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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Is there any chance you just have some ice crystals in the gas line...ie has it every been above freezing for long enough for things to thaw out a bit (sounds like not according to your fingers...). If not, and assuming you have no block heater or other means of introducing reasonable and mostly safe heat in the area (keep in mind, it's filled with gas right?). You could pull the defunct cyl's injector wire (so it doesn't squirt gas), and run the car on 3 good cyls for 1-2 min, shut off and throw some old blanket or whatever over top to trap what heat you generated and close the hood...give it 1/2hr, reconnect the injector and try again. With luck...any crystals will now be liquid water and get flushed through the cylinder...the dry cycling and heat will help to dry out the defunct cylinder too. Adjust idle time for heat generation upwards as the temperature plummets but don't run it like that longer than you have to....it's pretty ghetto.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Is there any chance you just have some ice crystals in the gas line...ie has it every been above freezing for long enough for things to thaw out a bit (sounds like not according to your fingers...). If not, and assuming you have no block heater or other means of introducing reasonable and mostly safe heat in the area (keep in mind, it's filled with gas right?). You could pull the defunct cyl's injector wire (so it doesn't squirt gas), and run the car on 3 good cyls for 1-2 min, shut off and throw some old blanket or whatever over top to trap what heat you generated and close the hood...give it 1/2hr, reconnect the injector and try again. With luck...any crystals will now be liquid water and get flushed through the cylinder...the dry cycling and heat will help to dry out the defunct cylinder too. Adjust idle time for heat generation upwards as the temperature plummets but don't run it like that longer than you have to....it's pretty ghetto.
Thank you for these thoughts..I have never heard of this before but will take your word that it is a real deal :)
That being said, I had the problem before the cold set in...BUT I also had a really bad leaking injector so it was double issue. I guess I cannot rule that out but I did just put four gallons of fresh gas in the day I started having this issue and it was warmish out (well compared to now..lol). I am wondering if a bottle of HEAT or some other additive would do the trick to rule that out..how about Isopropyl (rubbing alcohol)?

Just wondering out loud...this cylinder was definitely filled with gas for a good amount of time and driven for like 6 blocks before even realizing it. I just watched videos today on compression strokes and gas igniting under compression alone even without a spark (had no idea this was possible..also called engine knock) anyway that made me wonder if something could have either been bent, broken or disconnected from all this extra compression pressure..or maybe something got filled up that should't have..vacuum line, some chamber I am unaware of etc. This is the SAME cylinder that had the leaking O-ring and that SHOT gas out when I had the plug out and turned it over (leading to the not so fun fire that made me pee just a wee bit..lol). I heard the term hydro-locking a cylinder but haven't gotten that far in my research yet.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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6,000 Posts
Your compression checked out ok for this cylinder didn't it? To me, that means you have the right pressure conditions for fuel vapour to ignite in the desired fashion.

Addition of alcohol is usually the way to go, gas line antifreeze is usually methyl alcohol...but I'm pretty sure ethyl and isopropyl mix just as well with water ;) Problem is it might take quite some time for the alcohol to migrate from the tank to the very end of the fuel line, unless you again run the engine to pump alcohol containing fuel into the rail...addition of local heat will be much faster and effective. Doing both certainly wouldn't hurt.

Hydro-lock stops your engine dead in its tracks. No further rotation possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Just an update..I can barely even move my arms, hands or legs from roughly 12 hours of the most hard core snow shoveling / dragging off roofs I have ever done. Our new place has 5 lightweight sheds not built for more than a couple inches of snow...our house was built in 1942 with 2x4 roof joists on 2 foot center and we got the heaviest and quickest snow load there has ever been up here in my 45 years anyway. So car project is on hold for a couple more days it appears...what a couple days this has been...wow! Cannot believe I survived climbing up a frozen ladder in white out..crawling on two story roof and pushing snow off with home made heavy rake for four hours straight..and that was just the start.

Attached photos show the Nissan I am working on...lol

100090


100091
 

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Wow that's impressive! I thought it was a warm winter overall but I was wrong, definitely it's messed up, I should have some snow here.in ATL but now I have 20°C
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Well I am about to throw in the towel on this car I guess...I am stubborn but not insane (well to a degree I most certainly am..lol).

I shoveled both cars off (need one to jump) and the pathways to get to them..struggle like heck going to get new gas (almost ran out) and added a dash of bottled Heat. Got home stripped the screw for the pressure regulator but finally got it out and new one installed...no change.

Since I watch repair videos as my only hobby now I guess...I decided to try and pinch off some vacuum lines with vice grips...no change no matter where I pinched..even the big one at the break booster.

BUT I then decided to get in car and pump brakes..and there is a definite change in the RPM as I am pumping the brakes it goes a bit higher then it immediate falls when I stop or let off brakes.

No idea what could cause this,if its a potential clue or just normal but I am still thinking about the way the brakes felt so different all of a sudden when this idle problem started.

Any more thoughts or ideas will be appreciated...I will update this if I decide to quit or list the car for sale "mechanics special" style..lol
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Just a quick recap then.

cylX - didn't run, but now does, not sure how you fixed this

cyl1 (closest to distrib)
  • had bad o-ring
  • gushed fuel
  • no rpm change when spark or injector disconnected
Regarding cyl1, a failed o-ring should only cause compression problems not stuck open or leaking injector, or maybe it failed because of the 'hydro-lock' style pressure blowing it out in the first place..saving your engine. But to me that should mean either the injector had issues, and since you haven't fixed or replaced it (though maybe you moved it) it should still be causing issues somewhere (unless whatever grit/gum that had it stuck has cleared) or the plug. Even so, that would point to a lack of 'fire' in cyl1, even before you opened it all up...that points to plugs/cables etc...and you're already replaced the cap and cable so we're pretty much down to plug. Any chance the plug is still 'wet' and thus shorting out internally? If you think this might be the case, pull plug1, leave in plug socket (use as handle) and torch the end of it for 30s or so (propane torch), evenly warming up the last few threads and the grounding electrode...easy on the tip though! Plug metal should appear to 'dry' under the heat and will eventually start to smoke a bit, back off heat if/when it starts to smoke or after about 30s of gentle heating. If you can, insert plug while still hot into cylinder, carefully reconnect wire and try a crank. Be careful not to strip the threads with the hot plug and beware of any unburnt fuel in the cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
My recap..
At first I didnt have any change in RPMS when removing #1 & #4 plug wires...ordered one injector and put it in number 4. That one started to work as it should and could then actually idle well enough to drive.

I then went for a couple block test drive, got TONS of smoke out of it.

Took plugs out one at a time to test compression..I turned it over with plugs out before inserting tester each time..when I got to the last one and turned it over gas flew out of plug hole igniting on fire due to spark from plug wire (oops).

Then I pulled fuel rail after seeing a thread about stuck open injector...sure enough that number one (first one in line of fuel delivery) was gushing fuel with key on so it was stuck open.

Changed oil...put in another injector I bought...no more stuck injector, yay..ran it for another test drive..compression checks out..spark is good..noid light checks out..spray pattern looks good..new plugs..swapped wires with known good (new for other car) yet still rough idle and no change when when taking spark or fuel injector plug off that cylinder.

Also noticed no change in fuel pressure when taking off vacuum from fuel regulator..changed that with new...now I do see change in pressure..but problem still persists.

Also noticed no change in motor when pinching any vacuum lines..and again to note..brakes feel different so my only thought as this point is intake manifold gasket leak on the underside close to that bad cylinder and where I cant get to it with carb cleaner to see if I get idle change..Thinking this would change the air mixture ratio on that cylinder causing it not too combust.

Car runs smooth on highway but no idea if its missing or not since no way to tell..no engine codes...that again may be sign of vacuum leak I guess based on videos I have watched. If air can escape the manifold then I would think vacuum would also not be good at brake booster and thus affect the feel of brakes..and if I pump brakes I do see change in idle briefly.

So my summary as mentioned above is an intake manifold gasket problem...but again I am learning as I go here.

To top it off, was just getting ready to list it for sale and now I have no power windows at all...sunroof, power seatbelts, and power door locks all work but not a single window will go down...wow!..lol

And basement is flooding from all this snow and heavy rain..so yeah today is awesome...lol
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Ok...thanks for recap. I am also leaning towards a fuel/air mismatch issue...

1. compression good
2. multiple plugs tried, multiple cables
3. new injector, good spray

Is there any chance there is somehow a missing gasket on either the injector or the plug? I know at one point there was some kind of O-ring issues...was this on this cylinder and when the injector was replaced, was the O-ring also verified again?

Based on what you've said, I don't think you have a wet plug.

We know your fuel burns :)
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Ok...thanks for recap. I am also leaning towards a fuel/air mismatch issue...

1. compression good
2. multiple plugs tried, multiple cables
3. new injector, good spray

Is there any chance there is somehow a missing gasket on either the injector or the plug? I know at one point there was some kind of O-ring issues...was this on this cylinder and when the injector was replaced, was the O-ring also verified again?

Based on what you've said, I don't think you have a wet plug.

We know your fuel burns :)
I think the Oring I was talking about was the one on the failed injector that was stuck open...or maybe even on the injector that I replaced earlier..but it was definitely the bottom Oring on one of the two..lol

I am not sure of any gaskets on spark plugs (only know of that metal ring that they have and never really knew what that was for..lol)..but I have tried new ones and swapped with all three other known good ones...also have tested spark by placing plug(s) close to a ground and watching it jump to ground before inserting.
 
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