Nissan Frontier XE Pickup "check engine soon" light on for months

topic posted Thu, December 15, 2005 - 3:49 PM by  Unsubscribed
Hi all.
I have a Nissan Frontier XE pickup truck, manual trans. 2001.

Due to finances, ive been unable to bring my truck into a mechanic for many many months. And likely wont be able to for many to come.

However, for probably the past 7 months, the little yellow light near speedomotor at bottom right, that says "check engine soon" has been on.
At first, someone told me it might just be that the gas cap wasnt on tight enough, so i made sure it is. It went away for a short while, then came back on. I make sure every time know i get gas to tighten gas cap fully.

However, the light has pretty much stayed on for many months now regardless. Though occassionally it will either not appear after starting truck or will go off for a while.

Im concerned this may be something expensive, and from what ive heard from a Pattis Auto care in Berkeley, where ive gone in the past, its pretty expensive simply to go through the diagnostic phase for the "check engine" indication to determine what the problem might be. Then theres still the cost of fixing unknown problem, if any.

Simply, i cant afford to take it in, as Im struggling financially right now with my basic expenses.

Anyone have any input what this might be?
I am a Certified Massage Therapist, working independantly, as well as doing chair massage at WF in Berkely and at a spa in Mill Valley, and would be totally into doing a trade / barter of massage sessions for a Nissan mechanic who is able to diagnose and fix these issues.?

Modalities i offer are Swedish, Deep Tissue, Reflexology, Reiki, Pranic Healing, Chair massage. Am also a Yiquan, Tai Chi / Wuji Qigong practitioner since 1989, which tends to blend in my sessions, and can offer practices from as a selfcare supplement to bodywork if desired.

Anyone interested, just contact me.

posted by:
  • Unsu...
    That "check engine soon" lamp you speak of is simply an indicator that there is some sort of fault in your vehicle that would cause it to emit more than 1 and 1/2 times the federally allowed emissions standards.

    That could be any number of a thousand things. a faulty fuel cap or loose fuel cap can cause that condition, and is quite a common occurance. Thats so common that some vehicle manufacturers in recent years now have a check gas cap light on the dash.

    Anyways, If you want the light off theres really only one way to do it and that's pull the codes and diagnosis what is causing them. It could be relatively cheap and quick, it may be something more expensive. It may be something simple now that if not taken care of quickly will cost tenfold down the road.
    • This is purely conjecture, but if it's been on for months, and the truck runs fine, without a noticeable difference in fule economy, I'd say you're looking at a fault in the EGR system.
      Krispy is right, though, diagnosing the problem isn't really that expensive. Most garages charge one hour of labor to hook a handheld scanner to see what the engine is doing, and diagnose the problem. Call around, ask what the computer diagnostics fee is, then ask if there's any additional fees if you decide not to get it fixed.
  • if it has been more than 3 yrs since the O2 sensor has been replaced odds are that would be the root of the issue you can buy a cheap diagnostic plug in that simply flashes a series of codes for chevy "for example" will flash once then pause then flash twice then pause "to give you a number in this case it will be 12" and repeat it 3 times at the start of the code reading then it will flash your trouble codes one at a time three times. then when all the codes have been flashed it will flash the first code "code 12" just go to the parts store like autozone, kragen, etc and pick up a haynes manual for your model vehicle. you will be able to narrow it down to the root of the problem faster and cheaper this way "plus the book has the directions on how to read the codes off of the computer. or take your car to a parts store that offers trouble shooting assistance.

    most likely it will be on the exhaust side of the system
    egr valve
    catalitic convertor
    02 sensor "most typical"
    or possibly pluged or non functioning fuel injector if yours has fuel injection
    or a tuneup is needed

    • Unsu...
      Thank you all for your input, suggestions.
      Someone i was speaking with just yesterday had mentioned he had the same situation, with that check engine soon indicator light of for several years, and for him at least it was simply from a need to check the smog emissions.
      • Unsu...
        A 2001 will not "flash" codes to my knowledge. Its an OBDII compliant vehicle so codes will have to be read with a scan tool if im not mistaken.

        Curious, Check the owners manual for what lights you have on your dash. It could be the Malfunction Indicator Lamp that you are looking at but also it may just be a routine Service Minder Llamp. theres a big difference between the two...
        • "Check engine soon" is the computer warning lamp, a code has been set.

          It is true you cannot flash codes through the light after 1996.

          The light/code can be set for any number of things, not all emission related. Even transmission codes will sometimes set the light.

          The only way to know, is to pull the codes with a scanner. Call around, someone will be willing to pull the codes for you and advise whether you need to address it soon or not, and do it very cheap or free. Pulling codes will only tell you which system/ciruit is at fault, not what is specifically wrong with that circuit. Pulling codes takes no time at all. Finding the fault within that system/circuit takes time, sometimes lots, and so costs money. If it is an insignificant fault, the shop should tell you so. No matter what, it will have to be repaired before your next smog prior to registration.

          Since you have driven it this long wthout other symptoms, it is likely not a serious concern. But some things that fail that are cheap to repair, can cause other things to fail that are very expensive, so don't ignore it too long, it may save you some bucks!

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