Question about 1998 Nissan Maxima

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Occassional Start up Problems

Hi there. This car has 117K on it. I bought it used and have loved it.
Lately however start up problems although it WILL always start. Bought new
battery but alas that didn't solve it. When the problem does kick in it sounds
like it wants to turn over but doesn't. No engine warning light comes on.
SE model(doubt that matters). Is starter slowly going on it? I thought those
quickly went away and didn't slowly go. I am concerned that one of my oil
changes at my mechanic may have been overfilled because I do see old oil
that seeped out the valve cover gasket. No smoke from the car though.
THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KEN

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If you think it's over filled with oil then check it, in the morning on a level surface, clean off the stick note where the full line is etc..
High milage cars do sometimes have alittle seeped oil on the valve cover, there's low pressure in that area so if you take and snug down the bolts on the valve cover may help. Only snug them! Do not over tighten!
Another thing to consider is where the oil filter is. If it's near the starter the mechanic might have bumped the battery wire that is connected to the starter so it's getting loose from vibration, or the connection may be corroded at the starter or battery, check the ground (-) wire too there should be a ground wire going to the body of the engine somewhere from the battery, the starter gets grounded by being bolted to the engine.
The oil could also be to thick 20/50 or the like. That's sort of a trick but normally for older cars like 70-80's, because it's thicker you can use it in the summer and the car will burn less oil (smoke less) due to piston rings beginning to fail or if you have leaks in gaskets that you dont have $1000+ to fix. But you NEED to change the oil to a lighter viscosity when it the season changes and it's cooler out because the oil will turn into molasses and your starter will probably never start if it gets real cold out.
Starters fail generally in a couple of ways. When you goto start and you hear a 'rip/grinding' noise that sounds fast and your engine dosen't turn over at all. Another way is alittle like what your describing the starter motor 'rests' in a weak spot (from the last start). When this happens try giving it a couple short starts where you hold the key for only 1 sec, 3-4 times quickly in a row. If that dosen't work hit the body of the starter with a hammer a couple of times, not violently. Either of these you'll need a starter soon.
So, hope some part of all that help's. Just covering all the bases cause it's hard to diagnose not being there.
But I would start by checking the battery/starter connections for corrosion or being loose.

Posted on Jul 08, 2008

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