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5th Generation Maxima (2000-2003) Learn more about the 5th Generation Maxima, including the VQ30DE-K and VQ35DE engines.

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Old 02-03-2009, 07:27 AM   #1
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P0303 code. Can I drive with this code?

Yesterday driving home from work. Car felt a little rough while driving. I was low on fuel so I though it was just fuel releated. Topped up on full but prior to making it to the gas station, car began missing and giving the blinking check engine light. After a while it turn solid. Car drove a little rough the whole ride home.

Got home, Checked the Code P0303- Random Cylinder 3 misfire. I reset it and went for a drive again to make sure. It came back again this morning . How reliable is the ECU at detecting the this issue. I have already ordered new plugs and I will be replacing the rear valve cover and that coil and the cylinder 3 coil.

Anyone ever deal with this before? Seems pretty random one coil would go bad all of a sudden. This car has performed flawlessly in the past year so surprised this happened without any advanced symptoms

Lastly can i drive with this or will it damage the CATS like mentioned in the FSM. Do i have to worry about piston damage?
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:37 AM   #2
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P0303 is Cyl 3 misfire, not random/multiple; that's P0300.

Coils sometimes just die, but I'd check the coil and injector, all you really need is a multimeter.

Swap the coil from another cylinder to 3, see if the misfire jumps cylinders.

If you must drive it, unplug that injector to avoid converter damage. No piston worries.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmohr View Post
P0303 is Cyl 3 misfire, not random/multiple; that's P0300.

Coils sometimes just die, but I'd check the coil and injector, all you really need is a multimeter.

Swap the coil from another cylinder to 3, see if the misfire jumps cylinders.

If you must drive it, unplug that injector to avoid converter damage. No piston worries.
thanks for the information. only issue is I can't get to it to perform that simple test like i would on my 3.0. apparently Cylinder 3 is in the middle of the bank closest to the firewall. i have to pull the manifold.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:07 AM   #4
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thanks for the information. only issue is I can't get to it to perform that simple test like i would on my 3.0. apparenly Cylinder 3 is the on in the middle of the bank closest to the firewall. i have to pull the manifold.
True, but that only takes 10 minutes, so...
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:53 PM   #5
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wasn't the coil. The sparkplug fell apart.
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zack342 View Post
wasn't the coil. The sparkplug fell apart.
well that'll do it.. lol.. nothing fell into the cylinder did it?
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:18 PM   #7
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:22 PM   #8
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:24 PM   #9
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That sucks. Have any trouble getting it out?

Did you torque the hell out of it?
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
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That sucks. Have any trouble getting it out?

Did you torque the hell out of it?
I haven't owned this car for a year. previous owner had the 60k done by a local nssan dealership. He also had them do the plugs. I use a TQ wrench when i do plugs.
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:38 PM   #11
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What really sucks is i had to do it twice. I took the manifold off yesterday, did the coil and reassembled everything. Problem didn't go away. decided i would check the plug today and that is what i got. The top part came out and the threaded part remained in the block.
thats when my heart dropped. I used a screw extractor and it came out. I soaked it in WD-40 and it came out.used a vacuum to try to clean the cylinder to make sure no ceramic shards were in there.
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
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If you must drive it, unplug that injector to avoid converter damage. No piston worries.
When you remove an injector does it effectively deactivate that cylinder?
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:31 PM   #13
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When you remove an injector does it effectively deactivate that cylinder?
I wouldn't remove it (you'd have fuel flowing everywhere).

If you unplug it, and you have no spark, then yes, basically you just deactivated that cylinder. It still builds compression, and feels like hell, but it's inop.

If you've got a dead coil or something, it's best to disable the injector so as to not send raw fuel directly to the converter.
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:40 PM   #14
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I wouldn't remove it (you'd have fuel flowing everywhere).

If you unplug it, and you have no spark, then yes, basically you just deactivated that cylinder. It still builds compression, and feels like hell, but it's inop.

If you've got a dead coil or something, it's best to disable the injector so as to not send raw fuel directly to the converter.
Ah, gotcha. Yeah, I meant unplug, not remove.

Good to know the next time I blow a coil.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:45 AM   #15
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Just an update with the new plug car runs like a champ!!!
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmohr View Post
P0303 is Cyl 3 misfire, not random/multiple; that's P0300.

Coils sometimes just die, but I'd check the coil and injector, all you really need is a multimeter.

Swap the coil from another cylinder to 3, see if the misfire jumps cylinders.

If you must drive it, unplug that injector to avoid converter damage. No piston worries.

How do you check the injector? Sorry I'm an extreme newb. but getting into the fixing my own car thing because i can't afford to pay out the a$$ taking it to the dealership. I have a friend mechanic who does all the work for cheap, I buy the parts and do all the research.
Thanks in advance
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:58 PM   #17
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How do you check the injector? Sorry I'm an extreme newb. but getting into the fixing my own car thing because i can't afford to pay out the a$$ taking it to the dealership. I have a friend mechanic who does all the work for cheap, I buy the parts and do all the research.
Thanks in advance
Ohm out the injector, should be reading 10-14 ohms.
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Old 04-22-2013, 03:44 PM   #18
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Ohm out the injector, should be reading 10-14 ohms.
Ok so here's the history on my issues and car (I've spent about 10 hours researching all the issues and codes and several trips to my local mechanic who works out of his garage and this is where I'm at):

Car details:

- 2000 Maxima GLE - Standard transmission
- 170k miles
- I've owned for 1 year and other than what is described below, I have not performed any major repairs, other than regular oil changes and replaced the rear struts.

Previous Symptoms:
1. CEL on (was blinking before but not since I changed the ignition coils)
2. Was having very poor gas mileage, about 18mpg but now back up to 23mpg after replacing the ignition coils.
3. Engine Shuttering and CEL blinking - (has not happened since switching the ignition coils)
4. Failed NOX emmissions on the smog test (CO2 and other readings were within limits).

Codes:
1. P1320 E MIL - "Distributor Signal Interrupt"
2. P1320 E PEND - "Distributor Signal Interrupt"
3. P0303 G MIL - "Cyclinder 3 misfire detected"
4. P0430 G - Catalyst system efficiency below threshold.

Repairs performed:
About a month or two ago:
1. Replaced Spark plugs with plugs supplied by Autozone.
2. O2 Sensors: Replaced both Upstream O2 sensors (but not the downstream because I was trying to save $, and from what I read, the Upstream O2 sensors control the A/F ratio, and the downstream O2 sensors give the readings to the ECU as far as if the Cat's are doing their job. I decided to buy the downstream O2 sensors.
3. Had the mechanic remove and clean the EGR valve (to help with the high NOX emmisions)

Cleared the codes and all of them eventually came back,
lasted about a week or so without the CEL cioming back on, enough to pass the smog test.

About a Week ago:
1. Ignition Coils: Switched out all the coils with UNITED IGNITION WIRE coils purchased from RockAuto.com

I cleared the codes and the CEL comes back on within the first 20 minutes of driving. The only code I get now is the P1320 1 and 2. I cleared them again and they came back again.

My car runs much better now, gas mileage is back to where it was when I bought the car around 23mpg, although I've read others having up to 28mpg, but they had several performance modifications.

All the info I've gotten from the forums is that Nissan's don't like aftermarket coils and the car can run fine even though the ECU gives the CEL and P1320 code.
I called Rockauto.com and United Wire Corp and they say they get their coils from Standard Motor Products and claim that they are one of the largest coil manufacturers out there. They suggested that I return the coils and get the Standard Motor Products and see if those work.
They also have some Hitachi brand which are slightly more expensive but maybe those work better since they are Japanese?

Sorry for the long winded post, but i figure better to have all the info than go back and forth 10 times.
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Old 04-22-2013, 03:51 PM   #19
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i once in a while get the p0300 code i still drive it but it goes on and off its been off for about a month without turning on. i had a misfire in 2 and i changed it with a oem coil and it went away. in the summer i want to change my valve covers front and rear, gaskets, spark plugs and really have to comtemplate if i want to get brand new coils cause coils are expensive
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Old 04-22-2013, 03:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by elsuperdavid View Post
Ok so here's the history on my issues and car (I've spent about 10 hours researching all the issues and codes and several trips to my local mechanic who works out of his garage and this is where I'm at):

Car details:

- 2000 Maxima GLE - Standard transmission
- 170k miles
- I've owned for 1 year and other than what is described below, I have not performed any major repairs, other than regular oil changes and replaced the rear struts.

Previous Symptoms:
1. CEL on (was blinking before but not since I changed the ignition coils)
2. Was having very poor gas mileage, about 18mpg but now back up to 23mpg after replacing the ignition coils.
3. Engine Shuttering and CEL blinking - (has not happened since switching the ignition coils)
4. Failed NOX emmissions on the smog test (CO2 and other readings were within limits).

Codes:
1. P1320 E MIL - "Distributor Signal Interrupt"
2. P1320 E PEND - "Distributor Signal Interrupt"
3. P0303 G MIL - "Cyclinder 3 misfire detected"
4. P0430 G - Catalyst system efficiency below threshold.

Repairs performed:
About a month or two ago:
1. Replaced Spark plugs with plugs supplied by Autozone.
2. O2 Sensors: Replaced both Upstream O2 sensors (but not the downstream because I was trying to save $, and from what I read, the Upstream O2 sensors control the A/F ratio, and the downstream O2 sensors give the readings to the ECU as far as if the Cat's are doing their job. I decided to buy the downstream O2 sensors.
3. Had the mechanic remove and clean the EGR valve (to help with the high NOX emmisions)

Cleared the codes and all of them eventually came back,
lasted about a week or so without the CEL cioming back on, enough to pass the smog test.

About a Week ago:
1. Ignition Coils: Switched out all the coils with UNITED IGNITION WIRE coils purchased from RockAuto.com

I cleared the codes and the CEL comes back on within the first 20 minutes of driving. The only code I get now is the P1320 1 and 2. I cleared them again and they came back again.

My car runs much better now, gas mileage is back to where it was when I bought the car around 23mpg, although I've read others having up to 28mpg, but they had several performance modifications.

All the info I've gotten from the forums is that Nissan's don't like aftermarket coils and the car can run fine even though the ECU gives the CEL and P1320 code.
I called Rockauto.com and United Wire Corp and they say they get their coils from Standard Motor Products and claim that they are one of the largest coil manufacturers out there. They suggested that I return the coils and get the Standard Motor Products and see if those work.
They also have some Hitachi brand which are slightly more expensive but maybe those work better since they are Japanese?

Sorry for the long winded post, but i figure better to have all the info than go back and forth 10 times.
As you've read, it's very common for aftermarket coils to throw P1320 with absolutely no driveability symptoms. The only real 'cure' for it is to get OE coils.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:32 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmohr View Post
As you've read, it's very common for aftermarket coils to throw P1320 with absolutely no driveability symptoms. The only real 'cure' for it is to get OE coils.
So last night as I removed the aftermarket coils, in order to return them and get the Hitachi ones, unfortunately they will only do exchange, not a refund. I was successful in removing the coils (on cylinders 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6) without a problem, but the coil on cylinder #5 the rubber component that goes over the spark plug came off the coil, then when i tried to get it out, I jammed it in so it is firmly on the spark plug now. I tried re-inserting the coil and pulling it out to see if it would come back out with no luck. Then tried to remove it with surgical tongs (forceps like the ones in the link below) but could not.

Is there a sure way of getting this rubber component out? I can't even get to the spark plug now if I wanted to remove it because the rubber cap from the ignition coil is over the spark plug.

Finally I just took the rubber cap off the Nissan OE coil and inserted it into place, so it just fit into the cap from the aftermarket coil. car seems to run ok. Not as good as with the brand new coils (which are the aftermarket United Wire Corp. ones) but I'm returning those for the Hitachi's which are slightly more expensive and supposed to be better, yet not as expensive as OE parts.

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