Question about 1997 Nissan Maxima

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Little to no injector pulse only when starter is engaged

Ive got a customers 1995 nissan maxima that has very little injector pulse while trying to start. Sprayed carb cleaner in the intake and if i try long enough it will finally start and run fine. The injector pulse while started is strong and correct. What could cause the car to have a weak injector pulse only when the starter is on? Also when you let off the starter the pulse gets strong for a second, only when the starter turns off. Suggestions would be awesome!!!!

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  • byrdsdiesel Apr 18, 2009

    I will have to check it out on monday, its at the shop and itsthe weekend. Thanks for the help i will definetly check that out. Do you think it could be a problem in the computer? The car has also sat since 2003 when he bebuilt the whole engine and swapped out the stock suspension to racing suspension and the automatic tranny to a 5 speed. Ill keep you updated, THANKS!!!!

  • byrdsdiesel Apr 18, 2009

    I understand what you are saying completely. I already switched out the gas and made sure it was getting clean fuel. The engine was rebuilt in 03 and was never started since then. All tthe fuel lines and fuel rails were empty. The injectors are operating fine. With the intitial start it does not want to start the car. When the starter is engaged the noid light on any injector lights up very very faintly and not consistant. But once i spray the carb cleaner in there it gives it enough to get er started and then the injector pulse raises and stays very consistant but only when started. The car runs fine and will run for as long as you want it to but as soon as you turn the key off its a mother to get started again...hence the little to no injector pulse. It doent miss or anything once runs awesome. weirdest damn thing ive seem in a long time. And again thanks for your help. Im not sure of the month but the car date was in 1994

  • byrdsdiesel Apr 18, 2009

    Ok thats fine man! Yea i understand the maf sensor and the carb cleaner. this has a modified intake tube that has a boost port on it after the maf sensor and thats where i sprayed the cleaner in. It was all i had at the shop for now. I will definetly try the propane deal. I will check back later and see what other advise you have for me! THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  • byrdsdiesel Apr 19, 2009

    I sure hope you will!!!!! i also checked for that as well. I checked both crank sensors and the wiring. All is good. That was the first thing i checked. fuses, then spark, then injector pulse, then crank sensors. in that order. still nothing. I have to run and get some parts out of town in a little bit but i will be back later on today. Thanks again i really appreciate it



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  • Nissan Master
  • 383 Answers

95-97 Maximas had a problem where condensation from the A/C would accumulate in the a/c evaporator case from the drain becoming restricted or blocked, When this would occur, condensation would drip onto the ECM and a problem would develop with misfire and/or starting. I would look at the ECM where the harness connects to it for corrosion problems. If you find it, there is a chemical spray which can be used to clean the terminals and/or you can clean them, although it is time consuming and difficult to due because of how small the terminals are. After things are cleaned up, lightly coat the connections with a dielectric grease. This will prevent electrolysis.I believe you can buy these at Radio shack and possibly at an automotive parts supplier.
Also a drop in voltage during the cranking phase will cause a weak spark. Your ignition is what pulses the injectors. It takes a minimum of 9.6 volts, but ideally you want at least 10.5 or more during the cranking phase if you want to get a spark worth anything. Check the voltage on the primary side of the coil while cranking the engine.
I'll watch to see if things work out for you, let me know. ....mybunkey

Posted on Apr 18, 2009

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  • Bill Hackett Apr 18, 2009

    byrdsdiesel: if the engine has been swapped out and the transmission is now a manuel, the ECM really may need to be replaced. The Manual and automatics used different ECM's The engine will run with the one that is in the car (providing everything has been connected correctly). HOWEVER, Try the ECM you have, you haven't anything to loose! It may work just fine!

    IF, you need the part number ( the one which is found on the ECM casing,) The number on the casing is different than the part number that Nissan lists for their inventory. The number is the ECM's manufacturer's reference number for the application. All I need is a production date which is on a label in the door post of your car. I have the references to provide you with the one than Nissan lists for that car. You would probably be ok getting one at a salvage yard. They don't suffer from chronic failures.

    The most common problem I have found in engine R & I's are failures to reconnect the harness grounds to the engine.

    The coolant temp sensor which is located close to the throttle body. it is a connector with two wires going into it. If the connections at this sensor are corroded it may run rich and/or pretty badly. If the car has sat since 2003, Do not try to run it on the fuel that is in the tank!!!!!!!!!!!!! Drain the fuel, Buy a bottle of "Stabil". It's an STP product, I think. Anyway, it is designed to mix with stale fuel. Buy five gallons of fresh gas and dump a measured portion as it is set up to do in the bottle. Shake to can thoroughly. and dump it into the tank. Do what ever you need to do to get the cat started and run it. Find the return fuel hose for the fuel injection and pinch it off with a pair of vice grip pliars, but protect the hose from damage by putting something between the hose and the jaws of the pliars. If you have the hose pinched off correctly, the idle will raise slightly. This is because you have done the same thing as what the fuel pressure regulator would do under a full throttle condition, raise the fuel pressure to the maximum. My reasoning for this is to force the goo which may have collected in the bases of the injectors through the screens to clear them and clean them. You will probably need to run an additive like Berrymans in the tank for the first tank full or two because gas sitting for a long time can separate and can turn to a shelac like substance. In extreeme cases, I have run into situations where the fuel was so bad that it had literally gummed up the intake valves so that when the engine cooled off after it had run the first time on the bad fuel, the intake valves literally were sticking partially open because the stems were gummed up right at the intake port where the fuel had passed by them! When it has reached that condition, the cylinder head(s) have to be removed and the valves pulled to properly clean up the contamination.

    I hope that your initial question wasn't addressing an attempt to start the engine on 6 year old fuel? ALSO, BE VERY CAREFUL! The air mass sensor is easy to damage! spraying carbuerator into it can damage it.

    Here is a tip to start the car with an alturnative but safer method.

    I'm sure you are familiar with those "Burnzomatic" torches..

    What you are after is the gas and the valve to regulate the flow of gas coming out of the bottle. Get a hose which will fit over the end of the torch tip and you want it to be about 3 feet long. If you go to a Home Depot or similar place, you can buy the hose and you want to buy a fitting to put into the end of the hose to reduce the size down to about a 1/4 inch opening. NOW, you have and alternate fuel source! The car will run on propane! Place the hose in the air cleaner intake and crack the valve until you hear a hiss. You want to crank the engine immeditately. The gas coming out of the bottle, depending on the rate, can cause the bottle to frost over, starting with the area that the gas is leaving from. The bottle can not supply enough fuel to rev the engine, it can only supply enough to allow it to idle. Once the engine has started, the gas you are introducing may be too much and the engine may want to stall, so be ready to shut the valve off. You will just have to experiment to learn how to use this. It is a diagnostic tool. If you have a rough idle and suspect an injector problem, introduce propane into the intake slowly. If the engine smooths out it can be an injector or a vacuum leak. The leak can be anything from a loose vacuum hose to an intake gasket or seal around an injector.

    To find a vacuum leak, you can slowly, move the hose with the valve cracked slightly, over suspected areas. If the engine responds to the propane, you have a leak. PRETTY NEAT EH?

    In any case, if you run into problems, I have lots of experience with cars that have been sitting, so I'll be watching for you.

    Good Luck!

  • Bill Hackett Apr 18, 2009

    Good deal on changing the stale gas! Try the propane as I suggested instead of the carb spray. I have seen AIR MASS sensors fail because of exposure to the spray. Remember, there is a small wire in there which is sensitive to air that flows over ir, not a raw, aggressive solvent. The wire, after the engine shuts down, heats to a temperature of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, to burn off the trash which accumulates on the wire.


    Take care guy>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • Bill Hackett Apr 18, 2009

    OH! I missed the last part of your comment about the start and run as well as the part where as long as it runs, it runs fine. Once turned off, it's a mother to get started again. There is a storm headed in my direction and I had been hit by lightning (believe it or not) 5 years ago while on my computer! Anyway, I'm going to have to sign off for the moment and get back to you with some more input. I think I may have more answers.... Or potential solutions..... mybunkey, signing off for now....


  • Bill Hackett Apr 19, 2009

    I found another TSB on the MAXIMA. Check the sub harness coming off the crank position sensor. There were problems with power steering pump pulley cutting into the harness. This would also create the type of symptom you have described.

    Sooner or later I'ma Gona hit the nail on the head Huh?

  • Bill Hackett Apr 20, 2009

    I did some more digging and found one more TSB which related to a problem with the ECM's that also fits the description of your problem. Nissan's reference number was NTB95-090

    It had to do with the ECM's having difficulty referencing TDC during cranking. The solution was replacing the ECM. I don't know if there was a way you could get your hands on another ECM to try in place of yours, But I am almost willing to bet , if you have gone through all the other motions that you have, this may be your nemesis in hiding. It's worth a shot if you can get your hands on one. One way you could possibly get your hands on one:

    Find a used car lot that has the same model and ask to take it for a test drive and have it checked out by the shop that services your car. Sometimes, they will let the person take the car if they leave their license and the car they were driving at the dealership. You obviously drive something else to the dealer's lot.

    What do you think?

    If this is the problem, Nissan my replace the ECM under warranty!

    You can always try.

    got my fingers >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.!good luck!



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