

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

changed the crank sensor about a month ago

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

...that might clear things up...this connection to the crank angle sensor~ does not sound like you screwed up the timing belt job...you did not comment on the tensioner...you have a belt so there is no "wear shoe" but tension should not be more than 3/32" and inch or about 4mm~

reset the computer by disconnecting the cable...pump the brakes five times then put the cable back...should not have any CEL then~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

take a look at the harness that the Crank Angle Sensor is connected to...perhaps there is a scrubbed up harness there~

got AAA...timing belt is installed correctly? you will not throw a rod...drive it.


did what you said about pumping the brakes 5 times, now it wont start at all

you used up all the vacuum in the vacuum reservoir...try to start it five times...will build up vacuum needed for the power brakes...why this is causing the engine not to start seems unrelated~ some starting spray may kick it over~

but you've got NO check engine light?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

no signal from crank angle sensor = no spark

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