Another SES light..sigh - Nissan Forums : Nissan Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-07-2017, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Another SES light..sigh

Not wasting anybody's time here so the extremely abbreviated version of my issue goes like this:

Bank2 on my V6 3.5 '03 set off the SES light. Bought SS headers and had it installed (read: no CCs anymore).

Had about 5 MILs, cleared them after installing 2 new O2 sensors downstream w/ a OBDII reader.

Everything looked good, then drove it further today got 2 new MILs (P4020) "Pb generic catalytic converter low efficiency"
and another P4020 w/o the "Pb" in front (same message). Both are bank 1 codes instead of my prior bank 2 codes.

Is it possible that the 2 new downstream O2 sensors (Denso) are throwing off the OEM upstream sensors and tripping the SES?

In other words do I need to install all new O2s to stop this nonsense?

I'm not terribly worried since all the issues relate to a cat issue and I have no cats installed any longer. I just want my SES to FO, haha

Any advice or theories welcome.

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post #2 of 13 Old 01-07-2017, 04:12 AM
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You did put some kind of CC cheater system in right? If not, the sensors are doing their job and telling the truth...low (as in zero) pre cat efficiency. Not sure what the right secret sauce is for our VQ's, one anti-fouler, two stacked anti-foulers....? Electronic cheater modules? Anyone?

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post #3 of 13 Old 01-07-2017, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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Doug to the rescue , how's it going man?
I think more than any other member on here you've pretty consistently responded to my posts.
Sorry for not realizing there was a "thanks" button all this time.

Anyway to answer your query, "no". No cheater onboard, "why?"
Because up until now my car's ECU was never complaining about anything even remotely related to CC efficiency.

Of the 5 MILs I previously had, 4 of them were Bank 2 (both of them) high and low voltage issues. This occurred
due to a very poor mechanic recommendation and a stubbornness inside myself that I was going to let sb else do the
work this time so I could enjoy the results more. This resulted in 2 cut and twisted together with trailer wire and electrical taped O2 sensors (4 MILS)
and a header set that sounded like a lactose intolerant business man at an all dairy buffet (still a bit miffed w/ their install that I made them correct).

But to get back on track, I'm super curious as why NOW the MIL indicates poor cat efficiency when before it was content to only bring High and Low voltage issues to my attention. I drove it around for a week and a half because I had nothing else to drive and no time to address the shoddy workmanship. The ECU had plenty of time to bring up poor cat efficiency during that period.

After all, nothing's different now besides I added true O2 extenders from Summit Racing and 2 new Denso Downstream O2s.
My work seems to have quelled all the previous codes, so my car's like "Ok then, on to the next"

Last edited by BeetRoot; 01-07-2017 at 03:34 PM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-08-2017, 04:15 PM
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Hey, thanks for thanks! Appreciation is a motivating force

I think your car is just working it's way up its own Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs. So now that it is satisfied that the sensors are indeed functioning again, it has now noticed that your precat is nowhere to be found...that's why they have O2 sensors before and after, if the cat is working, there will be less oxygen present after, and the sensor will report as such. Without a cat, they will both register the same amount of oxygen in the exhaust and you'll get a new code for a new problem. The difference was likely that before the sensor voltages were always out of normal range...resulting in SES code set 1, and now that the sensors are ok, you get SES code set 2.

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post #5 of 13 Old 01-08-2017, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, possibly. I'm not ruling it out Doug. I guess I'll have to take a chance on a pair of cheater bung/spacers for the upstream sensors. I noticed the "bolt" on the O2 sensors was a true 22mm. I'm sure for a not-stuck-on O2, 7/8" would also work, but I'm pretty adamant about having the right sizes for everything. It's really curious how it's so difficult to locate a 22mm open-end wrench. All my searching finally paid off @ Sears, found one for 6 bucks and bought 2. I will grind a small slit in one of them on the box-end side to use on O2 sensors (ala flared crows foot). I feel that if things are true to size the possibility of rounding the corners on the sensor and needing special O2 sockets is minimal.

So would I be searching for 22mm spacer? Probably huh?


Also I wanted to take this opportunity to let other 3rd gen Alti owners know that I am having success with the DC Sports O2 sensor extender. It's actually made for an 02 Sentra 2.5L which probably didn't have 2 downstream O2s. Regardless the harness connection is virtually identical short of the side rail location guide on the outside of the left most O2 sensor location (OEM wiring, looking up from under the vehicle). The colors match-up. One factory 4 pin harness is blue, the other is green. The blue one is plug and play with this harness, the green needs the side rail taken off the connector with a Dremel. I used a stone cylinder grinder-type of wheel to do this. Before installing the extenders I tested the wires to make sure the locations remain the same end-to-end; I was happy to find that they do with a quick continuity test.

Also, I used the same model Denso O2's (DENSO#234-4273)for both downstream locations even though Denso makes 2 different part numbers for the 3.5L.
After talking with their tech support line about the differences, they determined that the length on one sensor's wire was 14in and the other was only 10. I purchased the 10in version, but length was no problem with the extenders. I would also presume that the guide rail would be in a different location on the snap connector had I paid for the difference. I did what I did to spend the minimum amount of money while getting the same effects. Obviously I already feel a bit ridiculous paying for O2 sensors that measure A/F ratios affected by cat functionality when I have no cat installed -so yeah, not paying 60 bucks for a sensor that is minimally different from one that costs me 30. Even if the side rail is correctly different on the 2 O2s for Downstream, the extension harness is the same part x2 so same side rail orientations in the snap-on connector. I'd of had to grind things anyway in other words. Now 2.5L Alti owners, probably don't need to do a thing but snap it in place. The part number for the harness is DCS-RHWA-007. Buying the parts myself and putting them on saved me about $300. The 2 extensions cost me $20 each and the O2s $30 each. I used an adjustable 10" Crescent wrench (wrenches from Sears haven't arrived yet) to perform the work since it's very accessible with the new location on my header kit.

The upstream O2s are going to be "fun" though, especially the bank closest to the firewall. Will report back.

Last edited by BeetRoot; 01-08-2017 at 06:45 PM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-08-2017, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Hey um, any chance I can get money for any of the OEM parts that were taken off changing over to headers? As of now they are pointed towards the trash pick-up next week.
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-08-2017, 10:55 PM
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I think you want to add the antifouler spacers to the lower O2...otherwise you'll be messing with your Air/Fuel sensor and that is never good! As for the size, I don't know...never put headers on my '03SE, just a Vibrant cat back, but you want to match the threading of your O2 sensors more than anything else.

If your precats are still in good condition you can likely fleabay them, any deterioration of the catalytic material or screening inside and they are junk.

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post #8 of 13 Old 01-08-2017, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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hmm, so adding spacers to the downstream O2s (Bank2) are going to quiet my upstream (bank 1)SES trouble code? How does that work?
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-09-2017, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeetRoot View Post
hmm, so adding spacers to the downstream O2s (Bank2) are going to quiet my upstream (bank 1)SES trouble code? How does that work?
Bank 1 are the front cylinders...ie 1,3,5 and bank 2 are the back cylinders, ie 2,4,6.

What code exactly are you getting?
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-09-2017, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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So I've done some reading and I'm starting to wrap my head around things more. I was going to be irritable and state that I already gave you the MIL code, but upon review it seems I got all dyslexic with the numbers. The code is P0420 "generic catalytic converter low threshold" and the same bank (1) indicated on the the 2nd code with "Pb generic catalytic converter low threshold". Which really could just be a misnomer since what it's really saying is "Your cat isn't working right" and it's confirming this information from the reading it's taking downstream from where the cat used to be and seeing no change in exhaust gas composition.

It actually sounds to me as if I only need one spacer to be placed on the downstream 02 of bank 1 to get this resolved. Would you agree?

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post #11 of 13 Old 01-09-2017, 02:25 PM
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If only bank 1 is throwing, then you may only need to cheat on that side (but I would plan for having to do both sides). IIRC those spark plug anti foulers are pretty cheap...so having 4 on hand isn't much more than just getting 1 (I've heard of needing two stacked to get the right reading--I've also heard of them not working at all). I did at one point find a company that was making O2 cheater units...

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post #12 of 13 Old 01-17-2017, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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OK, back again. I'm close to marking this post solved, but I'll give it another week before I do that. This one is just an update.
So I ordered 2x 90degree O2 spacers from Ebay(shopsmartautoparts). They were stainless, which was an important criteria to meet in my mind.
Once finished I hope to never have to deal with this crap again. (I can dream right?).

I was actually so dense in the head I couldn't figure out why I would need the extender tube that comes with the angle adapter. On the left side DS O2 (looking up from under the car, head pointed toward the rear of the vehicle) It was a cake walk I only used the extender tube to add a bit more distance from the original location in case the regular angle spacer wasn't enough to do it's job. Then I got to the right side DS O2 and the location was incredibly close to the flange at the end. I then was able to use the extender (straight piece) to raise the O2 out vertically a bit so that things could thread. I then ran into an issue with the heat shield getting in the way so I ended-up threading the O2 as far as I could then bending the heatshield while threading more and at the end (less than a quarter inch) using the nut on the angle adapter to tighten things on enough as I didn't care to cut up my heat shield to finish the threading. They worked differently than I figured they would.

I just assumed that the angle could be set from any direction and the nut that fastened things would then lock it into place. That didn't really turn out happening, but regardless I got the threads all lightly coated with anti-seize compound and everything locked into place.

Last time I tested my O2s with just the wire harness extensions on, things looked good until I hit the freeway @70 mph for about 20 minutes (grocery shopping). This week I finally had to return to the same shop and I'm happy to report no SES light. I also drove another route that was a fair distance, but not at high speed. So far things are looking good, but as I said, I'll give it another week before I'm willing to say this is all wrapped-up.

Btw, thanks for your assistance Doug, sure enough the codes changed to Bank 1 and Bank 2 errors, so I had purchased 2 spacers in anticipation of this. I'd of figured it out, but it's nice to have someone to bounce stuff off of to expedite the whole process.
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post #13 of 13 Old 01-28-2017, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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Ok guys I think this will be my last update on this issue as I think it's come to a close. I've driven all over the state at this point with no SES light. The extensions are working great, the O2 spacers are working great as well. I can't think of anything more helpful to add to my update except that I peddled my old exhaust (OEM) set-up to the highest paying catalytic converter buyer (in my state this requires a permit(free)). I also found some copper HVAC pipe and an old motherboard to bring with me. I'd guess the OEM setup got me about 30 bucks, cuz all-together I got $42 from that trip. I wasn't expecting much. The guy said the large round cat by itself was $18. I was actually really impressed since I was about to throw it all to the curb on the proper day of the week for such things in my neighborhood. One last detail if I didn't state it anywhere. The size for the O2 spacers is 18mm just like most of the spacers made out there. The difference from 22mm to 18mm was because of the welded-on bolt to the O2 housing. If you were to measure from the threading you'd find the size to indeed be 18mm needed to purchase the correct sized O2 spacer. Well, It's been a long journey with all this, but all the documenting, asking questions and buying the proper components led me to solve my own problems for a fraction of the money the thieves around my area would have charged me to do the same thing only not as well. Thank you to all who paid an interest or assisted. I hope all my documentation helps another on here get to a resolution even quicker than myself.

Last edited by BeetRoot; 01-28-2017 at 04:39 AM.
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