Q: Pathfinder runs very rough, backfires.

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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.

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.

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