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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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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This is a circuit fault so it's not clear why they're throwing a wiring harness at it other than to make more money off the job. The integrity of the circuit is checked right at the ECM and VVT solenoid harness connectors and if they've moved on to suspecting that the ECM is at fault then they've surely already verified the integrity of that circuit in addition to ruling out a bad VVT solenoid.

Frankly, it's not right how this dealership is handling your situation. A car shouldn't be sitting for 2 weeks at any shop waiting for a diagnosis and they certainly shouldn't be running up a diagnostic tab this whole time (most states have consumer protection laws for these kinds of things).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
After lots of testing ohms resistances, hundreds of continuity pin tests on connectors, and swapping ECMs with another Murano (and doing lots of the same tests over again) they have determined they will be replacing both the wiring harness and the ECM. Currently waiting for someone from the extended warranty company to come out and inspect the car. The dealership says this is common, they basically just come look at the issue and the overall condition of the car to make sure it's been well maintained and not abused.

It's also time for a new serpentine belt and I had intended to do spark plugs next oil change but in talking with the mechanic the intake and the belt have to come off for the harness so I bought the plugs and a belt and he is just going to take care of those things while its apart.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Forgot to hit enter on this yesterday

Day 21.

I currently have no idea what is going on with the repair of my car.

On Thursday evening I contacted the warranty company to see if they had a better idea of when someone would be sent to look at my car. I was informed the inspection had already been done and the wiring harness did not show signs of failure at the time the inspector was there even though it had multiple ohm fluctuations in the weeks prior. They authorized the replacement of the ECM as it did show signs of failure. I was informed if the dealership could provide a video of it failing they would cover it.

I told them my concern would be the new ECM could become damaged if the harness is having problems and I was not interested in having my vehicle back in service and having to pay another deductible. They claim they will work with me on the deductible if that occurs.

I didn’t hear anything from the dealership on Thursday or Friday. Today (Monday) neither service adviser that is familiar with the car was there.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Day 28. Yes, this is beyond absurd.

Confirmed on Monday (Day21) evening with the warranty company they still had not heard from the dealership regarding going over the inspection and proceeding with ordering parts etc. The service advisor had been informed to call them on Thursday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Day 22 I went to the dealership at 8am to find my car had been put back together and was sitting outside. I was informed my advisor had not made it into work yet. Spoke to the mechanic. He had other cars to work on and had to move it outside since the repair had not been approved yet. He said the inspector was recommending the harness and the ECM. Waited till after 9 for my service advisor to come in before leaving. Called in the afternoon, was told they had not seen him all day. Also called the extended warranty company, they also had not heard anything from the dealership.

Day 23, the Service advisor was not at work again. I was later informed he was subbing at another dealership that day and I reached him there. He was completely unaware that the warranty company had been waiting to hear from him. He thought they were going to call him. Which does make sense but it had been a week at this point and he had not attempted to follow up. He called again later to tell me the warranty company would only approve an ECM and it had been ordered.

Day 25, ECM arrived and they began installing as well as testing the harness some more.

Which brings us to today, Day 28

I was informed this morning that I might have my car back today! As 5pm approached I called for an update since they had not called to tell me the shuttle was on the way to pick me up yet. My car is now misfiring and throwing Mass Air Flow sensor codes. They are going to work on it more in the morning and possibly push the warranty company again for the harness.
 

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Day 28. Yes, this is beyond absurd.

Confirmed on Monday (Day21) evening with the warranty company they still had not heard from the dealership regarding going over the inspection and proceeding with ordering parts etc. The service advisor had been informed to call them on Thursday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Day 22 I went to the dealership at 8am to find my car had been put back together and was sitting outside. I was informed my advisor had not made it into work yet. Spoke to the mechanic. He had other cars to work on and had to move it outside since the repair had not been approved yet. He said the inspector was recommending the harness and the ECM. Waited till after 9 for my service advisor to come in before leaving. Called in the afternoon, was told they had not seen him all day. Also called the extended warranty company, they also had not heard anything from the dealership.

Day 23, the Service advisor was not at work again. I was later informed he was subbing at another dealership that day and I reached him there. He was completely unaware that the warranty company had been waiting to hear from him. He thought they were going to call him. Which does make sense but it had been a week at this point and he had not attempted to follow up. He called again later to tell me the warranty company would only approve an ECM and it had been ordered.

Day 25, ECM arrived and they began installing as well as testing the harness some more.

Which brings us to today, Day 28

I was informed this morning that I might have my car back today! As 5pm approached I called for an update since they had not called to tell me the shuttle was on the way to pick me up yet. My car is now misfiring and throwing Mass Air Flow sensor codes. They are going to work on it more in the morning and possibly push the warranty company again for the harness.
Sorry. But, this just doesn't make any sense. Why would simply installing a brand new ECM introduce misfires and MAF sensor codes when there were none before.

This is my opinion...the tech started to dismantle the wiring harness in anticipation of it getting replaced and when just the ECM was authorized he had to put it back together and probably left a ground connection or two disconnected (among possibly other things).

This whole ordeal reeks of incompetence. It's sad that you had to go through all this, especially since a dealership is involved and one would think that they would be most capable of resolving the most mysterious of problems given the resources at their disposal.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This whole ordeal reeks of incompetence. It's sad that you had to go through all this, especially since a dealership is involved and one would think that they would be most capable of resolving the most mysterious of problems given the resources at their disposal.
Exactly why I went to the dealership for the problem. I have a shop near my home that has 2 former Nissan Master techs but they don’t have all the equipment the dealership does. My deductible is the same no matter where I go so I went to the dealership.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Day 29

Supposedly a harness has now been approved and ordered. They estimate it will be in Thursday and they will need 2 days to install it. Might get it back on Monday or Tuesday.

On top of all this, my registration expired last week. I can’t pay the registration till I can get it emissions tested. I can’t get the test done until it’s been driven 50 miles or so after the last check engine light has been cleared. I realize I'm partly to blame for this as I procrastinated getting the light checked out but I also did not anticipate it taking a month to fix!

Once I get the Murano back I get to visit the Ford dealership. Somehow I managed to split the steering wheel airbag cover along the deployment perforation on my Raptor.
 

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I've seen splits like that before. Usually from too heavy blow while going for the horn. Looks like you might also have an airbag issue from the looks and depth of the dent below the split. You shouldn't have that much play when pressing there like you are.

Hopefully it's covered under warranty. If not, they're very easy to swap out. You can pickup one online fairly cheap. Ford tends to use the same steering wheel center/horn/airbag assembly across several models. Be sure to disconnect the negative battery cable BEFORE messing with removing the existing airbag if you do it yourself. Good luck.

Have a good day.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Day 31.

Sent the service advisor a message this morning to see if the harness had come in. No reply. Drove up there this afternoon to see if anything had been done. My service advisor was absent again. The mechanic had most of the original harness off, just had Bank 1 injectors, coils, and whatever is under the car left to do.

$1,122 box of wires.


Progress!










Should have it back Monday but the mechanic did say he knew I had been given many false promises regarding when I would get it back so he didn’t want to make any guarantees.

One thing I do like about this dealership is they are cool with me just walking into the service bay and talking to the mechanic directly. I actually requested this mechanic as he replaced my transfer case last year and was easy to talk to and willing to show me what was going on under the car. I had specifically made my appointment with a different service advisor as well but she is now assigned to only deal with used car reconditioning.
 

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Wow, looking at those photos sure shows modern gasoline engines are a marvel of engineering. Highly complex...

When battery powered cars become the norm in the future we'll look back at these days and wonder how these darn things ever worked reliably...
 

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Yup. That complexity makes me yearn for my '66 GTO. One wire from coil to distributor, 8 wires from distributor to plugs. One connection for temperature, one for oil pressure. Lousy gas mileage, but I could pull the entire engine in 90 minutes working by myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Day 35

After not hearing anything from my service advisor now for 6 days I called around 5pm to see if I was going to be able to get my car today. I was informed the new ECM is bad. It was likely messed up by the bad harness but they are still having it replaced under warranty.
 
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