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porsche4786

Stranded, won't start

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My 1990 pathfinder SE left me stranded after work...at work. Everything has been fine, no problems with starting it. Until I got off work... it turns over, has spark at the coil, and at the #1 spark plug wire (didn't check all of them, nor did I pull the plugs (which are pretty new) because it's 20 something outside, dark and I was freezing after an hour of screwing around with it. AFter messing with it, gas was coming out of the exhaust under the engine, so we've got spark, and gas, but not starting. Ideas?

 

EDIT: The spark I got was a yellow color, not blue. In my past experiences it's been a blue color. The guy at napa (i called to see if they had a coil in stock) said that yellow should be ok...

Edited by porsche4786

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You really should have a nice crisp blue/white spark.

 

Did it ever try to catch or simply no firing what so ever??

Remove the dizzy cap (and coil wire) and have someone crank it to make sure the rotor spins (pray it does)

 

Other than that, check the ECU under the passenger seat for stored fault codes. It might tell you something useful...

 

B

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It should be a white or blue spark. Was it plugged in with a block heater? If not try that if at all possible. I had the same problem with mine when I ran 10w40 in winter and I had to use starting fluid. See if it'll start on the fluid. Also, if at all possible crank it at night and watch for the plug wires arching. I had a c-vic that wouldnt start with out being plugged in to a block heater for at least two hours and this was the problem.

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It should be a white or blue spark. Was it plugged in with a block heater? If not try that if at all possible. I had the same problem with mine when I ran 10w40 in winter and I had to use starting fluid. See if it'll start on the fluid. Also, if at all possible crank it at night and watch for the plug wires arching. I had a c-vic that wouldnt start with out being plugged in to a block heater for at least two hours and this was the problem.

 

I'm going to check the spark color again...it has an inline coolant heater, but no block heater. To start with starting fluid with fuel injection do you just spray it into the air box? Also going to make sure the rotor is turning on the distributor....

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You really should have a nice crisp blue/white spark.

 

Did it ever try to catch or simply no firing what so ever??

Remove the dizzy cap (and coil wire) and have someone crank it to make sure the rotor spins (pray it does)

 

Other than that, check the ECU under the passenger seat for stored fault codes. It might tell you something useful...

 

B

 

No firing at all, just turning.

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Okay, I just checked the spark again, and it's definitely yellow out of the coil wire against the engine. And the rotor does turn in the distributor.

 

Edit: Got a new coil, still yellow spark.

Edited by porsche4786

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Ok, so how old are the coil/plug wires, dizzy cap and rotor. I've literally had a pathfinder that ran without a center electrode in the cap...

 

Again, checking the ECU for codes might help.

 

B

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Sorry if this is a dumb question, but you're sure that engine is turning over, and not just the starter spinning. If not, could be a bad starter solenoid.

 

edit: oops, I'm an idiot, you already wrote that the rotor was turning, nothing to see here, move along... :)

Edited by sewebster

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Ok, so how old are the coil/plug wires, dizzy cap and rotor. I've literally had a pathfinder that ran without a center electrode in the cap...

 

Again, checking the ECU for codes might help.

 

B

 

 

I haven't replaced the distributor/wires/or rotor yet. I don't know if the previous owner did or not. (Just replaced the coil today). I've been meaning to, but haven't put out the money yet.

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I had a bad coil wire that wold occasionally arch out off the a/c compressor and not start when it was arching. Just throwin it out there

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I haven't replaced the distributor/wires/or rotor yet. I don't know if the previous owner did or not. (Just replaced the coil today). I've been meaning to, but haven't put out the money yet.

Well, the timing belt is intact (hopefully it didn't just jump), you have fuel, and it's pretty hard not to have air, so just about the only things left are compression or spark. You changed the coil so perhaps you have a break in the coil wire, or the rotor is burnt down, or... :shrug:

One thing you may want to try is to loosen the dizzy as if you are going to adjust the ignition timing (after marking it's position well) and rotating it while trying to start the pathy. If the belt jumped, the dizzy may need to be reset to get it to fire.

 

Maybe the crank angle sensor in the dizzy?? Have you checked the ECU for codes yet?? :D

 

B

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Well, the timing belt is intact (hopefully it didn't just jump), you have fuel, and it's pretty hard not to have air, so just about the only things left are compression or spark. You changed the coil so perhaps you have a break in the coil wire, or the rotor is burnt down, or... :shrug:

One thing you may want to try is to loosen the dizzy as if you are going to adjust the ignition timing (after marking it's position well) and rotating it while trying to start the pathy. If the belt jumped, the dizzy may need to be reset to get it to fire.

 

Maybe the crank angle sensor in the dizzy?? Have you checked the ECU for codes yet?? :D

 

B

 

LOL, I'll get you your codes tomorrow! I now have in my posession new spark plug wires, distributor cap, and rotor. I'll throw those on tomorrow when I get to work. I hope the belt didn't jump too. I can't believe it would have, is that normally going to happen when you shut it down? I didn't hear anything out of the ordinary when I turned it off. I pulled the rotor off at some point today and looked under that gold colored cover (under the rotor), I don't really know anything about what's in there, but it was clean and dry. I'll take a timing light with me tomorrow and try that turning the dizzy while starting thing.

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It might not help at all, but it might keep you from throwing $ in the wrong direction. That said, it might need all those parts anyway... :shrug:

 

The belt jumping is generally not a damaging event, it just requires replacement and reclocking of the pulleys. No real rhyme or reason to when belts jump from what I can tell, but my experience is all second hand. Not having been changed regularly, tensioner issues and fluid leaks may be involved.

 

B

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It might not help at all, but it might keep you from throwing $ in the wrong direction. That said, it might need all those parts anyway... :shrug:

 

The belt jumping is generally not a damaging event, it just requires replacement and reclocking of the pulleys. No real rhyme or reason to when belts jump from what I can tell, but my experience is all second hand. Not having been changed regularly, tensioner issues and fluid leaks may be involved.

 

B

 

 

I did change the timing belt about 6 months ago, so it would really suck to pull it all back apart.

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You said you had fuel dripping out the exhaust, you might want to check the fuel pressure regulator if it the MPFI. Pull the vacuum hose off of the regulator and spin the motor over. I have seen a regulator diaphragm rupture and dump fuel straight into the intake until it was running out the exhaust.

James

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Suddenly won't start and has weak spark? Sounds like the Crank Angle Sensor, those are known to suddenly up and fail for no reason.

 

This sometimes helps: have someone stand by the engine and look closely at everything, in the dark, while you crank the engine. Any arching would be seen pretty fast.

 

One more thing, if you spray starting fluid into the intake... do it after the MAF...

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Suddenly won't start and has weak spark? Sounds like the Crank Angle Sensor, those are known to suddenly up and fail for no reason.

 

This sometimes helps: have someone stand by the engine and look closely at everything, in the dark, while you crank the engine. Any arching would be seen pretty fast.

 

One more thing, if you spray starting fluid into the intake... do it after the MAF...

 

Is the crank angle sensor that little electronic thingy under the rotor (under the cover) that goes around that metal disc with the slots? Help in by two screws?

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You said you had fuel dripping out the exhaust, you might want to check the fuel pressure regulator if it the MPFI. Pull the vacuum hose off of the regulator and spin the motor over. I have seen a regulator diaphragm rupture and dump fuel straight into the intake until it was running out the exhaust.

James

 

I think it's because the engine was getting flooded when I tried to start it a dozen or more times sometimes while pumping the gas. Plus there is a small hole in the exhaust where it is coming out. But I'll check that out!

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Is the crank angle sensor that little electronic thingy under the rotor (under the cover) that goes around that metal disc with the slots? Help in by two screws?

 

 

That is it

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That is it

 

Nobody seems to list those, except O'Reilly auto parts "Crankshaft Position/Angle Sensor". Any other names for it that another parts store might have? Quite expensive, maybe have to go to U-Pull it.

 

How do you pull it out with the discs in there? The top screws are sealed. (On a new one)

Edited by porsche4786

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There is a diagnostic procedure for the crank angle sensor in the FSM.

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There is a diagnostic procedure for the crank angle sensor in the FSM.

 

Thanks, found that after looking, found camshaft angle sensor. Where to they list the distributor in the FSM? As far as how to remove/install. I've done it before, but I didn't do it the correct way and had to mess with it to get the timing right.

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I think it's in the EM section?

 

 

I got it pulled out, and was going to test it like the FSM says, but there is no way to get a meter to touch the terminals with the connector connected. (Like on page EC-133)

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It might not help at all, but it might keep you from throwing $ in the wrong direction. That said, it might need all those parts anyway... :shrug:

 

The belt jumping is generally not a damaging event, it just requires replacement and reclocking of the pulleys. No real rhyme or reason to when belts jump from what I can tell, but my experience is all second hand. Not having been changed regularly, tensioner issues and fluid leaks may be involved.

 

B

 

 

I checked the ECM in mode 3 and got 55

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