Help - Patrol 4.2TD NATS & brake light probs

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 16:49
ThreadID: 24288 Views:3372 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
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I'm hoping that some of the expereinced members/visitors can help me sort out some 'curious' behaviours exhibited by my 2000 model 4.2TD Patrol. There are several 'behaviours' - will describe each in case they are related. I'm no tech-head (but am learning quickly!)

B'ground: Patrol purchased 2nd hand early 2003, with cruise control and bullbar fitted - otherwise as factory- incl ABS and passenger air bag. Have since added electric trailer brake control (Tekonsha Voyager 9030) as patrol was purchased for towing horsefloat (2000kg loaded). Otherwise just drive to work - bitumen. Regularly serviced - 4WD specialist. Intermittent nature of probs has made them hard to 'pin down'. Probs listed below:

1. NATS malfunction? The security indicator light (on top of dash) yesterday started to flash intermittently and stay on for short periods when the car is driven. This is usually accompanied by a 'stuttering/intermittent loss of power. Much more pronounced at low speeds/lower gears. If the indicator light did not light up, I would have interpreted to loss of power as some interruption to fuel supply (water, air,'junk'). Thought the prob may relate to 'chip' in the key, so took a short test drive with the reserve key - same prob. I have learned that NATS deals with security coded sound sys, remote central locking, engine suspect other probs (outlined below) are connected to this

2. Remote Central locking - performance has been variable, sometimes not locking until I press button several times and aim at whatever?? magic spot. I was told that it just needed a new battery, but now I am wondering.

3. Sound system occasionally requesting a 'code" though it still plays the radio and CDs. This started after I had the car battery replaced about 10 months ago.

4. Mysterious brakelights that come on all on their own! If the horsefloat is hooked up , its brakelights come on as well. This has happenned when the Patrol was empty, locked and the key inside the house. It has also happened with the car idling in driveway and no-one in the car. Lights go off of their own accord several seconds to several minutes later. Application/release of handbrake has no effect. When I am near the driver's seat I hear a 'tick' sound come from the electric braking unit when the lights come on or go off. The braking unit and the brakes on the new horse float were installed by the same qualified auto electrician.

The Patrol is booked into the local Nissan dealer (as per manual instructions and because there could be some safety issues) in a couple of days, but I have learned that there are a number of experienced owners and enthusiasts who could save us all a lot of time. I have not been to this dealer before - so not sure of their 'tricky problem solving' ability. Being a female owner/driver of a lg 4WD can also lead to some assumed 'lack of credibility' issues!!!!

Just from browsing the forum today I have learned why my Patrol is prone to overheating when I tow up a long or steep slope - apparently a prob with my model of turbo diesel. Other Patrol owners and my regular mechanic looked at me blankly when I have mentioned the problem in the past!

Thanks, in advance, for your suggestions.
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Reply By: gottabjoaken - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 17:01

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 17:01
According to all the goss, you should replace the Voyager with a Prodigy brake controller. Try for warranty replacement. But if no chance, just do it - $150 or there abouts will be cheaper that a couple of hours diagnostics at the dealer.

There are enough threads on this and every other forum to give you the background.

Once you have done that see which of the problems are cured.

I suggest you don't waste the dealer's time until you do that.

AnswerID: 118078

Follow Up By: Flash - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 23:03

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 23:03
To fix the "problem" Voyager brake controller just fit a diode in the feed line from the brake light switch.
Have done it for three mates on their Landcruisers- too easy(they had brake lights coming on "mysteriously" when the car is parked.
I can't believe the rubbish that's been written on this subject in both magazines and forums recently- people paying large sums to "auto electricians" (nitwits???) and paying labour and cost of a new controller.

It is a very easy fix. Your other questions I'm not able to help with as I have an old and very bullet proof GQ TD42.
FollowupID: 373334

Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 17:07

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 17:07
Hi Patrolee,

The first thing to do is disconnect the Tekonsha Voyager brake controller. There are numerous reports of it playing havoc with brakelights. The latest issue of Caravan and Motorhome has 3 pages of readers letters complaining about this particular controller and its mysterious effect on the brake lights. Best to replace with another model. I have the Hayes Energise III electric brake controller myself, but there are other good models too.

But this will not account for your other problem of NATS light and radio code. This is most likely caused by the poor earth connection from the battery to the chassis. The best thing here is to fit an auxillary earth strap from the battery negative terminal to the chassis. I am pretty sure this will clear up the NATS light, radio code and intermittent loss of power - allcaused by momentary loss/reduction of electrical power.

If you cannot fit a new earth strap yourself, go to an auto electrician BEFORE you go to Nissan, they will have replace everything under the bonnet before they get to the right fix. Most likely only cost around $50 - FAR cheaper than even pulling into a Nissan driveway!!!


AnswerID: 118079

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 17:25

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 17:25
Yeah mate the captain is right. Ditch the voyager, you have a bad one. (some were ok).
Also add the extra earth from body to chasis this is a priority as it can affect your aux tank pump also. Seeing that you tow run an extra earth from elec coupling direct to battery also. I had to do all this to sort my problems out on my 2000 Gu 4.2 as well. Since then beudy.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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AnswerID: 118082

Follow Up By: Patrolee - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 17:55

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 17:55
Thanks heaps for the super fast replies! I will contact my auto electrician tomorrow with your info and arrange for a prompt replacement of the Voyager. Now, I'll go hunting for the background info mentioned in one of the posts.
FollowupID: 373292

Follow Up By: Flash - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 23:12

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 23:12
See my post above. Save your hard earned dough!
A $1 diode will fix your brake controller problem. A caravan magazine had pages on the problem recently. NOT ONE PERSON thought of fitting a diode on the feed from the brake switch. Talk about group think!
It works.
Buy a few slabs with the money you save.
FollowupID: 373338

Follow Up By: Patrolee - Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 10:28

Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 10:28
Funny ... the mention of a diode... Before I checked this forum this morning, I phoned my auto electrician to request the changes suggested in the helpful posts. He also mentioned the diode solution, so I will go with that first and see if it eliminates the alien lights behaviour. Perhaps I have found a good and honest auto electrician and I should stick with him.

I can then make other purchases with the savings. I'll keep an eye out in case Strongbow Dry or wine is sold in slabs anywhere!

Umm, Flash ..... the name's Patrolee (as in own a Patrol) not Parolee (as in a woman who made some unwise choices and got sprung!). I've just joined this forum ....don't need a bad reputaion so fast!!!!

Thanks for your update.
FollowupID: 373373

Follow Up By: Flash - Saturday, Jul 02, 2005 at 14:05

Saturday, Jul 02, 2005 at 14:05
Sincerely sorry mate :)
Thought I typed paTrollee but my typing obviously is not up to scratch.
FollowupID: 373698

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 21:45

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 21:45
G'day Patrolee,

Sound advice from the others about the earthing issues.

You also mentioned the overheating issue. I reckon I'm probably the most prolific poster on here about this matter. The list of what I have tried is quite extensive:

New thermo hub on fan
$1150- new aluminium radiator (
Cut hole in bonnet and installed scoop from a 3 litre model, above turbo
Installed exhaust gas temp gauge (to see if that was too high also...not)
Installed an extra (VDO) temp gauge in top radiator hose (as I was not convinced the Nissan gauge was telling me the real story)
Installed oil temp gauge to see if oil was getting too hot (it runs real cooool)
Installed extra electric fan in front of air conditioner condenser
Changed bottom radiator hose all around (cos I thought it might have been getting 'sucked-in' when the coolant got hot)
Got rid of usual coolant and replaced with plain rain water and a product called "Water Wetter" (see: to run much cooler than glycol-type coolant.
Replaced radiator cap.
Next thing is to install a bottle or 2 of a product called CarGo Seal-Up.....sent a request off for that today to Sydney. This is because there is a remote possibility I may have a cracked coolant expansion tank is often empty/low, meaning this could be a cause.

There are many posts on here about Overheating GU.....

Good luck

AnswerID: 118140

Follow Up By: Patrolee - Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 11:06

Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 11:06
WOW you sure have been through the mill trying to sort your GU's overheating! I hope you eventually find something which works (and let us all know).

Have other owners been able to solve their overheating problems? Are they caused by similar things or are there a range of causes?

I have not had many problems with mine - mostly because I do not ask it to work that hard very often. Only notice it when towing the full float up some long or steep hills.

Initially I put the overheating down to driver inexperience - so talked to a lot of Patrol owners (most though were property owners who had the straight 4.2 Diesel, not turbo). Before my Patrol I owned a much loved 1984 Subaru wagon. In the 17 years I owned it my main passion was fishing and it was great.

When I decided I needed towing power, I decided to go the big turbo diesel and needed to learn to drive it well. Fortunately coming out of a standard 17 year old subaru, I was not likely to miss speed! Making effective use of the extra grunt and listening to the engine to make sure the revs are right for the task at hand took some reading and practice. From the subaru I learned about checking (often!) for ground clearance, tyre placement and approach and departure angles - and not going out alone ('big brothers' like Patrols and Landcruisers could go places I could not!).

I'll search the archives and see what else there is in the 'overheating GU's line.

FollowupID: 373380

Reply By: Flash - Saturday, Jul 02, 2005 at 14:21

Saturday, Jul 02, 2005 at 14:21
G'day again Patrollee,
ref your "warm" Patrol.
My turboed GQ was a bit warm on a long hard hill when towing, but a fix on my fan hub, plus the above mentioned "water wetter" has eliminated ANY sign of overheating. (High percentages of Glycol in your coolant make the cooling system work much worse as water needs a lot more calories to raise it's temp than does Glycol.
My mates GU ran a bit warm on occasions- he had a modified turbo fitted in Toowoomba, plus a larger free flowing exhaust which improved fuel economy AND power AND eliminated the tendency for it to run warm.
AnswerID: 118545

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