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Atheist Libertarian
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Discussion Starter #1
Today, my engine died twice while I was driving. It clicked off abruptly, no stumbling or lurching, no loss of power, etc. Stereo stayed on the whole time, and the car restarted without problem. When it dies, the instrument cluster clicks off like I turned the car off. I talked to someone who suggested computer problems; I have a JWT ecu, has anyone else had a similar problem? Thanks in advance guys.
 

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Please Shift Here
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I would say a loose wire or a bad relay. Did the A/C cut off or something else that's only on when the key is in the ON position (not radio b/c that's ACC).

Sounds like the ignition signal is cutting off somewhere along the line. It could be a wire or a relay cutting off power to all the main ignition parts (no power to ECU, injectors, distributer AC, etc.).
 

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Atheist Libertarian
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Discussion Starter #3
Any idea how I would track that down, or places to start?
Oh yeah, heater was on, then died when the car cut off.
 

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Please Shift Here
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no, it's definately not the alternator and it's definately not a stall.

When the engine stalls, the instrument cluster will show some lights (oil pres., CEL, airbag, etc) and the temp gauge will stay where it is. He said the instrument cluster died.

It's not the alternator either. When the alternator dies, here are the following symptoms; brake+batt light will go on as a warning, radio will die before the engine dies, performance will die (engine will stumble and won't rev), there will be no voltage left to restart.

I'm fairly postive it's an electrical signal that's being cut off to the engine, ECU, and instrumentation (possibly AC and fuel pump as well). Unfortunately, it's VERY difficult to trace and it's only happening intermittently, which means, right now, there's nothing wrong...

I would check the following:
*Check all fuses in the engine bay and in the car. The big fuses (30A+, by the battery) are the main concern, make sure they are fully inserted, might want to replace if they seem to be cutting in and out.
*check all wiring around the ignition (in the steering column, make sure nothing is loose or shorting. Evidence of shorting can sometimes be seen by burn marks on the wires or by bare wires. Make sure there's no wiring insulation melted off any wires.
*check the relays in the dash. There are several relays behind the dimmer switch/mirror adjustment switch, they control all the electrical parts that are activated with the key.

Other than that, you will likely not be able to diagnose the problem until the problem becomes more perminent. An intermittent problem usually cannot be detected. hundreds of feet of wire, dozens of connectors, dozens of relays and fuses, it only takes 1 to be the culprit.
 

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Atheist Libertarian
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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, its not the alt or battery. If the battery became disconnected through a loose connection, stereo woulda shut down. Likewise, alternator woulda lead to a slow death with warning signs (sputtering at high rpm, headlight dimming, warning lights coming on). I have had both problems in the past and can usually identify both, but this is something new to me.

Also, the 1st time it happened i was making a 6800 rpm shift from 2nd to 3rd. The engine cut out at the same time I clutched, but when I released the clutch it started right up. It happened so fast, I thought I missed the shift. 20 minutes later it died again, but this time it ran dead in fifth gear w/o pop starting. Pulled over to check battery terminals for a loose connection, thrown belt, or any other mayhem under the hood. Found nothing. Tried the key and it started up on the first try.

Thanx for the info, i'll check that stuff asap. I really hate intermittent problems. Glad to know you dont suspect the ecu directly, that bugger is $$$.
 

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absolutely classic
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captain_shrapnel said:
Yeah, its not the alt or battery. If the battery became disconnected through a loose connection, stereo woulda shut down. Likewise, alternator woulda lead to a slow death with warning signs (sputtering at high rpm, headlight dimming, warning lights coming on). I have had both problems in the past and can usually identify both, but this is something new to me.

Also, the 1st time it happened i was making a 6800 rpm shift from 2nd to 3rd. The engine cut out at the same time I clutched, but when I released the clutch it started right up. It happened so fast, I thought I missed the shift. 20 minutes later it died again, but this time it ran dead in fifth gear w/o pop starting. Pulled over to check battery terminals for a loose connection, thrown belt, or any other mayhem under the hood. Found nothing. Tried the key and it started up on the first try.

Thanx for the info, i'll check that stuff asap. I really hate intermittent problems. Glad to know you dont suspect the ecu directly, that bugger is $$$.
Sounds funny, but I had a similar problem. I would be driving on the highway, and it would just cut out. After I would pull over, it would start back up. Only happened when I was lower on gas (but still had about 3 gallons in the tank). The only thing I could think of was the gas cap, cause I checked the fuel pump and relays and such. They were fine. Anyway, I changed the gas cap and the problem never came back.
 

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Kindfiend said:
Sounds funny, but I had a similar problem. I would be driving on the highway, and it would just cut out. After I would pull over, it would start back up. Only happened when I was lower on gas (but still had about 3 gallons in the tank). The only thing I could think of was the gas cap, cause I checked the fuel pump and relays and such. They were fine. Anyway, I changed the gas cap and the problem never came back.
Sounds like this is possible. If you were running on fumes and you hit a heavy downhill slope, you could have just starved the fuel pump causing your engine to die. Once you stopped, the fuel hit the right spot and you put put putted your way to a gas station... (assuming you were low on gas at the time).
 

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Atheist Libertarian
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Discussion Starter #10
full tank of gas. Also thought of the fuel pump starting to go, but that usually leads to sputtering, even if for a second, before it dies. Car died so suddenly that it was like a switch being thrown... it feels electrical, you know?
About the gas thing, as a side question: Is it normal for a low tank to suck air in when you take the cap off? I thought the breather valve equalized the pressure, or is that just for out going gas? Just curious...
 

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Stalling Issue

Same thing happend to me. Turns out the harness to the TPS sensor was damaged. I unplugged the harness and the car stopped stalling. Obviously, this will need to be fixed or replaced since the gas mileage has gone from 28mpg to 15mpg.

Hope this helps.

- VD
 

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Atheist Libertarian
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Discussion Starter #13
Would a fragged TPS sensor give a trouble code? Would it cause an idiot light to go on?
 

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Here's something for you. Make sure you don't have water in the gas tank. Sounds simple, but as you know in many cases it is. A bottle of water remover fixed all of my problems about a month ago. I had sputtering, stalling, cutting off, and so forth. It would only take you about two dollars to find out.
 

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lowridin23 said:
Here's something for you. Make sure you don't have water in the gas tank. Sounds simple, but as you know in many cases it is. A bottle of water remover fixed all of my problems about a month ago. I had sputtering, stalling, cutting off, and so forth. It would only take you about two dollars to find out.
Yea but they already said it doesnt sputter. It just dies which is ruled out to an electrical problem.
 

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Any new ideas on this? The same thing is happening to my 98 Sentra...I cant figure out whats wrong...not even a new cluster could fix it :(....its been sitting in my garage for over a month now...
 
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