My wagon has become a bit of a jerk

It doesn’t rain, it pours. And that’s exactly what it’s been doing weather wise here on the Gold Coast. Which explains why my Nissan Stagea has suddenly come down with a strange cough and become very jerky after coming back from holidays. (Insert your own Corona virus joke here)
I’ve fixed it – although I can’t tell you exactly what did the trick. Possibly one thing, possibly a combination. But here’s a list of things to work through if your car has the same problem.

After spending a week with no battery (removed to make it harder to steal while I was away) the car cruised at a snails pace without any pedal action but as soon as you gave it some gas, it would jerk and surge four to five times before deciding it had enough and switch the engine off. It was like a learner driving getting used to a clutch for the first time and bunny hopping down the road.

With nothing apparent (and a diagnostic scan with a paper clip showing 55 – no errors) I went back to the basics. Fuel, air and spark. One of these processes was obviously having a problem adding to the mix and it was a process of going through them all to see if anything obvious stood out.

I thought this was the obvious place to start as it hasn’t been changed…well forever practically. It was also the first time I ever changed one myself and I learnt a tonne in the process, including the importance of depressurizing your fuel system first (otherwise gravity is going to spurt out precious fuel for quite some time and make this job ridiculously messy) and the importance of Nitrite gloves. Guess which gloves I didn’t have? (I do now) My hands had a petrol bath and stunk all night. Wear proper protection kids and make sure you clean up any spills.

stagea surging

In the c34 Stagea case for a Series 2 Neo, a Ryco Z200 Filter is perfect and it’s $10 cheaper than a Z201 which also works. If shopping at Repco, RFF1 is the one you need.
After swapping in a new one, I tried my luck and…still jerking with only the slightest pressure on the pedal. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the filter (but it still needed to be changed anyway.)


Yep, glad I changed this!

I had some lunch and came back and did the following (of which one of them did the trick!)

I looked at any fuse behind the steering wheel coin tray connected to the engine, cpu, fuel, etc. Basically everything and anything in the engine bay and changed over any that looked tired.

stagea surging

I checked for water in the spark plug holes (with the plug still in) that wouldn’t have played nice with the coilpack but everything was nice and dry. No cracks in the coilpacks that I pulled out either. Usually though you get a dash warning if one of them isn’t up to operational sparking standard.

I didn’t think this had anything to do with my problem but I crossed if off my list as levels were fine.

A couple of squirts of the proper cleaner and I set the assembly aside to dry. While that was happening I also re-oiled my K and N filter too.

stagea surging

(A shout out to Keith O Sullivan from the Facebook page Nissan Stagea Owners and Enthusiasts for suggesting this one). Keith had a similar problem and found that there was a drain blocked under his windscreen which meant the water was finding its way inside the car and more importantly, inside his ecu! (Left hand side of the passenger footwell Stag owners.) Luckily he took it out and dried to back to good health.
So after taking out a few bolts, I was dismayed to see a trickle of water suddenly appear behind mine.

Evidence of water down here when there definitely should not be water down here! Could this be the cause of our Stagea Surging?

Opening it up for a poke around though revealed it was bone dry on the inside and after mopping up the tiny spill, back into the car it went.

She’s bone dry captain! No evidence of stagea surging in here!

I disconnected the grey plug on the air intake and turned it over. It runs roughly in this mode as expected and coughed up a couple of dash warnings but I was curious to see if it could start without it. (Another thing to check with the AFM is the possibility of cracked solder joints. I didn’t think it would be a problem here as I re soldered them all about 18 months ago but worth a look if Stagea surging pain persists.)

Maybe after a new and cleaner filters, the ECU screwed firmly back in place and time with and without the AFM, all it needed was a few minutes to run quietly and let everything cycle through again. A quick trip up my street before picking the kids up from school showed no problems and today after grabbing some more petrol (my fuel filter adventures lost about half a litre all up I reckon) I went for a semi decent drive with no problems.

Cough all gone!
Now I can enjoy the rest of my holiday! (I hope..)

2 thoughts on “My wagon has become a bit of a jerk”

  1. Only a Toyota Corona gets that virus.
    Most likely the battery disconnected caused the ECU to reset to default settings and lost it’s previous tune settings. Disconnecting the AFM may have triggered limp home mode and set it to retuning itself.

    • Possibly but it’s had some week long battery downtime before without any of these strange hiccups. Still, working still and that works for me!


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