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Discussion Starter #1
My check engine light came on for the first time last week since I’ve owned the Murano. Luckily, I had recently purchased a new OBD reader that not only gives the codes but also a definition of the code so you know where to start looking.

The culprit, P0081 Intake valve control solenoid bank 2.





A quick google search of the code brings up this photo which indicates the intake solenoids are on the front of the motor in front of the cams.




The part in question under the hood





What the whole thing looks like





I cleared the code but it came back a couple days later. Again, I have an extended warranty but the deductible is $250, the solenoid from Nissan is $245. Local auto parts store has a Hitachi branded replacement for $159 and a current promo for 20% off made it $127. I know I’ve taken several Hitachi components off of my Nissans in the past so I would not be surprised if the original was also Hitachi and Nissan just charges $86 more for it to come in their box.

I found several websites and YouTube videos that mention cleaning the valve body of the solenoid and that fixed their problem. Has anyone here had experience with this problem and been successful with cleaning it?

The part had to be ordered but once arrives I think I will pull the original and clean it. If the code returns I’ll put the replacement in.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Forgot to update this but it has turned into a big mystery.

The part number AutoZone gave me was wrong. Ordered the correct part, it promptly broke while inserting it. Since I had the original out I tested it and it appeared to cycle correctly when power was applied. Cleaned it out and put it back it back in. Light came back on several weeks later.

Little more research in the service manual I found there are 2 solenoids related to P0081, the second is not as visible but you can see the end of the bolt that holds it in place in the photo above to the left of the green circle and under the half moon shape in the casting. Took it out, checked it, cleaned it put it back in. Light came on a month later.

Then the car began having trouble idling when started. Never died but the RPMs would drop really low and the car would shudder before returning to normal idle. Oddly enough that low RPM and shudder event would not trigger the check engine light but it would come on a couple miles later with same P0081 code.

More online reading and found a mention that it could be due to not enough oil which lead to the discovery that I have not been putting in enough oil when I change the oil. It takes 5 and 1/8ths QTs, I have only been putting in 5. Not a huge difference and the issue did not start occurring till after I had changed the oil about 6 times after buying it but I put in about 1/8th just in case. Light came back.

Finally made an appointment for Nissan to look at it. After sitting at the dealership for 4 hours they didn’t know what was wrong with it. They also tested the solenoids for both operation and resistance, test fine. Even better the dealership was out of loaner cars and the two local Enterprise car rentals were also out of cars with the exception of a minivan. Not wanting to take the last rental car in town when I have other cars at home I just got a ride home.

The next morning the dealership called to say they were up to $900 in diagnostic time on the car and still did not know what was wrong and needed authorization to keep working on it with the corporate tech team. My extended warranty that I purchased through my Credit Union covers everything but wear items but they will not pay anything until there is an official diagnosis.

By the end of day 2 it was still a mystery. So far I have not heard anything from the dealership today.
 

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Ramness,

I experienced a similar situation on my Toyota Avalon. Threw a code on the right side solenoid. Easy peasy, removed it, cleaned it up...good for a couple days then coded again. The solenoid checked good, decided to replace both fronts, installed them... days later they coded. Talked to an old mechanic who said if the solenoids check out the next place to
look is oil...dirty/sludgy/etc... I do all my own service so i know oil is good, in fact, i had just changed oil a week before the problem started.

The gentleman asked if i had changed brands of oil or did something different, which i had... Toyota calls for 5-30w, i decided i wanted to run 10-30w. He mentioned the solenoids can be very picky about oil.

Long story short, he suggested i change oil with 0-20w, run it for week, then change oil again back to 5-30w.
I cleaned and re-installed the old solenoids, filled it back up with 5-30w and been problem free for the last 2 years
with the original solenoids. I have two new ones in the trunk just in-case.

Don't know if any of this will help you, but worked for me. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I use Valvoline 0W-20 High millage. Car has 102,000 miles on it, I change it every 5,000 miles. Mechanic working on it did ask about the oil I use and the oil change interval. I would hope that after 3 days of messing with it they have ruled something that simple out.

Currently on day 4. The mechanic thinks it may be the timing gear that the solenoids send the different oil flows too but since Nissan is involved in the diagnosis he has to exhaust all of their steps/ideas prior to removing the timing cover. Which at this point probably would have been cheaper to do on day 1.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Day 4 over. Stopped by the dealership while I was running other errands and talked to the mechanic some more. He had swapped all the solenoids from one side to other with the same result. While it was running today it started running rough again and the check engine light began flashing which produced a misfire code for cylinder 2. Fortunately he is able to work on other cars in between messages from Nissan. According to him he only has 6 hours into it which is much less than what the service advisor claimed.

They don’t think the problem is mechanical at this point, after some other tests they may be replacing the ECM.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
On day 8 now.

Called Monday, no changes still checking things here and there that Nissan was recommending.

Tuesday, no news

I called this afternoon (Wednesday) since it has now been over a week. Nissan is still having the mechanic swap the solenoids around and test again etc. Apparently they are being very thorough before recommending an ECM replacement. They also think they will end up replacing the engine wiring harness as well.

Very glad I got that extended warranty! Harness replacement is a 15 hour job plus the cost of the harness ($1122) so 15 x $135 + $1122 = $3147 just for the harness The ECM costs half the price of the harness at $552, not sure what the book time on that is. Probably going to be close to $4000 with tax and shop fees etc. I'll have to go through all the bills when I get it back (they are locked in the glove box) Pretty sure I'll be close to $15k in repairs on this car since I bought it not including tires and brakes etc.

I guess I’m fortunate in that I have other vehicles to drive. A rental is only provided for 5 days, extended to 10 if there is a parts availability issue but that starts after they have made an official diagnosis. If I had taken a rental when I dropped it off I would be 8 days into out of pocket payment.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Day 12 They still have my car.

Called Friday morning after no news on Thursday. They just got another Murano in on trade and they were going to take the ECM from it and plug it into my car to see if they get the same codes before doing the harness and ordering an ECM. Did not hear back from them on if that worked.
 
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