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Mike V.
Mike V., Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 23617
Experience:  Nissan factory trained and Certified Subaru Technician.
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2001 Nissan Altima intermittently turns on fuel pump. So

Customer Question

2001 Nissan Altima intermittently turns on fuel pump. So sometimes it starts but sometimes it requires turning on and off the key till the fuel pump starts. It's annoying. Is the problem with the ignition switch?
JA: Is the car in "Park" or "Neutral?" Do you know if your car has a "wheel lock" feature?
Customer: It has manual transmission
JA: Tell me a bit more about what's going on so he can help you best.
Customer: We replaced the fuel pump but that did not fix the random fail to start
JA: Are you hoping to fix this yourself?
Customer: Yes
JA: Great! What have you tried so far?
Customer: Installed new fuel pump and turned the key to on till fuel pump starts audibly then starting the car
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Nissan Mechanic should know about your Nissan?
Customer: That's it
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Nissan Mechanic about your situation and then connect you two.
Customer: Does this cost $ for diagnosis
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Nissan
Expert:  Mike V. replied 4 months ago.

HI there,

So the engine will crank ok but not start?
Is the check engine light coming on when the car is running?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
it will crank but not start. Check engine light turns on
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
When it does not start sometimes I have to wait a few minutes then try again and starts sometimes
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Check engine doesn't turn on. When I start the car.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 4 months ago.


The fuel pump is driven by the computer. It grounds the fuel pump relay but only for about 2 seconds if it doesn't see any engine rpm. So, if you turn the key on, you likely won't see power at the pump unless you are cranking the engine. If the cam sensor isn't always sending signal, then it won't kick on the fuel pump.

I think I would first, check the distributor. Remove the cap and the rotor, under the rotor you will see a plastic cover. Remove the cover and make sure there isn't any oil in there. If there is, then the distributor will have to be replaced. If not, then I think I would next check the fuel pump relay. Maybe swap it anyway just to eliminate it as a possible cause.

The fuel pump relay is above the inside fuse box. I am sending along a diagram to help.

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Thank you so much!