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Discussion Starter #1
So today, after a couple of weeks not driving (business trip out of town) my 1.8L manual Versa starts rough, judders out of the garage, and limps on my ten mile trip clearly mostly running on three cylinders. I'm struck by the suddenness and relative severity of this. I've had misfires on other cars before, and they've tended to creep up on me, a few little judders here and there, building in frequency, duration, and intensity. However, this showed up from nowhere (except from "standing" for a while, and seems not to be getting worse, though it comes and goes a little (mostly comes however.) I find it a little hard to believe that it's really "all cylinders randomly" since it sound like a three cylinder, and just stays like that. But of course, subjective impressions aren't necessarily all that helpful.

The very first code to show up was actually P0301, but I cleared them and drove around a bit more, and only P0300 came back, which seems to suggest that it's probably not just the one cylinder.

So, if it's multiple cylinders, but not quite enough to kill it, and it still runs and can get up a hill (though decidedly timidly, for sure) what are the most likely places to start looking? Tomorrow morning I plan to get plugs and coils out and take a look, in case there's anything obvious, but it'll take a few days for parts to show up, and I'm not sure that the money for new plugs and coils is guaranteed to fix this, so any thoughts would be welcome. Come to think of it, any thoughts on how to test things without specialist tools would be particularly welcome!

Oh, I will add, in case it's relevant, that this thing has an exhaust leak at the manifold/top-of-converter-pipe join (yeah, I bought a dud from a lying POS, but trying to make the best of it.)

Another thought, while I was away, it was seriously cold here in Colorado, though it's warmed up (50ish) again now.
 

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Just wondering if there is any possibility of some small creatures, like a mouse setting up housekeeping in your engine compartment and could have chewed on a couple of wires?????
 

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... small creatures, like a mouse ... could have chewed on a couple of wires
Well, there's a thought. We do keep chickens, so we have lots of furry companions. Today I plan to take the whole inlet manifold thing off to have a look anyway, so I'll make it a point to check out all the wires. Thanks!
 

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So far, I don't see any nibbled wires on top of the engine (but I guess the control/power for the coils comes from somewhere, and since I don't know where, I can't claim to have examined all that much.)

However, I think this is a problem, right? This picture is the number 1 coil, the side of it seems to have a very definite (and substantial, I'd guess) carbon arc track (hmm, thought I'd inserted here, but it's below!)

The other three only show a general whiteish haze on the plug ends (which I tried to upload, but evidently failed, I'll add that in a follow up).

I'm not sure if that's OK or not. The P0300 is "random misfires" so it would help to identify a problem that's not exclusive to the number 1 cylinder, but at the same time, P0301 was the first error to show up, so that much clearly needs fixing. I figure I'll buy a set of these coils and plugs, and while I wait for them to arrive I'll look for more possible causes. (And I'll try to work out where these spark-power wires come from!)

So, in the meantime, I still invite suggestions, particularly those that tell me how to test the idea!

Thanks for all input, pimpernell and anyone else with ideas :)
 

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You may have found the issue, a 300 code doesn't necessarily mean other cylinders are misfiring, just that the misfire is little enough the ECM hasn't really tracked down exactly which one is doing it.

You could swap the unit there to another position to see if the code changes to another cylinder, say p0302.

You may only need one coil to fix it there. Or, if the only thing wrong is the rubber insulator, look up something older at the parts store, say a rubber plug end for old school plug wires like V-8s used, you only need good insulation there, the coil itself is likely still good. I've done that on other brands of car to have them go back to perfect running and at cents on the dollar. You may need to cut the insulation part to needed size or length.

Wipe off any dust deposits on other boots, the spark begins to jump and the dust residue (air and slight rubber burning there) builds up over time to make the jumping worse. Even brand new parts jump a little bit but no harm until the tracking begins, it then becomes a superhighway to arc right across easily later.

I have zetec Fords that do it instead over the plug porcelain instead of the boot, they begin to miss and then the side of the plug glass will be all black from arcing down the outside of the plug, I simply clean them back off and the inside of boot wiped out and go back together with same plugs and back to perfect running.

With today's whopping ignition spark the insulation often faults to let normal 'leaks' get worse, ALL car ignition leaks some but not until it leaks worse that the problems begin.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh that's good news. I'll keep my fingers crossed, though I will say that it was pretty much running on 3 cylinders all the way home! But, plugs and coils show around the weekend with a little luck so I'll know more after that.
 

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Well, between that coil and the plugs all looking like the one on the left, it's not really a surprise the poor car was missing a lot. Anyway, four new plugs and four new coils and it seems happy again.

Still doesn't excuse the damn fool that designed the layout of the engine inlet manifold such that it all had to come apart to get the plugs out, mind you!
https://www.nissanversaforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=14316&thumb=1
 

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Well, between that coil and the plugs all looking like the one on the left, it's not really a surprise the poor car was missing a lot. Anyway, four new plugs and four new coils and it seems happy again.

Still doesn't excuse the damn fool that designed the layout of the engine inlet manifold such that it all had to come apart to get the plugs out, mind you!
https://www.nissanversaforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=14316&thumb=1
Thanks for getting back with the fix. Some posters just drift off into the sunset without letting anybody know that a resolution has been found.
 
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