Q: Pathfinder runs very rough, backfires.

asked by on July 05, 2016

1997 Nissan Pathfinder initially would not start. When the tow truck driver sat in the vehicle and his weight moved the car up & down, the car started and he backed it onto the tow truck. When the car arrived at the auto shop it would not start again and the tow truck driver set the vehicle at an incline, placed it into neutral and coasted it into a parking space. Again, the vehicle started. He turned it off but it would not restart. The mechanic replaced the distributor ($600.) but after driving 10 miles from the repair shop the car stalled. I was able to restart it but it was running rough & chugging so I returned to the repair shop. The mechanic wanted to charge me another $250. and I declined. Now the car will not accelerate above 20 mph, runs extremely rough and backfires.

My car has 143413 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Engine is backfiring Inspection $79.99 - $99.99 Get a Quote

The most common reason why a car will stop running after a distributor has been replaced is due to the distributor being too loose, causing the vehicle to fall out of correct ignition timing. The misfiring and backfiring issue is a clear indication of something not right with the ignition system. A coil pack, frayed spark plug wire, or fouled spark plug might also be causing this problem.

I think your best bet is to contact a different ASE certified mechanic to inspect your 97 Nissan Pathfinder and diagnose your backfiring problem correctly.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing


Experienced Mechanic?

Earn up to $65/hr

What others are asking

My truck runs rough and misfires on 1 and 7 I have put coil pack wires and plugs and fuel filter

Engine misfires can be caused by a list of problems, but there are a few suspects that occur more than others. The primary culprits are simple – spark or fuel – usually manifesting in spark plugs, plug wires, the coil(s)...

I have a 2001 Nissan Maxima wich I recently fixed from a clogged catalytic converter and when I have it in park and rev it makes a

If your old catalyst came apart it may have broke apart and pieces of it got into the muffler or exhaust pipe and can continue to rattle. You may have to tap on the entire exhaust to locate where it...

Auto Nissan Vanette 2006 consumes 2liters fuel per 1 kilometer and cannot chang gears when on a small hill whats the problem

Hi there. Excessive fuel consumption is more than likely a fuel pressure regulator problem. If the engine is lugging or holding back due to the excessive fuel consumption, that could cause transmission shifting issues. The Check Engine light should be...

I bought a 87nissanpathfinderxe3.0v6 having trouble figuring out exactly where the fuel linehoses connect to carb

Hi Chuck. Thanks for contacting us today. In situations like this, it's always best to purchase a service and repair manual for the vehicle, so you can review the manufacturer's diagram and fuel line connections. This will help you view...

Burning smell from under the hood and I don't know what it is.

The smell of something burning could be many different problems from something stuck to the exhaust like a plastic bag to oil or coolant leaks on the engine. The smell comes into the passenger compartment through the air intake vents...

Charging System Not Working (Alternator is not kicking in)

The battery should be load tested by a professional. Load testing can only be reliably performed on a fully charged battery. If the battery passes a load test, you have to be sure it is NOT a marginal pass in...

Rough idle falls on its face any throttle passed half 0p0420 0p0430 0p0300

First off, the P0420 and P0430 both refer to a catalyst efficiency problem, while the P0300 and P0302 codes refer to a misfire problem. If you are certain that the issue is not with the ignition system, then I would...

Rough idle, seems to misfire but never dies and no Check Engine Light.

This may be related to many things such as an ignition misfire, low fuel pressure or a dirty or failing idle air control valve. The ignition misfire may also be caused by the low fuel pressure or idle control problem...

I'm smelling gas - 1997 Volvo 850

Hi there and thanks for contacting YourMechanic. The best way is to look in your owner's manual and look up the fuel tank size. Then remove the fuel tank from the vehicle to gain access to the fuel filler neck....

Related articles

How Can Problems with the Ignition System Cause Misfiring?
Misfires Misfires are never good, and they're always a sign that there’s a problem with the engine that needs to be repaired. The problem won’t “go away on its own” and waiting too long can cause the situation to grow...
How Long Does a Timing Chain Last?
A timing chain is a metal chain, as opposed to the timing belt which is made of rubber. The chain is located...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Nissan Rogue
While While the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4 generally get the most attention in the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) class, buyers should take a look at the 2012 Nissan Rogue. The second-smallest model in Nissan’s line of SUVs and...