Question about 1993 Nissan Pickup

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1993 Nissan D21 4cy 4WD STILL won't start

I know I've asked this question before, and I still have no solution-
I have a 1993 Nissan D21 4cyl that I replaced the engine in, was driving happily along, and it just sputtered and died with a half tank of gas. Since then, I have never gotten it to start completely again. It will turn over, make some popping noises, but won't start. Since it died, in attempts to get it to start I have replaced the oil pump/distributor assembly and coil, checked the timing chain, spark plugs, fuel injectors, fuel pump, gasoline quality, camshaft, exhaust blockage, and compression.
I've done every test me (6 years under the hood) or my dad (35 years under the hood, 10 professionally) can think of, and we are both entirely stumped.
The only thing I can really find that's wrong (other than the fact that it won't start) is the compression is kinda low (140, 152, 152, 152 respectively) and it's supposed to be 190, minimum 150. Two questions: would compression this low cause the truck to not run at all?
We think it should still start, just run poorly, but when it was running, it was running REALLY strong (I had 1200lbs in the back and it was running like a champ up and down all the hills in my area...)
Second question: Can anyone think of anything I may have overlooked? This is honestly driving me mad, and I just want my truck to work...
thanks!
Brian

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  • Brian Hawks Jul 03, 2009

    fuel is flowing freely through the filter, it is in the engine compartment in this car

  • Brian Hawks Jul 03, 2009

    the fuel pressure coming out of the fuel filter is enough to shoot it 6" straight up out of the hose.

    regarding the timing chain, I took the cover off and entirely re-installed it, what exactly do you mean by checking timing, with a timing light, or where the rotor is pointing at what time? The distributor can only go in one way on this vehicle (gear with a offset tooth)

    The entire intake system is clear up to the throttle.

    I squirted starting fluid directly into the throttle (underneath the blade) and nothing.

    I pulled out each spark plug individually and watched them spark when in contact with the cylinder head.

  • Brian Hawks Jul 03, 2009

    also, on this truck, the filter is directly on the throttle body assembly

  • Brian Hawks Apr 17, 2012

    Sorry that this is still up here.. not sure how to delete it. I have not owned this truck for a few years now, but the problem was amazingly simple: the spark plugs were faulty. I did not think they would be, as they were brand new, but they were sparking in the wrong place.

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If it is making popping noises, that means it is running lean. (Lean poppin) Possible causes could be a bad fuel pump. I know you said you checked fuel pressure and fuel squirted 6 ft. in the air. Need to use a gauge. It should have around 40 psi. Also, it is good to check the fuel pressure while the vehicle is running. Put in gear under load and check. Fuel pressure can drop under load. You may have a bad fuel pressure regulator as well. If it is stuck open, then all the fuel will run back to the tank.

Posted on Apr 20, 2011

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I have owned 6 nissan ka24e engines and I have had a similar problem. Since it was running strong, compression won't be your issue. One of mine had under 140 on all cylinders and it ran fine. Second, did you check the valve timing. These engines are known for faulty timing chain tensioners and guides. Tensioners are oil pressure controlled. Might just want to take a look at the slack in the chain. Also make sure the timing chain marks on both gears are in correct position. If all this is in order, you may think I am crazy.... However, after replacing the engine in my 1990 240sx, same engine, it pulled very hard for over 3 months. Then one night, I was pushing it pretty hard, it just died. I replaced coil and then was broke. After hours of looking it over, I noticed one of my ground wires on the intake was loose. Even though the spark plugs were firing and fuel pressure was good, it would not start again until I replaced the ground. The ground was only an 18awg wire, but apparently it is a ground for the ecu. I would suggest checking all of your grounds for the engine, 2 coming out of main harness and bolting to the intake and 1 going from the head to the firewall. Please let me know if this fixes your problem. I consider myself a nissan expert with over 13 years experience. 10 of those years were with this particular engine. My email is t240guy@yahoo.com. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009

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Sounds like you have replaced everything imaginable, but I did see one detail that you may have overlooked. The oil pump is connected to the distributor when you pull the distributor out the gear is slightly curved. When inserting the distributor the rotor turns slightly, turning the rotor back that same slight amount before inserting the distributor will compensate for this variance.

Posted on Apr 15, 2012

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  • neallouis
    neallouis Apr 15, 2012

    Sounds like you have replaced everything imaginable, but I did see one detail that you may have overlooked. The oil pump is connected to the distributor when you pull the distributor out the gear is slightly curved. When inserting the distributor the rotor turns slightly, turning the rotor back that same slight amount before inserting the distributor will compensate for this variance.

  • neallouis
    neallouis Jun 04, 2014

    This will sound weird but it helped me to diagnose my similar problem.

  • neallouis
    neallouis Jun 04, 2014

    If the distributor is turned all of the way in one direction, put the engine on TDC (top dead center) pull off distributor cap see where the rotor is pointing. Now pull the #1 plug wire off of the distributor. You will see that the rotor does not point to the right location. now move each wire one by one so that the #1 wire is located close to the correct slot. Put the distributor back on and loosen the adjustor bolts lower down the distributor body, and turn comletely to the opposite side of the adjustment.... now start the vehicle... may have to adjust better. The engine will run like this but knock continuously. This means that the guide plate has shattered. The original guide is made completely of plastic. A replacement is updated with a metal back plate. Eventually you will want to replace the guide because the continuous rattle will rupture the water jacket behind the chain. Hope this helps.

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Did u actually check the timing?
Are u getting good fuel pressure to the engine?
hundred percent sure the spark plugs actually spark?
And did u check anything to do with your intake? the filter? the tube going from filter to intake?

Take of intake (line hose tube w/e u wanna call it) open throttle blade, squirt some starter fluid in it, let the blade close and try to start.. if that doesnt change something, then wow.. its a real tree stumper

Posted on Jul 03, 2009

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I seen you checked fuel inj. and fuel pump.. What about the fuel filter?? I am not 100% on that exact vehicle but on most vehicles now it is under driver door somewhere.. Let me know what you find..

Posted on Jul 03, 2009

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