2009 Nissan GTR: Back From the dealer
August 29, 2008
On Monday our Long Term Nissan GTR went back to Nissan of Santa Monica for a recurring "Check Engine" light. The first time we reset the gas cap and cleared the code ourselves. The second time we brought the car in, they read the gas cap code tightened the cap and cleared the code. On this, the third go around, we sat them down and told them to fix something or we weren't going to leave.
We couldn't just go in blind at this point, not with a car with more computer processing ability than Russia circa-1992. No, one of the neat things about this business is our Rolodex is bursting at the hinges with phone numbers, email addresses, fax numbers and blood types of engineering types at the manufacturer level. While we won't ask them to pull any strings, we have no issue calling them in to appease our own curiosities.
When we heard back from "our guy" he said that, given our symptoms, the Evap Vent Control valve was most likely the culprit, but the dealer would know more once they scanned the car. As much as we trust the guys over at Nissan Santa Monica, there's no sense in giving them partial information. I blacked out the pertinent names and associations and gave them a quick summary of the potential problem. They said they'd call when they had a diagnosis.
Sure enough when we got the call late that very same Monday we dropped it off, they had read the codes and the evap vent control valve was faulty. Good news was that the part was in stock and was being installed as we speak.
This is the part that perked up my ears. In stock? Why? I doubt they have a front license plate bracket for the car, but they have vent control valves? "In stock?" I asked. "Yeah, it's the same one for almost all of our cars. Never seen one fail before." Interesting.
Unfortunately, the car would not be available until the following day. He requested verbal confirmation that I authorized a tech to road test the vehicle. I didn't have any choice but to agree.
Tuesday morning came and I got an early call from Doug, the guy in charge of all GTR service and 300zx owner. "We're having a bit of an issue, Mike. The valve isn't talking to the car right. It should take 3-minutes but it's been 30 with no response. I'll call you when I know more. Sorry." Later that day he called with the good news that the GTR was fixed, responding correctly, road-tested and Nissan approved.
In the time between picking it up from Nissan and today we've put over 300 miles on the car, including 30 hard miles during our routine instrumented testing (results of that forthcoming). No warning light has appeared and the car feels as strong as ever.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 5,300 miles