2001 Nissan Sentra rough idle/stalling

Electrical problem
2001 Nissan Sentra 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Manual 120000 miles

The background: I was about to buy an '01 Nissan Sentra with 120K miles but decided to think about it after the test drive. It drove ok except the idle was a little rough and it stalled a couple of times. The sellers had let it sit for months without starting it so I thought maybe the gas had gone bad so I decided to wait a few days then give it another test drive. Good thing I waited because the sellers couldn't get it started. They said it drove fine when they used to drive it regularly so I thought the problem would be simple so asked them to get it to my neighbor who is a retired mechanic. They finally got it started but had a really hard time driving it 10 miles to my neighbor's house.

The problem: It starts but then quickly stalls. You have to keep the RPMs high to keep it going, but that only lasts several seconds. The check engine light is on. My neighbor-mechanic has determined it is not the fuel filter, fuel pump, fuses, or gas. He's stumped but thinks it is electrical. He's trying to get a mechanic friend to do an electrical diagnostic test.

Any ideas?
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have the same problem?
Monday, November 8th, 2010 AT 9:52 AM

1 Reply

The "check engine" light is an indicator for a system that monitors many electronic functions in the system, also called the "malfunction indicator lamp" (MIL). It can come on for any of hundreds of different causes from any of the systems that the computer monitors. Some are very important and can lead to further component or engine damage and some are emissions related not as serious but still a problem and need to be repaired.

Your first step is to have the computer scanned to retrieve the trouble codes that were set when the check engine light came on. Those codes will give you specific information about what the computer saw and will get you pointed in the right direction to find your problem. With a 1996 or newer and some 95 cars and you have an AutoZone or Advanced auto parts in your area, they will read them for free. Once you have these code numbers, we can be a lot more specific about what your problem may be.
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Monday, November 8th, 2010 AT 10:35 AM

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