Question about 1994 Nissan Sentra 4-Door

5 Answers

1996 SENTRA turns over "good" but won't start.

Same problem about 5 month ago, but installed new battery and everything seemed to run okay. ( The car has 120K miles) A couple of tanks full of gas ago, noticed a slight decrease in gas milage?? Any way I moved the car from the street up to my garage door and stopped the engine a week ago, and it hasn't started since! Did a tune-up (Cap, Rotor, plugs) nothing. Seen fumes from the engin cylinders and was told this could be leaking injectors, so I replace all four injectors, still no start. Made some intial timing checks of the Crank to harmonic balancer timing marks, distributor to number 1 cap and plug wire and have come up with something that don't make sense. When I put the #1 piston at TDC the marks on the harmonic bal. are appox. 90-120 degrees off ????? The cam shafts and distributor #1 plug wire on the other hand seem to be aligned with the TDC of the #1 piston? From days gone-by I don"t understand how the mechanical alignment of the TDC piston to the harmonic balancer marks and timing pin on the front of the block can be out of alignment, this alignment is the reference for all timing and is a piston-top to crankshaft to harmonic balancer mechanical alignment (I'm having problems with this).
One person I talked to said that the SENTRA has to have a high RPM starter rotation to start and that from the previous problem of replacing the battery, the starter could be dragging and is not rotation the engine fast enough to start, and recommends before we do to much more maybe pull the starter and have it checke/replaced. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated. Even some more leads on Troubleshooting this problem would be helpful. Signed Dead Start.

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  • krswapp Dec 31, 2008

    I WOULD AGREE, BUT THIS DOESN'T ANSWER WHY THE TDC OF THE PISTON AND THE HARMONIC BALANCER MARKS TO THE MARKER ON THE BLOCK DON'T ALIGN FOR TIMING LIGHT SUPPORT? i WANT TO MAKE SURE I UNDER STAND THE PROBLEMIN DETAIL BEFORE I START A TEAR DOWN FOR THE TIME CHAIN REPLACEMENT.

  • krswapp Dec 31, 2008

    I WOULD AGREE, BUT THIS DOESN'T ANSWER WHY THE TDC OF THE PISTON AND THE HARMONIC BALANCER MARKS TO THE MARKER ON THE BLOCK DON'T ALIGN FOR TIMING LIGHT SUPPORT? i WANT TO MAKE SURE I UNDER STAND THE PROBLEMIN DETAIL BEFORE I START A TEAR DOWN FOR THE TIME CHAIN REPLACEMENT.

  • krswapp Dec 31, 2008

    I have physically set the #1 piston to TDC by removing the sparkplug and rotating the cam shafts with a wrench to get the psiton to the TDC position. This is where the harmoni balancer marks are about 90-120 from the timing indicator mounted to the block. This and I hope I'm wrong should have notjhing to do with the timing chains. I don't know shat I'm missing here so that I can continue with the time chain alignment troubleshhot and or replacement?

  • krswapp Dec 31, 2008

    This is what I have done so far. The top side of the timing looks good. No one has move any of these alignment part siced it was running good. What bothers me is that the distributor, cams and #1 piston at TDC(physically set with the long screwdriver riding on the piston on comrpression stroke all align, it's the harmonic balancer timeing marks don't align with the time light marking. If I were to slip the distriutor the 90-120 degrees to align with the timing marks (just to try it) and were wrong, couldn't the valves /head be damaged by beint misaligned this far?? Just being cautious.

  • krswapp Dec 31, 2008

    Okay I'm being hard headed here, but can one of you explain why the #1 piston is at TDC and the Timing marks on the Harmonic balancer does not align with the timing pin mounted on the face of the block? I've got to get past this before I can go on to the time chain slipping or a combination of both. Be kind here!

  • krswapp Dec 31, 2008

    Let's try anothe opinion. Thanks!

  • krswapp Dec 31, 2008

    I WOULD AGREE, BUT THIS DOESN'T ANSWER WHY THE TDC OF THE PISTON AND THE HARMONIC BALANCER MARKS TO THE MARKER ON THE BLOCK DON'T ALIGN FOR TIMING LIGHT SUPPORT? If I were to rotate the plug wires 90 degrees, the timing for the cam and distributor "I THINK" would look good.(TDC for #1, and the distributor cap would be close to piston#1 plugwire, however, It's the #1 piston at TDC and the harmonic balancer timing marks and timing indicator mounted to the block would not be aligning to the #1 TDC. I need to have all timing refereces align for me to progress to much farther here. I just want to make darn sure if I we're to move the plugwires or reposition the distributor without figuring out what changed or moved before this happend and that I won't bend a valve or worse if I start making any changes here.
    AGAIN I WANT TO MAKE SURE I UNDER STAND THE PROBLEM IN DETAIL BEFORE I START A TEAR DOWN FOR THE TIME CHAIN REPLACEMENT.

  • krswapp Dec 31, 2008

    Replaced all four injector with NEW ones, thought they might be leaking. Check for fuel by crankn=ing the engine for about 10-15 seconds(no problems here the car won't start) and yes the plug got wet. Removes each plug wire and inserted a sparkplug at each wire and ground the electrode and cranked the engine. Good spark at each plug. I have addressed the security issue with little fan fare but have found nothing that would prevent the care from starting but I will pursue this in the morning. NOTE: (a little addition info.) there are no engine trouble code at the ECU (useing an ANTRON dignostic meter and also used the onboard ECU code reader)

  • krswapp Dec 31, 2008

    Nope. I can turn the entire cam assembly, both intake and exhaust)with a wrench at the sprocket assembly (to get TDC) and both cam shafts rotate smooth and in one piece. Good thoughts though!

  • krswapp Dec 31, 2008

    I get the feeling that I need to start tearing things apart. Thanks for all the inputs. If anyone can think of any other polite suggestions feel free to respond!

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5 Answers

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  • Master
  • 8,205 Answers

It may be that your cam shaft has seperated into 2 parts. Odd but it happens.

Posted on Dec 31, 2008

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  • Master
  • 6,966 Answers

Hi and welcome to FixYa,

Initially, a couple of ideas you may want to explore, consider, try:

  • the harmonic balancer by design would have to be offset. It very purpose is to present a counter weight to the crankshaft to evenout / "balance" to produce a smoother running engine;
  • the starter to address the higher starting RPM uses "reduction gear". starter simply needs a fully charge battery;
  • all gasoline engine would need 3 factors to fire: 1) air/fuel mixture, 2) spark, and 3) at the right time;
  • have you checked for the presence of spark at the plug tips/electrode?
  • have you checked for presence of fuel as sprayed by the injectors? deliberately unhook one of the spark plug wires, crank the engine, remove check the sparkplug, if wet with fuel, injector spraying, if not injector/ECM issue;
  • alarm/security/immobilizer.
Good luck and Thank you for using FixYa. Happy New Year.

Posted on Dec 31, 2008

  • Louie  Role
    Louie Role Dec 31, 2008

    I beg to differ "start tearing things apart". It is to my belief an external issue.

    Let's try going back to the basics:


    • Remove air cleaner/box. Cover the intake port with the palm of your hand, have some one crank the engine, is their very strong suction?

    • If fuel and sparks are good and delivered on the right time, the engine will fire/run, maybe rich, rough idle, dying, misfiring, but it will;

    • there were a couple of the solutions posted referring to do a compression test, have you done this?
    Cheers.


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  • Master
  • 740 Answers

Ok first of all you have a 1996 Nissan Sentra it has a timing chain not a timing belt. Its almost impossible for this car to have jump the timing unless one of the timing gears broken and if this was true the way this vehicle crank would sound unusual.It would sound flat/ without compression or would seeze. Because this is (4) cylinder you have been checking the timing on cylinder # 4. Remember the piston on #1 and #4 are at the top at the same time, this car fires 1-3-4-2. This what you do. Take number one spark plug out of cylinder. Turn crankshaft by using center bolt turn clockwise. Listen for compression you should hear air rushing out of cylinder #1. You can also use a rag, stick rag infornt of plug hole with compression the rag should pop out from in front the hole. You can also use a ling crew driver with help turning crankshaft, listen for compression and fell when screw driver comes all the way up to TDC. when it reaches TDC it will start to go back down if this happens turn counter clockwise and bring back up to TDC. With this done and sure its on compression stroke on cylinder #1. Take off distributor cap so that you can see rotor head. Look on cap for cylinder #1 , if not marked follow cylinder #1 plug wire the rotor point on the head should be facing #1 cylinder if the cap was on. Hope you follow so far. However if #1 is on compression and timing chain was never moved. Therefore the distributor is mis-aligned. If it is mis- aligned then leave piston at TDC put back on cap mark on the side of distributor (metal part) where the #1 wire/pin is and then remove cap. remove distributor and turn shaft and implant distributor so that rotor head points on cylinder# 1. and tighten and put cap back on. If distributor was misaligned vehicle should start. To adjust properly loosen distributor bolt and turn to set precise ignition timing. IF all of this was good and there was no need for adjustment then you must be missing spark or gas as far as the starter turning too slow that highly unlikely. Contact me if you need more help. GOOD LUCK

Posted on Dec 31, 2008

  • O Mclean Dec 31, 2008

    CHECK OUT MY SOULTION THAT I POSTED A MINUTE AGO

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  • Expert
  • 140 Answers

Unfortunately it sounds like you have a bad timing belt and the crankshaft jumped a few degrees. Pull the valve cover and check the cam timing with the crank. Good luck.

Posted on Dec 31, 2008

  • David Robinson Dec 31, 2008

    Ok, do a quick compression test on all of the cylinders. If they are low then you know it's a timing problem.

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  • Nissan Master
  • 1,861 Answers

It looks like your timing belt has jumped time. This explains why the distributor @ #1 and the crank pulley marks are off. I would recommend getting the timing belt replaced. Note: There is a good possibility that the intake valves may be damaged from the timing belt problem.
Best path of diagnosis: Get the compressions checked. If you have 20-30 PSI per cylinder, the timing belt theory will be true.

Posted on Dec 31, 2008

  • Toyota Ed Dec 31, 2008

    Remove the number one spark plug. Remove the valve cover. Remove the distributor cap. Rotate the crankshaft to TDC. Observe the valves at number one cylinder; they both should be closed (the rockers in the "up" position). Observe into the spark plug hole; you should be able to see the top of the piston clearly with a flashlight. Observe the distributor rotor, it should be directly under the number one spark plug wire hole.

    If any of the above does not match PERFECTLY with what I have stated, you timing belt has jumped time.

  • Toyota Ed Dec 31, 2008

    Please clarify a point...Exactly what year is your car, 1994 or 1996, your post states both years.

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