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Discussion Starter #1
let me give a little background on this... its complicated, sorry if this is too long.

Ok, first I'll start off by saying i bought this truck from a friend of mine. The truck did not run when i bought it. It was in severe need of a new timing chain.

The truck died on him as he was going down the interstate one night, just turned off and would not start back, even from a roll. So he parked it, at a college, we are both students of... Somebody stole the distributor (among other things) out of the truck while it was parked there. To make a long story short, i now have the truck at home.

A friend of mine is the instructor of the mechanic classes at a local college, so he looked around their shop and found a distributor and gave it to me, though he was unsure if it was working or not (they keep a few lying around to take apart and use to teach with).

So i changed the timing chain, i am 100% positive the chain was put on properly, and I'm also 100% sure about the oil pump gear/distributor shaft being properly aligned. I took everything back apart to check it when the truck didn't fire. when i put it to #1 TDC everything was lined up perfectly.

I have two issues:

1. The engine barely turns over, i thought this was a bad battery, so i took the battery out of my diesel truck (1000 cranking amps) and it still barely turns over. Even with the spark plugs out it turns over slower than it should.

I checked and cleaned all the connections at the starter and the battery.

2. I am not getting consistent spark. i took the #1 spark plug out to check for spark, and it sparks once, and thats it. turn the truck off, and try again, it sparks once, and thats it.

i do not know what originally caused the truck to die, it could have been the distributor, but i dont really know... i also am not positve that this distributor works.. :confused:

i have checked the fusible links, they seem to be fine, i took them out of the clips and cleaned all the connections of each fusible link.

is there a way to test the distributor? my manual does not give a test...?

any thoughts, suggestions? thanks in advance.
 

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Hardbody Freak
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read the codes..

and it is probably only sparking once because it is turning so slowly..

did u check for valve damage or crank damage.?

would also be a good idea to give some vital statistics about the truck when asking for help...
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thank you for the replies.

the cranks sensor is in the distributor right?
i pulled that little cover off and the disc and wiring looked ok, as in there were no burnt wires, and the disc looked ok. i'm looking for a replacement distributor. i'm not sure that this one works, how many miles are on it, etc...

vital statistics? like what exactly, well its a '97 with a 4 cylinder, 168,xxx miles. need other info just ask...

i haven't checked for valve or crank damage; other than just a visual inspection when the oil pan and valve cover were off. also it turns over smoothly by hand.
the truck was running ok, there were no noises when it died, it just turned off, it didnt sputter it just died. leading me to believe its more of an electrical problem. but i've been wrong before...

there are no codes, the light turns on when the truck is turned on like its supposed to, then turns off.
 

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Good to see another person from my area on this board (i live in asheville). Here's my advice, and do with it what you will:

1. get the proper distributor for this year truck from a junk yard. They changed the distributors on this engine in 1996. So if your friend grabbed a dist that he knows came from a nissan truck, it may have come from a 1995 and it'll fail to match your 1997. you can also probably find one on ebay for cheap

2. your slow cranking makes me think of two problems: crappy battery and crappy battery cables. Either one will make it crank slowly. And running a big-ass diesel starter on an underpowered battery or poor cables will accomplish very little.

As for the poor spark, remember that this is a 4-stroke engine so the crank will make two full revolutions between sparks on a single cylinder. If you're not seeing spark, it may be because the engine is turning so little. If you go to autozone, you can buy a spark light, that will show you when the plug is firing while leaving it in the engine. it only costs about $5 (my apologies if you already have one).

When you get the slow starter thing sorted out (and if the engine still isn't starting), you can then do a compression test. IF any other cylinders are coming up really low on PSI, you probably have valve damage. You can buy used heads for pretty cheap. Just be prepared to undo that pretty timing chain again.

Let me know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks for the replies and the service manual!

i am not sure that the distributor is correct, though all the plugs match up perfectly. getting another distributor is my next move, it'll wait till after Christmas though....

i put in the battery from my diesel, not the starter... a battery i am very sure would start anything, in fact after piddling around for about an hour or so with the nissan, i put it back in my diesel and it started the diesel right up... so i have some 0 gauge wire that i'm replacing the starter wire with; and adding a ground or two.
 
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