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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm slowly tackling problems with my car as you might guess by my other posts here. Right now, my concern is that my '89 SE with the ga16i has a tough time starting after it warms up. When it does start, it runs rough for a few seconds and if I give it some gas to get it going, it just seems to sputter and cough. It smooths out soon enough and then I'm on my way.

I've changed the cap and rotor recently which helped a lot, but it's not gone. I changed the spark plugs and checked the wires (including the coil wire) with a multi-meter and they seem to be within spec. The battery is 4 years into it's 5 year life span and the terminals are showing signs of corosion (the white powdery stuff). I've removed the battery cables, cleaned them and re-attached them, but this didn't help. I also changed the fuel filter.

I've read in other areas suggestions to check the Intake Air Temp Sensor, the Coolant Temp Sensor, Fuel Pump, Fuel Pressure Regulator, Coil, Ignitor, Injector, etc., etc. The list goes on and on.

Before I go on a mad witch hunt, has anyone here had this problem and found a soulution/fix? I'd like some suggestions on where to start looking.

Thanks a bunch.
 

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Garage Sultan
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1,173 Posts
I cant say that ive ever had that problem.
Check your fuel lines for clogs, kinks or dents and stuff like that.

You may also want to check your Mass Airflow Sensor, idle control sensor, the throttle position sensor and the throttle itself in addition to what youve listed. If none of that helps give your timing a check and check the wiring connections that go the engine and the ECU as well, loose wires or corrosion can sometimes cause something like that to happen (its rare though).

Your problem is most likely a combination of 2 things so make sure you keep checking until the problem is completely cleared up.

-Nick
 

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Still moderating..sorta
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1,324 Posts
I'm thinking it might be one of the temperature sensors. If the ECU is getting a bad signal it might be running the engine rich even though it is already warm. You can test alot of the sensors by checking the ECU for codes or by using the methods listed in a Haynes manual.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have you checked the codes in the computer. Nissan makes it pretty easy for us do-it-ur-selfers to check them. My 89 has the ECU under the passenger seat. My cheap haynes manual has good instructions for doing this.

I had an 86 Stanza that would do a similar thing. It would start fine cold and run just fine, but once it was warmed up occasionally it would be really hard to start. Once I got it started, it would sputter and seem to be running rich until I revved the engine up a bit, then it would drive fine again. Turned out to be a bad coolant temp sensor. The computer had a trouble code that told me this. Sensor was around 25$.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I tried pulling the codes, but I admit I wasn't paying much attention to detail at the time and I'm sure I did it wrong. It kept repeating 5 quick flashes. I was in a hurry and rushing through it. I'll try pulling them again this weekend and I'll make sure I do it right. Thanks for the advice.
 

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Sentra Specialist
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1,902 Posts
JonHasAn89SE said:
I tried pulling the codes, but I admit I wasn't paying much attention to detail at the time and I'm sure I did it wrong. It kept repeating 5 quick flashes. I was in a hurry and rushing through it. I'll try pulling them again this weekend and I'll make sure I do it right. Thanks for the advice.
**** That's code "55". This means that there are no fault codes. Your problem is with a component that is not covered by the self diagnosis system. The early self diag. system in the B12's can only sense a problem, when there is an "open" or a "short" in the harness to the componenets. The early system does not have "logic" capability, like the later OBD I and OBD II systems in use today. Have you checked your throttle sensor adjustment with a volt meter? It should be .5 volts at idle.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Had it at a shop this weekend for my oil leak. Had the mechanic check out the hard starting problem too. He said the spark plugs wires were arcing at start-up and needed replacing. I replaced the wires and it runs much smoother now. I haven't noticed any startup problems yet, but I haven't had to start it when it was warm yet. The jurry is still out on this one, but looks promising.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK, it's still hard to start when warm, even though when it's running it runs much better than before. This car had a few drivability problems when I first bought it and I think I've solved most of them but this hard starting is annoying me. I suspect it's a fuel delivery problem. I didn't check the compression, but since it's running fine once it's started, I'd suspect that's not it (I'm no expert though!). by fuel delivery, I mean fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator or injector. These parts are pretty expensive and as the commercial goes, "I ain't gonna pay alot for this <fill-in-the-part>!"

Well, the short of is, I've found that if I crank it over for a turn or two then give it about 1/3 throttle, it starts right up. I'll leave it at that untill this technique stops working. Then I'll follow up on the fuel delivery possibility.

If you're interrested, here's what I've replaced so far:

* spark plugs
* spark plug wires
* ignition coil
* ignition coil wire
* distributor cap & rotor
* battery
* fuel filter
* coolant temp sensor (no code thrown, but what the heck, it's only $16)

The air filter is pretty fresh and seems clean enough.

Thanks for reading my rant :)
 

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CA18DET Wizard
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1,366 Posts
It's a big possibility your fuel pump is on it's way out the door and I do mean "BIG";)
 

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Still moderating..sorta
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1,324 Posts
JonHasAn89SE said:
what's the test procedure for a fuel pump?
Use a fuel pressure tester and see if it's making enough pressure, or change the fuel pump and see if it gets better
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My car has the same problem as yours does when it's pretty hot outside. The car takes a while to start up, and then when it does it runs rough for a little bit until I rev it a little bit. I replaced many of the same parts that you did (cap, rotor, plugs and wires) and the problem seemed to be fixed for a while, but now it's started up recently. I just replaced the fuel filter, but it seems to still have a bit of trouble right when it starts up. I think that it has something to do with the fuel system. Maybe an air bubble in the fuel line, but then again I find it highly unlikely considering that it uses a high pressure fuel line that keeps it tight from air. I'm still diagnosing it and I'll let you know if I fix my problem, because our problem sounds similar.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
thanks, bud. For now I'm just following the start up procedure I outlined above untill I get the ambition to tackle it again.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Does your car kick up white smoke for a while after you start it up? For the first minute or two after I started my car up this morning, it was kicking up a ludicrous amount of white smoke for a bit. I though it was just condensation burning off since it was a little chilly out, but it was way tooo much to be just condensation. I tried checking the ecu codes but it didn't reveal anything. But let me know if you have that same problem as well.
 

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CA18DET Wizard
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1,366 Posts
I though it was just condensation burning off since it was a little chilly out, but it was way tooo much to be just condensation
I would seriously check my compression, plugs and check for signs of a possible blown gasket. You should not be getting that much white smoke unless you have water in your fuel tank.
 

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Sentra Specialist
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1,902 Posts
B12er' said:
Does your car kick up white smoke for a while after you start it up? For the first minute or two after I started my car up this morning, it was kicking up a ludicrous amount of white smoke for a bit.
***** I agree with BoostBoy. You most likely have the signs of a headgasket failure. I went back to the beginning of this thread, and saw your first comment about a hard start when warmed up. I would attribute that to coolant seeping one or more of your cylinders, when you shut it off. Hence, the restart problem. Now, you have enough coolant leaking into your cylinders to actually be burned off on a cold start. That's what all of the white smoke is. If you are sharp, you'll be able to walk behind the car during the white smoke, and smell the sweet aroma of anti-freeze. Sounds like it's time to pull the head off for a look. Make sure the head is flat, and that the sealing surfaces are good, [not pitted] before you put it back on.
Good luck. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I thought that it might be the sign of a blown headgasket as well, but I don't think that that's the problem because I've had a blown head gasket before and the car ran terrible all the time. The white smoke only comes out for a short amount of time then the car runs perfectly fine. There's no leaking and it doesn't run how it did when I had a blown head gasket. I think one of my sensors doesn't work because the engine check light went on today and I'm going to diagnose it tomorrow. Thanks everyone for their input.
 
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