1991 Nissan Sentra XE Wont start - Nissan Forum
B13 91-94 chassis 1991-1994 Sentra and 1991-1993 NX

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post #1 of 14 Old Feb 27th, 2010, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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1991 Nissan Sentra XE Wont start


I have a 1991 Nissan Sentra XE 1.6L 4 cylinder car and it won't start.

About a week ago when it died we changed the fuel filter and it started to run again, and was running a little rough though. Then it died later that evening again.

We didn't think it was getting power to the spark plugs so we decided to do a tune-up. Also when I bought it I knew it needed a tune up so I figured it was worth a try. I just replaced the plugs/wires/cap/rotor, but it didn't help.

The firing order is:

1 2 3 4 (engine)

4 3
2 1 (distributor cap)

Is this correct?

We took out a plug and held it against the engine while wired up and tried to start the car and it is sparking, but it is like..1.5-2 seconds on, 1.5-2 seconds off...

I went ahead and unplugged the hose to the fuel filter again (receiving end) and gas spewed everywhere (while off) so we think the pump is OK.

A friend is betting it's the crankshaft sensor, but these are $200-250.

It still seems to crank fine when you try to start it...

Any ideas?


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post #2 of 14 Old Feb 28th, 2010, 07:09 AM
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Are you throwing any codes?
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post #3 of 14 Old Feb 28th, 2010, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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No idea... I don't have anything to read the computer with.

Going to try changing the filter anyway today...
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post #4 of 14 Old Feb 28th, 2010, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Replaced fuel filter, didn't help. The last one was full of fuel and I got fuel everywhere...

I decided to test the fuses and I learned that someone jurry rigged a relay and fuse socket to the fuse slot for the fuel pump. It's ground wire was broken so I tried connecting it and pushing the push button which should engage or reset the relay, and it hummed... This didn't help so I just took it out and put the fuse in directly, but that didn't help either.

One friend says he thinks it's the fuel pump and it's doesn't have enough pressure..

Another says to test the crank shaft sensor..
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post #5 of 14 Old Feb 28th, 2010, 10:25 PM
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One reason the car isn't is running because the plug leads are not in the correct order. The firing order will not be 1234. I would say you have mixed up your plug wires. On most Nissan 4 cylinders the firing order is 1342. Turn your motor over by hand {clockwise] till the timing marks align[ number 1 cylinder at tdc with all valves on number one cylinder closed ], the rotor will be pointing at no 1 post on the distributor cap, then put on number one lead, next in rotation of the rotor will be number3 replace it, and so on. In the order of rotation it will go1342. number one cylinder is at the crank pulley end. Get an auto electrician to sort out the relay and fuse problem the pump will not work without it [ plus you risk an electrical fire ]. Always a good idea never to remove all leads at once, do them one at a time and it is impossible to mix them up.

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Last edited by pulsar86; Feb 28th, 2010 at 10:44 PM.
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post #6 of 14 Old Feb 28th, 2010, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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I was illustrating the engine and distributor both. Just saying that from left to right I was counting the plugs 1 2 3 4 on the Engine. On the distributor cap I have the plugs wired to the corresponding points I've shown on the distributor cap. It is 1342, but I've read it turns counter-clockwise and starts in the lower right.. I think the firing order is fine.. I carefully made sure I did it the same as the previous tune-up.

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post #7 of 14 Old Mar 1st, 2010, 12:13 PM
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If fuel sprays everywhere when you pull the hose off of the fuel filter, the fuel pump is fine.

My dad's '86 Sentra had a bad distributor and it did what you described above. It started to run rough at first until it finally quit altogether. When he tried to start it, the engine would barely catch after several cranks but wouldn't start. We took off spark plug #1 and it would intermittently spark while cranking; it would spark at two- to four-second intervals, or after every four or five cranks. When the plug did fire, the spark was nice and strong. My dad replaced the distributor and, presto! It works.

I believe your friend's suggestion is worth investigating. Your car's distributor has the crank angle sensor built in. If either the distributor or the sensor are bad, the entire distibutor unit must be replaced. Advance Auto Parts charges between $130 and $200 for a replacement. I checked RockAuto.com (which is usually cheaper, depending on the part) but their prices are roughly the same.

Here are some less-likely causes for the problem: dirty or bad MAF sensor, bad MAF or engine ground, bad ECU.

EDIT: By the way, the ECU uses the crank angle sensor to trigger the fuel injectors and turn the fuel pump on/off while the key is turned to accessories. A problem with the sensor may produce fuel-related symptoms.

Last edited by TheBrownRobert; Mar 1st, 2010 at 12:17 PM.
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post #8 of 14 Old Mar 1st, 2010, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I think I will order a distributor.

Where do you see Advanced Auto having it for $130? It's $193 from what I can see on their website, and I called them too.


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post #9 of 14 Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 11:50 AM
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It's been a while since I checked the price; I apologize if I was incorrect. I checked the website just now and found the same thing. However, the site lists a $30 core charge beneath the price for the remanufactured distributor. The fine print states that this charge is refunded to you when you bring in the old unit (click on the question mark next to the core charge). So, you pay $192 up front then get $30 back when you bring in the old unit, making the net investment $162.

Also, if you are considering getting one used or off eBay, remember that the unit from Advance Auto has a limited lifetime warranty, which means you'll never have to buy a distributor for that car again (providing you don't void the warranty by installing it wrong). My father bought an alternator from them for his '96 Altima, and he has replaced it four times under warranty. I am on my second alternator under warranty.
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post #10 of 14 Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Well I changed the distributor, and it didn't help..

BTW, the core charge is in addition to.. So it will be ~$193 + tax after I bring the core back..
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post #11 of 14 Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 06:43 PM
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First of All ! It's ain't your Crank Sensor otherwise No Spark would come from the Distributor !

A Motor Need's Spark's-Gaz-Compression to be on Working Condition

Spark's = Fine ( Distributor Changed and Spark on Spark Plug's )

Gaz = Some Test To Do ( Filter Changed, Gaz coming out from the Line So Pump is Working, even with bad pressue it would Start but would Run really Bad ) Check if Injector Work and Fuel is Coming to Fuel Rail !

Compression = Ain't Checked Yet !

If the Injector's don't work you won't be able to Start the Car ! Did you check by Using a Can of QuickStart and Spraying a little amount ? What you do is Undo the Clamp at Throttle Body, Remove Intake Air Tube, Open the Throttle and Spray a Little Amount NOT TOO MUCH !! Reinstall the Air intake Tube and Tighten your Clamp, and Give it a Try Did the car Start ? If it did the Injector don't work otherwise you have Bad injector, or they are Clogged or Electrical Problem they don't have any Ground, Positive Power coming to it ! I Know it won't be the MAF cause I Already started the Car without it,and it run's but not for a while !
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post #12 of 14 Old Mar 4th, 2010, 07:38 AM
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The description on the web site is very misleading. It didn't say anywhere that the listed prices were after the core refund.
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post #13 of 14 Old Mar 6th, 2010, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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In waiting to take this to a shop, I charged the battery... And now it starts, but is running VERY rough (shaking the vehicle) and it stops after a few seconds...
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post #14 of 14 Old Mar 7th, 2010, 11:12 AM
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Check the air intake side of things. MAF could be dirty or have a loose connection, IACV could be dirty.

94 B13X | UR underdrive pulley
PaceSetter header | K&N filter
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