Mechanics

CAR WONT START

1998 Nissan Altima

Engine Performance problem
1998 Nissan Altima 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 174000 miles

ok I know that is like a broad topic but I promise to be as specific as possible. May be a lot of reading though. But let me know what I can try or what u think it is. Hi I have 98 altima se 2.4l. About a week or so a go my car was having some problems when I tried to accelerate at rpm. After I discovered that I noticed I had a bad battery. When I replaced the battery it fixed the problem. That same night I added engine coolant because it was low to empty. I cranked it up everything was fine. I drove it home no problems. When I arrived in the parking lot of my apt complex maybe a 15 min drive my car started smoking. I immediately turned it off and pushed it in a parking spot. The gauge did not read hot. As a matter of fact it read cold and stays on cold even after driving. I noticed a crack in the top of my radiator and figure this is the problem. A friend told me that if I just keep water in the radiator a week later I was driving on the interstate and the car stalled in traffic and would not start back up. I would turn it and it would give a soung like its trying to start but not turn over. Very similar to if there was a timing belt issue. I discovered my car does not have a timing belt but a timing chain so I dont know if those break often as the belt. A guy on the street came by to help and said he had to release all pressure before starting it and when he took the cap off the radiator it did not have much pressure and was not hot. I dont know what he did but after turning the key for so long and doing something hitting the gas he was able to get it to start he said I need a radiator real bad because it is not holding fluids or delivering. And the car would only stay running when he kept his foot on the gas. If he let his foot off the gas the car would stall he said. So he would break in neutral and keep the foot on the gas at all times. I didnt see any white smoke from the exhaust or oil in the coolant nor water in the oil. The car stalled again after a while before we could get far. He said he dont wanna start it again because he could damage the motor. I ended up having to get it towed and said I will try to start it the next morning to see if it needed to cool down, but I am getting the same thing. I turn the key but it tries to start but wont catch. Same sound as if the timing is wrong but like I said no timing belt just chain. Any ideas what could be wrong? I hope the dr. House for cars work here. Lol. I really need my car. Im sure everyone does. But please help asap
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DestinyDriven
July 6, 2009.



Various possiblilities.

By holding the gas pedal down, the throttle plate allows more air to enter, indicating a possible rich condition. This makes a suspect coolant temperature sensor that is bad. The gauge reading supports this theory.
The cooling system needs to be addressed. IF the
radiator is cracked it isn't going to build pressure. Replace it. Only fill the cooling system with a 50/50 concentration of straight coolant to water ratio.

IT may be benifical to check for any codes in the computer. While there are other possiblities, this is where I would start.