Cannot get car up a hill.

Tiny
MSEVEY
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 NISSAN BLUEBIRD
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 107,500 MILES
I have a 1999 Nissan Bluebird Eprise. Automatic. It drives fine on flat surface but when climbing a mountain it cannot get up. I press on the accelerator but it does not budge although the engine is still running fine and I can reverse it fine. Also even if I drive it very short distances the engine/radiator temperatures are high. Worried.
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Thursday, May 12th, 2011 AT 1:32 AM

9 Replies

Tiny
GIZMOGUY
  • MEMBER
If the transmission is not slipping (the engine would race but not apply much torque to the wheels), You could have a timing issue. If the ignition timing is too late, it will cause lack of power, and also overheating. Same story if somebody replaced a camshaft drive item (belt or chain) and failed to get the crankshaft-to-camshaft timing right! How is your fuel mileage?
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Thursday, May 12th, 2011 AT 2:35 AM
Tiny
MSEVEY
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Thanks for your response.
I do not know much about cars but have been reading up since I posted this question.
Where do I locate the fuel mileage?
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Thursday, May 12th, 2011 AT 2:38 AM
Tiny
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Fuel mileage is also know as MPG (miles per gallon). It is usually calculated by the owner or driver of the vehicle. If you believe the fuel measurements displayed on gas pumps at gas stations, and your odometer works, you start with a fully topped-off tank and write down the odometer reading. Then, the next time you top off your tank, you divide the total miles you drove (subtracting the old odometer reading from the newest reading) and divide that figure by the exact amount of fuel (including tenths or even hundredths) that you added to top off your tank again. That gives you miles/gallons which is your actual (calculated) MPG (miles per gallon). That is your miles per gallon" fuel mileage. Some vehicles have built-in computers that can do that for you, but I do not know if your vehicle has that feature.
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Thursday, May 12th, 2011 AT 3:36 AM
Tiny
MSEVEY
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My vehicle doesn't have a built-in computer so the next time I go to get gas, I will do what you have described.
I bought the vehicle from a used car auction. It's been fine for the past 5 months but just recently I drove up an incline and even though I pumped the gas and the engine was kicking, it did not budge. I put it in reverse and changed to low gear and slowly (and I mean slowly) crawled up the incline.
Could it be the clutch or maybe the fuel filter? Do you think it could be a Spark Plug problem? I checked the fluids and the Auto Transmission Fluid levels are fine. What to do?
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Thursday, May 12th, 2011 AT 3:47 AM
Tiny
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Automatic transmissions generally do not have clutches, but some have electric solenoid packs that direct the fluid through particular internal paths, to accomplish shifting. Virtually all automatic trnasmissions use a torque convertor that allows the engine to idle without stalling, while the vehicle is stopped and the transmission is "in gear." If anything in the drive path was actually slipping, such as the transmission or the torque convertor, the engine would race (if working correctly) whenever the slipping happened, especially when climbing up a hill. If you have a "tach" (tachometer that shows engine RPM), you would see the increase in engine speed indicated by the tach. You would also hear the engine racing if your hearing is normal. But you didn't mention anything about engine speed or noises. So, either the engine is very low on power, or there is an abnormal load on it. You could have a brake dragging somewhere, such as a parking brake. You could have a bad wheel bearing, on any combination of the four wheels. You could also have a transmission or differential problem. I suggest you jack up all four wheels, ONE at a time, MAKING SURE that the vehicle is in neutral or park, and not in a drive gear, and the vehicle is on a level surface. Chock wheels that are ON the ground to prevent possible rolling off the jack, in either direction! With the engine OFF, and, with the transmission in neutral or park, try to rotate each wheel by hand, while off the ground (pavement, drive, or whatever). If you can rotate each wheel easily, then start the engine and repeat the test. Are the wheels free to rotate with the engine idling? If not, you could have a power brake problem, applying brakes without you touching the brake pedal. If there is no problem rotating off-the-ground wheels with the engine running, then your problem is very likely low output power from the engine. With logical tests, it is possible to identify the problem with your vehicle! But some problems are harder to identify than others, and those take more effort. Let me know the results of the tests. I may be unavailable on this forum until Monday, May 15th.
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Thursday, May 12th, 2011 AT 2:20 PM
Tiny
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Thanks for your detailed response, much appreciated. Although it is a lot to process, I am learning quite a lot from you.

So, I will jack up the wheels individually and apply the test you described. As soon as I do this, I will let you know the outcome.

Thanks a million.
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Friday, May 13th, 2011 AT 2:02 AM
Tiny
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Two things I failed to mention are, when trying to manually rotate any "drive wheels" (wheels normally powered by the engine under normal driving conditions), the transmission must NOT be in "park" because that is what LOCKS those wheels (or allows them to turn ONLY in OPPOSITE directions). That is because the output shaft of the transmission is NOT allowed to rotate with the gear selector in "park." So, the bottom line is, put the transmission in NEUTRAL ONLY when trying to manually rotate any drive wheels!

The second noteworthy thing I will say about this subject is, some differentials have special features that are designed to maximize traction. The intent of those features is to minimize wheel spinning under power, by transmitting power to either both drive wheels at the same time (dangerous because of possibly sideways movement), or only to the wheel that is hardest to turn (which, of course, is the drive wheel that has the most traction). If you have ever seen a vehicle stuck in mud, snow or ice, and spinning only ONE wheel, you can conclude that that vehicle does NOT incorporate such traction-maximizing features. On vehicles that DO incorporate such featues, it is often necessary to have BOTH drive wheels off the ground simultaneously, so they are free to rotate together, in unison. But, all in all, there is a very small percentage of vehicles out there equipped like that. However, among specialty vehicles, such as 4-wheel drive vehicles, a very high percentage of those type vehicles have such traction-maximizing features because of their intended usage... To never get stuck because just one wheel is spinning!
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Friday, May 13th, 2011 AT 3:38 PM
Tiny
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Hello again, MsEvey, after my last post for you, there was no response, so I was wondering what happened. In your most recent reply, you said, "So, I will jack up the wheels individually and apply the test you described. As soon as I do this, I will let you know the outcome." I hope everything is OK with you and yours. Thanks.
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Sunday, June 5th, 2011 AT 2:11 PM
Tiny
MSEVEY
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Greetings,
Thank you so much for your useful advice. I had a mechanic take a look at it. He performed some of the logical tests you mentioned in your responses. He was also able to do the following things: Changed all the fluids out, replaced the filters, changed out the spark plugs, checked the wheel bearings and the brakes, checked the crankshaft-to-camshaft timing. And more I am sure.
The outcome of that is that, the car is running fine now. I am not sure which was the issue. It could have been one thing or a combination of several.

Thank you so much again for your advice,
Much appreciated!
Regards.
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Monday, June 6th, 2011 AT 1:10 AM

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