Intermittent no-start - to make your head hurt. - Nissan Frontier Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-29-2014, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Question Intermittent no-start - to make your head hurt.

Hey all,

I've got an '11 Equator with 55k and a 4.0 v6. I've had it for about 6 months now and noticed every once in a while, it cranks a little long to start. This issue has progressed to full-on no start (twice now). I have no engine codes. I have called the local Nissan dealer and they are stumped.

The first time it happened, I checked for blown fuses and bad grounds. I eventually assumed I had some water in my gas (froze in the line) I had just fueled up the day before, and it was 5 deg F when I tried to start. I got the turbo heater out, warmed it up, and it did start after a lot of cranking. I put in some "heat" and assumed I was good to go.

Now the other day it did it again, but I learned a little more... I was desperate to get it going because I had to get somewhere. I cranked and cranked. (pausing a few times to let the starter cool). I could smell gas, and hear the fuel pump. Finally I could start to hear the battery dragging down and as soon as the trip computer blacked out (too low of voltage), it sputtered! It was very rhythmic crank 2 seconds, sputter, crank to seconds, sputter. It never actually started though, and I had drained my battery enough that it stopped cranking. I put my booster pack on it and it cranked nice and fast again - but no sputter???

Now it becomes repeatable: I cranked until the trip computer blacked out and it sputtered again. I got the timing of the sputters figured out and I let go of the key when the next sputter was supposed to hit - boom now it's running.

I'm at a loss. Everyone I've talked to says a crank position sensor fault will throw an engine code. I don't know enough about how this thing runs to take it beyond that.

Any ideas???

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-29-2014, 05:51 PM
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See the post I put in your intro thread, it may help.

2010 Frontier SE V6 CC LWB 4x2, built 04-2010, purchased 07-2010
Current mods: OEM foglight kit, WeatherTech molded floor mats f/r, locking gas cap, OEM locking lug nuts, Clarion CX501 and Sirius Connect SC-C1, OEM mud flaps/splash guards, 3in. round blind spot mirrors, Nissan logo valve stem caps, rad/trans cooler bypass, rear axle vent mod, custom lower grill insert using black mesh gutter guard material, OEM auto dim rearview mirror w/temp & compass, OEM hood protector/bug shield, 35% tint on both front windows and a windshield strip, OEM body side molding, OEM step rails, 7in. tall metal radio antenna, OEM front tow hooks (true left and right hook), OEM rope hooks in the bed, OEM special edition emblem added to tailgate.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-29-2014, 07:13 PM
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I'm having the same issue when the weather gets below minus 15 Celsius. Mines still stuck at the dealership trying to troubleshoot it. I'm thinking it's a bad solder inside the ecu that when it's cold enough it increases the resistance enough to prevent it from starting.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-29-2014, 07:38 PM
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IPDM maybe?

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-29-2014, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Could be.

I was trying to think of things that might be connected to the starter interlock circuit, but I might be on the wrong track.

For example: The security system. (*Disclaimer* this theory may contain a lot of technical flaws and assumptions, but it makes the point):

During cranking, the low voltage allows the ecm (and security system to drop out) which allows the engine to try to run for a split second until the extra speed of the engine (which has just sputtered) to generate a little more power with the alternator and bring the ecm (and security system) back on line and tell it not to start. If I let go of the key at just the right time, the engine is spinning fast enough to start and because the security system only acts on the "starter circuit" and not the "run circuit"
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2014, 10:25 AM
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Sounds like a fuel delivery issue to me. I had the same issue in my truck around 80k, the pump was on but it wasn't supplying the proper pressure it was like 22 psi our trucks need like 50psi on startup. So I just replaced the whole sending unit and pump. I do know the ipdm relay was an issue on the older trucks and they are hella cheap so you can try that first but just because your pump is on doesn't mean it has the proper pressure it needs to start which could explain your sputtering sometimes.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2014, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Nissuki for the tip.

I'm not sure about the fuel (as I was smelling gas early on in the starting attempts). Perhaps a pressure gauge can answer the question easily. I intend to get a relay and carry it with to install during the next encounter with this problem in hopes of confirming or eliminating it as a possibility.

A little more info: this "no start" issue only happens every 30 or 40 starts, always when engine cold (and weather below freezing) and after it's been sitting at least a day or two.

The thing that really has me stumped is the rhythmic sputter that only shows up right before the battery is too dead to turn the engine over...and that I was actually able to start the truck in that state.

Once it's running, it runs fine - no sputters. I haven't noticed my mileage doing anything out of the ordinary (like you'd expect with poor fuel delivery). And it is perfectly reliable for at least 24 hours after a successful start.

I'm sure I'll continue to learn more the next time I encounter this issue.

I also plan to call my Suzuki dealer once they open this week in hopes that they can provide more help than the Nissan dealer could deliver.

Thanks!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2014, 11:20 PM
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It wouldn't hurt to get the fuel pressure checked. Have it checked under load as well. Years ago I was chasing an odd problem (old carbureted car, no direct correlation to your issue) and sitting in the driveway with an external gauge hooked up I showed proper pressure. It wasn't until I duct taped the gauge to my windshield and drove around I discovered I had pressure but no volume.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-02-2014, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I've now had the problem three times in the last few days. I ordered the new ECU Relay yesterday, but I have a question - I'm not sure of its location in the truck. Most of the pictures I see are of white IPDMs. Mine is black and the relays are oriented differently. I found a picture with the ignition relay labeled, but cant find any documentation on the ECU relay. I can tell you that removing the ignition relay makes the truck not crank, so that can't be it.

I found a picture of the IPDM I have: http://www.titantalk.com/forums/atta...on-newipdm.png

I have yet to check fuel pressure.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 06:45 AM
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Try taking a hairdryer in the morning to the ecu.

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