1999 Nissan Maxima Hard starting in cold

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Engine Performance problem
1999 Nissan Maxima 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 165000 miles

Car cranks fine but now won't start at all. Replaced fuel filter, air filter, pvc valve and plugs. There are no engine codes showing and I got a nice flame when it backfired today after using starting fluid in the air intake so I assume there is spark. I got it running last weekend and it runs like a top when it does start. Just hard (impossible) to start so I;m leaning towards fuel system, relays, pumps etc. It is extremely cold here in Ohio (13F at nite, 28F daytime high temp) and that seems to magnify the problem. I know there was a technical service bulletin issued Jan 2003 from Nissan concening cold weather starting tips so this must be a problem. Any suggestions?

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Monday, February 23rd, 2009 AT 1:28 PM

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TSB concerning Cold Start Problem

In case a vehicle is hard to start during cold weather, we suggest the following procedure.

These steps are a review of the procedure outlined in the Owner's Manual.
Use these steps when the weather is cold and the engine is hard to start

1. Press the accelerator pedal down approximately 1/3 of the way to the floor.
2. Hold the accelerator pedal in this position while cranking the engine.
3. Once the engine has started release the accelerator pedal.

NOTE: Do not race the engine while warming it up.

4. If the engine does not start within 15 seconds, stop cranking, wait at least 10 seconds. Then repeat steps 1 through 3.

Once an engine is started in cold weather condition:

You should keep the engine running for a minimum of 2-3 minutes before shutting it off.
Starting and stopping of the engine over a short period of time may make the vehicle more difficult to restart.
It may also adversely affect a vehicle's fuel economy.

Another factor which may affect a vehicle's "startability" is the viscosity or thickness of the oil that is used.

SAE 5W-30 viscosity engine oil is preferred for all temperatures, all year-round for most models.
SAE 5W-30 viscosity oil makes it easier to start the engine and maintain a stable idle during warm-up.

If the TSB does not help, you need to do some diagnostic of your own.
1. Check fuel pressure, fuel pump circuit, fuel pressure regulator, and fuel injector circuit.
2. Check EGR valve.
3. Check sensors: camshaft position, crankshaft position, mass air flow, throttle position, and engine coolant temperature sensors.

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Monday, February 23rd, 2009 AT 6:39 PM

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