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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all. I'm still working out a few bugs on my '03 Altima 2.5 S. Two questions, so I'll number them.

1. What could be causing my "parking lights" to be staying on? For some reason, they never go off. They stay on until they kill the battery. They're the blinkers (not actually blinking), and the tail lights. Its like you have the switch to the headlights turned on, just not all the way. You know how there is a setting where you can turn the tail lights and the daytime running lights on? (those orange ones) Well its as if you've turned the headlight switch to that setting. But its not on that setting, and nothing changes when you turn it all the way off. I searched but no one else seemed to have this same problem. Is it possible for a relay to die, and be stuck in the "make the connection" position?

2. I bought the car non-running, and I got it running. The car sat for a year and it has lousy gas in it that smells bad and makes the tailpipe smoke. There is over 1/4 of a tank in there. What is the easiest way to drain all that old gas out of the tank? I don't want to just drive the car until that gas is used up. Can I just maybe disconnect the fuel line at the filter and run the fuel pump until it pumps it all out?
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Yes, relay can be stuck on as a failure mode...rare, but possible. Pull the relevant relay from the IPDM and see if the lights go off.

Get the bad gas out of the tank now. Do not drive it unless you have to. All you are doing is gumming up the rest of the system...you will have injector issues and all sorts of other fun soon. Fastest way is to remove the fuel pump from under the rear seat and siphon out the bad stuff...clean out any sediment while you are in there. Run some heavy duty injector cleaner in the first, 3rd and 6th tanks of gas. You are looking for something with significant PAE content (Rislone has it). Use the highest grade gas you can find...it comes with the most detergents and other additives.

Congrats on the resurrection by the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks!

About the fuel pump, do you mean that its under the rear seat itself?

If its under the seat, is there any easy way to get the seat out?
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Shhhhh! He who resurrects cars shouldn't be challenged by something simple like ex-communicating the rear seat ;)

Seriously, there are two clips that hold the lower seat cushion in place, rough between your shins if you were sitting behind either front seat. At carpet level push the seat inwards as you push upwards, the seat latch will pop up and out of the latching hole. Repeat for other side. That's all that's holding it in. You'll see the fuel pump cover right there.

Someone did a pretty good writeup on replacing the fuel pump...one of the regular posters, can't remember right now but you can search for it. Lots of pics to help you. Biggest issue is the retaining ring holding it all in place...either rent the tool, or get creative like the poster did.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks man! But yeah I've dug around for a long time in a car before, trying to figure out how to get a rear seat out without breaking anything. So I thought it best to ask lol

You've been a great help through this whole process. The whole resurrection.

There is one thing I do find a bit odd though. For having 1138 members browsing this very subforum, its strange that you were the only one who replied. That's the number it said the other day when I posted this. I have to assume that its pretty regularly a very high number like that. On other forums I come back and the thread is already 2 or 3 pages before I've even replied once. I think that number may be "padded" a little.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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I think the 'viewing' time window is configurable on the software used to host this forum...so that's probably 1,000 users in the last 24 hours...not users concurrently logged in. Most of those users are lurkers or 'bots anyways :) Reality is there's small but unique core of repeat individuals with the interest, knowledge and time to help out others. The repartee amongst the usual suspects is fun too.

Personally, I just enjoy solving problems, made more challenging by the limited info that's usually posted...but there's usually always one or so worthy of some attention. Like yours :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gonna go work on the car again today, but a friend brought up a relevant point.

He said on the dodge trucks, frequently the IPDM itself will die. Is that something known to happen on these altimas? At least, one part of it will die. I'm not real familiar with the function of the IPDM. There's a controller chip in there... or something. I'm used to working on older stuff that doesn't have one.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Possible but hardly common. More likely your BCM (of course it's way more painful to get to than the IPDM) is damaged. It controls things like interior lighting and your turn signals...so it's most likely the culprit if your 'turn signals' are solid on, even with ignition off. Pull the BCM fuse and see what happens.

Reading this would be a very worthwhile use of your time.

FWIW, the IPDM is really just a way of saving money by having all the heavy power devices (which need thick, expensive, copper) located as close to the battery/end devices as possible. This allows fewer smaller wires from the cabin to control all manner of high power devices in your car. It also adds some smarts to how that control is achieved. Not horrifically expensive to replace ($150'ish for the IPDM whereas the IPDM is over $300 new). Definitely be looking to salvage/ebay for these if you are smart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
A little difficult to determine; are the BCM and the IPDM the same part? Or at least, is the BCM plugged into the IPDM in some way? I found this one, its for a 2004, but it says that it will fit a 2003.

Body Control Module 2004 Altima SKU 1577976 | eBay


Looking at that link you provided however, it seems like its actually the IPDM which controls these lights, and not the BCM. What are the chances it could just be the light switch itself? I was messing around with the switch yesterday, and all the sudden the lights started working properly. The "parking lights" would actually go off when you turned the switch to the off position. But I kept messing with it in an effort to figure out what was wrong, and at some point they decided to stay on again. This was all in just dealing with the switch itself.

As for a relay for the lights, there doesn't appear to be one. Unless they somehow share a relay with something else, but if they do, it doesn't seem to be labeled.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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In a nutshell, the BCM reads the stalk switch and controls things like interior dimmed lights and it sends signals via the CAN bus to the IPDM which handles all the high power switching/distribution via relays (like headlight, parking light etc.).

My concern is that because the BCM receives power all the time, if it were defective, it could cause the IPDM to switch lights on so long as there is a battery power.

Lastly, the BCM module is located high up under the dash, behind the cluster gauges, the IPDM is located beside the battery in the engine compartment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Man all that seems really redundant. I saw that in an earlier post, you recommended that I check the relay for the parking lights. Maybe I should even check the fuse. And thus, if it had power all the time, it would have to be whatever comes in line before that fuse/relay. I think you said specifically to pull the BCM fuse. But unless I'm missing something here, (and maybe I am) there doesn't even seem to be a fuse for the "parking lights" or the "BCM". I checked the IPDM layout, nothing there. Then the one next to the battery, nothing there either. Last, the one in the interior. I like how two of them are simply labeled "electronic parts".

You've got a lot of stuff that would be related to the parking lights function, but no actual parking lights. Some parts say "brake lights" others say "turn signal". But nothing that actually controls the parking lights function, unless you're saying that its the actual BCM itself, and there are no relays. Guess I'm not real clear on your explanation on that.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
And of course, yet another question lol.

Do you happen to know if I can just take out the gauge cluster, to access the BCM? On many vehicles I've dealt with, removing the gauge cluster isn't all that difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
And if the problem is NOT the headlight switch itself, then I should be able to remove the headlight switch from the car, and those lights would stay on. Correct? Sorry if some of these questions sound rather basic, but I'm a bit of an electrical problems diagnosis noob.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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'Brake Light' = ' Stop Lamp'

If you review the EXL portion of the FSM you'll see they are all fed from the 'Stop Lamp' relay.

Regarding the removal of stalk switch...it's an interesting idea, but only debugs the stalk switch, a busted BCM is still a busted BCM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Alright thanks for that. I was looking over the downloadable shop manual, but I didn't run across that.

But I have to stop you there. I need to break this down into layman's terms a bit. Maybe that's been my problem. So how can they all use the same relay? Unless I'm misunderstanding you, you're saying that these "parking lights" are on the same relay as the brake lights? That would mean that as soon as you hit the brakes, these other lights have to come on as well. Unless I'm missing something important here.

But that can't be right, because the brake lights are definitely not on when these parking lights are stuck on. They would be a lot brighter. Its only the "tail" lights that are on, and not the "brake" lights.

But back on topic, I'll go check that relay and make sure its ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wanted to bump this thread cause I finally got some time to work on my Altima again. I went and looked for the "stop lamp" relay, but I wasn't able to find anything labeled as that. Pic of the relays below. Anyway, I went ahead and replaced the body control module, and the headlight switch itself. Got both off ebay for cheap, so no big deal.

Neither one of those fixed the problem, but there does seem to be a slight change in the behavior of the problem. Before I replaced the BCM, these "parking lights" would all stay on no matter what. As long as the battery was connected, they were on. Now that I've replaced the BCM, they only seem to stay on when the key is not turned to the on position. So if you put the key in and start the car, or turn it to the on position, the lights go off. Used to be, they stayed on. But now when you do that, they go off. So that is a change. It almost feels as though I'm dealing with some type of weird setting here. Why would the parking lights go off, when the key is on, but stay on at all other times? Very weird.

And every once in awhile, when I'm messing with the turn signal trying to figure it out, they'll function correctly. The parking lights will go off, and all is well. Then if you go to make a turn in the car, and you put on your turn signal, or you turn on the headlights at night, the problem returns in full force. I searched another thread and someone was saying that these lights aren't controlled by the BCM, and that they have their own controller.



 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've fixed the problem. Apparently I actually fixed the problem when I replaced the BCM. It seems that the lights take a whopping 10 minutes to go off on their own, from the the factory. So I just kept diagnosing, and I would just restart the countdown over and over. Most cars, they go off in a minute, if they even stay on at all.

But, the lights are no longer running the battery down, so problem solved. But 10 minutes... holy cow. What the heck is nissan thinking?
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Congrats again. Thanks for letting us know the outcome...and the fact that it was the BCM, as we talked about in post 9 in the end.

I believe the BCM can be adjusted by Nissan/Someone with a ConsultIII to adjust the timer values. My headlights will stay on for 5 minutes if I stop the engine with the brake depressed...and I find that handy.
 

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There is one thing I do find a bit odd though. For having 1138 members browsing this very subforum, its strange that you were the only one who replied.

Doug lives here. He's independently wealthy, so he just sits at home, in front of a 60" monitor connected to a computer that can only go to nissanclub.com. No other sites work. He sits, scanning and waiting to jump at the next deep issue.

He's a very bright fella and knows his stuff. We're lucky to have him!
 
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