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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Once a month, I will turn the key and get ONE CLICK. I turn the key again and it starts just like normal. The problem does not repeat again for 4-5 weeks. After 2 days of not driving the truck multimeter on battery shows 12.74. Zero corrasion from Odyssey AGM battery. All connections I checked are tight. This started 6-7 months ago and I replaced the IPDM with a black unit from salvage. Did not solve problem. 2007 S 4x4 with 249,400 miles. Starter is original. I thought I had replaced the cam/crank sensors 5-6 years ago but I can't find an entry for it in my maintenance log.

Am I wrong?
Cam/Crankshaft sensors, if they fail the truck will crank and crank but not start. Or, will start but run badly/low on power etc.

Battery/power cables, if they fail then the truck either turns over very slowly (dead battery), OR you turn the key and you get a series of rapid "clicking sounds" as the solenoid engages but when it tries to turn the starter motor there is not enough voltage so solenoid disengages, then engages again etc etc etc causing the "click click click" sound.

Starter, If it fails you get ONE click from the relay but nothing happens. But then why will mine go ahead and start when I try a second time?

That is my line of thought. I would appreciate you guys working the problem with me. This seems to come up regularly so I thought we could include all modes of failure in one thread for future members when it is their turn to figure out which of these failures they have.
 

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Your correct in that a bad crank or cam sensor will not stop it from cranking over. It just won't fire (no signal from the sensors).

So its in the starting electrical somewhere. Could be a cable, a bad relay, or the starter itself - I believe there still brushed. Either the brushes get dirty and it won't spin occasionally, or the solenoid gets sticky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Your correct in that a bad crank or cam sensor will not stop it from cranking over. It just won't fire (no signal from the sensors).

So its in the starting electrical somewhere. Could be a cable, a bad relay, or the starter itself - I believe there still brushed. Either the brushes get dirty and it won't spin occasionally, or the solenoid gets sticky.
Thanks for jumping in! So for guys that have a "engine cranks but will not start", they need to look into Camshaft/Crankshaft sensors.

Would a bad relay, or cable only "click" on one try, then immediately start on the next try? Seems like a relay that was bad would stay bad. IE, a bad relay would not start until replaced.
 
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My obd2 scanner told me when my crankshaft sensor was bad. But mine went bad all of a sudden when I was driving. I pulled over and killed the engine to see if something needed to reset and it took awhile to start again. Limped home and hooked up the scanner. It’s a $15-30 part so it may be the cheapest to try.
 

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My obd2 scanner told me when my crankshaft sensor was bad. But mine went bad all of a sudden when I was driving. I pulled over and killed the engine to see if something needed to reset and it took awhile to start again. Limped home and hooked up the scanner. It’s a $15-30 part so it may be the cheapest to try.
My can sensor did the same thing. Both times coasted to a stop and it restarted immediately then got home and the scanner showed bad passenger side cam sensor was bad.
 

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Somewhat of a different problem.....

2015 Pro 4X.7200 miles all stock. Automatic. The car starts fine most of the time ...It seems when it gets hot running around town I will shut off to run errands. It Will not start. or turn over. The battery checks out ok.I will let the engine cool for 10 minutes and then it will start ok.. By not starting I mean cranking or anything.
The mechanic could not fin anything. Any suggestions?
 

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7,200 miles? Damn!

Sounds battery related if it is just completely dead. Are the interior lights even coming on?
Mine was dead once like you said. no crank, no start, barely a relay click and the dash went crazy. I checked the negative cable and although the nut was tight you could pull it straight off the battery. Turns out the dealer that changed the battery overtightened the nut and damaged the clamp part so it wouldn't tighten on the post.
 

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A cam sensor that is on it's way out will not always throw a code. My X would occasionally crank but not start and there was no check engine light. Finally one day it stalled out while driving and then it threw a code. I figured it was the cam/crank sensor all along but was lazy about installing the new ones. Once I swapped them the problem went away.

As for the relay - if the ECU relay isn't working the engine will still turn over without starting. When I still had my white IPDM the ECU relay was corroded but it would still turn over. When I replaced the relay to diagnose the IPDM was bad it would then start up every time. So yes, a bad relay will still allow the engine to turn over.
 

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7,200 miles? Damn!

Sounds battery related if it is just completely dead. Are the interior lights even coming on?
Mine was dead once like you said. no crank, no start, barely a relay click and the dash went crazy. I checked the negative cable and although the nut was tight you could pull it straight off the battery. Turns out the dealer that changed the battery overtightened the nut and damaged the clamp part so it wouldn't tighten on the post.
Correction 72000 K
 

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Thanks for jumping in! So for guys that have a "engine cranks but will not start", they need to look into Camshaft/Crankshaft sensors.

Would a bad relay, or cable only "click" on one try, then immediately start on the next try? Seems like a relay that was bad would stay bad. IE, a bad relay would not start until replaced.
So yes, if its just a cam / crank sensor the engine will still spin.

As for the relay - yes its likely not the relay - but when they do fail they do strange things on occasion, not to mention there really easy and cheap to replace. You can also swap with another relay, but since your problem is intermittent that might not be useful.

My trouble shooting order would be:
1.check and clean all cable connections
2. replace the starter relay (cheap and easy)
3. If the above fails, then replace the starter, although I probably wouldn't do that yet.
 

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Starter, If it fails you get ONE click from the relay but nothing happens. But then why will mine go ahead and start when I try a second time?

I would get the one click, no start, then try again and it starts. To clarify, it was the starter (solenoid) clicking, not a relay. It also worked to tap on the starter with a tool handle or hammer to get it to work. I don't fully understand the reasons behind it, something about the solenoid getting stuck.

I replaced the starter with a Duralast unit and it solved the problem. That was almost five years ago and it's still going fine.

Based on my experience, I think you might need a new starter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

I would get the one click, no start, then try again and it starts. To clarify, it was the starter (solenoid) clicking, not a relay. It also worked to tap on the starter with a tool handle or hammer to get it to work. I don't fully understand the reasons behind it, something about the solenoid getting stuck.

I replaced the starter with a Duralast unit and it solved the problem. That was almost five years ago and it's still going fine.

Based on my experience, I think you might need a new starter.
Outback97, I had read your thread while looking into this. Thank you for jumping in here.

In fact, I appreciate all you guys helping me walk through this. I hope this thread also helps others down the road. I really believe if it was cam/crank sensors failing the truck would turn over but not start. Or, start but run poorly etc. Mine runs perfectly when it starts. Everything is totally normal except one time every 4-5 weeks I will get one "click" when I turn the key but it wont turn over (all interior lights etc are totally normal). I then retry and it starts right up. My logic tells me (and with input from you guys) that I have a solenoid that "clicks" into place but it fails to send the signal to the starter motor, OR the solenoid plunger tries to move but cant etc etc etc. So, I'm going to swap the starter.

I don't think they even sell brand new OEM starters, do they? Aren't they all "remanufactured"? My logic is, I would rather find a local alternator/starter rebuild shop here in Dallas and pay them to rebuild mine. I think my local 60 year old guy with 4.7 out of 5 reviews on Google will be more careful and use better parts than some sweat shop in China. At least....I hope. LOL! SO, I'll dive in. Google says he turns them around same day and prices seem to be cheaper than Autozone. I promise to update this thread as I go. ---- I admit, I'm sad to change it because I've always been able to say that my 250,000 mile Xterra still had the original starter, alternator, power steering pump, axles, transfer case etc etc etc. BUT, I do always change parts well before they fail.....
Richardson Generator and Starter, Inc Richardson Texas
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
How did this turn out? Did you get the starter rebuilt?
Yes. Instead of buying a starter from Autozone that was rebuilt in a sweat shop in China, I took mine to Richardson Generator and Starter in Richardson Texas. Old guy who owns the shop is who rebuilds them. Mine was $80. Since reinstall I have had no further problems. However, remember that the problem would only happen once every 5 weeks or so. It will be a few months before we know if this fixed my problem. If the problem returns I'll post here.

It was interesting at the rebuild shop. The owner/rebuilder told me it is incredibly rare for a starter from our trucks to come in. He has rebuilt a few and he said they are an excellent robust design. He also said the ones on the V6 trucks was really big for a V6. When I picked it up he had replaced the solenoid and "some wear parts inside the starter". He stated again how well built they are and "That thing looked great for having 250,000 miles on it".
 
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2015 Nissan Xterra Pro-4X 6MT Metallic Blue
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Good morning all, I was wondering since the original no start issue was so intermittent, could a faulty or failing neutral/clutch safety switch also cause a similar symptom? Or maybe the chip in the key not disabling the immobilizer security feature? Also, any thoughts of proactive replacement of the crankshaft and camshaft sensors to avoid this and if so at what mileage would one consider replacing them? Thank you all in advance for the info, best wishes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good morning all, I was wondering since the original no start issue was so intermittent, could a faulty or failing neutral/clutch safety switch also cause a similar symptom? Or maybe the chip in the key not disabling the immobilizer security feature? Also, any thoughts of proactive replacement of the crankshaft and camshaft sensors to avoid this and if so at what mileage would one consider replacing them? Thank you all in advance for the info, best wishes.
Hey Gray. Good questions, lets dive in:
The first two catch my eye as I can see that. My question is, when those two stop the truck from starting do they cause the single "CLICK"? I do not know. Anyone know??? In previous cars of mine if I didn't have the clutch in and turned the key, nothing happened. No click. Same with security system problems before. But I have never experienced either in my Xterra so I don't know.
3. Crank and cam sensors: We can rule this one out. When those fail the truck will still crank but will not start. That is my understanding.
 
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