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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, new to the forum and somewhat new to Xterra ownership. I’ve got an issue that has gone undiagnosed or unresolved at least from myself, my competent private mechanic, a couple of exhaust shops and of course the local stealership. I’ve got plenty of details to add if your kind enough to add your fifty cents or link to a related post you think pertains. I’m hoping someone will point out a “common issue” that I should look into regarding these symptoms and this generation.

Basics:
2006 Xterra 4x4 (S?)...considerably modified and de-badged...not 100% sure on the trim level (has 4x4 but definitely not the Pro 4x features). The vehicle has no known drivetrain or powertrain mods, just suspension, wheels, bumpers, lighting, remote start, sound and interior work etc.

SES light illuminated about 300 miles after purchasing used from a private dealership over 500 miles away from home. I bought it for a good price knowing the dealership wouldn’t stand behind any issues, that’s entirely fine, it was going to be our spare expedition toy for fishing and such. Vehicle had about 140k on it, 150k now.

Originally the OBD codes read as a failed O2 sensor: B1S1 and B2S1, aka the 2 front sensors.

After digging deeper there were cheater bung plugs in the back and maybe some cheapo front sensors as the owner may have attempted a cheap fix of a bigger issue before selling/trading. Therefore I replaced all 4 sensors with Denso brand sensors and managed to clear the passenger side code for good (over the last 10k), but the drivers side code persists and comes on every 50-150 miles after clearing the code, especially at startup but occasionally while driving and after the vehicle has warmed. I did replace the drivers side sensor a second time to rule out a dud...no success.

The engine runs fine in my opinion for an engine of this mileage. There is a slight brushing (?) sound of the engine at startup and shutdown but maybe that’s just it’s character sound, nothing sounds too out of place to me and everyone who has inspected it feels it runs well and has noted no issues...so let’s call it good.

MPG from Chicago to MN was 15mpg averaging 60mph...which seems 3-5mpg low in my opinion but it is lifted with a “Titan Swap” suspension. Winter MPG is about 13-14mpg in town...never really sees much over 30-45mph. Summer mpg is 14-15city 15highway...(shrug).

One more big symptom is the fumes. There is, more often than not, a smell of rich fuel/raw gas at cold startup...cold engine only (leaky head gasket?, exhaust manifold/gasket issue?) which lasts maybe 2-3 mins? It quickly dissipates while driving. When it idles from remote start in the winter it is more noticeable in the cabin than a quick key turn and drive off. This leads me to believe the issue is not within the ECU/MAP or O2/Evap system.

On this note, my mechanic replaced the fuel vapor canister, although I think that’s entirely unrelated.

An exhaust shop found what they called a “small” exhaust leak but didn’t advise to fix it and weren’t concerned enough to describe this in any detail. They didn’t believe the cat-con had any relation to the issue but didn’t have the tools to perform a backflow/pressure test. They did throw in a replacement fueling sensor or something to test that but they removed it since it did not provide a resolution.

My mechanic wanted the stealership to perform an RCU/MAP flash but they have their protocol and would not. After paying for a diagnosis and describing the breath of work done to the evap system they just came back and said it needs a new front drivers O2 sensor. I reiterated that all 4 were replaced and the front drivers side was replaced twice but they refused to advance their diagnosis further without installing their OEM Nissan sensor at the predictably lavish price of over $500 w/labor. I later spoke with Denso and they were nice enough to tell me that the OEM manufacture for Nissan in this exact application happens to be Bosch which is neither higher nor lower in quality than the Denso. But again, the only way the stealership will move forward to diagnose the real issue (after paying a $200+ diagnostic fee) is to drop another $500 for them to screw in an $80 sniffer...which I’ve now done 5 times and would be comfortable doing myself, but of which is pointless as you understand. The only thing of value that the stealership provided was that they were able to adjust fueling with their diagnostic tool meaning the ECU is able to make some adjustments to the sensor...and yet my mechanic and Nissan don’t think the voltage read outs look quite right.

So, any thoughts? I’m done chasing O2 sensors and would love to work on this stuff myself but the diagnosis element is beyond my expertise at this level. I’d be happy to throw parts at this problem all day long like a monkey throwing bananas at god damned tourists...but unfortunately I’m fresh out of bananas and the damned tourists just won’t go away despite pegging them right on their hairless foreheads directly between their judgmental homosapien eyes...(SES light reilluminates)...go figure. Paying Nissan $200 got me nowhere and I’m out of contacts for advanced troubleshooting mechanics in my area.

Thanks all! I have loved my rig for the last year after putting a bunch of work into it. For now, the fuel smell, possible mpg loss and SES light are spoiling what would otherwise be a great, almost ideal vehicle for me which is now my daily.

Thanks again and fun travels,
Drew and “Big Terry” as we call him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Use OEM O2 sensors, not aftermarket.
Thanks for the response.

Because my post may have been rather lengthy I’ll just reiterate that the Denso sensors are OEM or greater quality and were able to clear the code on the passenger side but not the drivers side leading me to the conclusion of a different cause. Furthermore the “Nissan” branded sensors from the dealership are manufactured by Bosch and are of identical spec besides the laser printing. So while I could potentially buy the correct “Bosch” branded O2 sensor, I wouldn’t like to buy a rebranded “Nissan” Bosch sensor to have it blessed by the Pope of Nissan.

Are you suggesting then that I toss a Bosch sensor in and check it out or insist on the holy Nissan/Bosch sensor? And I do mean this in all seriousness, I’m only going off the information I’ve been provided.

Thanks all
 

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Use genuine OEM O2 sensors only, not "just like OEM" and not "OEM or greater quality."

Forum members have chased their tails over similar issues which miraculously resolved by getting rid of aftermarket sensors in favor of OEM. I'm not going to venture guesses as to why, I'm just noting what I have observed.

It isn't just Nissans. Similar issues have been reported for non-OEM Jeep O2 sensors too. One theory is that aftermarket sensors suffer from lack of quality control, another is that aftermarket sensors aren't really exactly the same as OEM even though they claim to have the same specs. But those are just theories.
 

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Curious as to why the previous owner that heavily modified the vehicle would throw in O2 cheaters. half-assed at best...Aside from a adding Bosch 02 sensor, check that upstream catalytic converter for honeycomb failure. Were the spark plugs replaced to your knowledge?
 

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Sure sounds like bad cats especially with the cheaters added to the sensors.

What are the exact codes it’s throwing.

Also continuing to drive with cat codes and bad cats has been known to pull the cat material into the cylinders destroying the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Use genuine OEM O2 sensors only, not "just like OEM" and not "OEM or greater quality."

Forum members have chased their tails over similar issues which miraculously resolved by getting rid of aftermarket sensors in favor of OEM. I'm not going to venture guesses as to why, I'm just noting what I have observed.

It isn't just Nissans. Similar issues have been reported for non-OEM Jeep O2 sensors too. One theory is that aftermarket sensors suffer from lack of quality control, another is that aftermarket sensors aren't really exactly the same as OEM even though they claim to have the same specs. But those are just theories.
Thanks for the clarification. It’s a tough message to swallow with some on this forum having success with Denso or Bosch but like you said... “I’m not going to venture to guess.” Maybe tracking down a reliable true OEM parts source could spare some burn over the dealership prices and cross my fingers that this could resolve it. A quick search yields about $250 for the part compared to $60-85 for the Denso/Bosch. I do put a great amount of faith in my mechanic, so when he says it’s not the O2, I find it hard to disagree with him, but maybe it’s still worth a shot...cheaper and easier than a cat or a head gasket or exhaust man issue.

Thanks, appreciate the input
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Curious as to why the previous owner that heavily modified the vehicle would throw in O2 cheaters. half-assed at best...Aside from a adding Bosch 02 sensor, check that upstream catalytic converter for honeycomb failure. Were the spark plugs replaced to your knowledge?
Because this vehicle was going to be a spare vehicle and was pretty cheap I didn’t do the diligence of what I probably should have were it to be a primary driver...though it is now my primary driver.

I think this was also someones aging toy at one point, the mods are really neat but also not crazy high end. The titan swap for example is probably much cheaper than an aftermarket sus lift and whatnot...it’s all speculation. I’d just assume the truck gave the owner one final headache, they decided they’d invest $80 in some eBay special O2 sensors with no concern of longevity and get it in to the dealership for trade. I have no regrets installing the 4/5 new sensors, it partially worked as well. Again, the SES light first came on 300miles after purchase, so I was unaware of the issue at purchase.

Thanks for the pointers, I’ll dig into your suggestions a bit deeper tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sure sounds like bad cats especially with the cheaters added to the sensors.

What are the exact codes it’s throwing.

Also continuing to drive with cat codes and bad cats has been known to pull the cat material into the cylinders destroying the engine.
I’m speaking off the top of my head here but P0130? And the related “pending” coding for the same issue. The descriptions are something to the tune of: bank 1 sensor 1 o2 sensor fail confirmed and bank 1 sensor 1 o2 sensor fail pending. Again, bank 2 was an issue but was resolved with the Denso sensor. The Denso sensor did not resolve bank 1 however. No cat codes have been present and for whatever reason the dealership was not inclined to peruse the cats as a primary culprit although I did ask if that was something they intended on looking into. They liked to clutch on to those codes like a warm pacifier...safe, comforting, all-knowing obd codes, haha yeah right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Curious as to why the previous owner that heavily modified the vehicle would throw in O2 cheaters. half-assed at best...Aside from a adding Bosch 02 sensor, check that upstream catalytic converter for honeycomb failure. Were the spark plugs replaced to your knowledge?
And: unsure. History is entirely a blank slate, including the state of the spark plugs. Maybe it doesn’t happen in all cases but I’m not getting any misfire codes per your spark plug inquiry.
 

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Hey all, new to the forum and somewhat new to Xterra ownership. I’ve got an issue that has gone undiagnosed or unresolved at least from myself, my competent private mechanic, a couple of exhaust shops and of course the local stealership. I’ve got plenty of details to add if your kind enough to add your fifty cents or link to a related post you think pertains. I’m hoping someone will point out a “common issue” that I should look into regarding these symptoms and this generation.

Basics:
2006 Xterra 4x4 (S?)...considerably modified and de-badged...not 100% sure on the trim level (has 4x4 but definitely not the Pro 4x features). The vehicle has no known drivetrain or powertrain mods, just suspension, wheels, bumpers, lighting, remote start, sound and interior work etc.

SES light illuminated about 300 miles after purchasing used from a private dealership over 500 miles away from home. I bought it for a good price knowing the dealership wouldn’t stand behind any issues, that’s entirely fine, it was going to be our spare expedition toy for fishing and such. Vehicle had about 140k on it, 150k now.

Originally the OBD codes read as a failed O2 sensor: B1S1 and B2S1, aka the 2 front sensors.

After digging deeper there were cheater bung plugs in the back and maybe some cheapo front sensors as the owner may have attempted a cheap fix of a bigger issue before selling/trading. Therefore I replaced all 4 sensors with Denso brand sensors and managed to clear the passenger side code for good (over the last 10k), but the drivers side code persists and comes on every 50-150 miles after clearing the code, especially at startup but occasionally while driving and after the vehicle has warmed. I did replace the drivers side sensor a second time to rule out a dud...no success.

The engine runs fine in my opinion for an engine of this mileage. There is a slight brushing (?) sound of the engine at startup and shutdown but maybe that’s just it’s character sound, nothing sounds too out of place to me and everyone who has inspected it feels it runs well and has noted no issues...so let’s call it good.

MPG from Chicago to MN was 15mpg averaging 60mph...which seems 3-5mpg low in my opinion but it is lifted with a “Titan Swap” suspension. Winter MPG is about 13-14mpg in town...never really sees much over 30-45mph. Summer mpg is 14-15city 15highway...(shrug).

One more big symptom is the fumes. There is, more often than not, a smell of rich fuel/raw gas at cold startup...cold engine only (leaky head gasket?, exhaust manifold/gasket issue?) which lasts maybe 2-3 mins? It quickly dissipates while driving. When it idles from remote start in the winter it is more noticeable in the cabin than a quick key turn and drive off. This leads me to believe the issue is not within the ECU/MAP or O2/Evap system.

On this note, my mechanic replaced the fuel vapor canister, although I think that’s entirely unrelated.

An exhaust shop found what they called a “small” exhaust leak but didn’t advise to fix it and weren’t concerned enough to describe this in any detail. They didn’t believe the cat-con had any relation to the issue but didn’t have the tools to perform a backflow/pressure test. They did throw in a replacement fueling sensor or something to test that but they removed it since it did not provide a resolution.

My mechanic wanted the stealership to perform an RCU/MAP flash but they have their protocol and would not. After paying for a diagnosis and describing the breath of work done to the evap system they just came back and said it needs a new front drivers O2 sensor. I reiterated that all 4 were replaced and the front drivers side was replaced twice but they refused to advance their diagnosis further without installing their OEM Nissan sensor at the predictably lavish price of over $500 w/labor. I later spoke with Denso and they were nice enough to tell me that the OEM manufacture for Nissan in this exact application happens to be Bosch which is neither higher nor lower in quality than the Denso. But again, the only way the stealership will move forward to diagnose the real issue (after paying a $200+ diagnostic fee) is to drop another $500 for them to screw in an $80 sniffer...which I’ve now done 5 times and would be comfortable doing myself, but of which is pointless as you understand. The only thing of value that the stealership provided was that they were able to adjust fueling with their diagnostic tool meaning the ECU is able to make some adjustments to the sensor...and yet my mechanic and Nissan don’t think the voltage read outs look quite right.

So, any thoughts? I’m done chasing O2 sensors and would love to work on this stuff myself but the diagnosis element is beyond my expertise at this level. I’d be happy to throw parts at this problem all day long like a monkey throwing bananas at god damned tourists...but unfortunately I’m fresh out of bananas and the damned tourists just won’t go away despite pegging them right on their hairless foreheads directly between their judgmental homosapien eyes...(SES light reilluminates)...go figure. Paying Nissan $200 got me nowhere and I’m out of contacts for advanced troubleshooting mechanics in my area.

Thanks all! I have loved my rig for the last year after putting a bunch of work into it. For now, the fuel smell, possible mpg loss and SES light are spoiling what would otherwise be a great, almost ideal vehicle for me which is now my daily.

Thanks again and fun travels,
Drew and “Big Terry” as we call him.
Actually,
I believe on that year the service engine soon like comes on automatically every 5,000 MI regardless of any error codes
It's another way for the dealers to make money.
Here's how
You clear the code (and the annoying SES light) by holding down the accelerator pedal for more than 10 seconds while the SES light is blinking. When you release the pedal, the ECM erases the trouble code(s).
"NOTE"
I'm sure that you are supposed to press the accelerator with the engine off it did not say that but it doesn't make sense to rev your engine to 10,000 RPM.
 
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