2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

A Q45 forum / Cima forum for the President of Infiniti's lineup. Brought to you by Infiniti Parts USA, your OEM source for Q45 parts!
surroundedbyfools
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:13 pm

2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby surroundedbyfools » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:18 pm

My mother recently came into possession of a 2000 Q45 Base. The car was in excellent condition for the most part, except for the fact that it needed a rear brake job, which was done promptly after purchasing. It had 139k when she bought it and she managed to put about 3k on the car with absolutely no problems whatsoever, other than the fact that she has hit several curbs.

However, when we both went out an hour and a half away from home, no less, she got the brilliant idea to put 3 gallons of regular fuel when the car was close to empty (about 3 gallons of premium left) when I was away because she read some random articles online that basically gave her the idea that premium fuel is worthless and that she should stop paying for it. The car soon began knocking like all hell and she started freaking out. Upon my advice, she drove the car 3 miles (again, knocking like hell) to a nearby Autozone and she purchased some octane booster. She used half of the bottle and also went to the gas station AGAIN and got about 10 gallons of premium fuel. The car was driving markedly better, but was still knocking quite a bit. She drove the car a whopping 60 miles back home. The car died twice when she tried to park it on the driveway, which is at a pretty steep incline, and now it turns off when we try to put it in reverse.

I have to say that I am still pretty shocked about the whole situation and I'm still really furious that she thought regular fuel was a good idea. I'm not entirely sure if this is all happening because of the fuel grade situation or because of some preexisting problem with the car that had been exacerbated, but the car had been totally trouble-free before this had happened. Any help is appreciated.


surroundedbyfools
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:13 pm

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby surroundedbyfools » Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:35 pm

Forgive me for double posting, but I think these forums have an edit lock after a certain amount of time has elapsed.

She tried to back up the car tonight and it kept turning off when she put it in reverse on her driveway and in the section of the street by her house (which also has a bit of an incline). However, once she got on flat ground, the car was able to go into reverse for an extended period of time and didn't die at all. Watching it all from outside, I did notice a lot of white smoke is coming from the tailpipes, which is really terrifying.

User avatar
Q451990
Moderator
Posts: 10948
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2002 8:21 am
Car: 1990 Q45 - 114K, 2017 Toyota 4 Runner, 2004 Frontier M/T - 95K, 2012 Xterra (Mom's), 2017.5 Rogue (Inlaws)
Location: Columbia, SC
Contact:

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby Q451990 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:38 am

:welcome: to NICO!

I don't think three gallons of regular fuel, now diluted with 10 gallons of premium is your problem. Any chance she put diesel fuel in? I'd chalk it up as a coincidence and start by pulling codes. Is the "check engine" light on?

EdBwoy
Moderator
Posts: 2686
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 12:47 am
Location: St. Louis Metro East - IL
Contact:

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby EdBwoy » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:33 am

This is a truly interesting one. I am also curious if a different substance ended up in the tank rather than regular gas. Regular is not ideal, but in emergencies small quantities are allowed.

A question on the incline at the driveway and street. Was the car nose-up where she was reversing with gravity, or nose-down and thus reversing up a hill?
Does the car behave any differently when it's being asked to do the opposite?
That is:
1. It currently has issues reversing up a hill
  1. Try gassing it going forward down the slope, but I assume no issue here?
  2. Turn it around and try gassing it going in reverse down the slope
2. It has issues reversing down a hill
  1. Turn it around and try reversing up the slope
  2. I'd assume it had no issues climbimg up the hill going forward?

surroundedbyfools
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:13 pm

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby surroundedbyfools » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:42 am

Hey, guys, thanks for replying.


The check engine light isn't on, but she took the car to Goodyear and they said that the car was coding without offering any more information, so I'm skeptical whether or not the dealer managed to shut it off.

The car was nose up when she attempted to move it off of the driveway, which slopes down; she was trying to reverse along the direction of the driveway rather than against it. The car didn't seem to have as many problems going uphill in drive as it did going downhill in reverse.

We did get some pretty bad news though--the car is apparently running on only two cylinders and we have no idea why the hell this is happening. Perhaps it's in a limp home mode of sorts? Either way, I don't think it's looking very good. This is making me think the gas isn't causing all of this, but I find it really strange how this is all happening at once.

surroundedbyfools
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:13 pm

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby surroundedbyfools » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:08 pm

Here are some updates:

I called Goodyear myself and received some pieces of information:
Apparently, my mother was given a printout of all of the codes that the car was spitting out, but she doesn't seem to know where it is and has insinuated that she doesn't remember receiving one at all.
Like I said before, only two cylinders are working as normal (cylinders 1 and 3). All of the others are apparently misfiring.

I told her some of the things I think might have gone wrong with the car (such as cracked cylinder heads), but she really doesn't want to hear it. She wants to think that it's something basic like sparkplugs or a fuel filter; I might be pessimistic, but I think that at this point, it's pretty obvious it's much more than that. I will admit that several of the symptoms that the car has displayed are consistent with bad sparkplugs or really dirty, nonfunctional fuel filters, but the white smoke from the tailpipe is making me think that she managed to cause real damage to the engine.

Any help is appreciated.

surroundedbyfools
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:13 pm

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby surroundedbyfools » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:41 pm

Sorry for triple posting this time, but I wanted to add that as far as I know, they didn't discover any obvious signs or indications that any physical damage occurred to the engine, such as cracked cylinder heads or cracked engine blocks, but I'm not sure how easy it is to visually diagnose issues like that or if they even bothered to look at all. I don't know why she decided to tow the car to Goodyear of all places and waste money, but it's at the Infiniti dealer now and they will look at it tomorrow.

EdBwoy
Moderator
Posts: 2686
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 12:47 am
Location: St. Louis Metro East - IL
Contact:

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby EdBwoy » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:05 pm

Hey, no problem with multiple posts. We appreciate the updates.

I have also had a strange experience with spark plugs in the past. Temperature in the winter dropped so low, we had a blizzard and 3 out of 6 cylinders misfired. I did the coilpack/sparkplug dance and confirmed that the issue was indeed the spark plugs.
I replaced them with similar OEM ones and it was as good as new.

On a different car, for some reason someone had replaced bank 1 plugs with cheap auto store-brand plugs and 3 of them randomly decided to die at once. I hadn't done anything bad to trigger it to the best of my memory. Again, OEM plugs solved that problem.

I hope it is similarly as simple of a solution for you guys. With DIY skills + time on one's hands, maybe this can be troubleshot & solved cheaply at home. Either way, please keep us updated.

BadQ45t
Posts: 2996
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 7:54 am
Car: 11' Leaf (Wife's Car)
05' X-Terra
97' Q45t
84 300ZX (Original Owner)
Location: Half Moon Bay, CA

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby BadQ45t » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:13 pm

My advise, get the hell out of Goodyear. Those chain places are total ripe-offs (Amco, Midas, Firestone, Sears etc). Find a good Nissan/Infiniti mechanic.

I am thinking that you might be on some very old plugs as EdBwoy suggested above. The 4.1 is a very reliable engine and your miles are pretty low still for this car.

User avatar
Q451990
Moderator
Posts: 10948
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2002 8:21 am
Car: 1990 Q45 - 114K, 2017 Toyota 4 Runner, 2004 Frontier M/T - 95K, 2012 Xterra (Mom's), 2017.5 Rogue (Inlaws)
Location: Columbia, SC
Contact:

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby Q451990 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:50 am

Coil packs are a known failure point on that car, but I wouldn't expect 6 of 8 to drop all at one time. I am beginning to think a look at what's in that gas tank is in order... Maybe a bad Mass Air Flow Sensor? Hopefully you get a good tech at the dealership. Where is the car located? We can sometimes luck out and know of a good shop in your area.

surroundedbyfools
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:13 pm

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby surroundedbyfools » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:56 pm

News:

Infiniti says that there is sludge in the engine. This is obviously not what we wanted to hear. The technician working on the car didn't start until very late today and they will continue the diagnosis process tomorrow morning. So far, there is no evidence that the head gasket, cylinder heads, or engine block have been damaged.

I am not sure that this issue was caused by the use of the regular fuel or the octane booster or whatever. When she purchased the car, all of the fluids/oils were in great shape, but I do know for a fact that she has not gotten an oil change on the vehicle since she purchased it (like I said before, she has put roughly 3k on the car), despite me suggesting it multiple times.

Also, in response to Q451990, we are located in northeast Florida (around Jacksonville).

98_Q45
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:12 am

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby 98_Q45 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:33 pm

Wow, this sounds crAAAzy!! Don’t you hate it when these beasts start acting like little gremlins???

I echo what everyone else has said, but I’ll add: I SOMETIMES put PREMIUM in my gas tank. Most times it’s mid grade, but if a regular price is really low...that’s what it’ll get. I’ve used whole tanks of regular gas and drove 350 miles on the highway. These taxes on premium gas are no joke: some states it’s nearly $1 more per gallon. I’ve tried all grades of gas with this car, it doesn’t make any difference. I use premium though as I don’t feel regular SHOULD be used REGULARLY. It’s like my 97 Maxima: gets Premium before roadtrips, but around town it’s midgrade or regular with occasional premium after an oil change or if the weather is going to be cold. Has 370,000 miles.

As for spark plugs: I’ve solved multiple misfires codes by using Bosch spark plugs and Oreiley plug boots. Advanced Auto for spark plugs, O reliey for the plug boots.

98_Q45
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:12 am

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby 98_Q45 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:43 pm

BadQ45t wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:13 pm
My advise, get the hell out of Goodyear. Those chain places are total ripe-offs (Amco, Midas, Firestone, Sears etc). Find a good Nissan/Infiniti mechanic.

I am thinking that you might be on some very old plugs as EdBwoy suggested above. The 4.1 is a very reliable engine and your miles are pretty low still for this car.
Exactly. Even the Infinit dealership can be a rip-off lol. Sometimes you have to go deep in the “hood” to find a good foreign car specialist. There’s those out there that work for advertisement/numbers, and others who work for the community.

That said, some of the above places can be good for tires and batteries (I should have gotten that Die Hard battery from Sears while it was on sale). But...unless you have EXCELLENT CREDIT AND CAN FINANCE REPAIRS OR OPEN THEIR CREDIT CARD....best to stay away from those places. I have shitty credit, so those places I rather avoid.

surroundedbyfools
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:13 pm

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby surroundedbyfools » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:23 am

I want to say that I am very thankful for all your help; I would be so lost without all of you guys, seeing as I have no idea what's going on and I'm not even the owner of the car.

I hope you all are sitting down.

According to the Infiniti dealership, the car is running fine now, as if nothing happened at all.

Now, for the bad news:

The car just started running fine completely out of nowhere and without them actually doing anything to the car, so we still don't know if we're afoot or horseback when it comes to why the hell, exactly, the car just decided to stop running.
They have no idea why Goodyear said it was misfiring; they see no signs of such things happening, although I'm pretty sure the car was misfiring at one point.
They seem to think that the car was neglected during its time with the previous owners and at the dealership - the car had gone extensive periods of time without getting oil changes. This was something that especially shocked me, although it isn't the most disturbing thing that they told us (keep on reading).
Here is the best part: the sludge has caused the car to spring several leaks, including in the power steering pump and rack, and also, the car is leaking oil and several other fluids, as the valve cover was probably affected as well. They say that the best solution for this is to get a new engine, seeing as there is no possible way to remove all of the sludge from its engine and its components, a few of which have already been damaged.

Now, I know the dealer tries to get you to spend as much as possible, but hot damn, a new engine?

User avatar
Q451990
Moderator
Posts: 10948
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2002 8:21 am
Car: 1990 Q45 - 114K, 2017 Toyota 4 Runner, 2004 Frontier M/T - 95K, 2012 Xterra (Mom's), 2017.5 Rogue (Inlaws)
Location: Columbia, SC
Contact:

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby Q451990 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:09 am

Engine Sludge has nothing to do with a power steering rack, power steering pump, or oil leaks. Without maintenance history, it's hard to say, but just because it didn't have documented oil changes at a dealership, doesn't mean the car didn't get them. The only way to diagnose sludge without tearing in to the engine is looking through the oil filler hole, and that's an inexact science without a borescope. It's possible they used one, but not likely. They're probably just evaluating the car based on it's overall mechanical appearance, which sounds like it's showing some signs of neglect. You'd need compression numbers, and an actual visual on the inside of the engine under the valve cover to really assess the engine's condition.

Back to your problem. With a miracle recovery like you describe, the problem sounds electrical in nature for sure. A bad fuel pump, bad mass air flow sensor or it's connection, a bad sensor, something like that. If I were standing in front of the car, I'd be moving and wiggling electrical connectors to see if I can get a change in idle speed...

surroundedbyfools
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:13 pm

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby surroundedbyfools » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:47 am

Here is a copy of the report given by Infiniti technicians:

"Found many codes in ECM. Cleared and most went away. Found engine sludged and appears to have been cleaned. No further work/diagnosis performed at this time. Note vehicle is leaking badly from valve covers, oil pan, rear main seal, steering rack, power steering pump and brake master cylinder and red brake light is on. May also have other leaks but will need to repair known leaks and thoroughly clean under vehicle to check for further leaks...Vehicle is in very poor shape."

The car did have an oil change right before it was purchased, but it's unknown how long it went before then without getting one. At Autozone, someone was nice enough to get up and look under the hood and they saw that the fluids / oils were still fine, which baffles the hell out of me, seeing as that was the day that the car ended up dying.

Also, Infiniti technically never was able to determine whether or not the car did have any electrical problems (although one of the advisors she spoke to over the phone suggested that maybe a sensor was faulty) because they apparently stopped the diagnosis process as soon as they discovered the sludge and the leaks.

It's funny you say that, Q451990, because I have a 1992 Lexus LS400 that ran great at first and then had a series of electrical problems (such as constant episodes where literally every single power operated feature in the car, including the seats, would die) that suddenly disappeared one day, and the car began running as normal with no issue whatsoever. The car was fine for about three months when it ended up dying in the middle of a parking lot; it appeared as if the transmission was fried this time, but I had the car towed home and the very next time I tried to crank the car, the "battery" was totally drained.

Back to Infiniti talk, the service technician was nice enough to talk to my mother over the phone. I listened into the conversation and he seemed to think that the car was just a bad car. He also said something about the sludge problem causing intermittent misfire, which I'm somewhat skeptical of, seeing as the car evidently has a long-standing history of sludge, yet in 3k miles of being driven (and that car has gotten the hell driven out of it), it never misfired until days ago. Anyway, my mother is thinking that the electrical problem that the car could have is perhaps the oxygen sensor.

surroundedbyfools
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:13 pm

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby surroundedbyfools » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:34 am

Also, they stopped looking at the car or doing diagnosis as soon as they saw the engine had sludge, so an electrical problem has not been ruled out by any means.

User avatar
Q451990
Moderator
Posts: 10948
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2002 8:21 am
Car: 1990 Q45 - 114K, 2017 Toyota 4 Runner, 2004 Frontier M/T - 95K, 2012 Xterra (Mom's), 2017.5 Rogue (Inlaws)
Location: Columbia, SC
Contact:

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby Q451990 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:51 am

Doesn't sound good... If you're thinking of keeping this Q long term, I'd suggest a valve cover pull first to better determine the engine's condition. If it's still a go at that point, install new rocker cover gaskets, and a new brake master cylinder. Then clean everything and see what else south of the rocker covers is leaking.

EdBwoy
Moderator
Posts: 2686
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 12:47 am
Location: St. Louis Metro East - IL
Contact:

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby EdBwoy » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 pm

There's a lot of info flying in, I bet you guys feel like you are drinking from a firehose right now.

1. Goodyear said they noted some misfiring.
2. The rough running mysteriously cured itself (pointing to some electrical issue)
3. Although they said there was no indication at first, the dealer's report said there were multiple codes, some of which cleared. (So what codes were there initially, and which ones are left?)
4. Sludge. Did they actually pop the valve covers or was this a peek through the oil fill port? Has anyone checked the oil level/condition this time? Drained the oil to see how it looks?
We can deal with the leaks after you deal with the potential bad oil issue

Don't replace anything electrical until you see the codes from Goodyear (if your mom located it or the shop can reprint it) as well as those from Infiniti.
Honestly it could be anything with this generation - coilpacks (as mentioned above), knock sensors, or even plugs...or something totally different.
Replacing parts based on speculation will get expensive quickly.

Now that I mentioned knock sensors, I haven't tried it myself, but the KSs might have aggressively compensated for the knocking of lower octane fuel; and at the relatively low load (reversing down a hill), the car just cut off.
Now that the fuel should have diluted, try the driveway experiment again.

Macnalty
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:25 pm
Car: 1995 Q 45

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby Macnalty » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:02 am

Regular fuel although not advocated should provide no damage. Your mileage and power would be off a tad. I agree miracle cures are typically electrical in nature. Firestone should not be considered a great resource for evaluation of the q45 engine IMO.

98_Q45
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:12 am

Re: 2000 Q45 - Mother Put 3 Gallons of Regular Fuel--Nonstop Problems Since

Postby 98_Q45 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:34 pm

I know it’s been a couple weeks since a reply here, BUT...I can give advice on my own oil leaks+misfires.

I changed both valve cover gaskets, the plug boots ($50 at O’Reiley”), and spark plugs. Now...before I changed the valve covers, I had to do a quick emergency fix to drive from Phoenix to Florida. So....I added some oil stop leak from Bardahls ($4) pulled just the leaking plug boots, watched the oil leak into the spark plug tubes. Changed plugs, then drove. Interestingly enough....the misfires stopped after that. A month or so later, the oil never did reach the spark plug tubes again.

SOOOO...that means the car was sitting allowing the seals to shrink and dry. What I’ve been doing is adding new oil stop leaks/cleaner every oil change. The valve cover is an “easy” job. When I lifted the Valve covers, I seen no sludge.

Personally I’m just confused as to why this car seems to end up in junkyards in pairs or trios. You can go weeks or months without seeing a 97-01 q45...then all of a sudden, 2 or 3 are available all at once...usually in devastating condition lol. Once in awhile you’ll get a mint condition q45 in the junk yard...and wonder what the hell happened. I seen one where the a/c belt cut the radiator hose and likely caused it to overheat. A preventable tragedy.


Return to “Q45 Forum / Cima Forum”