mystery dead battery/wont start - Nissan Forum
B13 91-94 chassis 1991-1994 Sentra and 1991-1993 NX

 
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#1 Old Feb 20th, 2010, 03:06 AM
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mystery dead battery/wont start

replaced old battery. weeks later, new battery was dead..completely dead. thought it was faulty dome light switch on door. no more dead battery. Even with the dead battery, a short charge and the car would start. now the car will turn over but won't catch. tries to fire but wont catch. Have replaced plugs, wires, cap, rotor (needed anyway). no help. wires installed properly, spark from coil, fuel present. alternator charges at 14.5 volts. car kind of ran crappy (poor power) before and after battery change. whats the word on a distributor/ignition problem causing the dead battery and giving up causing the care to not start now?
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#2 Old Feb 25th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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A bad distributor would cause misfiring. Check the timing and check the firing order of your cylinders.

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#3 Old Feb 27th, 2010, 02:59 AM
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my original thought too

sounds like distributor doesn't it. I still am puzzled about the dead battery though. something else that would drain the battery then prevent the start?
#4 Old Mar 1st, 2010, 12:57 PM
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Well, anything wrong with the ignition system will cause a loss of electrical power and your battery won't charge completely. Check all the grounds, check the ignition coil, check the distributor.

94 B13X | UR underdrive pulley
PaceSetter header | K&N filter
Rear drum to Maxima disc conversion
#5 Old Mar 1st, 2010, 01:22 PM
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I can't explain how this would cause a dead battery, but poor engine performance followed by complete failure sounds like the distributor. My dad's '86 Sentra had a bad distributor and it ran rougher and rougher until it finally took a dump. When it died, you could crank the car and every four or five cranks the engine would catch for a moment but not start. We took off one of the spark plugs and it would fire intermittently while cranking (like every couple seconds or so). The spark was strong but not consistent. We replaced the coil but found that it wasn't the problem; after replacing the distributor, the engine cranked right up.

The B13 uses a distributor with an internal crank angle sensor. The ECU uses the input from this sensor to signal the ingition coil to charge or discharge, among other things (controlling the timing, activating the fuel injectors, turning the fuel pump on/off). A problem with the distributor or crank angle sensor can cause an array of problems affecting both the ignition and fuel systems.

I agree with tlhingan's suggestion to check the engine ground. The electrical system depends on that ground for ignition and charging. A faulty ground will increase resistance, which will produce more heat and in turn wear out electrical components.

Last edited by TheBrownRobert; Mar 1st, 2010 at 01:29 PM.
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#6 Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 01:57 AM
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went through the entire crank sensor check by the book and all seems well. even zapped myself once! yikes..Start checking grounds tomorrow
#7 Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 10:25 AM
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Do you suppose the distributor portion of the unit is bad or did that check out OK as well?
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#8 Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 04:23 PM
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well...it spins...i guess that makes it ok. the rotorplate/crank sensor appears to be what tells the coil to zap my finger. and i know that worked. not sure what else there is to it. read another thread on the 1.6 forum that suggested a maf sensor would prevent starting and said to unplug it and try to start. havent got to that and probably wont get to it til tomorrow.
#9 Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 04:47 PM
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so...reassemble the distributor, unplug the maf sensor and boom! fired right up. plugged maf back in and still running. shut off restarts fine 3x. leave it running for 10 - 15 minutes and she sputters and dies. restart with a little throttle, let back to idle, dies. restart with a little throttle rev a few times, no missing, no hesitation, let back to idle and dies. Unplug maf, only will start with a little throttle, dies at idle. WTF!
#10 Old Mar 4th, 2010, 06:53 AM
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That's strange. My girlfriend's '89 Ford Probe did the same thing when the MAF connector came loose. It would run perfectly fine, but if you hit a bump or stopped too suddenly, the engine would simply cut out; no sputtering or anything. From what I understand, your car won't run with the MAF plugged in after the engine has warmed up, so perhaps the MAF is the cause. Although, since it seems to be sensitive to temperature, perhaps there's another dead sensor somewhere...

There a few things that I've heard of that you can do to your MAF. The safest would be to clean it with an aerosol MAF cleaner. The next two are a little more risky.

Some people have reported improved performance, efficiency, or idle when they reground the MAF. It involves cutting one of the wires coming out of the MAF harness and wiring it to a separate location on the engine. The only downside is the lack of documentation for the procedure on GA16DE engines; there are plenty of write-ups for the SE-R though. For this reason, I haven't tried this trick because shorting the wrong wire can be a costly mistake.

Another option that I just recently read about is removing your MAF and opening it to expose the PCB inside. There are metal legs that come out of the board that go to the MAF connector. Over time, the solder joints on those legs cracks, making the connection to the MAF intermittent. According to the directions, you slather solder on them to make the connection strong again. Then you use some gasket or silicone to seal up the MAF housing and wait overnight to allow it to dry. Again, this is something I haven't done because I'm a wuss and don't know what I'm doing half the time.

I would recommend finding detailed instructions before attempting any of these.
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#11 Old Mar 6th, 2010, 10:19 AM
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From your diagnostics, your MAF looks suspicious. Try cleaning it first like BrownRobert said, if that doesn't help try a replacement from the junkyard for testing purposes.

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Rear drum to Maxima disc conversion
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