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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2009 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV with about 160K miles that loses engine power while driving.

I am able to start and drive it, but after about 20-30 minutes of driving the car will lose engine power. The car will not accelerate and you are forced to pull over.

The engine will still run while in Drive, but when you press on the throttle, it will not accelerate nor will it rev. You can shift into Neutral and the engine will rev, but it will not rev or accelerate if you put it into Drive or Reverse.

Sometimes after losing power, you can put the car in Park and let it sit for a few minutes with the ignition off and it will start and drive as if there is no problem.

Other times after letting it sit, it will not start. The starter only clicks and it seems like the battery is dead. The battery is not actually dead, because if you then allow the car to sit for several hours, it will again start as if there is no problem without the need for a boost.

Say you haven't drove the car in a day or two days, you can start it up put it in Drive and its fine. You can turn the wiper blades on full speed and they will be working normal as they should be. After about 15 minutes of the car being on you can turn the wiper blades on full speed again and you can tell they are very weak and perform as if you had them on low speed. When the wiper blades start to get really slow on full speed you know the car is about to lose power.

I have replaced the alternator, battery, and the IPDM (intelligent power distribution module) but no luck with any of those replacements. Three different mechanics have checked this car, including a local Nissan dealer.

Has anyone heard or experienced any of these problems on a 7th gen Maxima?
 

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Sup Mod keeping the peace
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I don't think you have a short in the electrical system since you're able to start the car easily after it sitting for several days. The symptoms appear to point to a malfunctioning alternator. 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, first thing to do is to turn the key "on" 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. Check all the engine grounds to make sure they are tight and that there no corrosion or oxidation. 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!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for the following information. I put a voltage meter on the battery today before trying to start the car. The car had been sitting for approximately 20 hours with the ignition off. The voltage read 12.32 volts. I started the car while the car was running it was putting out 14.36 volts. I never turned the car off or took the voltage meter off. I turned on the headlights, wiper blades (full speed), radio, and AC. I began to drive it around a cove in the neighborhood doing circles until the car lost engine power. After doing 20 circles in the cove the engine lost power and would not accelerate. I shifted the car into Park and quick tested the voltage. It was now only putting out 11.27 volts. The car is still idling while in Park, I never turned anything off meaning headlights, wipers, ect. I never took the voltage meter off the battery while the car was idling the voltage was steadily dropping. It dropped to 7.91 volts at that time the wiper blades were barley moving, all lights got very dim and the car completely went dead. The battery light and the brake light came on right before going dead. I turned the ignition to the off position and the voltage started going back up it got up to 11.59 volts approximately 5 minutes after the car had died and the ignition was turned to the off position. With those test it seems to be that the alternator is not charging correctly even though it was just replaced. The alternator that was just replaced was bought from a local oriellys parts store. Could it be that the alternator that was just replaced be faulty? My thought is to take out the oriellys alternator and replace with a OEM alternator from the dealer.
 

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Sup Mod keeping the peace
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The first thing to do is to turn the key 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. Many aftermarket alternators are very low quality which at times are DOA upon installation. Most of them don't last very long; maybe a few weeks or months. Your best bet is an OEM unit.
 
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