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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.
 

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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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The only time this has happened to me on a vehicle was on a Nissan Elgrand and that was when the crank sensor was finally giving up ..... it just cuts out dead .You would drive up the road and it would just cut out for no reason then I would re-start again and it would run fine .Worth looking into.
 

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Definitely No1 on my checklist. Faulty MAF also prevents these engines from starting. Unplugging will load default mapping and allow engine to start. Checking for fault codes would have been a logical step also.
 

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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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I don't believe the fuel circuit is that complicated. As you prime the bulb, surely it is simply drawing / sucking fuel from the fuel tank. There is no pump on the fuel tank itself so fuel is sucked to the front of the car by the engine mounted fuel pump. However there is something certainly wrong if you are finding air in the fuel pipes at all. There shouldn't be air in the system unless there is a leak or some other fault.
After the fuel filter, as far as I can see the fuel goes directly to the fuel pump. After passing through the fuel pump it returns to the fuel filter and is filtered another time (reason for four pipes at the filter) then off to the fuel injection system. There may be a non-return valve and other components but as far as I am aware that's the basic circuit.

Another point, you should not be needing to use the prime bulb. Most cars didn't in the past have prime bulbs. The prime bulb is only there for the purpose of filling an empty fuel filter after a new one has been installed. Otherwise you would have to manually pour fuel into the filter and fill it yourself when fitting a new one during maintenance.
 

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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.
 

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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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I've two points:

1. Note AHTO42s earlier point: -
'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.'

I believe this is a non return valve, I would have it checked. The way you describe the problem as being very intermittent would remind me very much of a sticking valve that sometimes sticks, then frees up again. Pumping the ball perhaps frees it for a while?

AHTO42s English may not be great, but he is probably the most experienced member on this site with regards to the T31 X-Trail and is his comments are usually accurate.

2. Were it not for the intermittent nature of your fault, I might have also suggested timing chain slipping a cog. The car will run with minor issues one cog either side on crank shaft sprocket. It will even run two cogs either side albeit with starting and other issues. I have discovered this during research on my problem described also on this forum. Timing chain guide tensioners appear to fail around 100K to 120K miles rendering chain loose and vulnerable to jumping cogs.
 

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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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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.
 

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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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Bus-man - read my latest discussion about timing chain on my other topic about whether I should fix my car after timing chain tensioner issue. At the end of the day, timing chains should be much less likely to give trouble than timing belts, providing of course that car is not abused and oil changes are done at intervals no longer than Nissan suggests, and that good quality oil is used.
 
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