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micahfelker

Trouble starting/dying

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Hey guys! I need your help, and fast! I took a trip to Washington and ever since I got here my car has had trouble starting at times (it never did this in Montana). It'll turn over and then sorta fire but then die, but it usually starts perfectly fine the second or 3rd time. Other times it starts perfectly fine from the get-go. It's both had trouble and started fine on different occasions regardless of wether the engine is cold or not. Today after lunch, my car turned over for a super long time before it finally started. Then, driving home, I stopped at a stop light and after sitting for a few seconds the rpm suddenly dropped dangerously low (3-400rpm), but then it caught itself and continued idling. A few second later the same thing happened but it got too low and died. It fired right up perfectly fine immediately after, and my check engine light had turned OFF. That's right. Off. It was on before but it went away.

 

Anyway, I need to drive home to Montana before class on Monday, and I'd really like to make it all the way there in one piece. Does anyone have any ideas of what might be going wrong? I'm thinking either the engine isn't getting spark occasionally, or isn't getting enough gas due to a failing fuel pump or a clogged filter or something. It's more likely the spark though, since when it won't start I can smell gas, so it could be the distributor going bad or something like that. It also seems like it starts way easier when I don't already have my lights on, phone charging, music playing etc, so it could have something to do with the battery or alternator, but that doesn't explain dying at the stop light. I just put some seafoam in the gas tank to hopefully help clean out anything that may be stuck in anywhere the fuel comes in contact with, but I have a feeling it isn't gonna do much good.

 

If you guys have any info or ideas or suggestions at all please let me know! I appreciate it greatly.

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Also I forgot to mention when the car is trying to fire but not quite getting there the oil light flickers, but I've checked multiple times and my oil is completely full

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The oil light flickering when trying to start is probably because the engine's not spinning fast enough to make oil pressure. If it's making pressure when you do get it running, I wouldn't worry about that.

 

If it runs fine the rest of the time, and doesn't act up while you're accelerating or driving at speed, I doubt it's a fuel issue. My understanding is that the dizzy usually acts up when warm. Honestly this sounds a bit like the idle air issue I had with mine recently. Mine was idling stupid low, stalling when stopped, stalling when rolling slow with my foot off the gas, sometimes stalling when I put it in gear. I ended up scraping a little surface oxidation off of the pins of one of the idle components with a pocket screwdriver, bending the female plug end just a little so it would grab better, and the problem went away. Check the electrical connections for your idle equipment.

 

Good luck and let us know how the drive goes!

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The oil light flickering when trying to start is probably because the engine's not spinning fast enough to make oil pressure. If it's making pressure when you do get it running, I wouldn't worry about that.

 

If it runs fine the rest of the time, and doesn't act up while you're accelerating or driving at speed, I doubt it's a fuel issue. My understanding is that the dizzy usually acts up when warm. Honestly this sounds a bit like the idle air issue I had with mine recently. Mine was idling stupid low, stalling when stopped, stalling when rolling slow with my foot off the gas, sometimes stalling when I put it in gear. I ended up scraping a little surface oxidation off of the pins of one of the idle components with a pocket screwdriver, bending the female plug end just a little so it would grab better, and the problem went away. Check the electrical connections for your idle equipment.

 

Good luck and let us know how the drive goes!

 

Thanks for the reply and information man! I really appreciate it.

 

fabed2141c2056f5c35cb6ce676acad1.jpeg

 

Basically this pin thing is resting on what's underneath it

 

7556b722197190c7fe96c787c9619125.jpeg

 

Before these two come into contact

 

Is that how it's supposed to be? I'm sad to admit I'm not super familiar with everything engine-wise. This is my first car and although I've had it awhile it's been very reliable and all I've had to replace was the distributor. What could I try that may help?

 

 

 

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Where is the idle air control valve located on our rigs? Both times it died I had the wipers, fan, defroster, radio, etc on plus my phone charging. Maybe when the rpm is low enough it isn't adjusting for the extra load and kills the car because it can't keep up. If I could find it I could clean it out and see if that helps

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The idle systems on the VG33 and VG30 are a little different. The more I look into the two of them, the less sure I am that I'm on the right track here--or even that what I did on mine was actually the problem. All the same, here's what I found.

 

I think the thing you took pictures of is the fast idle cam. The EC section of the '96 manual has a test procedure for it (EC-23). It's supposed to crack the throttle open when the engine is cold, then get out of the way and let the throttle close completely once it's warmed up. The manual shows how far it's supposed to move. The thing I messed with on my VG30 is called an IACV (idle air control valve) air regulator, and it appears to do the same thing as the fast idle cam, though in a completely different way. In either case, near as I can work out, a failed one would cause either a low idle and maybe starting issues when cold (if it wasn't boosting idle when cold) or a high idle once warmed up (if it wasn't dropping the idle when warm). Low idle/dying at idle once the engine's warmed up seems like it has to be something else, and makes me wonder if one of the other things I checked before messing with the IACV was the actual problem.

 

When I messed with my IACV air regulator, I also checked the MAF plug and the TPS plug. Both looked okay, but maybe I worked a little corrosion off of something plugging and unplugging. IIRC I also poked at the female connector for the MAF to make it grip a little tighter, thinking maybe it was loose. I assumed the IACV was the problem because it was the only one I thought I saw a problem with.

 

The IACV-AAC (aux air control) is around the back of the plenum. EC-7 and 8 show you were it is generally, and EC-204 has diagnosis info for the code the computer can set if it thinks the valve is bad (scroll down to 207 and it shows where the plug is and how to test it with a meter). If an idle valve was going to cause low idle/stalling issues, I'd expect it to be this one. You also have an IACV FICD (fast idle control device) solenoid, which kicks on with the compressor to bump up the idle. Looks like it's in the same area, though I very much doubt it's got anything to do with the problem.

And yeah, I don't think a bad battery would make it die at a light and then start it up again like nothing happened. You might check your terminals and fuse links while you're in there, though.

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I checked my codes and noticed one for an ignition coil, which is built into the distributor. I have a new one arriving today, hopefully it fixes the problem! I'm also gonna change out my fuel filter since my car matches all the symptoms for that anyway and it needs to be replaced. Maybe not related directly to the problem but should help my rig run better. After checking the codes it's probably not the IACV since none of them mention it. All my fuses are in good shape, except I found my rear cigarette outlet fuse was burnt out. My engine may not work but at least my outlet does now! lol

 

Anyway, thank you so much for the help man. Hopefully the new parts will take care of my issues.

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No worries! Gotta take what you can get LOL. Hopefully the new coil does it.

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Well it fired up perfectly yesterday and did great on my test drive. It seems fine but I'm still nervous. I guess we'll see on the 600 mile trip back to Montana tomorrow!

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Well it fired up perfectly yesterday and did great on my test drive. It seems fine but I'm still nervous. I guess we'll see on the 600 mile trip back to Montana tomorrow!

 

Good luck! Make sure you have backup/emergency plans in case it leaves you stranded.

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I had the exact same problem a few years ago. It was the EGR valve not closing.

 

Try disconnecting the EGR vacuum line and plug it.

 

 

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That's exactly what my 96 was doing. Code come up for ignition signal or something of that nature. I had a used dizzy on hand I picked up a few months ago at my local pull a part. Installed the dizzy,changed plugs and Walla fixed! If you do decide to put a dizzy in make sure it's authentic OEM Nissan DIZZY. Aftermarket dizzys will not work. The electronics in them are cheap. If I'm not mistaken a new Nissan dizzy will set you back around 300$ to 500$ Good luck!

 

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ya leave that idle screw alone, its bad joo joo, the idle is in the back of the intake on the driver side but does sound like bad dizzy hope it worked out for u

 

 

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If you do decide to put a dizzy in make sure it's authentic OEM Nissan DIZZY. Aftermarket dizzys will not work. The electronics in them are cheap. If I'm not mistaken a new Nissan dizzy will set you back around 300$ to 500$ Good luck!

 

Mine was $50 on Amazon. It was the same one I got years back, and it's worked perfectly fine up until this incident. The new one fixed all the issues completely, but I guess it makes sense why it went bad after only a few years. Hopefully it lasts awhile longer this time haha

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