1997 Nissan Sentra Turns over but won't crank.

Tiny
MANTIS KNIGHT
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 NISSAN SENTRA
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 156,000 MILES
I have a 1997 Nissan Sentra GXE 1.6L which won't crank.

There is a bit of history. When the problem was first found and taken to a mechanic they could find nothing wrong as the car started fine for them. A few months later after sitting for a week unused it happened again. We took it to a different mechanic who claimed that one of the wires on the battery was improperly attached. Again the car worked fine until we let it sit for a few days unused. The third time a mechanic claimed it was spark related and replaced the distributor cap, plugs, and plug wires. And once again the car ran perfectly fine until we let it sit unused for three days.

The computer doesn't throw any errors and i'm running out of ideas. I haven't replaced or tested the fuel regulator or fuel injectors yet.

I or a mechanic has checked and/or replaced the following items. Spark plugs, Spark plug wires, distributor cap, fuel pump, and fuel filter.
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Monday, September 22nd, 2008 AT 1:41 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi Mantis Knight,

Thank you for the donation.

You mean the engine cranks when ignition is turned on but would not fire up?

Cranks = turning the engine with the starter.

When it could not start, what did you do to get it started?
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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 AT 11:38 AM
Tiny
MANTIS KNIGHT
  • MEMBER
Yes, when you engage the key, to start the car, the engine turns over on its own until you disengage the key.

The first time the car was towed to a mechanic and it worked when it arrived.

The second time a mechanic claimed that a battery cable wasn't attached correctly. Years ago I failed to notice that the ground side was crimped to the frame and bolted to the block. So I simply bolted it to the block when it needed to be replaced.

The third time I was told that it was a compression and spark issue and the mechanic replaced Spark plugs, plug wires, distributer cap, and the plastic head cover.

After each "repair" the car would run fine until you let it sit for a few days. Just recently we towed the car about 150 miles and at the destination it tried to run on its own. The car cranked and turned a few times on its own, but never reached idle speed and died after about a dozen or so rotations.

Yesterday I was attempting confirm that fuel was the missing component and had pulled the air intake from the throttle body. I noticed a lot of oil residue in there. About three years ago my mother had poured some oil into the car and didn't tighten the cap before she drove the car around and it blew oil all over the inside of the engine cavity. She did this about three months before we towed the car 2000 miles and about six before the car started having issues. Could I simply have a sensor that is unable to communicate with the computer?
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Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 AT 10:51 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi Mantis Knight,

If it is a sensor problem, a diagnostic scan would show the fault.

You need to verify the cause whether it is fuel or ignition.

Test for sparks at plug.

Check fuel pressure at fuel rail. Confirm the fuel pump is working.

You mentioned the car crank on its own? If that is the case you need to check the ignition switch, it might be faulty internally.
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Thursday, September 25th, 2008 AT 10:25 AM

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