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1993 Nissan Maxima GXE 4dr Sedan Auto

1993 Nissan Maxima
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January 5, 2013, 10:35 pm

Sean P

Question: Car won't start

I recently bought my first car (1996 Nissan Maxima SE, manual ) with 180k miles on it. The previous owner supposedly had it inspected by a mechanic who said it needed a new fuel filter. I looked at it and it looked quite old, so I replaced it. I drove it to a parts store, picked up the filter, replaced it (double checked that its in the correct way and double checked that fuel is getting through the filter and into the engine.) I did the replacement in the parking lot of the parts store. Upon finishing, the car wouldn't start. It would crank and crank and crank, but it just wouldn't start. I checked the spark plugs and replaced them, still didn't start. I took it to a mechanic who said it needed a new camshaft sensor, crankshaft sensor, and PCM. I found it hard to believe that it'd need a new PCM, and to my knowledge a bad or failing camshaft sensor wouldn't prevent starting, however to my knowledge a bad crankshaft sensor would, so I replaced the crankshaft position sensor today, still no start. I tried jump and hill starts, neither worked. Had the battery checked out and charged back to full charge, still no start. Checked and cleaned all battery connections and the grounding wire (the grounding wire is known to be a common weak point on this model, and often needs to be cleaned and re-positioned, which I have done.) I know it is getting spark and fuel, but I have no idea where to go from here as far as getting the thing going.

January 12, 2013, 9:04 am

Ron W
Expert Mechanic

I would suspect that it is a fuel issue since it ran before you replace the filter. But you have to isolate which system is having the problem: fuel, spark, or mechanical.

Assuming the engine is mechanically sound, it's either a spark or fuel related issue.

When you just turn the car on (without cranking) listen for a 2 second buzz from the fuel pump (you may need an assistant to listen at the fuel neck with the cap off.) If you hear that, it means your fuel pump can run. No noise means your pump or it's relay is bad.

Since you replaced the crank sensor already, if it is a spark related issue, the cam sensor is the next probable cause.

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January 17, 2013, 4:02 pm

Sean P

I can hear the fuel pump, and Im getting fuel up through the fuel filter into the engine. Recently I decided to check and see if each plug is getting spark, and found that a couple are not. Also, the engine cranks really slow

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