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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-23-2012, 01:53 PM
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Default 03 Altima Cylinder 3 Misfire

Here is the issue....

I have a 2003 Nissan Altima 4cyl with 111,000 miles. The car up until this point has had no significant problems. I have always changed the oil myself and on schedule. Recently (past couple months) the car has begun to have a rough start. Seems like a misfire. Sometimes it wont do it for a while, other times it will do it every start up for several days straight. It has brought up a code only two times. Both were cylinder 3 misfire codes. I replaced the spark plugs, with no improvement. I replaced the #3 coil pack, with no improvement. It seems that my engine coolant is going low without visible leaks or odors. There does not appear to be any oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil.

The car will idle rough for anyway from 3-10 seconds. If I rev the engine, the symptoms go away. They also go away without revving after several seconds. The car runs perfect after the symptoms stop. No misfires while moving or jerks at high or low speeds.

Any ideas? Fuel injector? Head gasket? Valve cover gasket?

Thanks.
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:16 PM
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Coolant leaks can be hard to find if it is in fact a coolant leak. You can get the tools from your local parts shop (rental) to determine if you have a coolant leak. Basically it puts the system under pressure and you can hear or maybe see where the leak is. I've had faulty radiator caps leak and since they are right above the fan, the coolant gets dispersed rapidly, especially if it's just a small mist type leak.

However, what I would really be checking first is compression. You can also rent a cylinder compression tool but I've had better luck buying my own from Harbor Freight - guaranteed to work. I tried 3 different ones from the parts house and these are usually trashed - none of them worked.

Check the compression on all cylinders per the book looking for differences between the cylinders. I'm betting on the compression in cylinder 3 to be lower than the other 4 and may be where your coolant is going which would also cause rough starting and rough idle on start up.

Has car ever over heated? Could be Head Gasket or could be something else. Does it use oil? If so, how much? 1 quart between 3500 mile changes or more?
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1997 Maxima (193,000 miles - bought from daughter when she traded for a Hyundai Elantra Coupe)
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:51 PM
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I will have a compression test done tomorrow. My coolant overflow reservoir has a cracked cap... Could this be the reason for the lost coolant?

The car eats some oil but I do not think it is a quart every 3500. I just switched to slightly thinker oil which seems to have slowed consumption.

It looks like there might be a very slow leak on the timing chain gasket or whatever is on te farthest side of the engine towards the passenger side.

Car has never overheated always stays just above the second line.

I did notice that if I start the car with the radiator cap off the coolat level rises and over flows. This was however right free topping off the radiator and overflow reservoir.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:24 AM
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Default 03 nissan altima

I have an 2003 nissan altima with the same problem. I replaced spark plugs but that didn't help. I took it to my nissan dealer and they had initial thought it was a head gasket but they ended up finding out it was some coil and they replaced it. That was probably last winter and it worked fine this summer. Well as soon as it it started getting cold again this year, my car started doing the same thing. I will take it back to have it looked at.

Did you find the problem?

Thank you,
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:01 AM
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Is you SES light on? If so, what is the code? Is it a misfire? If so, which cylinder? You can swap the coil packs around to see if the problem follows, if it does, then replace the coil pack. My Maxima has 6, the Altima has 4 and it is inevitable that when 1 goes, the rest will soon follow. Recommendations are to replace them all at the same time to minimize this aggravation but most of us don't have the money to do so (at 50+ bucks a piece).

If the problem doesn't follow and the misfire stays on the same cylinder, check the ground wire underneath the battery connected back to the transmission. This seems to be a common point of failure (corrosion, etc), and will cause misfires or melting of coils. From what I've read online, most people report a cylinder 3 misfire and then find a grounding problem; not sure why this is, but cylinder 3 always seems to have the most issues.

I've experienced coils acting up when the weather changed i.e., rainy,cold after working flawlessly during a stable period. Not sure what that has to do with it but your experience is not out of the ordinary.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:38 PM
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In my experience, misfires with Coil On Plug engines is 99% of the time related to a bad coil and it's not totally unheard of to get bad coils out of the box or shortly after installation.

I've replaced all the coils in my wife's '03 SL a couple of times (at least). I ran some 8 gauge wire from the ground terminal of the battery directly to the engine and haven't had any go since then.

I used to own a '97 Taurus SHO (V8) with COPs and it had the same problem. It would misfire intermittently but not bad enough to set a code. It was always a coil, not a plug or injector.
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:34 PM
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Default nissan altima 2002 2.5

misfire cylinder 3 after 4 minute driven on low speed the temperature goin up. on hway work ok ty for your help ....despues de manejarlo por 4 minutos en Baja velocidad la temperature sube asta el tope .pero en alta velocidad no calienta gracias por su ayuda
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