Car will crank, but not start intermittently

Tiny
NGB5548
  • MEMBER
  • 2011 NISSAN FRONTIER
  • V6
  • RWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 56,000 MILES
My truck will not start occasionally-it will crank, but not start. It sounds like it is out of gas, just to give you an idea of what it sounds like. I have taken it in twice to Firestone to have the electrical system checked out, and today they still ca not find anything wrong with the truck. They ran the electrical system check three times just to be sure. The battery, alternator, starter are all included in the test, FYI. What else could be causing this? I suggested a bad fuel pump, but they said there is not a way to test for that. The dealership said the same thing. I suggested spark plugs, and Firestone did not think that would be the cause. I mentioned that the gas tank is 1/4 full when it happens (from when I have paid attention-not 100% sure on this) and they suggested that the gauge is broken and the tank is really on empty and that's why it happens. To test, I filled up my gas tank, and the amount it took to fill up was 12 gallons on a 16 gallon tank (that was approximately 1/4 full) so it checks out and the gauge is not the problem. Any suggestions? Right now the suggestion is to wait it out for more symptoms to appear or the car to not start at all so that the solution will be more obvious. Thanks for any tips.
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Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 AT 11:25 AM

13 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
You can check a fuel pump by a pressure test with a gauge auto parts stores rent them, however it may need adapters as a lot of Japanese vehicles do. Try resetting the security system by locking and unlocking the drivers door if no luck, check the manual look online. Make sure the battery terminal ends are clean.
Here is a helpful link for you to check out.

http://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-fuel-system-pressure-and-regulator
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Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 AT 12:25 PM
Tiny
NGB5548
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the response. I reset the security system so hopefully that will help. I also failed to mention that the idle is starting to seem a little rough, especially when the air is on. Also seems sluggish up hills and if I have to accelerate quickly, but I do not recall it ever being the kind of truck with a lot of get up and go. Could all this be spark plugs that are about to go? One more thing, last week on the way home, my radio would not play. All the features worked and the display screen worked, and when you turned up the volume, it showed an increase in levels but no sound came on. After I got home I shut my car off and restarted and it started working again and I have not had a problem since.
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Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 AT 1:32 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
You may have to scan for codes for radio problem and starting as well as check fuel pressure with a gauge the pump may be weak and not giving enough pressure. But with the little mileage on it I doubt it's a fuel pump problem. Try cleaning throttle plate on both sides with choke cleaner and iac hole.
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Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 AT 1:35 PM
Tiny
NGB5548
  • MEMBER
Thanks. I will try that. I did not think it would be the fuel pump since it is only 56k old. There are no codes on the computer. I called the dealership and they were not very helpful-basically said it would have to fail completely to know it was the fuel pump. I found a shop that can do the test for me. Thanks for the help.
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Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 AT 1:39 PM
Tiny
NGB5548
  • MEMBER
Also, should I hear the fuel pump engage every time I put the key into "on" or just sometimes? It starts either way.
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Thursday, March 17th, 2016 AT 10:20 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Most work when you turn key on for two seconds then relay kicks out, but if there is enough pressure it is not always the case.
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Thursday, March 17th, 2016 AT 12:00 PM
Tiny
NGB5548
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the information. I can hear it start up half the time. This morning when I went to leave for work I did not hear it so I was sure the car did would not start, but it did. Then when I got home I turned it off then back on and heard it start, tried again and I did not hear the fuel pump start, and so on back and forth. Now that I think back I think it has always been the case. My parents suggested I got bad gas. I tried using better and so far I have not had any problems. Thanks again for all the help.
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Thursday, March 17th, 2016 AT 3:31 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Yes it could be bad gas, but all signs are pointing to the fuel pump being weak.
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Saturday, March 19th, 2016 AT 7:09 AM
Tiny
NGB5548
  • MEMBER
So should my fuel pump prime every time I switch to on, or just when it needs to? I keep finding conflicting information online. My truck is newer and the information I find is usually on older vehicles, so that may make a difference. (2011 vs 2000, etc)
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Saturday, March 19th, 2016 AT 10:53 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
It will only prime when it needs it. If you shut the truck off and after a few minutes you do not hear the pump do not worry about it as it may have enough pressure to start and run. Then the oil pressure switch takes over.
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Saturday, March 19th, 2016 AT 11:52 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
I had a thought here, sorry to but in. It sounds like it could be a crankshaft angle sensor CKS, if this sensor starts to fail it will not set a code and it will stall the engine or not let it start because of the slow rotation of the engine when cranking.

Use a multi meter and test the waveform to look for irregularities,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvuzZJqQDf4

If it needs to be replaced use this guide for reference

http://www.2carpros.com/articles/crankshaft-angle-sensor-replacement

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKo7xRWVNqY

Let us know what you find

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Saturday, March 19th, 2016 AT 11:57 PM
Tiny
NGB5548
  • MEMBER
Just to give an update, the mechanics figure it is the camshaft sensor starting to go out. The only other thing they think it could even be possible is the ecm, which I am hoping and praying is not. So far this seems to have fixed it. And just in time-last night on the way home I could feel my truck starting to give out like it was out of gas and it was slow to start. It felt "off" from the get go. Like everything was delayed. Thanks for the help.
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Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 AT 2:41 AM
Tiny
RENEE
  • ADMIN
You are welcome, we are always happy to help.
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Monday, April 11th, 2016 AT 12:51 PM

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