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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
So my beloved mada (2008) has fallen victim to the intermittent non-starting problem... I need a recommendation to a local nissan master mechanic - preferably independent.

I am so over this issue...

Thx
Bulkhead
 

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Where do you live? Up in Mira Mesa area, I have 2 mechanics that are good at what they do. Not specifically just with Nissan Armada but Ill use either one when my Mada needs help that I cant fix. Yelp has spoken highly of PolyCare Automotive but I have not gone to them. Heres the 2 from experience,.

Mira Mesa AutoTechs 858 693 6209

Victor's Auto Center 858-689-6975

Talk to them and get a feel.
Price them out and get minimum of 3 quotes. Cheapest isnt always the best but neither is the most expensive either. But both these guys are good for their work. Obviously, they will not be the actual grunt to wrench on your car. Get a feel for them though.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Clan - I appreciate the leads!

I live in Carmel Valley so Mira Mesa is perfect.

Because the starting problem is tricky and inconsistent, I am looking for a mechanic with a little higher than normal tenacity. I am fearful that it is going to turn in to a ghost chase through the vehicle so I want someone ideally with experience with Titan/Armada or at a minimum a willingness to look further than the standard dealer error flow chart...

I like Beeline brakes in PB for brakes and alignments and ProGear in Mira Mesa for all things diff/transfer / spindle, etc.

I just hate the idea of having to tear the top off the engine to replace the starter but am considering it..

I may start a thread to document my journey since so many others face the issue as well.

B
 

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Good morning Bulkhead. No problem on the recommendation.
I'd say, if anything have your starter tested and or if what I've heard is correct, you need to either clean the ignition switch under your dash and or just replace it. That may be the easier route.
Let us know how it goes and what you do.
Thanks
Russ
 

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Although a reputable shop with a full range diagnostic tool should be able to figure out the problem, some simple DIY tests might help you figure it out too. The starting system on these trucks aren't complicated; the physical location of the starter is what makes it unappealing for some DIY'ers.
With a multimeter, first the check the voltage of the battery before starting. Technically, a healthy battery should be reading at least +12V before any load. An easy way to rule out the ignition switch relay is to turn on the headlights and then start the truck. If the lights doesn't dim when starting, then the ignition switch relay is no good. When the headlights dim, the ignition switch relay is good since it means the starter is trying to draw the amperage needed to start the truck. If all of these check out, all that's left is the starter itself which is a common issue with these WA60s. I know firsthand because my previous 04 LE encountered this problem too.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks guys
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Apologies: long post!

I ordered parts from Amazon on Thursday and replaced the starter last Friday. The job took me all day but that was due to several things that I will share here that may make the job go faster for anyone else who does the job.

The end result is that the vehicle has started without hesitation since the new starter went in. I've been conditioned over the years to wonder whether my vehicle would start so I am slow to declare victory, but it sure seems like this solved the problem and I am beginning to feel a great sense of relief to know that my car will work when I call upon it!

Anyway, the videos on YouTube are great and I followed along with them over the course of the day. I preferred this one: Howto Automotive Titan Starter Replacement. Also, I bought the quick connect fuel line tool he uses in his video and he links to the tool on amazon.

The first part of the process was very easy and fast. I did remove the fuel pump fuse and cranked the car (pleased and surprised the starter functioned - for the last time) so I drained the line and had zero fuel spill at all when I disconnected the line from the rail. I did have to file the leading edge of the tool where it flared from the smallest diameter to the first large one. That is where the tool contacts the bell on the quick disconnect fitting. I found it did not want to slide into that bell but once filed, or tapered at the leading corner, it went in fine.

My first major obstacles were the fuel injector connectors. I could not, for the life of me, squeeze the latch levers enough to release them from the fuel injector body. I've not done it before, so if you have, you will know how to do it, but for those who have not let me offer my perspective. The video I watched suggested squeezing the connector then pushing in on it to release it. I found that the pressing in is not really required to release the connectors but it does take just a little pressure off the latch on the connector so it can release from behind the knob that it latches over. I was also nervous about breaking the connector as they are now 12 years old and I didn't know how brittle they may be now. In the end, I used a pair of pliers and gently squeezed the lever portion and found it easy to release them from the injector bodies. I suggest looking at an image of the fuel injector and fuel injector connector online as you will get a very good understanding of how they connect.

The next major challenge was reaching the intake manifold bolt in the back on the passenger side. Man - that thing is way back there. The good news is that the torque specs on the manifold bolts is low so they were not hard to break free. Once they were removed the manifold lifted out fairly easily.

Like the guy in the video, I had a critter that at some point was using my block as a home. It was a mess with fur, crap and tree fruit husks forming a thick bed on top of the block. I cleaned all that out and then got to the starter which is where I had the most trouble.

Because the bolt heads face the rear of the vehicle you have to get the wrench way back behind the flywheel and that puts it under the cowling at the windshield too. There is really no space back there and it is very awkward to get there. I am 5'10" and I have about a 2" lift on the vehicle. Let me tell you, to reach the bolts, I had to literally climb onto the body and lay on top of the engine bay. That left me with little leverage on the bolts. I ended up leaving the project for a while to go to the store to buy a flex head ratchet with a handle that extended and some bolt blaster to try to free up the starter bolts. I bought the Husky wrench at Home Depot of all places, but hey - they had it and it was close. That did the trick. With the angled head and the longer handle I was able to break the bolts loose.

The only other issue I had was that the critter living on my block chewed the insulation on what I think are block temperature sensors. The damn thing actually broke several copper strands in the wire, but did not completely sever them. I taped them up and put everything back together. The only other thing that I lost time on were a dropped bolt and socket that took a crazy amount of time to retrieve from where they ended up. In fact I had to remove the intake manifold a second time when one of the bolts ended up under the starter on top of the block! ugh..

So, get a flex head ratchet, some bolt blaster and study up on the injector connectors and you can avoid the time holes I fell into..

Link to images captured during the project
 

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Great pics and thanks for sharing.

The new starter looks bigger than the old one. Also noticed the damaged wires and wonder if they had any cause to your problems?

Well done by the way, 👏🏻
 

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Glad to hear it’s done and via DIY too. Btw, the wires which you also fixed are for the knock sensors.
 

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Nice job!!! If and when I have problems with mine, I'm going to give you a call!!! (I live a bit north of you, in the San Gabriel Valley, but Mom lives in Vista, which isn't far from you!!).

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Great pics and thanks for sharing.

The new starter looks bigger than the old one. Also noticed the damaged wires and wonder if they had any cause to your problems?

Well done by the way, 👏🏻
I think that the camera angles may have created that impression but they seemed the same size to me when handling them.

I don't know if the compromised wires contributed to my starting issues. I don't think they did, but who knows.

I am wondering what symptoms will emerge if the wires stop doing their jobs. Honestly, now that I've removed the intake plenum, I have not reservations about doing it again to replace the knock sensors if issues do come up.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Glad to hear it’s done and via DIY too. Btw, the wires which you also fixed are for the knock sensors.
Thanks!

Any idea of what to watch for if those wires fail since I didn't really clean them up? Will I get a code?

Have you heard of anyone replacing the sensors?

thx
 

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A DTC will trigger for the knock sensor(s) if the ECU doesn’t pick up a signal from it.
Only time I’ve heard about those being replaced was over at TT. He had the same issue with critters chewing up almost all of the wiring insulation in the same area.
 
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