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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please please can someone out there help me with the nightmare I'm having with my X-Trail 2.2 DCi Aventura??

It was manufactured late 2006, purchased brand new last April 2007 from Trade Sales in Slough. I think in the UK it's one of the first Xtrails with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). I love the car, except that after I'd had it a couple of months, the DPF warning light would suddenly start flashing at me. I do mainly town driving - only about 5000 miles a year - and when the light first started to appear, I'd have to take it for a 40 mile round trip along the motorway until the light disappeared. But the problem progressively got worse and the light would appear on a weekly basis, so that ultimately I would only get 20 miles out of it before I had to do a 40 mile burn. It has been to Nissan so many times, but they seem to be at a complete loss as to what to do. They replaced the catalytic converter (although it took Nissan literally 6 months to send the right one!) but it made no difference - the light kept coming on. The final straw was when I went for a 250 mile return trip over Easter - the DPF light had just started flashing so I thought a motorway trip might clear it, but the warning light came on permanently (ie. no longer simply flashing), the car went into limp mode, restricting the revs to c.1800, and the speed to max 50mph for the whole journey. After that, Nissan did an engine regeneration, replacing the oil and oil filter, and resetting the computer, and told me the problem was sorted. But 2 weeks and 100 miles later, the flashing light was back!!!

The car was taken back to Nissan again, but after 2 days they turned round and told me the following:
1. There is nothing wrong with the car, but the problem is due to the way I drive it. The diesel Xtrail is not made for short journeys around town (even though this was denied by other Nissan dealers to whom I posed as a potential buyer)
2. I must always use expensive low particulate diesel
3. Nissan are reluctant to investigate further because I purchased the car from Trade Sales - even though it has a 3-year worldwide warranty until Dec 2009. If I had bought it from Nissan direct, I would have been trained on how to use the DPF (similarly denied by 2 other Nissan garages).
4. When the DPF light starts to flash, I must take it out IMMEDIATELY onto a dual carriageway/motorway and drive at over 45/50mph until the light clears. If any delay in doing so results in the light coming on permanently (which it actually does after only a few miles), then another engine regeneration will be required, and this will be at my expense and not under the warranty. This is really worrying because if the warning light starts flashing while I'm in Central London, then by the time I've struggled through traffic onto a dual carriageway, the light could be on permanently.

Incidentally, fuel consumption on the car is ridiculously high - the best I've ever had out of iton long motorway journeys is 28mpg, and around town it's 24/25mpg - but Nissan say that this is okay!

Please does anyone have any suggestions as to what this could be caused by, or how it can be sorted????? I'm just desperate to get rid of the light forever and to start enjoying the car!!

Beverly
 

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Hi Beverly

Your figures for around town don't look too bad but for motorway usage they seem horrendous.

I have the 173bhp engine with manual gearbox and am getting around 35 mpg on the motorway solo. That's travelling at 65 to 80 mph but no fierce acceleration or braking and I use B.P. Ultimate.

I'm no expert but i do know somebody who is (he's a petro-chemical engineer working in the industry at quite a high level) and he reckons that with a Euro 4 engine you should get benefit in miles per gallon using synthetic diesel (B.P. Ultimate, Shell V-Power etc).

The only course open to you if Nissan won't play ball is to take it to a diesel specialist (won't be cheap) and get a written report of what they find wrong. Nissan should jump to attention then knowing that if the specialist is prepared to put it in writing they'll also testify in Court.

Xacre
 

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with good careful driving I have had as much as 48mpg on the motorway in my 173bhp x-trail :D my 2mile trip to work every day average is 33mpg.
 

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Hi Beverly - again

Are you measuring your motorway mpg over a fair distance or short distance. Is it from fill up to fill up or using the on board computer?

If you're checking it using the on board computer are you resetting it before your motorway trips?

Xacre
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have a 2004 2.2 diesel X-Trail which has always averaged at least 37mpg.
I also have a 2008 173 X-Trail which averages around 40mpg. It has done 5000 miles & the DPF warning light has come on once only, surprisingly while touring in Wales. It took a hard 20 mile drive to clear it. I am not a town driver.

Have you had the problem resolved, if so I would be interested to know the outcome. You could almost argue 'it is not fit for purpose' when told (after you have bought it) 'it is not a car for town driving'
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Another thought Beverley. If you drive the car with the 4WD set to Auto instead of 2WD it knocks about 10mpg off.
 

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Hi There,
I have just bought my third X-Trail (all Diesels)With no problems with my first two. I love my new one a 175dci Artic Expedition untill after 500 miles my particulate filter light came on.Contacted dealer and given leaflet (drive at min 37mph for 30 mins etc..) problem cleared . 1500 miles later light on again and before I could drive anywhere engine management light on. Fortunatly it did not go into resticted mode ,but my dealer told me it would need "regeneration"at about £250.00 but I would only have to pay for the oil Change(about £100) as it was under warranty .I challenged this and was told to take it up with Nissan.Contacted Nissan UK who said the first one was" free "and they contacted the dealer with code no for free "reneneration" My dealer admitted they had been charging for it ,and they had had to do their demonstrator. Anyway the light came on again today and drove for 45 mins over my lunch hour to clear the light.I do about 12000 miles a year ,very little on motorway,Tow horse and boat trailer,and was encouraged by the dealer to go for the more powerfull diesel as he knew I tow. Like you it is a worry and Nissan need to sort this out because it will blight an otherwise brilliant car. I have heard the better fuels ( eg.shell ultima ) might help prevent this but it is difficult to get. Apart from taking off the filter does anyone have any bright ideas? If it keeps on happening and regeneration is needed again I will be back to Nissan under sale of goods act, "Not fit for purpose" NB Nissan uk!
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jezzer747

Can you explain what 'regeneration' actually means & what has to be done to sort it.
 

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Hi criston 3,
Regeneration is a process where the garage take your car in and plug in thier diagnostic equipment then with the engine running put it through an automatic cycle for about 1/2 an hour,from tick-over to high revs to get the engine really hot which will clear out the DPF.At the same time the equipment makes the engine put more fuel through the injectors ie flooding it ,to presumable really liven up the DPF. This process causes some downwash past the pistons and rings which causes contamination of the very exspensive oil which is why they need to change it. The equipment will then reset the DPF and Engine malfunction light. Hope that answers your query .Don't be fobbed off if the garage want you to pay for the oil.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Jezzer,

Like you, I am so incredibly disappointed by the attitude of Nissan, but until your reply I thought I was the only one suffering the problem. Incidentally, I did make contact with Nissan's customer service department, and they sent me a really detailed letter about the DPF which effectively says that the new diesel X-Trail is only suitable for long journeys and confirmed that I am responsible for all future engine regenerations. It's such a shame they don't tell you that before you buy!

Obviously I wasn't happy with their response, so I decided to add my car to our Company car fleet management contract which is with one of the very large UK leasing companies in order that I could progress things further via their problem car department, but no luck there either, I'm afraid. Evidently every single diesel engine that is now being manufactured to Euro V compliancy standards (or I think that's what it is?) has very similar problems with DPFs. Although it was their first case of a problem on a Nissan (probably as they're less common as a fleet car and the DPFs are quite new), they have had an enormous number of problems with other manufacturers, even though they may each have a slightly different way of dealing with particulate build-up on the DPF. They told me that if someone doesn't do regular long journeys, then they shouldn't even consider buying a new diesel, and they recommended that my best option would be to sell the X-Trail and buy a petrol car. And evidently Nissan's attitude and insistence that it isn't a warranty item isn't unusual amongst the other manufacturers!

Over the summer, my car has actually been much better since I did a really long return journey up the motorway. It's interesting that you had a problem soon after the regeneration. For a couple of months inbetween when Nissan did the regeneration until when I did that long journey, I also kept getting the green light - sometimes after as few as 20 miles - and each time I'd take it out for 30/40 minutes to make the light disappear, but it would be back after a week or so. I've since been told that the light comes on when the DPF is about 40% clogged up, and although the short journeys will certainly clear it sufficiently to get rid of the light, unless you take it for a really long trip, the DPF soon gets clogged up again past the trigger point. I'm not sure if you've done a return motorway journey of, say 300 miles, but if not, then that might help. And I know it sounds ridiculous - totally anti-green! - but I usually drive home now each evening the long way round in order to bring the engine temperature gauge up to the halfway point - much easier in the summer than in the winter of course - and I suspect that may also be helping to prevent the dreaded green light coming on again so quickly!

All quite depressing really, but I'm doing my utmost to find a work-around!!

Beverly
 

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Hi Beverly,
Thanks for your reply. It's real food for thought.On the one hand the EU demand car manufactures cut emissions and on the other makers like Nissan come up with the DPF to comply.I saw one advert for the X-Trail saying "No 4x4 Tax" It's not much point though if we have to drive around the countryside to burn off particulate matter in our DPF's . Imagine convoys of X-trails on the motorways with drivers waiting for thier lights to go out!! Seriously Nissan have got to address this and quickly or it will become a big issue for them or though with the pressure on to sell new cars I am sure they will deny it.My local dealer when futher interrogated felt if the problem got worse Nissan would do something along the lines of a retro modification-Less sensitive sensor/larger DPF etc .In the meantime I am going to keep on to Nissan uk Tel no 01923 899334 to say how concearned I am and that I have heard about people with the same problems.If anybody else reads and is worried or has had the problem give them a call and see what they say! It is not good enough to say the X-trail is not for use in town.What about buses!!!
Good luck,Keep in touch.
 

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Hi Beverley and other x-trail diesel drivers,
I have been digging around trying to find out more about the Cetane ratings for diesel. (Just to recap mine is a 173 dci ,3440 miles 1 dpf light on -cleared second time not cleared then engine malfunction light needing "regeneration" 3rd time DPF light on -cleared .I am driving around looking for the moment the light comes on again!!! ) Anyway these cetane numbers are a bit like the octane grades for petrol and the number measures the ignition quality of a diesel fuel.
They range on Uk fourcourts from 47 to 55 but they do not display it on the pumps(well I have not seen it) The euro 4 engine requires a min 50 cetane rating but despite my efforts on the internet I could not find a site that listed brands and thier ratings. In a nutshell a lower rating means a delay in ignition and can also make the engine noisier. It stands to reason if there is a delay in ignition there will be more unburnt fuel which in turn would clog up the DPF. I have often been told that all fuel is the same wether from Tescos Morrisons BP Shell etc ,but I have found it is not so. :shock: True all the fuel comes from the same refineries. The tankers are filled from the appropriate tanks regardless of their destination but additives are added before the tanker leaves the depot.I understand all fuels have additives included but it is the branded fuel which has additives that enhance the performance and the supermarket fuel has low grade additives to keep it cheaper.Mineral oil is apparently often added to Diesel.There is a maximum level of contamination of mineral oil permitted and the supermarkets regard this as a standard and not a maximum. So if your last fill up was from a supermarket with 47 cetane and they had added mineral oil you can see where this is going!
If you remember the damage caused by Tesco and Morrisons petrol last year, this was because they were using reclaimed /scrap toluene solvent which had been used to wash PCBs in electronics factories. No Branded companies were involved.
Not surprisingly I am not buying supermarket fuel anymore, and "touch wood "my DPF light has not come on.
It would be interesting to know if there is a corollation between DPF problems and the fuel that was used.
More to the point Nissan should be on their case and formally advising people of this problem.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Jezzer,

I know exactly what you mean when you say you're waiting for the flashing light to come on again!

Nissan Customer Services did tell me earlier this year to use only Shell V-Power diesel, or similar, in order to reduce the buildup of particulates on the DPF, and I've followed their advice since then to the letter - even though prior to that I had only ever used normal Shell diesel, and never Tesco or other supermarket fuels! The car has actually behaved much better over the summer months, so that could be partly due to the higher quality diesel, but I think it may also be related to the fact that on my way home during the summer months, even though my journey is only 3 or 4 miles, the engine gets hot enough to burn off the particulates, which it wasn't doing earlier this year when the air temperatures were much lower and the engine would still be cold by the time I got home, and the light would sometimes come on after only 20 miles!!! I'm interested to see (dreading??) what happens when the weather starts getting colder again.

Beverly
 

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Hi Beverly,
Light on again this morning :cry: but managed to clear it :) .I think there is a pattern emerging ,like coming on after the week-ends on Mondays. This is the first time since avoiding super-market fuel. It was difficult to get the speed up to over 40 mph though (just volume of traffic ) so Idropped it down to forth to increase engine revs. It seemed to do the trick. I am going to have another go at Nissan GB to see what they say. I'll keep you posted,
Regards..
 

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Hi Beverly,
Spoke to my Nissan garage-Very helpfull and are doing a "High tech report" which goes to Nissan GB technical support.
They had not had any more problems with other cars so were surprised that I had had two more DPF light problems since regeneration.They said it would help if I contacted Nissan GB. So i did, very helpfull customer services person who understood the problem and took my details and a complaint ref no.He then passed me onto a Technical support person
who did'nt have a clue what I was talking about, then admitted he was'nt a tecnical person so kept me on hold while he spoke to his manager,whose advice was to contact the garage and get them to do a "high tech report". :roll: One question I asked to be clarified is when the DPF light comes on can I drive around in third gear at high revs rather in top gear doing min 40 -50 as recommended in the manual.In theory it should have the same effect as it is down to exhaust temp and not speed of car. I am slightly dreading the onset of winter with longer engine warm -up times . As my nearest Duel carraige way/motoway is 12 miles away like you it is difficult to get to the open road quickly enough before the engine management light potentially comes on.
I await their responses!!!
Regards
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi Jezzer,

The nightmare returns!! Having done a couple of long motorway journeys over the summer, and having tried to get the engine temperature up each day on my way home, I thought I'd cracked it - until yesterday evening when the light came on again after an absence of 3 months. Such a pain! I took the car for a 40 mile round trip down the M3 which cleared it, but I wonder for how long!!

My garage was also really helpful initially, but after they'd spoken to the main Nissan technical support people who gave them the official Nissan "company line" regarding the DPF (ie. the fact that it is not a warranty item after the first regeneration), their attitude changed and they basically told me that I'm on my own. They suggested I contacted Nissan GB Customer Services direct, which I did, but they simply repeated what the garage had said, and then confirmed it in writing to me. Hopefully you'll have better luck - please let me know what they say about the idea of high revs in low gears as a means of burning off the particulates.

Beverly
 

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Hi, although this problem does not affect me as I have a 2004 dCi SVE without a DPF, it seems to be complete madness to have to drive extra miles, increasing you annual milage and emissions and reducing your mpg as a result, totally against one of the main reasons for owning a diesel!
One of the suggested cures appears to be the use of top grade fuels, again this is going to cost you more, as in the case of Shell V-Power can cost 8 - 10p a litre more than Shell Extra, and in my experiance (and others users on Diesel::Driver forum http://www.dervhead.com/xmb/), is this fuel does not return as good mpg figures as regular diesel.
Another route to increase the cetane rating of the fuel you are using is to add your own additive, I have been using Millers Diesel Power Plus for years and in its latest guise, Power Sport 4, is designed for Euro 4 engines and claims to increase the cetane rating and improve combustion, it may help to keep the DPF clean.

http://www.millersoils.net/1_Millers_frame_AUTO_RETAIL-dps4.htm

Apologies if this comes across as sounding like an advert, I can assure you its not, just the only thing I can think of without going to any great expence, and not having any personal experience of the problem.
Rgds
Steve
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi Stevie,

Do you think the additive should be used at the same time as the higher grade fuel?? And would this invalidate the Nissan warranty, for what it's worth?? I've been using V-Power diesel from Shell for the last 6 months months now, but still have the problem. It just seems that the new diesels are really not suitable for anyone who intends to use their car for short journeys - unless every week or so they take it on the motorway for about 30-40 miles to clear the filter.

Beverly
 

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Hi Bev,
It certainly wouldn't do any harm and should not affect the warranty (though I wouldn't mention it to the dealers, any excuse, if you what I mean!). I think I tried that combo once but came to the conclusion that it was overkill as the cetane rating of V-Power is quite high enough to negate any benefit from the additive, I usually stick to Shell extra now and use the Millers in that.
The benefit of V-Power is that is uses a blend of GTL (Gas to Liquid) fuel, which makes it cleaner and lighter than standard derv, thus it burns better and and produces less particulates, so really it should be the ideal fuel for DPF equiped cars!
 

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Hi Beverley,and all other Diesel X-trail drivers----
:D We are making progress!!!! Firstly Tesco diesel is 51 Cetane,BP Ultima is 55 Cetane.I can only find these two who publish the figures.I will try to find the Shell V- power figure because that is the only local garage who somtimes have it in stock. I have'nt yet managed to run the car on these "super" fuels yet but you have and still have had the same problem.
Anyway and MUCH more important is my local Nissan garage contacted me this morning to say that they Have heard back fron Nissan GB following their " HighTech " call following on from my contact with them. They have been asked to re-call my car and to re-map the ECU with a patch. ( no doubt some sort of replacment chip)They will also need to "re-generate" the engine again(under warrenty) Phew!!! Apparently this re-mapping of the ECU will change the low speed engine fuel delivery ,and recalibrate the DPF sensor to not be so sensitive, presumable a higher reading. Out of interest you remember i told you their X-Trail demonstrater needed to be "re-gen'ed" well their Quashqai belonging to a sales manager had the same issues and they have been sent the kit to re-map the ECU on that car first. At last they are acknowledging they have a problem and doing somthing about it. As you say yours was probably one of the first to be fitted with an DPF which was on the T30 Model before the new T31 range became available, so it was arguably more in the experimental stages of development
I don't know when your warrenty runs out but armed with this information I would contact your Nissan dealer (it should'nt matter that you did'nt buy the car from them) Nevertheless kick up a fuss because they will have had a vehicle notice from Nissan GB making them aware of the potential problem,If they are'nt already aware of it.Don't be fobbed off!!
Keep in touch
 
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