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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I have a mystery that I could use some help with.

I have an 03 Frontier XE with 4wd and the 3.3L V6, 5 SPD, that doesn't start.

Here's the story... I was driving along and the guages all stopped working (all to zero), but the guage illumination was still on. It was still running fine, but then I parked. When I tried to start it, it didn't even try to turn over. No clicking, no dimming of the lights, nothing. Also, none of the dash warning lights turned on (check engine, oil, etc.) with the key in the On position. I tried my OBD2 reader and it doesn't power up.

So I started throwing darts at the problem. So far I tried the following:
New battery terminals, cleaned the engine and chassis ground connections
New battery
New starter
Bypassed the clutch safety switch
New clutch interlock relay
New ignition switch

There is no power getting to the starter signal wire when I try to start it. All of the other lights, radio, and turn signals still function with the key in the On position, but still no dash warning lights.

I would appreciate any guidance you may have. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I checked every fuse in the dash fuse panel and the one under the hood, all are good. I bought new relays for the under hood panel and still no change.

Any other suggestions? Any hidden fuses or relays not readily accessible?
 

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So I started throwing darts at the problem. So far I tried the following:
New battery terminals, cleaned the engine and chassis ground connections
New battery
New starter
Bypassed the clutch safety switch
New clutch interlock relay
New ignition switch

There is no power getting to the starter signal wire when I try to start it. All of the other lights, radio, and turn signals still function with the key in the On position, but still no dash warning lights.
Throwing darts and throwing parts at an issue is a terrible way to fix something. Sounds like you've already spent about $400 in new parts which didn't help you.

You need to use a multimeter/voltmeter or a DC test light to see why positive voltage is getting to the ignition switch but not getting to the "run" circuit or the "start" circuit.

Question 1: when you said you did a new ignition switch, was that the ELECTRICAL PART of the ignition switch, or the lock cylinder?

Question 2: do you know how to do a temporary jump wire to the run circuit or the start circuit? and a starter can be jumped at the starter itself (or use a remote start tool to check on battery and starter condition.

In hindsight, would've been faster and more economical to have used a shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reply. Yup, so far about $225 in. I have a source for parts on the cheap.

I used a test light on the ignition switch fuse under the hood. I am getting power to the ignition fuse when I have someone turn the key to the Start position, but still no dash lights or power to the starter.

Answer to question 1: I replaced the electrical portion of the ignition switch.

Answer to question 2: I do know how to jump the circuit, but which circuit do you mean? Do you mean jump right to the starter?

And of course it would've been faster, but what's the fun in that?! It's my extra car, but my weekend project has all of a sudden become a month long project.
 

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It may be a question of wording, but you would have to have the ignition to start position (not just on) to get power to the starter. I think what Cusser is talking about , at least in my pea brain, is in the old days we would bypass the starter solenoid and just ground the positive lead on the starter to get it to work. But if you don't have power to the starter, which is what i understand you to say, this won't work. Good luck.
 

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It may be a question of wording, but you would have to have the ignition to start position (not just on) to get power to the starter. I think what Cusser is talking about , at least in my pea brain, is in the old days we would bypass the starter solenoid and just ground the positive lead on the starter to get it to work. But if you don't have power to the starter, which is what i understand you to say, this won't work. Good luck.
I was thinking the same thing - solenoid. But I don't know if these have them built into the starter (which he has replaced) or are separate.
 

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I was thinking the same thing - solenoid. But I don't know if these have them built into the starter (which he has replaced) or are separate.
Yeah, I'm sure it's not the same, I'm 60 and I bet I was 25 the last time I did it.
 

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Solenoid is part of the starter assembly, although there is usually an interlock relay in the circuit. The fact that there are multiple items that failed at the same time would lead me to suspect a bad/low charge battery and/or charging system issue, poor terminal connection at battery or a blown fusible link. If the battery is tested and okay and the cable connections are clean and tight, I would use a 12v test light to make sure there is power going through the fusible link wires at the positive battery cable connection. If power is going through all of the fusible links, then it's time to check power through the fuses. If the fuses are good, I would get a wiring diagram for the starting system and follow the flow of power to the starter solenoid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got her started!

Looks like I got a bad starter relay. I jumped the relay with a piece of wire and it started like a champ. All this time and dart number 2 should have fixed it.

I thought the dash problem was related, but apparently that's not the case...


Anyway, thanks for the help
 

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I got her started!

Looks like I got a bad starter relay. I jumped the relay with a piece of wire and it started like a champ. All this time and dart number 2 should have fixed it.

I thought the dash problem was related, but apparently that's not the case...


Anyway, thanks for the help
Can you show a pic, or something? I'm curious on how to do it. Like I said, I've bypassed the solenoid with a screwdriver, (old school starter) but would like to know this JIC.
 

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Hi all, I have a mystery that I could use some help with.

I have an 03 Frontier XE with 4wd and the 3.3L V6, 5 SPD, that doesn't start.

Here's the story... I was driving along and the guages all stopped working (all to zero), but the guage illumination was still on. It was still running fine, but then I parked. When I tried to start it, it didn't even try to turn over. No clicking, no dimming of the lights, nothing. Also, none of the dash warning lights turned on (check engine, oil, etc.) with the key in the On position. I tried my OBD2 reader and it doesn't power up.

So I started throwing darts at the problem. So far I tried the following:
New battery terminals, cleaned the engine and chassis ground connections
New battery
New starter
Bypassed the clutch safety switch
New clutch interlock relay
New ignition switch

There is no power getting to the starter signal wire when I try to start it. All of the other lights, radio, and turn signals still function with the key in the On position, but still no dash warning lights.

I would appreciate any guidance you may have. Thanks!
Whoa, easy there cowboy!

Always start with the basics, then confirm the problem before buying a single part. The guy who taught me always told me "Keep it simple stupid". If nothing is working at all you've got a power supply problem, a bad ground won't effect all of your electronics, just some of them and all those parts won't go bad at once. One problem can cause dozens of symptoms when we're dealing with electricity. If nothing is working at all, I'd rule out computer issues right away, because again you'd have a few symptoms not zero power, an 03 shouldn't be computerized to the point that you'd lose all that stuff with a bad computer. I'd start at the positive battery terminal, see where power isn't going that it's supposed to by following the main red cables to their ends, then keep going, this can be done with a test light, you don't even need a multi-meter for that. Hook your test light up to the negative or a ground and touch the positive battery terminal. Light on bright? Likely not the battery. Next touch the big positive cable on the starter. Got light? Then that's probably not it either because the starter won't kill all that stuff on your dash. I don't remember your car specifically although I've worked on them, but I know just about every positive battery cable has 2 or 3 obvious wires feeding #1 the starter, #2 a fuse box or more than one fuse and relay box, some cars split the positive cable in several different directions, you need to start close to the battery if everything is dead. Some cars have a battery fuse, that's a possibility. You also could have burnt a bunch of fuses if your alternator full fielded (turned up from whatever % capacity it was charging at to 100% charging, alternators can make up to 40 volts from what I've seen testing totaled cars to figure out why jump starts fry ****) full fielding is due to a big voltage dip, a burnt wire or fuseable link maybe? Something took a poop on your day but no more than a couple of parts at best to just one best case scenario. If you have a good belt on the crank going to the alternator, it's possible the alternator went and the battery ran dead, but with the ignition off for a short while, the battery will recover some and you'll see some dim lights on the dash. If you try that and she still doesn't give you something message me back. Happy hunting.
 
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