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Mike V.
Mike V., Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 25493
Experience:  Nissan factory trained and Certified Subaru Technician.
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My daughters 96 maxima wont start. When turning the key to

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My daughters 96 maxima won't start. When turning the key to start all dash lights will light up but motor will not try to turn over. Searching the net I have found various things to try but to no avail. I replaced a weak battery, replaced the ignition switch, had starter tested and actually pulled it again and had it rebuilt. The cables appear to be good and clean. No fuses appear to be blown. She did tell me that at one time the alarm sound when she opened the trunk with the key. She has not used the keyless remote in a while since the keyring portion broke. Could their be a way to reset the security system? I really don't want to sink more money into this without a fix.
HI there!Is the car automatic or manual?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi, I forgot to mention that but it is an automatic.....I wondered if and where a switch might be located or even accessible indicating it was in park. The push button on the stick seems to be functioning properly, it pops out when you put it in park. I have actually put it in neutral to try and start but no luck ther either...
OK.That was one thought I had.Do you have a test light?Nissans anti theft system turn the fuel injectors off.So the car should still crank over.You can look at the security light though.It should be flashing normally.If it is on steady while you are trying to crank the car over it could be a factor.If you have a test light,I can look up the wiring diagram and see if I can help.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yes I do have test light...The security light is flashing until I try to crank the car then it actually goes out. But I do believe I noticed it staying on at one time while trying to solve this thing. The car has been down now for two weeks. It DID crank once about three days after it quit on my daughter and it had a bit of drag to it which got me thinking starter. The car drove just like it was supposed to ( drove around neighborhood to warm it up) but after shutting it off it hasn't done anything since.
OK.The light going out when you try to start the car is normal.This is a good thing.Check the negitive battery cable.Make sure the end that attaches to the engine has not become green or broken off.Nissan uses the block to ground the starter and if the main ground is in bad shape you will have this problem.In the meantime I will D/L the wiring and see if I can figure out what you need to check for power.Check the small wire going to the starter for power when trying to start the car.Let me know what you find.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Alright, I went ahead and disconnected the neg from engine block and hit it with a little sandpaper . it wasn't discolored just a lil surface rust but its clean. My daughter came in while I was trying this , got her to turn over ignition while checking small wire going to starter and test light DID NOT light. Is there something here?
Yes,we will have to check the wiring.Under the hood you should see in the relays,one for theft warning relay and another labeled inhibitor relay.With the key in the run position check for power on the Dreen/red or Green yellow wire at the inhibitor relay.There is also a black and white wire as well.This should havve power to it as well.This is a bit tough to do because you will have to get under the relay box to check them.Let me know what you find and we will go from there.Here is a copy of the wiring diagram I am using that may help you.Print it off if you can
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi , I'm in the sun but it doesn't appear that either relay is showing a power source, although I haven't taken the fuse assembly loose for the theft warning relay but probing the connections from the top with ignition on shows no power source. I did test what appeared to be the green/red wire and the white and black and got no power source. Would replacing the relays be helpful?? I'll check back later as you see my first response was at 2 am as I work the third shift and need to get some sleep.
OK.If there is no power to the relays replacing them is not going to help.You go ahead and get some sleep.Need to verify that green/orange wire on the inhibitor relay is grounded.Put the test light on the positive side of the battery and see if it comes on.It should light,if not then I think you need the inhibitor switch.If it lights then we may be looking at the theft relay as having the problem.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi, I went back and rechecked those relays with the test light and didn't see any light when checking the theft relay BUT I did get a light when checking the red/green on the inhibitor relay, but no where else there. I also did get a light when touching the positive side of battery. It was hard to see yesterday in the sun but today I'm dealing with intermediate showers but I should be able to check a thing or two out until the bottom falls out.....
OK.Let me just get caught up system should not be at fault.I have the actual nissan diagram with me today.With the key in the start position we need to see power on the black/white wire going to the inhibitor relay.It is terminal 6 on the relay.If you look at the underside of the relay,there should be a tiny #6 on the correct terminal.
When you say you got the light when you checked the positive terminal was the other end of the light on the green/orange wire?This will be terminal #2 on the inhibitor relay.This will eliminat the inhibitor switch as the problem,as long as the light comes on.Let me know
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Alright, with key in start pos I have no power on the black/white wire at he inhibitor relay. And my light has just a grounding clamp on one end, not sure if I can actually clamp the wire with it, just touched the pos terminal of battery. So far only the red/green is showing power....
OK.What we are looking for on term 2 is ground.You should be able to pput one end of the test light to the positive side of the battery and the other end to term 2 on the inhibitor relay.This should make the light light.If it doesn't then we have a problem with the inhibitor switch on the transmission.If it does then we have eliminated that as the problem. We are checking for ground,it should be present in #2 of the relay holder.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Now, one end of test light on pos side showing No power on the green/orange term 2. I also noticed that by clamping to the pos I had a light on the red/black but not on the red/green like i did when clamped to the frame. Did I do wrong by not clamping to pos side the whole time? hope not....
NO,you are doing perfect so far.With one end on the pos and the other on the green/orange wire you should have had a light.No light means the inhibitor switch isn't grounded.It has to be to make the relay work.Now,try this and see what happens.Take a small wire and jump trm 6 and term 7 B/W wire and B/R wire of the inhibitor and see if you can start the car.At least crank,it may not start but I think it will try to crank.Let me know
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
YESSSSS, it did crank.
OK.If you can try this,run a ground wire from term# XXXXX the inhibitor and plug the relay back in.Run that sucker right to the neg battery cable.The car should crank again and might even start.If it does,then replace the switch on the trans.If not then replace the relay and I think it will resolve the problem.Good luck.I have to leave for a bit but I will check up on you when I get back!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok , This time it did not crank. I'm on my way to get another relay and try it...2 local parts places didn't have it but its order and will be later today...Gonna get some sleep....
Let me know.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi , I'm getting puzzled again. Had to wait til Sat morning to get relay, they ordered wrong one at first. I plugged it in and still no start but when I pull the relay and use the 6 & 7 with a jumper wire it starts every time. Haven't been to bed yet, gonna try the neg to #2 again just to clarify myself.
OK.Just do this one more time.When you put the test light on the positive batter terminal and then touch the Green/Orange wire you get no light?Or you get light?Just to clarify,you should get light.If not,try putting the car in neutral and see if you get light.Make sure you check this with the key on in the run position and just for the heck of it,try it with the key in the start position as well.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Alright , I had been trying to check everything with a 10 gauge wire , probably wasn't making any connection underneath. With test light on pos side I do get a light on green/orange with key in run, park and neutral position but would not actually start.
OK.That makes the inhibitor switch good.It provides ground to activate the relay.So,now I need you to put the test light clamp back on the negitive terminal and check that Green/red wire again.You should have light.Test it with the key on in run and start again.Let me know what you find.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok, Test light on neg , green /red does light with switch in run and start position
OK,as it should.That is the power wire from the theft relay to the inhibitor relay.This means the theft relay is not a factor.Ok,leave the test light on the negitive terminal and test the black/white wire with the key in the start position.It should light.Let me know.Somebody has to hold that key in the start position while you do this test.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yes it does light with key in start position
OK.There is no reason at this point for the car not to start so,find the relay marked ascd and pull it out.Put the inhibitor relay back in the car and see if it will start.Only thing I can figure is the relay is unable to switch,only reason I see for this would be the ascd relay keeping power to pins 3 and 4.This would not allow the relay to switch.It's a longshot but we have to try it.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
ascd pulled inhibitor relay in but no start
AGHHHHH!!! OK.You have to understand,we have to beat your car know!!Not with a bat,although it does seem appropriate at this point!!We can't let the car win. Try this,leave the inhibitor relay in and take the theft relay out.Put your jump wire in terminal 3 and 4,then see if the car cranks.Let me know!!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
inhib in , theft rely out , jump 3 & 4 did not start
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I do agree , this thing is batty.....its seems as though you've gotten me so close....thanks for hangin in with me...
Ok.Let me see if I can explain what I think is going on here.WE have determined the following with all of this testing.Firs,the security system is working correctly,second,the wiring from the ignition to the starter is good,third,the inhibitor switch is working.Here is what I think is happening.Something is keeping the inhibitor relay from switching when you try to start the car.The only thing left for us to test out is the ascd or cruise control as we like to call it in the real world.If power is being supplied to the termional #3 on the inhibitor or ground on terminal 4 it may be preventing the relays switching off of that when we turn the key to the start position.So,That being said,I need you to test terminal 3 of the inhibitor relay which is a green and white sire for power.Test light on neg bat terminal and probe #3.Do this withthe key on and let me know.Also do it with the key of and see if there is change.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
With key on and off I get no light on #3...I probed around just for the heck of it and I was showing power on 5 & 7 but not 3 & 6, hope I didn't get ahead of myself too much.. I did this from the back side of ascd with relay plugged in.....
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Let me add that I just realized that I still had the jumper on 3 &4 of the theft relay ...Do I need to plug it back in to do this test over?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I just re tested with theft relay back in and I had a light on #3 ascd with key on but not with key off.....
Jumper wire should not matter.That is the position the relay is in unless the alarm is activated.I need to know about term 3 on the inhibitor relay.If my thinking is right you should only get power there with the cruise switch on.Chack it and let me know.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok, term 3 on inhib relay shows no light
OK.Check the power at inhibitor #1 while tring to start the car.You should have power until the key is in the start position.You have to do this test with the relay in place.Also,make sure it is a bright light.If it is dim let me know
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Got what appears to be a good bright light there on #1 inhibitor with key at start pos.. I may need to bow out for a few hours to get a bit of sleep ..I'm usually already down and back up by now, dont want to bother you on Sun. but can assure a bonus for your time thanks ...check back soon
Just one omre quick question.When the relay is in place and you try to start the car,do you get a clicking noise?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yes there is a faint click when trying to start, always thought it was the ignition switch or quite possibly fuel injectors or something...most of the time its just a ckick but I swear I heard a clicking at one time but not this time.........But let me back up ...I just noticed where the actual cruise on button was and when I had this turned on I DID get a light on term 3 on the inhibitor.....sorry wasn't very attentive on that one
That's ok,you should get the voltage with the switch on.Getting the click indicates the relay is working.If it is a decent click.So it appears you are losing power between the relay and the starter.Some voltage.You have to put the relay in and check that brown wire when you turn the key on with the test light.Sorry,key has to be in the start position.You should get a bright light,test light clamped to the neutral battery term.You can contact me tomorrow.Sunday is no problem.Get some sleep!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Where is the brown wire that I am looking for ???
Sorry man.It is the black red wire.You need to check it at the relay side.withthe relay plugged in.Somebody has to hold the key to the start position.You should get light with the test light clamped to the neg terminal.Let me know
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok, I got NO light on the black red wire to the inhib relay while my son tried to start it. I did get what sounded as though a good strong clicking noise.....
OK.We are losing power to the Brown red wire.If the relay is clicking then the relay is likley ok.I think if you can you need to get the relay box upside down and see if you can test the wire right out of the box.There may be a problem with corrosion right at the connector or somewhere down the wire.This almost has to be the problem,
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
What really puzzles me is that I can use a jumper from 6 (black/white) & 7 ( black/red) and it will crank right up. Is the black/red the same as the black/red that I see going to the starter? All my wires seem to be wrapped real tight , kinda making it harder to get to. I got the plastic cover on the bottom loose enough to pull it back and get to the back side of the relay wires even better than before but still no luck getting a light on the black/red. My daughter keeps asking what are the dangers to jumping the black/white to the black/red but I do not know exactly how to explain other than the circuit was not set up to stay hot ....
OK.We are looking at the black/red to the starter.You are also correct that we have eliminated that by jumping the terminals.Unless we are getting a voltage drop when the relay shifts over,i cannot understand what the problem is here.
If the relay is clicking then it would appear that the relay is being exited by the theft relay and the inhibitor switch.When that happens the relay switches(or should) from terminals 3 and 4 on the inhibitor to 6 and 7 thus sending power to the starter solinoid.
That being said,if you use the jumper the only time the starter sees power will be when the key is in the start position.After youi release the key,power is no longer applied to the black/white wire terminal 6.
She will not be able to use the cruise control as we will be eliminating that circut.
Also,she will be able to start the car in gear,this could be bad.
Otherwise we have tried to bypass all of the other obsticals and relays to no avail.The only other thing I can think of is the theft relay,but I think we bypassed that already as well.
If you could somehow run power to the Green/red wire and ground to the Green/Orange this should at least exite the relay and make it function.I am sorry man,without the car I am at loss.Things are just not adding up!
OK.I'm back again.I am sending you a wiring diagram out of the nissan service manual that I have been using.I have circled the inhibitor pin locations.Can you double check to make sure you have been testing the right locations?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I'll print each step we have been thru when I get to work tonight and check back a lil later...just got some bad news about my father inlaw...I have had to pull relay a couple times to check no. versus wire color but I think I checked appropriately ...caught a couple of slips and went back but I could of missed somewhere....check back soon...
OK my friend.Let me know and we can go from there.My brain is still working on this one!
Mike V. and 2 other Nissan Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi, Its been a couple of hard weeks for the family, but I did get the car serviced at a nearby garage and they told me they replaced the wiring from one relay to where else I'm unsure. Thanks so much for hanging in there with me on this one.