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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went out yesterday evening and a quarter of a mile from home my engine just cut out in the middle of a roundabout. Tried 3 or 4 times to restart it but no go. Then I had a thought and tried the "computer solution", turned the ignition off completely, waited 10 seconds and tried again. Second try it fired up and seemed normal so I completed my 15 mile journey all running well. Parked up for 3 hours while I went about my business. Car started straight away and drove home without any issues. Never missed a beat.

Last week on starting up at home one day the car stalled as I tried to move off. Strange being an automatic. It re-started instantly that time though. I don't know whether the two incidents are connected, but it has done nothing like either of them before in two years of ownership. Any ideas? Intermittent faults are always the worst.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi all and thanks for the replies. Sorry I haven't responded sooner but I have been away with my caravan and had no internet access. The car drove faultlessly up to Norfolk and for all our running around while up there. We came back earlier today and it never missed a beat coming back, so I still have no idea what caused it to cut out when it did, I guess it was just one of those unexplained mysteries. Probably not worth worrying about until it does it again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Since the above it has done it a few more times. Yesterday it started instantly as usual, then when I was outside wiping the dew off the windows before driving off, it suddenly cut out. It took several attempts to get it to restart, but when it did it drove perfectly. Then this afternoon when I went to go out for the first time in the day, it started instantly again then cut out within seconds of me starting to move off. Again it took several attempts to get it to restart but it ran just fine when it did. It always seems to be the first start of the day, but it starts readily then cuts out after a few moments and is difficult to start again. Never known a fault like it and I've been around cars for many decades. When it cuts out, it cuts instantly, like I'd turned the ignition off. No spluttering or hesitation, just cuts dead. When I try to restart it spins over and over with no attempt to fire. Then after the third or fourth attempt, away it goes perfectly. Anyone else had this problem? I hate intermittent faults!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Have I discovered a new fault that nobody else has come across? I must admit I've never known a car do it before. Difficult starting I have come across, but never starting perfectly then stopping again after a short period then being difficult to restart, then running perfectly once it has. Nobody any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Colin

Plenty of ideas but I cannot possibly know for sure. I would certainly start with the crank and cam sensors, either by having them scoped and correlation checked, or by substitution / replacement.
Hi thanks for the reply. Wouldn't they both affect normal running? I have been out in the car this afternoon and done around 150 miles. Today the car started straight away and ran well and never missed a beat throughout the journey. Started straight away for the return trip too.

Fuel return pipe. There is a valve that puts the injector return system under pressure. When the valve fails, then the engine is hard to start.
Thanks for your reply too. The strange thing about this is that the car isn't initially hard to start. It always starts instantly whenever I go to it. Often it starts and runs normally throughout the journey, but every now and then it will start up normally then cut out somewhere between 10 seconds and 3 minutes later. That's when it becomes hard to start up again. It normally only does it on the first start of the day and once it has been started once it will start without any problems for the rest of the day.

The last time the car "played-up" was Sunday. I used it Monday evening, yesterday morning, then again in the afternoon, then again today leaving home around 1pm. On all those occasions it behaved perfectly. It is definitely an intermittent fault, so it means that I now have to start every journey 10 minutes earlier just in case it acts-up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well the car is now booked in to our local garage on 10th November. They are booked solid until then. When I spoke to them yesterday they said it sounds like air is getting into the fuel line somewhere. It is starting up on the fuel left in the pipe, then when it gets to the air bubble it cuts out, which is kind of what I suspected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hand pump rubber?
Thanks, yes that does sound like one possibility. I did try on one occasion giving this a few sqeezes, but it still took a lot of cranking on the starter motor afterwards to get it to fire. I presume that the main fuel pumps are electric rather than mechanical lift pumps driven by the engine. I am much more familiar with very old engines than modern ones, and I mean engines from the 1960s and 1970s, rather than 21st century ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I had a similar problem on my 57 plate diesel. It'd start fine, run for 1/4 mile or so then cut out as you accelerate. There's a hill 1/4 mile from my house, if it was going to cut out it'd be there.

I changed the fuel filter (even genuine one) which didn't seem to help. Eventually found a crack in the rubber priming pump, replaced that (and nearby hoses & clamps) and never had an issue again. £5 fix, and it probably needed the filter anyway.
Yes that sounds like the same thing. Mine runs for anything from 10 seconds to a couple of minutes. Second time it did it, it did it after about 1/4 of a mile, but often it does it before I have even left my driveway. Like earlier today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi Bus-man. The fuel pump on the T31 X-Trail with M9R engine is not electrical. It sits on the engine itself and takes a mechanical drive off a sprocket on one of the camshafts.
Thanks for that info Adrian, I had just assumed they were all electrical these days. All the diesels I have worked on in the dim and distant past had a mechanical lift pump and injector pump. My knowledge is decades out of date.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I had the exact same fault with my 2007.
The issue is that the fuel in the suction side slowly drains back to the the tank when the engine is stopped.
The high pressure pump and lines are still filled with fuel, so the engine starts right up and runs, but if its to much air, the low pressure pump can't get suction and the engine dies when the fuel runs out.
If it's a smaller amount of air in the lines, the low pressure pump creates enough vacuum to get fuel going and fills up the high pressure pump before the engine dies.
If you pump the ball before each start, it will run perfectly.

Now, however, my engine doesen't run unless I hand pump with the rubber ball, and still only just, so it seems to have developed a second problem.
My guess right now is that the hp pump breaks down from running without fuel too many times.

Im not impressed with these M9R engines.
Thanks for your reply MartenSwe. What you say makes a lot of sense to me, although I'm not that familiar with the X Trail fuel system. When you say about pumping the ball, do you mean before making any attempt to start, or when it has died? I have tried doing the latter and it didn't seem to make much difference, I still had to crank the engine over for quite a while before it finally fired up. I was a bit concerned that I would flatten the battery before it did. I haven't tried pumping before making the initial start though. Maybe I'll try that before I go out tomorrow morning. My car is going in to my local independent garage on Wednesday, providing it keeps going until then. I have used them a few times before and they seem very good. They are a family-run business and they certainly seem to have an excellent reputation in this area. They are always very busy which is why I have had to wait nearly two weeks. I hope you manage to get your car sorted too.
Colin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I mean pumping the ball before you do any attempt to start the engine. When you run the high pressure side dry, it will take a lot of cranking to vent the air out and build pressure.
Thats atleast how I mitigated the issue for 6 months.
Thanks very much for that, I will definitely try that tomorrow morning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I mean pumping the ball before you do any attempt to start the engine. When you run the high pressure side dry, it will take a lot of cranking to vent the air out and build pressure.
Thats atleast how I mitigated the issue for 6 months.
Well I did try that this morning, pumped the ball until it went firm then started the engine and it ran perfectly. The only problem is that I can't say for certain that it wouldn't have done so anyway, as sometimes it does. It's not every time that I start up for the first time in the day that it cuts out. It's probably about one time in four that it cuts out now, but initially it was only very occasionally, such as two or three times a month. It definitely does seem to be getting worse, so I guess that whatever it is may be deteriorating.
Colin
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
If you find out if the pumping helps or not, I'm very curious to hear the result.
I'll be going out tomorrow morning at some point and I'll try pumping before I go. I haven't used the car all weekend. I'm still not sure whether it was effective last time or just coincidence, what I will know though is whether it doesn't work. That is if I pump and it still plays up. The car is booked in to my local independent garage on Wednesday, so hopefully I will know then what the problem is. I will post to let you know how I get on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I'll be going out tomorrow morning at some point and I'll try pumping before I go. I haven't used the car all weekend. I'm still not sure whether it was effective last time or just coincidence, what I will know though is whether it doesn't work. That is if I pump and it still plays up. The car is booked in to my local independent garage on Wednesday, so hopefully I will know then what the problem is. I will post to let you know how I get on.
Well I pumped the bulb before starting today and it started straight away and kept running. Did pumping help or would it have kept running anyway, I have no real way of knowing. I have to go out again later so I'll try not pumping when I go out, but its normally fine after its been started once that day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Well I took the car in to my local garage today, and would you believe it the car started and ran perfectly. They gave it a thorough examination and could find absolutely nothing wrong. The only thing they could come up with is that possibly an injector was leaking back. They suggested that I leave it until it gets worse so that they have more of a chance of finding the fault, or I could take it to a local fuel injection specialist to test the injectors. I know what it's like trying to find intermittent faults, as when I was working I found myself in that position many times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Ever since MartinSWE suggested I try pumping the rubber bulb before I start the engine it has been fine. If I pump it for the first start of the day it starts and runs just as it should throughout the rest of the day. I haven't tried NOT pumping it since so I don't know whether the fault has cured itself or not. I am completely in the dark about the layout of the fuel system in this car, so would greatly appreciate it if anyone could post a simple schematic diagram of the fuel system layout so that I can better understand what is happening when I pump the bulb. I have heard mention of the "suction side" and "high pressure side" but without a diagram they don't mean much to me. All I know is that when I first squeeze the bulb it feels empty, but after a couple of squeezes it goes firm as if it has filled, but I don't get where it is filling from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Further to my above post, did you have your car serviced in recent times and a new fuel filter installed?
If so, it might be worth checking that the four pipes have been put back onto the fuel pump in the correct order.
Thanks for your replies. I last had the car serviced at the beginning of June and it has done 3,915 miles since. The fault first occurred shortly before our caravan holiday at the beginning of September, but it behaved itself while we were away and the problem only recurred a few weeks after we got back. It's true I shouldn't need to prime the system but I seem to have got into the habit since it was suggested to me on here, and I have done it ever since at the first time of starting each day. I'll have to try NOT doing it and see what happens. Before I started priming it daily it only did it occasionally anyway, it wasn't every time. Unfortunately it always seemed to do it when I was in a hurry to get somewhere. Coincidence obviously, but still annoying. I can't see anything obvious, and neither could the garage I took it to, and they are usually very good. I know how hard it is though to find a fault when the fault won't occur. They didn't charge me either, and I couldn't see a main dealer doing that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I have a feeling that AHTO42 may well be right. It is as if the fuel is running back past a faulty non-return valve when the car is parked for any length of time and pumping the bulb draws it back up so that the engine keeps running. Personally I have never found AHTO42s English to be a problem, it seems excellent to me and he certainly seems to know what he is talking about.

Regarding the timing chain tensioners that does seem a bit worrying. I don't think that is the current problem, but my car has done 122k. I had a timing chain tensioner fail on a Triumph 1850 Dolomite I had years ago and it wrecked the engine, so I wouldn't want that happening again. I don't suppose there is any easy way of checking the timing chain, is there? I had hoped that by buying a car with a chain instead of a belt that I had removed a common problem. Snapped belts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I know a t31 that was hard to start. First we changed the return pipe with the valve. It made starting a bit better. But at -10c stil no go. Then the owner did the injector leak test (on youtube m9r injector leak test) and it had 2 bad injectors. He had them all 4 refurbished, but i would go new.
Thanks for that Ahto42, the garage I took it to suggested that it could be an injector leaking back, so if you are saying the same that sounds like quite a good probability. Maybe I'll have to get them changed.
 
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