2001 Nissan Maxima Starting Troubles

Tiny
CHRISHARDIN123104
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 NISSAN MAXIMA
  • 3.0L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 220,000 MILES
Ok, so for a number of months, I've noticed an occasional difficulty getting the engine to run while cranking (turning the key). It would sometimes turn over a few times and then start right up, but other times it may just turn and turn without running. I also see it occasionally try to kick on and immediately die or give up. But usually upon a repeated attempt, the car starts. Once it's started, It runs fine. I hear no strange noises or knocking. It doesn't sound as if it is misfiring. I recently had to replace my alternator. The battery has been tested recently also as my starter went out. I just put a new starter in because it stopped turning. But I still have had the issue with the car taking a while to start up. It may start up fine, or it may turn and turn and do nothing. I'm posting this because the problem is occurring more and more frequently. Almost every day. And also, because I haven't got the finances to purchase a lot of tools to test certain components with. I'm planning on putting new plugs in, but I wanted to check with you guys and see what the most likely culprit is. Sorry for the book, thanks in advance.
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Monday, March 23rd, 2015 AT 12:42 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
All "crank, no start" conditions are approached in the same way. Every engine requires certain functions to be able to run. Some of these functions rely on specific components to work and some components are part of more than one function so it is important to see the whole picture to be able to conclude anything about what may have failed. Also, these functions can ONLY be tested during the failure. Any other time and they will simply test good because the problem isn't present at the moment.
If you approach this in any other way, you are merely guessing and that only serves to replace unnecessary parts and wastes money.

Every engine requires spark, fuel and compression to run. That's what we have to look for.

These are the basics that need to be tested and will give us the info required to isolate a cause.

1) Test for spark at the plug end of the wire using a spark tester. If none found, check for power supply on the + terminal of the coil with the key on.

2) Test for injector pulse using a small bulb called a noid light. If none found, check for power supply at one side of the injector with the key on.

3) Use a fuel pressure gauge to test for correct fuel pressure, also noticing if the pressure holds when key is shut off.

Once you have determined which of these functions has dropped out,
you will know which system is having the problem.
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Monday, March 23rd, 2015 AT 2:18 AM
Tiny
CHRISHARDIN123104
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the quick reply. So here is what I've done and also some other details which I somehow omitted when I pasted the first post.
I checked spark at all plugs, all seems fine there. I replaced plugs anyway since I was inspecting them (this did not affect the issue it seems). I convinced a parts store to check the fuel pressure before starting, while running and after shut off. They said the numbers were acceptable. I cleaned the throttle body assembly thoroughly and checked vacuum lines for leaks by spraying starting fluid around the area. I've tried spraying cleaner into the intake to achieve a quick start, but it seems to have no effect. So on to the previous details I left out. The CEL has been delivering a P0420 since I got the car over a year ago. I've never had issues with starting the car until the last few months. During the cold mornings, the exhaust would rattle when cranking, but that has ceased now. The only other symptom could be a rare idle problem when it is really hot outside. For the first few minutes of driving my car may try to idle very high in neutral, sometimes over 4000 rpm. But If in gear, I hold the brake. Also during this time, the tach could wobble up and down between 1000 and 1500 rpm in gear. When I drive around and get the motor "warmed up", the problem goes away. This is an uncommon occurrence and isn't going on right now. But in case it is related, I put it there. So as it stands, I have a fuel pump that supposedly works, a clean throttle body and working spark plugs and coils. I'm lost what next?
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Monday, March 23rd, 2015 AT 5:25 PM
Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
If you read the instructions, it clearly stated that the only way these tests will matter is if they are performed while the problem is present.
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Monday, March 23rd, 2015 AT 5:29 PM

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