1999 Nissan Sentra Inconsistent Starting Car

Tiny
SNEAKYYBSTRD@AOL.COM
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 NISSAN SENTRA
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 120,000 MILES
I have a nissan Sentra 1999 1.6 L thats been giving me problems lately while starting the car. Normally when I turn the key it would crank just for a second and the engine would turn on perfectly, but starting a few a days ago, it was having a different sound when turning on. The crank sound was slower, and took longer to turn the car on. But then it would be normal again the next day. The following day it cranked so slow it didnt turn the car on. And when I tried turned the key again, it made no sound. I just heard the switch noise when I twist the key, I think they call it the relay. My headlights worked perfectly no dimming, I check the battery connections, they are bright silver, I just had them cleaned, so im sure its not the battery. I tried a million times to turn the car on but I couldn't, no crank sound at all. I had the car towed to my house the same night, when I got it home I tried to turn the car on just for the heck of it, and the engine magically started, and the crank sound was normal!

The next day I was puzzled, so I experimented. I turned the car on first thing in the morning, crank sound was normal. Then I turned off the engine and turned the key again, crank sounded slower. Then I repeated this again, crank sound was slower, rougher start. Then I turned the car off and then turned the key again, just to crank a little, but not fully turn the car on, and it just sounded so nasty and harsh, then I turned the key a little again and no crank, no sound, just the relay sound.

Any thoughts?
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Saturday, December 5th, 2009 AT 11:34 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi sneakyybstrd,

Thank you for the donation.

The symtoms indicates a possible fault with the battery and I would suggest getting it tested.

If your battery is the maintenence free type, it is highly likely to be failing and due for replacement.
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Saturday, December 5th, 2009 AT 1:06 PM
Tiny
SNEAKYYBSTRD@AOL.COM
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I had the battery checked this morning at autozone and it works fine. Its not an old battery. Only about 1 and 1/2 years old.
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Saturday, December 5th, 2009 AT 1:15 PM
Tiny
SNEAKYYBSTRD@AOL.COM
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When the no crank occurs, the lights and everything still turn on, everything functions, even the fan. But the crank sound is the only thing that I do not hear when I turn the key. So I think the problem is isolated esleware. What do you think?
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Saturday, December 5th, 2009 AT 1:17 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Just for the record, I have encountered maintenance free batteries tested good but intermittently fails due to internal faults. One minute it is good, next it does not work, wait a while and it works again.

You might have more than 1 possible cause/fault so we would have to go through all of them.

When no crank occurs, and repeat turning on and off of the ignition key works, it could be the ignition switch ( starter circuit), starter relay or immobilizer ( if equipped) that failed.

The best time to test the battery or any other possible components is before starting in the morning and again when no crank or cranking speed is deemed slow.

A failing starter can also be the cause but as problem occurs only in the morning, the possibility is reduced. When starter carbons are running out or dirty, they tend to intermittently fails or cause slow cranking. The repated clicking of the solenoid would vibrate to cause the carbons to come into contact but the cranking speed might be slow.

Check the battery cable to starter installation. If the cable is insufficiently secured, it can cause overheating and intermittently falis. Check the negative cable condition at the transmission end and ensure it is secured properly.
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Saturday, December 5th, 2009 AT 1:52 PM

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