Question about 1996 Nissan Pickup

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My 1996 Nissan pick up seems to cut out then back in when driving, it feels like the ignition switch is being turned off then back on. I replaced the fuel filter and fuel pump relay, it ran ok for about 20 minutes then started cutting out again.

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  • Carl Rasmussen Mar 14, 2011

    I did check the connections and found no lose connections. I also cannot check voltage at the coil during a failure, the engine idles without problems. The engine "cutting out" is during acceleration.

  • Carl Rasmussen Mar 15, 2011

    Thanks, any way of testing it? My understanding is that the fuel pump is in the gas tank. By the way, the truck sat for 2 or 3 years on a non-op before I bought it. Passed the smog check 1st time and ran fine for the 1st week or two.

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This could be a number of things. Lets start with the wiring coming off the battery. The Nissan truck has a junction of wires at the battery, follow the red (positive) cable away from the battery. Check all the wire connections here looking for a loose connection or burnt looking wiring. If you have a test light or volt/ohm meter check voltage on the ign. coil positive side to ground looking for voltage. If the voltage is dropping out as the engine stops, that is the ign. circuit from the switch.

Posted on Mar 13, 2011

  • John Fourteen Six Mar 14, 2011

    Sitting still it does not happen only moving? If this is the case it is a good possibility the fuel pump itself is going bad. In the case of the fuel pump going bad you will not get a Check Engine light , the fuel pump is not part of the Emissions.

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If you can get a wiring diagram for it, find the ignition wire.You could also use a 12 volt test light to find the ignition wire. Cut the ignition wire off the harness under the dash where it goes up the steering column to the ignition switch.Splice onto the end that goes to the coil. The lower end of this harness.
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It sounds like your car has an intermittent open current feed problem. Has there been any electrical/component repair or replacement recently? If so, that would be a starting point for diagnosis. Sounds like an ignition switch type problem. If you had an intermittent battery connection, the car would continue to run from the alternator output, but would not cause the warning lights to go through their initial "bulb check" sequence. But if "on" voltage is lost at the ignition switch, or that circuit, it would.

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1 Answer

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Check to see if the floor on the passanger side is wet. If so, than your A/C drain clogged up and your ECM/computer got flodded by water causing all sorts of funky stuff happening. Right next to the gas pedal is a small cover attached to the computer. It has a clip in it. Remove the clip and tug on the cover. Look at the top of the computer to see if its rusted up. Remove the other side cover also, which is on passanger side floor next to your left foot(if you sitting in passenger seat). and check other side of ECM/computer. Check the ECM for rust on top.
If ALL of that looks OK, than I would replace the switch,(since you are telling me that the key got VERY hot) that is mounted on the back of the ignition cylinder. Its a white round switch that failes after a while especially car beeing 1996, just think about how many times that ignition has been turned ON/OFF since 1996. The mechanism in the switch failes, causing starting issues and funky electrical issues.
Does the car have a remote starter installed?? Or didi it have one in the past?? I have seen companies that install them cause some damage to the harnesses on the switch that is mounted to the back of the igniton cylinder. They use "scotch locks" to connect the remote starter and after a while the connection corrode and cause problems too.
Anyways, check the computer for rust first. Than I would install that switch on back of the igniton. You can buy the switch seperately. You dont need the whole ignition assembly/switch only. Switch is pretty cheap (approx $50 ?). Try that and post results. I would feel pretty good about the switch beeing faulty. I have ssen them fail in the past and that's where your power comes into for the starter circuit.(key getting HOT, switch shorting out, making the key hot and starting the car without the key)

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