Has trouble starting but runs perfect - Nissan Xterra Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-10-2012, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Has trouble starting but runs perfect

Over the past couple of months my 2001 3.3 X has experienced intermittent starting issues but runs perfect once started. The battery is fine and I'll turn the key to the "on" position and leave it there for several seconds before full ignition. I figure by doing so, the fuel pump has time to pressurize. In doing so is it safe to assume it isn't so much a fuel delivery problem as it is distributor/spark plug wires? I've also checked for vacuum leaks beneath the hood and everything appears to be sealed.

My car has 160k and the wires and distributor have never been replaced.
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-10-2012, 04:12 PM
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I would replace the wires and plugs (if you haven't changed them either) and see what happens..

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post #3 of 12 Old 12-10-2012, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Did the plugs (minus pesky cylinder #6). I'll look into the wires. May it also be likely that my coolant temp sensor isn't working properly and therefore signals the ignition process to fire misguidedly?

Last edited by FirstGenXterra; 12-10-2012 at 04:45 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-10-2012, 09:36 PM
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I would still look into fuel delivery. I had similar issue on my old BMW...once it got started it ran fine, but it had trouble getting there. Turned out there was a small slit in a fuel line that went to the fuel injector rail. Basically what I figured was happening...after sitting a while, the fuel would slowly leak out of the injector area...making it tough to start after sitting a little bit and the fuel rail not primed so to speak...but it wasn't a big enough leak to cause it to not run under load...small enough hole where it still held enough pressure.

Try some starter fluid in the intake...if it cranks up quickly, that would seem to indicate there is no fuel.


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post #5 of 12 Old 12-10-2012, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Ill give that a whirl. While the car was running I sprayed just about every hose and fitting with some WD40 while the car was idling and didn't get any instantaneous revs...
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-11-2012, 12:15 AM
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Sorry.... I don't quite follow you. So if you do the key on before starting thing it fires up no problem? If so then probably faulty fuel pressure regulator or leaky injectors is my guess. Best way to tell is to install a fuel pressure gauge at the fuel delivery hose on the pass side valve cover area. Start the engine make sure there is no leaks then shut the motor off and see if the pressure drops while it sits (engine off) it should hold pressure on the the system (I believe the spec is 51psi) If it drops anymore then 10psi in 5 min then I would pinch the return line and retest it. If it holds its a regulator problem and if it still leaks you have a leaky injector(s)
hope this helps
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-11-2012, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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It does not fire up effortlessly after turning it to "on" which is why I believe it may be related to the distributor/spark plug wires. By doing this I have given the pump adequate time to pressurize the line and that still doesn't solve my slow start problem. Therefore, I think it is less of a fuel delivery problem, as everything is pressurized, and more of a spark issue. I noticed the first attempt when trying to start it takes 4 seconds. If I turn the car off immediately after the first attempt and turn the key to ignition, it fires up immediately, no problem.
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-11-2012, 08:52 AM
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So your saying you changed all the plugs except #6? Probably not helping your cause...
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-12-2012, 10:03 PM
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i would try the wires and just break down and pay a shop to replace the #6 plug and go ahead and do the other 5 just so theyre all new and same. also do the cap and rotor and maybe a fuel filter and pcv valve wouldnt hurt either.

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post #10 of 12 Old 12-16-2012, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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I sprayed some starter fluid into the intake, cranked the key and the car still struggled to turn over. Is it safe to assume it isn't a fuel issue? Are there any particular sensors other than the MAF I should look at?
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distributor , spark plug wires , starting , won't start

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