Recurring misfiring / stuttering problem with RB25DE engine. - Skyline Owners Forum

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Old 10-12-2016, 10:29 AM   #1
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Recurring misfiring / stuttering problem with RB25DE engine.

Hi to all at SkylineOwners.Com,

I own a 1994 R33 Skyline GST25 automatic with the series 1 RB25DE engine, which is the non-turbo engine. In the seven or so years I have owned the car, it's rarely given me a problem of any sort. I run the car on BP Premium Unleaded 95.

In the last 18 months I have started driving the car more often due to work reasons, about 4 times a week, and covering a lot more distance, although most of it is freeway driving. About 2 months ago, I started having a problem with the engine sometimes stuttering and misfiring. It seemed like it was running on 5 cylinders. The spark plugs had been changed a bit over 12 months before (NGK Platinum plugs) , so it was doubtful it was the plugs, they should last 80,000-100,000 kms, and the car had not even done 20,000 kms in that time.

The local mechanic looked at it, could not find anything wrong, just 1-2 plugs needed a clean. He cleaned all the plugs and told me to see how it went for a little while. The car ran like a dream, punchier and more dynamic. All was fine for a while, and now in the last 2 weeks the problem has returned, although not as bad as before. It seems to run fine after starting and then idling in park or neutral. Once shifted into drive and idling or backing out in reverse, the problem then appears - misfiring and mild kicking / stuttering. It goes away once back in drive and the car is travelling. It will re-appear when stopping at lights and idling in drive, and also when giving it some throttle while driving, or going up a hill.

It all seemed to start after getting fuel at a Shell service station that I had not used before, and only went there out of necessity, so naturally at first I thought it was just bad fuel.

The problem continued, so back for another visit to the same mechanic. This time I'm getting told that spark plug no. 3 was rusty, meaning water was getting to it, and that a compression test indicated the beginning stages of a crack in the head gasket between the 2nd and 3rd cylinders. I'm also told the car is still drivable, and changing the head gasket was not needed any time soon, but it would gradually get worse.

While there, I had a new set of performance ignition coil packs put in, as well as a new fuel filter. No improvement.

My brother used to be a mechanic, and did his own inspection, and did not find the symptoms of a cracked head gasket. Further opinions from 1-2 other retired mechanics agreed. So we are now considering bad advice or dishonesty from the mechanic who worked on the car. My brother poured a bottle of injector cleaner fluid in, and also some basic stuff like topping the engine oil, and flushing the radiator with coolant. It actually runs better, but the problem is still there. He is now telling me I should get new spark plugs, especially since I have new coil packs, and to upgrade to Iridium plugs.

I am not rushing into buying new plugs just yet, as the current set of platinum plugs have done a bit over 20,000 kms. Two different suppliers have told me in the last week that they should last 80,000-100,000 kms as said before.

MY QUESTION - Has anyone else experienced this or a similar problem, and what the most likely cause could be??? I've heard a range of causes ranging from bad fuel residue, to a cracked head gasket, depending on who you listen to.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. George.
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Old 18-12-2016, 07:13 AM   #2
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You won't find much difference upgrading to iridium, the only benefit they provide is longer lifespans (and potentially less fouling) same goes for platinum for the BEST spark copper wins hands down but at 10k change intervals it's just annoying.

At this stage after spending as much money as you have on new coil packs and getting mixed signals from mechanics I would strongly recommend you find an OBD1 Nissan consult serial to USB cable (you can find them on TradeMe etc...), then grab a copy of Nissan Data Scan (I'm happy to help you get this installed if needed). This will tell you exactly what the engine is doing, combined with a copy of the engine manual you'd be away laughing.

As for your gasket, mine failed without me even noticing, I took the car on a 1,300km round trip fully loaded and she didn't once miss a beat, in fact the only reason I found out the gasket had blown was because I serviced it right after my hunting trip and ran a radiator flush through it which cleared out the gaps in the gasket enough for it to start using water. That should give you some indication of how resilient these engines are...(Failed right on 243,000km now at 298+ and counting...)
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Old 18-12-2016, 10:40 AM   #3
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I would suspect the idle control especially as the problem occurs mostly in reverse and low speeds, and as the auto box relies more on the engine speed control due to its nature i would start with cleaning the idle control system, flowed by re setting the TPS.

There is an outside chance it could be fuel related, but i doubt it as it would show up under load/larger throttle openings.

You could try changing the plugs, the platinum's will last 15-25k mls, and there is no advantage from using iridium's other than longevity 30-60k mls, or if you don't want to spend extra money just plain copper cores are the cheapest and last 10-15K mls.
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