Ok, so I am a little confused here. I went and got the Haynes and it turns out that the crank angle sensor (and there is only 1 on the '03) on the '03 is on the AT bell-housing on the back (driver-side) of the engine, cool. So I replaced the thing and had some trouble tracking down the right part. My Max is an '03 and that has been confirmed by Nissan, the parts store punched my VIN and it came out as an '02...but the part I needed was...according to their system...for an '04 manual. Now, the sensor functions just fine but I am still having trouble with the car. The motor tends to stutter (drop/surge) while maintaining speed or accelerating. Mostly it drops and I have this stutter of losing power. Also, generally within the first hour of a cold-start, it completely stalls out at idle speed. The only counter I have had for this is to drop to neutral and rev the engine over 1000 rpms until I am ready to accelerate and then find the right rpm : speed ratio to put it in drive without lurching the car.
Currently I have only replaced the crank angle sensor and, just today, the spark-plugs. I have not yet re-assembled the intake manifold until I can check a few other systems. I have a few other theories as to what the problem could be; cam sensors, knock sensor, fuel pump/filter assembly, injectors, spark-plug wires or something else in the wiring harness. I am soon planning to get a code-reader but am wondering if, based on my symptoms, somebody else can help me narrow down some of these options.
Please ask if you feel a more detailed description of any particular performance aspect would help you help me and I would be glad to tell you anything I know. Thanks in advance.
PS: I only asked the mechanic to use his device to read the code. He told me before hand that Nissans made up a very small part of his experience and would only be willing to tell me what the reader said. Also, seeing as some of these sensors find their way to all kinds of locations, I'm willing to let it pass. He's an honest guy and typically very helpful. Nobody knows everything.