Question about 1997 Nissan Maxima

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My daughtr's scar won't start. We have eliminated the following causes: battery, alternator, starter, ignition switch. This is an intermittant problem. Key turns but car does not crank. Accessories work. Without touching anything, car will start on 2nd or 3rd try as if nothing was ever wrong. This happens on level ground as well as on hills, in all kinds of fair and bad weather. Could this intermittant problem be caused by a bad neutral safety switch? I have also noticed that once the car starts, (automatic transmission) shifting from Park to Reverse seems rougher than when I was the primary driver of the car. Don't know if this is related or if it is my perception only.

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  • lmansfield Jul 20, 2009

    Given in 1st request "we have eliminated battery, alternator, starter, ignition as possible causes" (by replacing all with new components). Don't go there. The problem is intermittent, becoming more common (perhaps 10% - 25% of attempted starts)and has persisted through all the other "fixes".

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Yes the problem has something to do with the neutral safety switch. But I am leaning more toward the trans shifting linkage. Could be loose or maybe rusted and needs to be oiled. Some cars have shifting cables, could be bad cable, or frozen cable. I would try to lube linkage or cable first. Then if problem still exists cable may have to be replaced. I believe this will solve your problem. The cable or linkage is not returning to correct place causing neutral safety switch not to engage so car will not start. Then you say car starts, probably when moving things around switch engages and car starts.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009

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You do have an intermittent. Try a few things. First, do you hear any kind of 'click' when you turn the key to start? That would be the starter solenoid. If not, try holding the shift lever in position tighter, maybe making 'permissive' switch in the lever. It could also be in the ignition switch itself. Focus on different approaches and eliminate things as we go.

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Posted on Jul 20, 2009

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