99 Altima, car shuts off when key is turned - Nissan Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old Sep 19th, 2018, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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99 Altima, car shuts off when key is turned

Hello, I have been experiencing this weird problem for a while now, but have not found a long-term solution/fix.

1. The 99 Altima uses a simple physical key (no embedded chip), I have been using a home deep copy (~2 USD) for years.
2. One day, when I tried to start the car, the key is turned to position 1, 2, everything is normal (lights, radio, etc.), but when it is finally turned to the start, the car shuts off completely like a power is shut off. No crank or click at all. Power lost the moment key is turned.
3. After I pull out the key, the car is still out of power. No dome light, etc.
4. Exit the car, tried lock and unlock use fob, and sometimes it can get the power back.
5. Tried to start again, key in position 1, 2 are normal; final step, the car lost power completely once again.
6. Checked the battery, jumped using battery booster, not the cause.
7. Checked the 20A fuse, good; swapped with power window fuse (20A), still not fixed.
8. Used a different key, not helping.
9. I repeated those steps for a dozen times, still not working.

Two days later, I tried again and the car started normally. However, the problem reappeared a week later.

I do not have a clue what could be the problem. I do not have a good way to get the car start if the problem occurs, and when it is working normally, I do not know when the next shut down would happen.

Could it be an ignition security problem? How should I approach it? Thank you in advance.

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post #2 of 11 Old Sep 20th, 2018, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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I have seen other site mentioning it could be a malfunctioning ignition relay. I will change that over the weekend and report back if that fixes the problem.
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post #3 of 11 Old Sep 25th, 2018, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Changed the ignition relay/inhibitor, still did not fix the intermittent problem. Since I noticed that I usually was able to get the problem go away by twisting the positive terminal cable in the car, I will try to replace/reinstall those cable next.
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post #4 of 11 Old Sep 26th, 2018, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Zhou View Post
Hello, I have been experiencing this weird problem for a while now, but have not found a long-term solution/fix.

1. The 99 Altima uses a simple physical key (no embedded chip), I have been using a home deep copy (~2 USD) for years.
2. One day, when I tried to start the car, the key is turned to position 1, 2, everything is normal (lights, radio, etc.), but when it is finally turned to the start, the car shuts off completely like a power is shut off. No crank or click at all. Power lost the moment key is turned.
3. After I pull out the key, the car is still out of power. No dome light, etc.
4. Exit the car, tried lock and unlock use fob, and sometimes it can get the power back.
5. Tried to start again, key in position 1, 2 are normal; final step, the car lost power completely once again.
6. Checked the battery, jumped using battery booster, not the cause.
7. Checked the 20A fuse, good; swapped with power window fuse (20A), still not fixed.
8. Used a different key, not helping.
9. I repeated those steps for a dozen times, still not working.

Two days later, I tried again and the car started normally. However, the problem reappeared a week later.

I do not have a clue what could be the problem. I do not have a good way to get the car start if the problem occurs, and when it is working normally, I do not know when the next shut down would happen.

Could it be an ignition security problem? How should I approach it? Thank you in advance.


I'm so glad I found your post, you are not alone. I've been trying to explain on other forums on what happens, but you pretty much nailed it dead on.

I insert key, put it to on and all the lights turn on
then i turn it to start it over and everything just shuts off and completely loses power
no headlights, no power locks or windows, just completely dead
if i wait an hour it will power on again, but the moment i crank over it will just shut off

my fix is to unplug the battery and then it will start again but this gets very very annoying and it's hard to get the car smogged when i have to reset the ecu/ drive cycle
and this is only temporary as well, it might last a week, it might last 1 day or 2 hours then it will start doing the complete power shut off.

So far i have removed my smart entrance control module under the steering wheel (there is a pin in the door key hole that detects if the right key is being used i've read somewhere),
removed anti theft fuses 1 & 2, but left 3 (if i remove 3 the car will power on, but it will not crank at all) under the hood
i also removed the alarm fuse 10 amp under the hood on the passenger side near the battery
this helped me to be able to start the car 70% of the time, before i removed these i would have to unplug the battery every single time to be able to start the car.

this problem is very annoying and so far i found in another forum was to try to remove fuse 26 to disable the anti theft from disabling the starter/ or immobilizer
i will do this right now and try it again in the morning to see if this helps

good luck i feel like we are getting very close to narrowing down this problem and i'll definitely keep you updated on what i do
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post #5 of 11 Old Sep 26th, 2018, 12:56 AM
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update: i removed fuse 26 and it just shuts off the starter completely.
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post #6 of 11 Old Sep 26th, 2018, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Hi there, thanks for the reply. It sure feels good to have someone to troubleshoot this weird problem together. As you said, together we almost exhausted all possibilities, and we will figure it out hopefully soon. I am 100% convinced it is electrical problem. Is your battery new? Try to measure the voltage of your battery next time when it started to act up, see if it is below 11volt. I just saw that suggestion yesterday and have been waiting to do that myself.
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post #7 of 11 Old Sep 27th, 2018, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Zhou View Post
Hello, I have been experiencing this weird problem for a while now, but have not found a long-term solution/fix.

1. The 99 Altima uses a simple physical key (no embedded chip), I have been using a home deep copy (~2 USD) for years.
2. One day, when I tried to start the car, the key is turned to position 1, 2, everything is normal (lights, radio, etc.), but when it is finally turned to the start, the car shuts off completely like a power is shut off. No crank or click at all. Power lost the moment key is turned.
3. After I pull out the key, the car is still out of power. No dome light, etc.
4. Exit the car, tried lock and unlock use fob, and sometimes it can get the power back.
5. Tried to start again, key in position 1, 2 are normal; final step, the car lost power completely once again.
6. Checked the battery, jumped using battery booster, not the cause.
7. Checked the 20A fuse, good; swapped with power window fuse (20A), still not fixed.
8. Used a different key, not helping.
9. I repeated those steps for a dozen times, still not working.

Two days later, I tried again and the car started normally. However, the problem reappeared a week later.

I do not have a clue what could be the problem. I do not have a good way to get the car start if the problem occurs, and when it is working normally, I do not know when the next shut down would happen.

Could it be an ignition security problem? How should I approach it? Thank you in advance.
It looks like maybe your battery is getting run down. First of all, make sure the battery posts/connectors are clean and free of any oxidation and are tight. A properly working charging system puts out about 13.2 to 15.0 volts, but this is a general spec. and the factory service manual should be referenced for the correct charging system voltage specifications for a particular vehicle. A battery should have a static charge of 12.2-12.6 volts. If a battery is not good, the charging system may not be able to charge properly. If a vehicle is not charging properly and the battery is good, the first thing to do is to turn the ignition switch to the "ON" position without starting the engine and make sure the charging system warning light is operating. If the bulb is burnt out, the charging system will not charge. If the bulb is OK but still does not illuminate, the circuit must be tested. If the warning lamp does illuminate, then the next thing to check is to make sure the circuit between the battery positive post, or fusible link, to the connection in back of the alternator is good. On Nissans, this will be a thick (approx. 10 gauge) white wire to the "BAT" post on the back of the alternator. It's not uncommon for this wire to get corroded and burn up, creating resistance in the circuit. So, before assuming an alternator is bad, make sure this circuit is good and battery voltage is getting to the alternator. It's also important to make sure the alternator belt is tight and not slipping and the battery connections are clean and tight.

Also, it is NOT a good idea to disconnect a battery cable on a computer controlled vehicle while running to test the alternator. This is a good way to damage an ECM. When a charging system is not charging, or overcharging, a lot of "strange" things can occur. It's not uncommon to see a multiple of stored trouble codes in the ECM memory. So, whenever a car is setting a multiple of trouble codes, idling funny or stalling, or anything out of the "norm," test the charging system before you start pulling hairs!

Assuming the charging system voltage is ok and the battery is good, the next thing to do would be to have a parasitic draw test performed; there should not be more than a 50 milliamp draw on the system with the ignition switch "off."; if there is a higher draw, you need to do some testing to find out where the draw is coming from. Remove fuses one at a time until the draw goes away or falls into acceptable range.

KA-T for life, yo!
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post #8 of 11 Old Sep 28th, 2018, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you rogoman. I will test the battery and the fusible link this weekend and report back.
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post #9 of 11 Old Oct 6th, 2018, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quick update, I think my problem is likely the battery connector. Have tightened the terminal connector and see if the problem will return. Thanks @rogoman . @trashxtrash , see if this will be helpful to you.
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post #10 of 11 Old Oct 7th, 2018, 02:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Zhou View Post
Quick update, I think my problem is likely the battery connector. Have tightened the terminal connector and see if the problem will return. Thanks @rogoman . @trashxtrash , see if this will be helpful to you.
Hey Alex, I've been trying to respond, but my comments are not posting for some reason. I my negative terminal is loose because when I had the SECU module installed my alarm would keep going off, so I would have to disconnect the battery each time. Now that my SECU is gone and the alarm every time I open the door/ start the car problem is fixed, I've noticed every time my car will not start; I tighten the negative terminal it or readjust it it will start right back up...it could have just been getting loose because my right motor mount is bad and every time I shift fast it will shake the car; I will tighten it completely now when I start driving it this week. So far I think this is the case!! Good thing it is not your anti theft system because it has been a headache for me; but finally fixed that issue from the SECU. It would alarm every time I try to start the car

Hope this fixes your issue !! I will report back if it has solved my issue.

Last edited by trashxtrash; Oct 7th, 2018 at 02:48 AM.
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post #11 of 11 Old Nov 23rd, 2018, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update for the forum, my problem appears to have solved. It has not occurred for one month now. The fix is suggested by Rogoman, and is a bad connection (not obvious, but tightened anyway) of the negative terminal. Thank you and have a good holiday.
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