NEWBIE with a SUPERCHARGER question and Exhaust Question!

tedh1979 May 12, 2019

  1. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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    Hi everyone. I recently bought a 2003 Nissan Xterra SE 4WD. It has all options like black leather interior and RF stereo, etc... Full disclosure I've only driven this vehicle once for about 15 minutes. I used to have a 2000 Xterra and I thought it was peppy enough but people in here say the engine is boring. The 03 I just bought seems to be about the same speed at best. It has a bad exhaust and I'm not sure how bad exactly. It may just need a muffler or it may need more. Its sounds to me like there is a knocking noise as if the exhaust is leaking toward the front as well. I made sure it is not the engine that is knocking. Anyways I brought it back to the lot and it's parked there right now. I was going to bring it home today but I got too busy and the weather was awful. At the end of my test drive I was about out of gas so I stopped and put 2 gallons of 87 octane in it. While at the gas station I thought it seemed taller than my older Xterra. Anyways, I noticed the factory wheels on the 03 Xterra didn't look like my rims. I went back to the lot and took a pic of my rims. I also didn't recognize the engine. I just looked different, but it has been awhile since I've seen the Xterra engine.

    Anyways, I realized that my rims are different because they are the SUPERCHARGED 17" factory Nissan rims. This might explain why the engine looked a bit different. I'm not 100% sure, but I "think" I have the supercharged version. What doesn't make sense is that when I did get on it, and I never got on it 100%, but I did accelerate from like 20 to 40, but I heard no supercharger. But keep in mind, the exhaust is kind of loud. It's not terribly loud, but it is loud enough. When I did get back to the lot, I looked underneath it and it looks to me to have a HUGE muffler on it. So anyways, I've been watching YouTube Xterra exhaust videos. I've seen videos with a Flowmaster 44 and a Flowmaster 50 muffler and I want to go that route. But on one video, a guy is driving towards the camera and going past the camera. You can hear his supercharger make the supercharger "whining" noise. I never heard this in the Xterra I bought.

    I read that if you don't use premium fuel, a knock sensor can turn on, and at the same time, the car's performance will be retarded and it will perform like a vehicle with no supercharger. Maybe the little knocking that I'm getting in the front of the exhaust is actually a knock sensor. I plan to use premium gas. Maybe the supercharged Xterra on YouTube was modded and therefore louder? If I go to the lot on Monday and pop the hood and it isn't supercharged, then I know it just has supercharged rims for some reason. But if it is supercharged, could the supercharger be defective? I guess I'm trying to ask.....how do you test a supercharger? Maybe I can't hear the whine inside the vehicle with an exhaust leak? Maybe the supercharger isn't supposed to be whiny sounding without being modded? Or maybe the supercharger isn't working because it POSSIBLY was ran on 87 octane gas. I know about Turbo cars, but I've NEVER had a supercharged vehicle before. I will know more on Monday and I also plan to take my Xterra to the exhaust shop. I've heard the Flowmaster 44 and the Flowmaster 50 muffler. I have no idea if the cats were removed or not. Both of them sounded good. The Flowmaster 50 was shot with a crappy camera and had crappy audio but I could still tell that I think the Flowmaster 50 sounded better. Is there a certain Flowmaster 50 that I can order on eBay? I don't know what exact one to get. So I need to know how to test a supercharger, or maybe wake it up with a fresh tank of 93 octane gas? And I need to know what exact muffler to get and if deleting the cats will help or hurt the Xterra. I used to drag race Mustang 5.0's MANY years ago. They all had 4 cats on them and the first thing I modded was installing an off-road H Pipe and getting rid of all 4 cats. But now times are more complicated. You start removing cats on a newer car and that could cause all kinds of issues. So will it cause the Xterra issues? I haven't modded an exhaust in 20 years! Thanks everyone!
     
  2. Highpowers23

    Highpowers23 Test Drive

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    11
    Location:
    Middleboro, MA
    I couldn't hear my supercharger with the stock pulley unless I was getting on the highway or had it under load at high rpms and it'll be even more quiet if it has the stock intake on it. There are a few possibilities as to why you don't notice anything if it is in fact supercharged. The bypass valve could be stuck open, could have a knock sensor code which will bleed off boost and limit it to around 3 lbs, or you might just not be getting on it hard enough for it to be in boost. I do believe that some SE model Xterras also came with 17 inch wheels but were not supercharged so it could be that as well, but you said the engine looks different? pictures would be a huge help. I run headers and the 2000 model year b pipes to delete the secondary cats and it runs great.
     
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  3. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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    Thank you for the information. I will find out more once I go pick it up. It didn't get on it really hard, but it was just average for acceleration. But I've had people say that even if it is supercharged, it only has average acceleration. From everything I've researched on, the 2003 Model only came with 17" rims on the S/C models. But at this age, somebody may have picked up a set of used rims in the junkyard. Again I will know when I pick it up. I want to either do the Flowmaster 44 or Flowmaster 50 exhaust. The Flowmaster 50 muffler is about $60 more but that's fine with me. But there are a LOT of versions of these mufflers and I guess I'll have to have the exhaust shop look at it and tell me which muffler to order. If it DOES have a supercharger on it, I might be interested in doing a few mods to it, for example, getting rid of the stock pulleys and stock intake. I'll be able to found out more soon! Thanks!
     
  4. Highpowers23

    Highpowers23 Test Drive

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Middleboro, MA
    Yea the stock pulley isn't super amazing but I'm almost willing to bet that it has a bad knock sensor which will cut the boost back if nothing else. I didn't notice a huge difference when I first swapped my supercharger on at low rpms but I did have lines routed wrong and other teething issues so. I can't speak for the Flowmasters but I've run a Magnaflow rumble muffler and currently have a Cherry Bomb Vortex on it, without cats and with headers it gets kinda loud around 2500 rpms and up just as a heads up. You might want to add some kind of resonator if you do delete all 4 cats. There are a few things I'd recommend doing if it is supercharged so definitely keep us updated!
     
  5. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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    36
    I found this useful article from Nissan on the 2003. It also goes along with other articles that I read in saying that the 2003 models with 17" rims were only offered with superchargers. So, if those rims are meant to be on there then I'm going to guess that it has a supercharger. Assuming that I do have a bad knock sensor, how do I fix that? Again, the factory exhaust is kind of loud in a bad way and I didn't get on it and really punch it, so that is probably why I didn't hear a supercharger. And I never took it on a highway or anything. I got under it and the stock muffler looks HUGE!

    I should know by the afternoon exactly what I have. At first I didn't want a supercharger. Then I decided I could live with it. And now I am hoping for a supercharger. But if the supercharger doesn't work, is there a way to tell if it is bad? Does it throw a CEL code? Here is the Nissan information for the 2003. https://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/channels/Xterra-Press-Kits/presskits/2003-nissan-xterra
     
  6. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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    Also you are kind of correct, 17" rims were offered on certain models that weren't supercharged, starting in 2004. I don't know if they are the same look rims or if they are a different style of 17's. But for 2003, supposedly the 17" rims were only put on the supercharger model.
     
  7. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

    Messages:
    36
    Ok. I am enclosing some pics finally. Of course I didn't think to take pictures of the actual Xterra. It was a busy day and I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Anyways here are some pics. Also, I started it up today and while it is a little loud with an exhaust problem, I don't hear any "knock" in the engine from a knock sensor. Also, take a look at the VIN sticker. It says the engine is a VG33DE. I've heard of a VG33E and VG33ER for supercharged, what is a VG33DE? And it looks like a supercharged engine, am I right? IMG_20190513_160752.jpg IMG_20190513_161018.jpg
     
  8. Muadeeb

    Muadeeb Bastard Admin from Hell Admin

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    Location:
    Dallas
    Bottom pic is a SC engine. If that is the ID plate for your truck, then it's a SC. That first 'M' in the VIN is the engine code and M == VG33ER (E == non SC)
     
  9. Muadeeb

    Muadeeb Bastard Admin from Hell Admin

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    Location:
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    Also, the knock sensor is in the worst possible location for it's longevity. I guarantee you that's it's cracked from heat, so you have a computer thinking there's a knock when there isn't one. You can either dig all the way down to the block under the intake and replace it, or modify the harness to relocate the sensor elsewhere.
     
    Highpowers23 likes this.
  10. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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    Ok. I thought from just looking at pics on Google of S/C engines VS non S/C engines, that I did now indeed know that I have a supercharged engine. The pics of the VIN and the actual engine shot is off my phone from tonight and that is my vehicle. I think there is a miscommunication on the knock sensor. It was suggested that maybe the knock sensor is kicking in from low octane gas. My comment was that when I took this on a test drive, it had average acceleration and I didn't hear a supercharger, but I didn't get on it fully 100%. The exhaust has an issue and makes noises that might be mistaken for a knock, but tonight I verified there is no engine knock. I also ran a full scan for engine codes. There are no check engine lights on the dash and there are no codes that come up on my code scanner so I think the knock sensor is ok. I just want to keep the Xterra from developing a knock. I know the S/C engine requires 91 octane fuel. That isn't available in my area. 93 octane is 80 cents higher per gallon making every fillip an extra $16 per tank. My solution may have some people shaking their heads, but this is at least my idea. I plan to use 89 octane mid-grade gas and also put a bottle of octane booster in it with every fill up. Now people might be thinking that this would cost as much as just using 93 octane but this is my idea. Dollar Tree sells generic octane booster for $1 a bottle. A bottle works for up to 20 gallons. The bottle doesn't say how much it will increase the octane but it does advertise that it eliminates knocking. I also do know that the $1 bottle does work because I used to drive a Dodge Ram with a HEMI and the HEMI knocked on 87 octane, so I started using the $1 octane booster bottles and the HEMI stopped knocking. With the S/C Xterra getting 14MPG on a good day, I just can't afford to put 93 octane in it especially at the current gas prices. I literally just sold my Prius two days before buying this Xterra. I hope you all will find this option acceptable? If not, please let me know why and I will definitely at least listen. If I don't drive the Xterra as much as I plan to, then maybe I'll be able to afford the 93 octane. Thank you all, for the help!
     
  11. Highpowers23

    Highpowers23 Test Drive

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Middleboro, MA
    Yea its definitely supercharged. You said you scanned it and it had no codes? What Muadeeb said about the knock sensor is very true, its an absolute pain to get to so you're better off modifying the harness.There is still the possibility that the bypass valve could be stuck open or just not working. As for using 87 or 89 octane, I do believe that the manual says you can do it with less performance as a result but only as a temporary thing. The engine might still be knocking on 87 you just might not be able to hear it, if its picked up by the knock sensor though it will retard the timing.
     
  12. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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    Yes I scanned it using two different scanners. One scanner will alert me if any codes have been recently erased and no codes were recently erased. I never did say the engine was knocking and I never said there was anything wrong with it. I did say that I never heard the supercharger. But I only got on it once and I didn't get on it 100%. Plus the exhaust is loud and I couldn't hear very well. I've been told with a stock setup it's basically impossible to hear the supercharger. I also said it had very average acceleration but I have also been told the supercharged model isn't exactly fast. Now the Xterra "looks" like it was taken care of pretty well and it seems to drive like it was maintained well also. It does have a few issues like the exhaust leak and the a/c doesn't blow cold. But I am not saying that the vehicle was used with low grade gasoline. Now I did put 2 gallons of gas in it at the end of my test drive and I put 87 in it, not knowing it was supercharged. It requires 91 and if I use 89 plus a bottle of octane booster, it should be close to 91. I plan to put Shell 94 V Nitro gas in it for the first tank and then go from there. When I start doing 89 octane plus a bottle of octane booster, if I don't get good results then I'll be forced to go with 93.
     
  13. Highpowers23

    Highpowers23 Test Drive

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Middleboro, MA
    Sorry I think there is a little confusion. I'm not saying anything is necessarily wrong with it either, I'm just trying to give some explanation as to why you didn't hear it/ didn't notice it. You're right in saying you probably just can't hear it, no 1st gen Xterra is truly "fast" like you said. When I first swapped my supercharger on I didn't really notice it either. I know on some forums from a while ago some people were saying they got by fine on 87 or 89 octane with a supercharger, the stock boost pressure isn't very high so it might be completely fine. If it doesn't have any codes then it should be good to go. Sorry if I gave you the wrong idea, just trying to help explain some stuff you are experiencing.
     
  14. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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    @Highpowers23 No No I'm not mad at you. I appreciate the help because I am a complete NEWBIE on Superchargers. I actually own a car lot and I buy and sell all the time, but have never had a Supercharged vehicle! I would even consider myself an Xterra newbie as well even though I had a 2000 Xterra back in 2008. When I had my old Xterra, I just drove it. I never researched it. I assumed there was a 4WD version but never knew there was a S/C version until AFTER I just bought this second one. I know absolutely NOTHING about a supercharger. I watched a video of a S/C Yellow Xterra on YouTube with a modded exhaust. I watched it for the exhaust video because I need a new exhaust and I wanted to hear YouTube exhaust sounds, so I ran the videos through my Apple TV into my stereo system. The S/C Yellow Xterra did not have an impressive exhaust in my opinion, but I could hear the supercharger making the noises. My old next door neighbor had a supercharged Corvette and I learned really quick what noise a supercharger makes. I just have no way of knowing if my S/C is good or bad. The vehicle runs well and idles well and starts well. It does have exhaust issues but I don't have any idea if it was ran with low grade, mid grade, or high grade gasoline. I'm going to run 89 octane plus a bottle of octane booster. If that doesn't work then I'll be forced to buy 93 octane. Someone mentioned to upgrade the pulley(s) and an intake to be able to hear the S/C? My guess is that by the time I'm done with my exhaust, I wouldn't be able to hear even a loud supercharger.
     
  15. Highpowers23

    Highpowers23 Test Drive

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    11
    Location:
    Middleboro, MA
    No worries at all. You'd know if the supercharger was bad. If you look up "bad supercharger" on youtube you can listen to the sound, its usually a bad grinding or knocking kind of sound. If you are planning on having your exhaust be kind of loud, like no cats and a flowmaster, you probably wont hear the supercharger until its higher in the rpms even with a smaller pulley. I know I don't hear mine even with an intake and 2.4 inch pulley unless its fairly hard acceleration, I could hear it before when it had a more quiet muffler with the pulley however.
     
  16. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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    I know I'll be fixing the exhaust and usually it is cheaper to go loud than to go quiet. I've listened to the Flowmaster 44 and Flowmaster 50 on YouTube. The Flowmaster 50 was poorer audio, but I could tell it sounded better. Now I don't know if they got rid of their cats or not, but I'm taking it to the local exhaust shop I use and I'm sure they'll be able to advise me on the best way to approach it.

    Also, unrelated, but I finally understand why Nissan discontinued the Xterra because I pulled into the car lot where my Xterra is because I STILL haven't brought it home yet. I have multiple vehicles at multiple car lots and just yesterday I got my first own car lot. But as I pulled into the car lot there was the back of a Nissan that looked just like an Xterra. But it was a black Pathfinder. It looked rugged like an Xterra. I didn't attend that particular auction but the car lot owner bought the Pathfinder in the INOP category which is vehicles that don't run or drive. He paid $400 for the Pathfinder and it was SHARP. It actually looked like new. It turns over and starts and then runs for like 30 seconds and then just shuts off. This particular lot owner is always out to make a quick buck so instead of fixing it, he sold it as-is for $1400. Talk about a good deal for someone with knowledge to fix that issue. Ticked me off that I wasn't there at that auction. $400 for such a sharp vehicle. Now with INOP vehicles there usually is a MAJOR problem like a bad engine or bad transmission, but a few times recently a car lot guy has gotten lucky. He bought a Chevy Cruze that just had a bad relay. He bought a Dodge Nitro that started and ran fine but when you shut it off and took the key out, the vehicle remained running.
     
  17. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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  18. Highpowers23

    Highpowers23 Test Drive

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Middleboro, MA
    Yup that intake will work, its the same one I have I just use a different filter. One thing if you do get that, the pipe that the filter attaches to is a little too long and almost touches the headlight socket with the filter on. That means you'd have to take the filter off to change your bulb so I'd recommend shortening it a few inches. I'd also say pick up a better brand filter but I had no problems with the one it comes with, your mileage may vary however.

    This is the link to the quickchange pulley - https://pulleyboys.com/cart/eaton-m62-nissan-qwikchange-pulley-kit.html?category_id=23

    This is the link to the press on pulley - https://pulleyboys.com/cart/eaton-m62-style-nissan-press-fit-pulley.html

    I went with the press on 2.4 because the 2.3 will overspin the supercharger and I don't plan on changing the size. There is a special puller you can get from them which I'd say to definitely get. I tried to use a 3 jaw puller and stripped it out and ended up having to cut off the old pulley.

    I get about 9-9.5 psi from the 2.4 which is a pretty big difference over the 6-7 I was getting before and you can feel the difference.
     
  19. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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  20. Highpowers23

    Highpowers23 Test Drive

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Middleboro, MA
    I'd honestly say stick with the one with the heat shield. It actually works really well, my intake temps are ambient when the truck is moving and it takes a while for it to heat up. It also keeps water and dirt from getting on the filter. Autozone sells a stubby Spectre filter that will fit and give you room to take out the light if you need to, or if you have the ability to cut it down it'll work with the one it comes with.
     
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  21. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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    Being that I know nothing about superchargers, is there any maintenance required to keep the supercharger going? I was looking at pulleys tonight and noticed some supercharger rebuild kits and they all came with AC Delco supercharger oil. Do you ever need to add oil to it?
     
  22. Highpowers23

    Highpowers23 Test Drive

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    11
    Location:
    Middleboro, MA
    You shouldn't need to add oil. I think you're supposed to change it every so many miles, like 30k-50k, but some people also say its lifetime so I'm not really sure. The only reason I changed mine was when I was going through it to make sure everything was good on it and when I changed the coupler. Supposedly GM approved Mobil 1 5W-30 as an alternative at some point but I've been using Mobil Super conventional 5W-20 and its had zero problems in the little over a year I've owned it. The supercharger is very low maintenance and shouldn't need anything unless a bearing goes bad or the coupler starts making noise but those take a while to happen.
     
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  23. tedh1979

    tedh1979 Test Drive

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    Ok everybody I finally went and got my Xterra off the lot and it is home now. I drove it around all day. I ran it down to hardly any gas and then I stopped at the Shell gas station. Gas in Fort Wayne, Indiana right now is $2.95 per gallon for 87 octane. I got lucky and found it for $2.88 at Shell, but Shell has the 93 Octane V Nitro Power gasoline. Normally 93 octane is about 65 cents to 80 cents higher per gallon, but the Shell 93 octane was exactly $1.00 more per gallon. I think I told everyone that my plans are to eventually use 89 octane PLUS a bottle of octane booster per tank. I have been told that Shell's V Power Nitro gas is better than regular 93 octane, so I filled it up with expensive gas in hopes of getting some performance back.

    I did notice today that the Xterra is kind of jumpy off the line which my old Xterra didn't do. I still don't hear any supercharger at all, but my exhaust right now is loud. I think I have two exhaust problems. The muffler in the back is loud and there is a loose shield on the exhaust that is making a rattling noise. Sounds to me like a catalytic converter heat shield may be loose. I had no time to clean it or mess with it today, but I did drive it for a decent amount of time.

    The rear bumper where the license plate goes has surface rust which I will be sanding and painting Sunday. I have Rust-Oleum bumper and trim black spray paint for the faded bumpers. But I did notice on the passenger side at the bottom of the Xterra under the doors, there is an area of rust on the body so I don't know what to do about that.

    More updates and pics coming soon!
     

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