Author Topic: 1998 Nissan Sentra Won't Start  (Read 4751 times)

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1998 Nissan Sentra Won't Start
« on: February 16, 2007, 09:56:51 PM »
1.6L DOHC engine
117K miles

Story:
I parked my car in the driveway when I got home, and when I went out the next morning, it wouldn't start or turn over. I tracked that down to a bad connection with the lead from the positive terminal to the solenoid. Cleaned that up, and now the engine will turn over but not start. I've replaced the spark plugs, and have good spark (also replaced the distributor). There appears to be plenty of fuel coming from the fuel pump (I don't have a pressure tester) and there is fuel present on the plugs when I pull them out. Air flow is not restricted on the intake, and the exhaust pushes out what seems to be plenty of air when turning over the engine. When you first start cranking, it sounds like it wants to start, but just can't. The only option I seem to have remaining is to replace the ECM, but that's over $500, and I want to see if anyone has heard of this kind of problem or if I'm just overlooking something.

Thanks

Linkback: http://www.trustmymechanic.com/forum/b1/1998-nissan-sentra-wont-start/12651/

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discretesignals

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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2007, 10:32:52 PM »
Why did you replace the distributor?  Was spark missing before you replaced the distributor?

Don't go replacing the engine controller just yet.  Nissan's engine controllers are very robust and rarely go bad.  Obviously the controller is working or you wouldn't see fuel on your spark plugs.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by discretesignals »

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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2007, 10:43:37 PM »
I replaced the distributor because I read somewhere that there are actually two different coils in it, one which runs off of 12V for starting, and then one that runs at 9V for running. I thought perhaps that if I replaced the coil (it is one big assembly and not individual components) that might fix the problem.

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discretesignals

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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2007, 11:01:59 PM »
But why did you replace it? Was one of the coils bad? Was the igniter bad? Was there no spark coming from it to the plugs?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by discretesignals »

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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2007, 11:13:56 PM »
Yes, we had. I explained why in the previous post, the idea was that the spark I was seeing was from the "12V" coil, which I don't think exists. I realize now that I just wasted $200, but alas Cuiusvis hominis est errare.

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discretesignals

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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2007, 11:40:26 PM »
" Any man can make a mistake; only a fool keeps making the same one."

OK.......welp you know you have spark now.  I just wanted to know if the reason you replaced the original distributor is because if you had no spark coming from it.  If it didn't, that would lead me think that there is a possibility that the new distributor may be installed out of time.  If you know for a fact that the new distributor is installed in time then you can start looking at other reasons why the engine won't run.  Here is a list of the things I would do if you were to bring the vehicle to me.

1.  Check for engine codes......If codes are present then diagnose codes if they are related to the engine not being able to start.  You also verify that the diagnostics are functioning in the engine controller.   If good then....

2.   Check for spark.    You know that you have spark.  Make sure that distributor is in time,adjusted correctly, and firing order is correct.  If good then...

3.   Check for fuel pressure.  You believe you have pressure cause you see spark plugs are wet. Its not very accurate to test fuel pressure that way but we will assume that there is pressure.  If good then......

4.  Check compression.  Its best done with a compression tester.  You might have puffing coming out of the exhaust but that doesn't mean you have enough compression.  If good then...

5.  Check injector operation.  See if the engine controller is operating the fuel injectors by checking for power and a pulsing ground at each injector connector.  Then do a fuel injector bleed down test using your fuel pressure gauge.  If good then...

6. Check fuel quality....shitty stale gas won't burn....if good then  

7.  Check any critical sensor operation that makes the engine run.
     Examples:  MAF/Airflow sensor,  idle air control motor stuck shut, EGR valve stuck wide open, anything causing a huge vaccum leak.  If good then.....
8.  Verify that the engine controller has good grounds and power.  Go as far as doing voltage drop tests.  If good then....

9.  Your engine is from a different universe and operates on different laws of physics.

If anyone can think of anything that I may have missed please let me know.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 12:28:11 AM by discretesignals »

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discretesignals

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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2007, 12:00:03 AM »
oops missed one

10.  Check for restriction in exhaust.  Potatoes, bananas, plugged or collapsed catalytic substrate.  If you have to remove the exhaust and see if the engine runs.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by discretesignals »

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