Car does accelerate that well when you give it gas..also like a burning electrical smell the check engine light is on.
The check engine light and lack of acceleration may be due to a defective solenoid that controls the camshaft that advances or retards the valve timing (thereby physically causing an earlier or later opening and closing of the valves) on either the left or right bank of the engine. One bank will malfinction at a time and the solenoid that Nissan uses is not of the quality of Honda's V-TEC or Toyota's VVT engines. We had the same symptom on our 2001 Pathy with the same engine.
Have Autozone read you the codes (for free!) that the system is reporting and the codes, when looked up, will tell you which side is malfunctioning. The smell of something "electrical " may be due to the solenoid burning out, its wiring shorting out, or the smell of engine oil sludge that may have built up over time under the relevant valve cover due to heat and that heat possibly causing the solenoid to burn out, as well as cooking and eventually damaging the valves. The Pathy 3.5 V6's are high output motors and they get pretty hot pushing a 4,400lb Pathfinder around. The manual calls for plain old mineral (Dinosaur) oil which begins to break down due to heat on the day it is put in. If not changed out under the ridiculously short oil change interval recommended, sludge will build up and fresh dinosaur oil does not have the chemical strength necessary to remove it.
Recommend that if you find my educated guess as to what the problem is to be correct, that you make your next oil change using Shell Rotella 5W-40 synthetic with a new Purolator Pure One oil filter. Keep the oil system topped off. After six months of cleaning with the superior "diesel" detergent package, which can remove sludge, replace the oil with fresh 5W-40 Rotella Synthetic again and another new filter, or switch to Mobil 1 5W-40 Turbo Diesel Truck. You could also use Mobil 1 5W-30 Truck & SUV for gasoline engines but the detergent package is not nearly as capable and if the system is sludged, you will need more than one oil change to remove the majority of it. If sludged and cleaning is not done, the engine will be ruined in another couple of years.
Nissan's oil recommendations are old school obsolete and stupid. Synthetics is the way to go because they are superior lubricants, have superior resistance to heat, do not sludge up an engine because they do not contain parrafin (wax) and also allow the oil changes to made every 15,000 miles or once a year with a quality filter changeover done at the same time.
Our 2001 was sludged and that is what caused the solenoid to burn out. The dealer attributed the failure to the sludge. I attributed the sludge to the dealer's inferior selection of oil (only place we took it) but the Nissan spec calls for that inferior oil that cooks inside the engine and the expectation is for the owner to have the oil changed very, very frequently to combat the effect. Big $$$.
After we paid the $550 to replace the solenoid on one bank of the engine (it was 2005 and the Pathy was out of warranty), I make all oil changes myself and I use pure synthetics, changing the synthetic oil and filter once a year. It is much cheaper than going to the dealer and we haven't had a mechanical or electrical failure since this solo instance.
The 3.5L V-6 in the Pathfinder pulls a lot more weight than the 350Z sport car. Both should require synthetic oil, not mineral oil and both should have oversized 7-8 qt pans (like Audi and BMW) to give the oil a chance to cool off and provide a margin of error for when the system is not topped off. Just as Nissan did with its On Board Diagnostic system (OBD), it made specifications that assures the dealers with an income for "service" and assures Nissan of an excuse if there is a premature failure under warranty.
Take charge of your car's maintenance and assure that it no longer gets inferior lubricants that require an oil change interval that you have difficulty meeting. Use synthetics and extend the oil change interval to a more reasonable frequency. You will save the engine and money making these changes. Good Luck.
Oct 21, 2009 |
2003 Nissan Pathfinder