Looking for a little help with this headache. It’s a 2000 Frontier V6 4x4 CC with 104k miles. It just randomly dies going down the road. Sometimes it restarts. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I just get a small blip (loss of spark or fuel - unsure which) when going down the road then it’s fine again. It seems seems like a loose connection somewhere to me but I have checked and repaired everything I can find.
A little history of problems…
Fall 2014 - Fuel Sending Unit; I had similar problems a little over a year ago and I replaced this at ~90k miles. The stock one was corroded and the fuel pump wasn’t getting power. Got the part from Nissan directly. Truck ran great for a year then started having same issues in fall of 2015. I am thinking this couldn’t have gone bad again in only a year, but who knows? No engine codes at the time.
December 2015 - Distributor #1; I replaced it with one from Auto Zone. Had the same problems that day. Returned that and replaced with one from Napa Distributor #2 (New - house brand - supposedly made by Altrom - which is supposedly comparable to OEM) This seemed to fix it for a little while. At the same time I did the timing belt, spark plugs, wires, valve cover gaskets, a bunch of suspension work, etc. so I had the harness off. Did I knock something loose? I feel like I have checked it up and down… doesn’t seem that way.
January 2016 Bad Wire?; Same issues. Wiggling the harness into the distributor seemed to have an effect on restarting so I pulled the harness apart from the dist to the main and found a small cut on the casing of one of the ground wires. The wire was not damaged, just casing. Fixed that with a double layer of shrink tube and it ran fine again for a couple weeks. In this same period my catalytic converters also went bad. My exhaust manifolds cracked, next thing I knew I had catalytic converter codes on both sides of the engine. Ran it like this for a few months.
April 2016 Distrbutor #3 Same problem. Randomly dies. Gets progressively worse over a couple day period. I gave up and took it to a shop (Downing St. Garage in Denver, CO) They diagnosed it as a bad distributor so I had it replaced AGAIN (they were nice enough to use the Napa part I bought and get a free warranty part)
June 2016 Distributor #4 Same problem again. Still have not replaced cats - did not want to spend the money when the ignition problem seems un-related. Replaced distributor with another warranty part from NAPA. This time the one that I took off made a crunching sound when you turned it by hand.
August 2016 Finally replaced cats. CEL codes were gone for an afternoon then the truck started sputtering down the road again… CEL P1320 and CEL P0325 BACK AGAIN!
I am at a loss on what to do. I have read that the MAF sensor can get dirty… but this doesn’t seem to explain the P1320. Anyway, I ordered some cleaner, a new knock sensor and another distributor (this time Nissan brand but re-manufactured… they no longer sell new ones.)
What is causing these to go bad? Are they actually going bad or is something else wrong? Is this a case of shit parts or bad diagnosis? I don’t trust this truck to make it to the grocery store let alone way up in the mountains for elk hunting season! I had half a mind to buy a new Tacoma when all this mess started and I am regretting not doing so!!! HELP!