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Multiple Cylinder Misfire 02 Nissan Maxima

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So I had a weird issue with my 02 Maxima. Engine light would flash when at red light but stops after driving for a few seconds. Also, when I turn on the A/C, the check engine stops flashing. I had the multiple cylinder misfire P0300 code which led to me changing the following: two catalytic converters front and back, valve cover gaskets front and back, spark plugs, and coils. This temporarily fixed the issue until recently, the same flashing check engine light is occurring again. I am at my wits end and definitely cannot afford to buy another car at the moment. Any tips or idea what could be causing this issue? Side note: sometimes the car idle smooth with no issues and sometimes, the idle is slightly not smooth which causes the check engine to start  flashing. 

This topic was modified 4 months ago 2 times by 02Maximaguy
5 Answers
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Posted by: @02maximaguy

I am thinking of just replacing the engine to potentially eliminate the issue.

Anything that interferes with normal combustion can trigger a misfire. Have you done a compression test or leakdown test on your engine? Is the engine burning oil? (Catalytic converter failure suggests oil contamination or running way too rich.) What did the old spark plugs look like?

Even if this turns out to be due to an internal engine problem (which is not known yet) I would not spend $$$$ to have a replacement engine installed in a 20-year-old car.

Thanks for responding and your suggestion. The old spark plugs had oil on them which means, the rear valve cover was leaking. This was replaced. I did a leak test and replaced one of the solenoid which had the leak. I could test the leak again. The body looks great and well maintained. But I agree, changing the engine on a 20 year old car may not be a smart move.

Did the spark plugs just have oil on the outside or was it on the electrodes? If the latter, the valve cover would have nothing to do with it and the engine is burning oil. A wet vs. dry compression test will give you an idea of whether your rings are shot.

The oil covered all rear spark plugs especially on the electrodes. I have done the vacuum leak test but have yet to do the wet test. I will do that sometime this week. Thanks for your input sire.

I should have been more clear, I meant the electrodes that poke inside the cylinder. If oil got onto that part of the plugs you have an oil burning engine. If oil is just on the outside of the plugs that would be from the leaky valve cover gasket.

So I figured out the cause of the flashing check engine light. The issue is when the car is in idle and the rpm drops to say between 400-700, this triggers the multiple cylinder misfire which in turn causes the check engine to flash. But after increasing the rpm or turning the A/C, the issue goes away. Is there a way to increase the idle to say 1k?

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Wow! Those were notorious for having bad ignition coils. I would replace all of them and see what happens first. You've already done some obvious stuff but the coils are annoying problem with that vehicle

Thanks Scotty kilmer for responding. Wow I was not expecting a respond from you. I am a huge fan. I have replaced all of the coils less than 3 months ago due to the same issue and now back at square one again with the same issue. I am thinking of just replacing the engine to potentially eliminate the issue. The just just got over 200k miles. What else could be the issue besides the ones I have fixed?

Hi Scotty. So I figured out the cause of the flashing check engine light. The issue is when the car is in idle and the rpm drops to say between 400-700, this triggers the multiple cylinder misfire which in turn causes the check engine to flash. But after increasing the rpm or turning the A/C, the issue goes away. Is there a way to increase the idle to say 1k?

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Posted by: @02maximaguy

I have replaced all of the coils less than 3 months ago

Did you use OEM coils or aftermarket? Aftermarket Chinese coils usually last 2-3 months and then you’re back to square one.

I used OEM coils

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Posted by: @02maximaguy

Is there a way to increase the idle to say 1k?

You'd have to look up the specifications on your car but in my experience most modern 4 and 6 cylinder engines are set up to idle at around 900-1000 rpm. If your rpm is dropping as low as 400 that's a problem. I am not familiar with your fuel injection system but cleaning the IAC valve and throttle body would probably good places to start.

 

Thanks for your input. I will try to do that.

Basically it's a "chicken or egg" situation. Are misfires causing the too-low idle speed, or is the too-low idle speed causing the misfires?

I am honestly not sure.

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Posted by: @02maximaguy

I am honestly not sure.

Then have the vehicle diagnosed by a professional mechanic. You can then decide if you want to perform the repair yourself, or let the mechanic do all the work. 

Did you perform the work @chucktobias suggested? -

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