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Jake
Jake, Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 3790
Experience:  Experienced collision repair technician, Pulaski Tech graduate and DSM hobbyist.
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99 maxima se hard to start all the time once it starts

Customer Question

99 maxima se hard to start all the time once it starts sputters for a quick second and then runs great
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Nissan
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

Hey there, thanks for the question.

Did this just start happening in the cold weather? any smoke or anything when this happens?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When cranking smell gas and light grey smoke during cranking
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

A couple of things come to mind here.

The first being the center intake manifold gasket thats prone to leaking and causes hard starts on these engines.

The other is the possibility of something leaking into a cylinder (coolant, fuel, oil) when the car sits for awhile. This will create a hard start because of the uncombustible fluid or excessive fuel in the cylinder.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No leaks of fluids or gas change trans before all this started
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

So all was going normal, then you changed trans and this started?

is this a manual or auto trans?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's an automatic
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

can you answer my other question please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
All was normal until transmission swap
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

Gotcha, more commonly when this happens it's because the crank sensor was not REMOVED BEFORE swapping the transmission. When this happens the sensor is easily damaged on the edges which gives a scratchy wave pattern and causes hard starting.

Best bet at this point is to replace the crank sensor.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Replace both crank sensors and cam sensor with new ones from dealer
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

anything else you did that you failed to mention? before i make any other suggestions?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Nothing Else
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

Ok, run a temporary ground from the bellhousing to the battery.

Let me know if it fires right up

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's still hard starting have crank it about 6-10 times
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

Did you sand the mating surface where the engine and trans come together?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

about the only 2 things you see relating to hard starts from transmission replacements on these cars is either the crank sensor, or grounding issues that i mentioned.

This may not be related to the transmission installation

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I know any solution I've tried everything you've mentioned so far
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

Have you checked the actual starter itself? made sure it wasn't loose or anything? not making any weird noises when starting?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
New starter
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

Why did you replace the starter?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It went bad from all cranking trying to start the car it started this morning no problem got to work when it was time to come home it about 10/minutes of cranking to get it started
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

At this point you may want to scope the crank sensor to see what kind of signal your getting.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Had all that done at a shop they replace crank sensor and cam sensor iwas told the idle air valve will make it hard to start
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

There is of course other things that would cause a hard start completely unrelated to the transmission install itself.

Just seems a little peculiar that you had none of these issues prior to the replacement.

you could rule out the IAC hard starting by simply depressing the gas pedal slightly when starting.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was told that it helps but not much also when starting car or kinda back fire through air filter at times
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

backfiring through the intake could be from a couple different things, could be excessive fuel from a leaky injector, a bent intake valve, timing being off, or a poor/weak ignition signal.

Generally the weak ignition signal though will cause the backfire sensation at heavy acceleration as well, not just trying to start.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What would cause weak ignition signal
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

having 1 or more weak coils or a bad ground.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's grounded from starter BOLT to negative side of battery
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

the ignition ground is on the intake manifold also.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok is there a way to test the coils and what should I test
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

The coils are very difficult to test accurately with a meter. The best test on these coils is to pull them and crank the engine.

Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

I would start with an easy test to see if your bleeding off static fuel pressure.

Use a T-fitting and test idle fuel pressure, then cut the engine off and pin the soft lines and see if the pressure bleeds off. If so then an injector is leaking.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I went to used auto salvage an replaced the coils it starts alot better but have to press on accelerator slightly and it fires right up
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

That being the case its probably only 1 of two things here.

Either the engine is flooding out, or your not getting enough air in the engine for some reason. (IAC is not operating with key to ON like it should, or air filter clogged)

Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

Never heard back from you.

if you need further help let me know, if not be sure to leave a kind rating please.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How would I check to see if IAC is operational with key in on position
Expert:  Jake replied 1 year ago.

BEST way is to either remove it and turn key ON and watch it or use a stethescope and listen to it when key turned to ON.