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Discussion Starter #1
Or something else?

At 100k miles I had my son's 2011 Versa Hatchback's plugs changed out. 20k later he's getting an occasional Service Engine Soon (P0301) indication. Had a local trusted mechanic do it for me last time but this time I figured I'd tackle this myself. Between the many posts I've read here and the YouTube vids... I was ready.

First thing I noticed was how much the electrode was worn out on all 4 plugs. Never seen so much wear in such a short amount of time. Those plugs were replaced in May of 2018, 20k miles ago.

I will admit my mechanic only changed out the plugs. Not his fault. That's what I asked him to do. Coil packs were reused as were the intake manifold and throttle body gaskets. I know better now regarding the gaskets.

This time I replaced everything. New Denso coil packs, the same plugs (bought quantity 8 last year from an eBay seller with excellent feedback) and new gaskets. I even cleaned the crude off the intake manifold and the throttle body (using 90% alcohol).

Put everything back together and the car runs fine. Have yet to take it for a test drive.

After doing this job I'll admit it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Sure it's a PITA to have to remove so much crap to get at the plugs, but now that I've done it I won't feel so intimidated next time. And if I ever need to get to an injector, they're right there.

So, as for the previous occasional P0301 issue... thoughts?


Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 

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As far as the plugs being fake, a lot of todays BRAND named parts are made all over the world. I also belong to a Mercedes diesel forum, and almost every Bosch branded part from glow plugs to injectors are made all over the world, with India and China taking the lead. As far as the P0301 code, below gives a pretty good explanation as to its cause along with some ways to pin it down. Good luck!!!



https://www.700r4transmissionhq.com/p0301-nissan-versa/
 

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Could well be fake. My Chinese motorcycle came new with a fake NGK plug. The resister inside disintegrated which let the center electrode move up into the porcelain which increased the gap to a point that it would stall at low RPM. Never had a problem with real NGK plugs.
 

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Reading the link that pimperell sent, is seems that the code P0301 could also be caused by the vacuum leak from re-used gaskets.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As far as the plugs being fake, a lot of todays BRAND named parts are made all over the world. I also belong to a Mercedes diesel forum, and almost every Bosch branded part from glow plugs to injectors are made all over the world, with India and China taking the lead. As far as the P0301 code, below gives a pretty good explanation as to its cause along with some ways to pin it down. Good luck!!!







https://www.700r4transmissionhq.com/p0301-nissan-versa/
Good info. Thanks for providing the link!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Could well be fake. My Chinese motorcycle came new with a fake NGK plug. The resister inside disintegrated which let the center electrode move up into the porcelain which increased the gap to a point that it would stall at low RPM. Never had a problem with real NGK plugs.
That pic of the used plugs I posted have only been in the car for around 9 months with less than 20k miles on them. That (HUGE) gap you see measures about 0.104 on all of them! One can almost think they're the original plugs with 120k miles on them, but they're not. Unfortunately, I put the remaining 4 plugs in from my eBay purchase last year. Hopefully I won't be replacing them in another 9 months
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Reading the link that pimperell sent, is seems that the code P0301 could also be caused by the vacuum leak from re-used gaskets.
I agree and am hopeful the issue has been addressed... except for my concern about the plugs
 

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Fake plugs? Unlikely although not impossible.

What I DO know is this............see the pic of the new plug above and the small iridium extension that comes on the WIRE electrode, or the one sticking way out in the air. Those super small tips are barely spot welded on and can be a crap job doing it. I've begun to closely inspect all plugs with tips like that, some are missing right out of the box and others can fall off in operation and then the gap opens up super wide. You also look for the tips missing when plugs get pulled out at inspection. The engine then begins to misfire OR if the coil is powerful enough and can fire even that wide a gap then it burns the plugs' other tip off due to being too hot. Coils auto increase voltage to jump gap and the more powerful the spark the more material vaporizes off the end the spark jumps away from, meaning the center one.

If you look at the used plugs there the wire tips likely came off, bad welds. Then the centers burned the tips off as those are not the 'tee' shaped weld on buttons like the other side, the center is often a bigger diameter with the end turned down to make the small tip, at least so far. I suppose they could weld a tip there as well to save more money, iridium is not cheap. Maybe they do but the weld there is better, I don't know. But you can see the bottom base of the tee on those so the entire tip did not come loose. Think of the wire end shape there as like a steel rivet like Bluto throws buckets of at Popeye in the cartoons.

As mentioned above name brand parts are made in so many places now you cannot grasp where they come from, the crap weld job on the tips can be the worker simply dropping amps on the welder to save the company money on power. Or sloppy machine holding of the tips to not locate or feed the tips precisely or even drop them to weld with no tip in place. Look at the parts out of the boxes, you'll see all kinds of errors there. The physical process of gap setting can have some of the tips come right off, BTDT. I've even found loose tips in the boxes.

Misfire codes are usually electrical related as the ECM can commonly see the error in voltage there and in more than one way, but sometimes they can be due to like a vacuum leak. Always treat ignition electrical issues first with that code.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
AMC, thanks for the very informative reply. If I'm at the mercy of a robot or underpaid human spot welding these tips on the grounds for iridium plugs, I may have no choice but to consider Autolite or Champion brand plugs then. In looking at the pics on RockAuto, they don't appear to have extra tips spot welded on the grounds for iridium plugs.

Seeing how all 4 of my used plugs appeared to wear evenly, I'm guessing I didn't have to drop $200 on new Denso coils via RockAuto. Oh well. The Versa had 120k miles on it. Maybe it was due. Peace of mind perhaps?

Haven't driven the car much in the last few days to see P0301 return. I'm hoping this is now a non-issue. I'll post a follow-up if so.

Thanks for the replies guys
 

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Autolite plugs likely have that tip as well, I used them on Fords and the ones that tips came off of.

The wire electrodes only have the tips when the plugs are intended for waste spark ignition systems as 2 of the 4 plugs (or 3 of 6 if a six cylinder) fire backwards on those. Like I said the major erosion occurs on the tip the spark is jumping AWAY from. Separate coils like Nissan have now do not need the welded on tip on the wire side at all, they fire in one direction only, from the center to the wire.

Platinum plugs use that doubled tip both ends too if they are 'double' platinum plugs, and why they are called that. Platinum plugs WILL wear faster than iridium and why iridium were designed, the first truly 100K plug under optimum circumstances. Or so you hope.
 

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I want to chime in. These plugs are fake. Where did you (or the mechanic) source them from?

I experienced the same thing recently. If you read my post history, you'll see I had my engine changed around 100k kms, so I ordered new NGK plugs from amazon.com (not a 3rd party seller). These were put in, and things were fine until last week, when I started getting P0301 misfires, and a rough idle. I pulled the plugs out, and surprise, they look just like yours, on all 4 cylinders :(

My engine only has 62k KM. By comparison, my old denso plugs with 100k on them look totally fine.

Denso plugs at 100k KM:
old denso.PNG


NGK at 60k KM:
newer ngk.PNG


I ended up putting the denso plugs back, and now the engine is smoother than ever! Also my long term fuel trim improved from +5.5 to +0.8 (not sure if related).

Moral of the story: Buy plugs from local stores, avoid amazon, ebay, 3rd party sellers, etc. Less likely to end up with a fake plug.
 

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Those pics don't prove sh-t.

You guys need to THINK. Plugs having poorly welded tips on them to fall off quickly are NOT FAKE, they are merely crap parts made by the original maker. I used to sell plugs in parts and every plug maker out there has issues with the same tip falling off problem. The OEM plugs get better welds (they turn the amp up on the welder) because they cost the OEM more than the OTC parts cost. If you think the boxed plugs in stores are as good as the ones that come in the cars I can show you so many instances you will choke where that is NOT TRUE. And a list of 100 other parts that are exactly the same way. What you get OTC is often markedly different from what is on the cars at least in quality control. Water pumps, hoses (count the threads for proof), belts, alternators and starters rebuilt OR NEW, bearings on literally anything, almost any electronic module if a smaller one that does not control the entire car, blower motors (among the worst of all), a/c compressors, the list goes on and on, what you get may be in the highest quality maker box in the world and still be junk. Much of it is done by the chain stores, whenever they switch vendor lines the common result now is that the chain in-store employees typically get a batch of 'new vendor' boxes and rebox all old maker product into the new boxes so that the old vendor parts do not have to incur cost shipping them back to the original vendor, it saves the chain stores millions, and it is commonly written into the service contracts. I haven't seen plugs do it yet but it's likely coming there too, I saw it in all the other parts I just mentioned.

Why I say over and over, PULL YOUR PART OUT OF THE BOX IN THE STORE and look at it, often the old maker markings are on it and you know whether to buy it or not. You'll also freak at how many parts do not match the boxes they are in.
 

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When it comes to plugs you really cannot buy them better anywhere, you are a victim of the quality they give you. I install all my own so I pry and otherwise mess with my new ones when gap checking to see if tips come off easily and would return them if they do. So far not a problem, doesn't mean it won't start tomorrow. I also save complete plug sets by sometimes rebuilding them to use over after glassbeading the tips back clean.

With other bigger parts it used to be 50/50 at Rock Auto as vs. the 40% discount at the parts store I got. That quickly fell so far behind with the rapid OTC parts price increases (I used to have to adjust up to 200 price increases every day!) and I never buy OTC anymore unless needing part quick and it's under $10. Why you always have a second car to use when working on one, it saves you hundreds a year and can even more, as you can wait for the parts to deliver at much cheaper prices instead of hoping to finish car that day which is just crazy and how most things begin to FU. Now I buy cheaper than the 40% off (it can be as high as 60% sometimes now) and still save the tax and shipping above that as well. OTC parts are at maddening prices now because of the lifetime losers and you get so many that have been used by others first it's hard to get a new one in box that nobody has messed with any longer. So many of the parts were not original in boxes any longer when I quit parts the stores were beginning to look like pigstyes with all the ragged boxes on shelves and customer after customer was turning down new parts based on the box or part condition. What lifetime warranty has done to the business. The idiots will install 5 of the same part and then come back asking if all 5 could have been bad, well no, the only thing bad there is a brain.

I hear of all these problems with Rock Auto too, but have had literally none at all but then I tend to positively identify my parts to avoid sending them back and it is not a problem like with others that quickly look and just order one without checking if it is right or not. I have hundreds of parts with no issues at all in the flow of them or in fit or performance, you just have to be sure of what you need.
 

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I have been buying parts at Rock Auto for a few years now. Except for maybe oil and a filter which I just buy at my local WalMart. They usually beat anyone else on price. I also like the WalMart batteries. They seem to last forever.
 
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