Has spark has fuel, no start

Tiny
JOSHUA RABAGO
  • MEMBER
  • 1991 NISSAN SENTRA
  • 1.6L
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 137,000 MILES
Hey guys, I was hoping to get some advice. My car listed above is a 1991-1992 model year is only cranking but not starting. It had crapped out on me a few months ago while driving home from work. All of the accessories stayed powered, but the engine was off. I tried checking connections and disconnected the battery and then reconnected the battery hoping maybe it would reset something. No such luck, like every time it has stopped running on me it just cranked but not turn over. I had to get a tow back home and the advice from the tow truck driver said it sounded like the timing belt. So I went with that advice and had taken the cover off to expose the timing area. Inside looked great and discovered that the Nissan used a timing chain instead of a belt. I asked a family member to come take a look to make sure that the timing chain was good. He said he did not know much about timing chains/belts but since it is not loose and not broke that we wont mess with it and move on. He started checking the Nissan's connections and spark and said everything seemed fine and did not know what to call it. About to give up for the night, he tried starting the car in neutral and like there never was a problem to begin with the Nissan fired up. To make sure the issue did not exist still we turned the car off and started it a couple more times in park and it started just fine. He suggested that the Nissan's transmission was slipping and would need work later on. The Nissan ran solid for about a month and then shut off again the same way while on my way to work. This time putting the Nissan in Neutral did not work. I called the same family member and he said he could not get to the car until later. I left my wife the keys and had her drop me off at work. I checked back in with him about six hours later and he said the car started up fine and is possibly something in the fuel that is causing the car to fail, he suggested to replace the fuel filter since I was still using the original and that should be all that is needed. After replacing the fuel filter I continued to drive with no issues for about a couple of weeks and then the car died again while driving. We went ahead and replaced the fuel filter again along with the fuel pump. The Nissan has been hit an miss and each time I replaced a different spark or fuel problem that might help the issue. So far I have replaced the fuel filter, fuel pump, fuel relay, spark plugs, spark plug wires, rotor, distributor, cap, pick up coil, ignition coil, air filter, fuses, I am sure I have forgotten something that we replaced, but I have also used engine cleaner and cleaned out the distribution area and the spark plug area. At this point I have spark and I have fuel but the car just cranks with no start. I have noticed the spark plugs are wet with gas and oil when I pull them out to inspect them. I do not know if that means anything, but I have family that usually can diagnose and fix any car problems the family comes across and this one is going to need some outside help. If anyone has any suggestions that would be great. Thank you.
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Friday, March 10th, 2017 AT 5:08 PM

16 Replies

Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
You might not be getting sparks if the spark plugs are wet. Have you tried retrieving for trouble codes? When engines stalled, did all the dash indicators lights turn on? If not, it could be due to a faulty ignition switch.
When engine failed to start while cranking, check for oioer supply to the distributor ignition coil.
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Sunday, March 12th, 2017 AT 1:49 AM
Tiny
JOSHUA RABAGO
  • MEMBER
Thank you for the response, I will give those a try and see if I get any results. About the spark, I pulled the plug from the ignition coil and one from the one cylinder and got spark when applied to ground while turning the key I the ignition. That is the only way I know to check for spark, I also had a family member use starter fluid while trying to start the car and no luck there either. If it is wet spark plugs outs there a way to dry it out down there? Thank you again I think this is a great start. No lights show on the indicator board, just the brake and battery light, like when the key is in the on position. And no codes ran yet, I have not had the money to take it to a shop and I do not know anyone with a code tester.
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Sunday, March 12th, 2017 AT 3:02 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Hi Joshua,

When the car wont start it sounds like it could be a couple of things, first there are three relays that I would suspect and check. An inhibitor relay and two ignition relays. Here is a guide and diagram (below) for that,

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-an-electrical-relay-and-wiring-control-circuit

Next, please check for injector pulse and recheck for spark, here are two guides for that

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-test-an-ignition-system

and

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-test-a-fuel-injector

it just takes a simple test light

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-use-a-test-light-circuit-tester

Please run some tests and get back to us so we can continue helping you.

Best, Ken
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Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 AT 4:05 PM
Tiny
JOSHUA RABAGO
  • MEMBER
Thanks Ken, I saw those fuses today and couldn't find anything to tell what fuses they were. The pull out cover for the fuses under the driver seat just explain the 10, 15 and 20. I just installed the ignition switch and it did bring back the lights on the dash indicator and it does make the cranking sound stronger, it didn't start the car at all. I'm having auto zone test my ignition control module and I'll pick up the two relays that you just told me about. I'll let you know that happens.
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Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 AT 5:31 PM
Tiny
JOSHUA RABAGO
  • MEMBER
Hey guys, so I had someone mention to me that it was probably a timing issue since putting in the distributor that I might of missed it by a click or two. So adjusting the distributor I managed to get the car to start but applying the gas pedal. The car fired up like it has been wanting to fire up for years and was awoke from a deep slumber. Well shortly after that id say about 3 minutes of great running, it ended up starting to putter. While the car was running I noticed the battery light was half way lit. But anyway I started backing the car up to let it test the road and it died right at the end of the parking lot. I ended up getting it to start only when I applied the gas and each time it started and ran for a minute and then died after a minute or two while at the same time the battery light stayed some what lit. I ended up letting the gas cap off and it let out a big vapor sound and then I went to start it and it started with out the gas pedal but then died shortly after. I don't get it, is it a fuel problem or a battery problem. All the lights and stuff work but the battery light is somewhat on when I get it to start. And after the first good start with no gas pedal, not it will only start if you have the gas pedal down. And keeps getting weaker and weaker. I'm sure I must of damaged something during the process. I had someone helping me and they floored it on the throttle for a good 30 seconds let up and floored it again. Any thoughts?
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Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 AT 1:25 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
It sounds like you may have a bad ground to the chassis. Can you check the engine body ground and also check the the ground strap from the engine to the body?

Best, Ken
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Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 AT 12:04 PM
Tiny
JOSHUA RABAGO
  • MEMBER
Thank you for the quick response. I went and started the car this morning three times with just turning the key. The battery and brake light were still half lit and the car started fine but then eventually lost power to almost dying. Instead of waiting for it to die I just turned it off waited a couple minutes and started it again, so I take that back I started it 4 times. Just to make sure I understand you correctly, the ground strap you are talking about is the negative battery connection?
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Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 AT 12:22 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Yes to the engine and frame of the car
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Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 AT 2:18 PM
Tiny
JOSHUA RABAGO
  • MEMBER
I'll have it tested and I'll my alternator tested to, thank you
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Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 AT 9:55 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Can you please disconnect the wires from the alternator and then start the engine to see what happens, I am thinking your alternator diode might be out causing it to create AC voltage which the car doesn't like becasue it runs on DC voltage. Make sure the alternator wires are not touching anything (tape them up) before you reconnect the battery up. Make sure the battery has a good charge.

Please let us know what happens.

Best, Ken
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Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 AT 11:44 AM
Tiny
JOSHUA RABAGO
  • MEMBER
Ok, so I disconnected the Alternator and it didn't start, there was nothing. So I wiped of my connections and cleaned of my terminals and went ahead and connected everything back together and started the car. It started right up and sounded fine the battery light and brake light were no longer lit. So at this point the car starts up and sounds like it used to until about 20 - 25 seconds and then it starts to putter. When it starts to putter I'll give it a little gas and then it starts to die, no power at all when I apply the gas pedal it only tries to die quicker. Any thoughts. This seems like it might be the Last thing that gets the car back on the road.
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Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 AT 11:40 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
It sounds like the fuel pressure is fading away. Have you installed a new fuel pump, here is a guide that will help you test the pressure when it starts to sputter.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-fuel-system-pressure-and-regulator

Let me know

Best, Ken
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Friday, March 24th, 2017 AT 10:43 AM
Tiny
JOSHUA RABAGO
  • MEMBER
I did install a fuel pump, is that I just swapped them out and left it at that. Is it normal to adjust fuel pressure after installing a new pump?
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Friday, March 24th, 2017 AT 10:46 AM
Tiny
JOSHUA RABAGO
  • MEMBER
After looking over that link you sent me I noticed that one of the diagnosis was close to what my Nissan is doing and that's black smoke real heavy black smoke grim the tail pipe and a very rich gas smell, I was going to try the fuel pressure test and if that passes then I know it's the fuel pressure regulator. Any thoughts?
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Friday, March 24th, 2017 AT 8:28 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
No you do not need to adjust the fuel pressure that is done by the regulator unless it is stuck which could be a problem. I am thinking it could be an injector that is stuck open or shorted causing the black smoke.

Here is a guide to check that will help you check the injectors

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-test-a-fuel-injector

Let me know what happens

Best, Ken

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Saturday, March 25th, 2017 AT 10:35 AM
Tiny
JOSHUA RABAGO
  • MEMBER
Hey Ken, I had a family member come by and he had a snap on timing gun, he helped me adjust the timing and the idling, but believes why my car isn't running correctly is because of the maf sensor. Once we adjusted the timing it sounded amazing but started acting funny when the car warmed up. Any thoughts?
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Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 AT 8:09 AM

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