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Mike V.
Mike V., Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 25203
Experience:  Nissan factory trained and Certified Subaru Technician.
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1997 nissan 200sx: is not firing

Customer Question

my 1997 nissan 200sx will turn over but will not start -acts like it is not firing
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Nissan
Expert:  Mike V. replied 7 years ago.
HI there! You have to check to see if it is missing spark or fuel. The fastest way to do this is by spraying starting fluid or carb cleaner into the throttle. Spray it in and if it starts for a few seconds,then you have a fuel problem,if not then it is spark. Try the test and let me know! Thanks
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i will have to go get some starting fluid and get back to you. the funny thing about this situation is that first thing yesterday morning the same thing happened. i cranked it a couple of times and it didn't fire. i drove my other vehicle for and hour or so and came back home. i jumped into the nissan and it fired right up. i drove it the rest of the day, stopping and starting it several times with no problems. yesterday evening i took it on a 125 mile trip with no problems until this morning and it will not do a thing except crank over. i can hear the electric fuel pump coming on when i turn the ignition on. let me go get some starting fluid and see if i can try that. where is the coil on this car? is it inside the distributor cap?
Expert:  Mike V. replied 7 years ago.
I believe it is all internal on this model. If you pull the cap and rotor,there should be a plastic cover,remove the cover and check for oil.If there is oil the distributor is no good. It is also possible the distributor is failing without the oil,this is why I want to test and see if it is a spark problem.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i'm on my way to get some starter fluid and check that first. i'll get back to you after i check that out.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 7 years ago.
Sounds like a plan! I will be here!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i'm back. starting fluid did nothing. i took the distributor cap off. the contacts inside the distributor were very sulfided. it didn't even look like the rotor was even contacting them. i scraped them clean with a knife, but still nothing. the contacts may be too worn to contact the rotor. the distributor looks clean and dry.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 7 years ago.
OK, they don't actually make any contact, the spark just jumps. It sounds like you have no spark at all. I am going to say next to check if you have a helper,pull a plug wire and have someone crank it while you hole the plug wire end next to a ground,like a bolt or something metal on the engine. If no spark jumps it looks like it might be the distributor. Make sure you have no blown fuses first, and if you have a test light let me know so we can check for power into the distributor.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
let me see if i can check a plug wire for fire.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 7 years ago.
yeah,seems unlikely. Also, make sure the rotor is actually spinning under the cap,pretty sure these are timing chain driven,but it has been a while
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i pulled a plug wire and had someone crank the engine. there was a very faint little yellow spark. it was yellow and less than the size of a pinhead.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 7 years ago.
OK, that is actually good news to a point. I think you should change the cap and rotor and probably throw a set of plugs into it. This is where I would start. The distributor is working and it is possible the car is just in need of a tune up.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok. i think i'll do that. it won't hurt anything and is not expensive. the only thing that puzzles me is why it ran so good yesterday and won't hit a lick today. another thing that i noticed a bit ago is that the gas gauge does not move, even when i turn the ignition on and off. it stays a little above a half tank. maybe that is normal but it seems like it would go all the way to the bottom when the ignition is off.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 7 years ago.
Nissan's show the fuel level even when the key is off. My Ultimo does the same thing. I really think a tune up might just do the trick. It could be flooded right now and just not have enough spark to burn the fuel.
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok. i'm going to put a tuneup kit on. there is a very good possibility it is flooded since i have been cranking it for the last 2 hours. thanks for the feedback. hope it is nothing big.
Expert:  Mike V. replied 7 years ago.
I don't think it will be to big at this point.Thanks for the accept!