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Just bought an 85 Sentra SE... with problems!

1423 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  ratha13
Just after getting a 1985 Nissan Sentra SE, it went belly up. I'm now struggling with trying to figure out what went wrong!

Here's my symptoms:
Idles high (2500-3500)
Stutters while driving unless floored
Difficult to start, especially if it has sat for a few hours or more
Smokes quite badly after startup
Every now and again, instead of idling high, it just wont at all

What I've done:
Checked for simple vacuum leaks, found none (but could have missed it!)
Replaced air filter
Replaced spark plugs
Replaced fuel filter
Checked idle on carb, looks fine
Checked some vacuum tubes just just putting a finger over the hose and feeling some good suction
Checked for other intake leaks by putting my hand over the air intake on the carb- it did die.
Cursed a good deal
Threatened it

So I can get around, but it's an all or nothing experience on the throttle. Responsiveness in the mid range is either a bit stuttery to sometimes downright chugging.

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Do the cap, rotor and wires too. Also try to get OEM as I have found that they work better.
I had the exact same thing happen when I bought a B11 years it for cheap cause it ran like crap.

Changed everything and all the vacuum hoses looked good...the ones I could see. Then I reached under the intake manifold and found a hose broken off. Couldn't see it and never would have found it had I not jammed my hand under the manifold.

This may help.

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86 Sentra high idle

I've had about 3 or 4 of the 1980's Sentras over the years and still have an 84 Sentra wagon and an 84 SE hatch. Both are manual trans, 5 speed.
My hubby and I repair these ourselves, so we've seen just about everything that can go wrong.

If replacing the hose you found doesn't cure the problem, it might be a plugged catalytic converter. One way to test this is to disconnect the exhaust pipe from the exhaust manifold and run the car. If the symptoms go away, the problem is in the exhaust, probably the cat.

The bolts may be stuck or rusty. Soak them in penetrating oil overnight.

Another problem these Sentras have is that fuel pumps go out. This is a manual fuel pump and they do wear.

Check your electric choke to make sure it is operating properly. A stuck or malfunctioning choke can also cause a high idle.

Check to make sure that your radiator fan is running and that the temperature control switch turns the fan off and on. Fast idle and engine roaring can be caused by overheating.

Let me know how it goes. These little road warriors can be cranky, but once you get the problem solved, they will purr.

Recommend getting the actual Nissan shop manual for this car. I've been led astray too many times by the Chilton and Haynes books. The Nissan manuals come up on E-Bay quite often. I got one for $30.

I'm actually looking for another SE or XE hatchback as a backup/parts car and a friend for the one I have. Mine is still getting 36 mpg, and we're in CA where gas prices are horrendous. Where are you located?
Do you havea pic of your car?


Driving 80's Sentras since the 80's, 84 white XE hatchback 1984 to 1998, 84 Silver SE hatchback, 2001-2008, red 84 wagon, still working on restoring.
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Cooliwhip, are you in LA, CA?

I noticed an 85 Sentra SE hatchback that had been sold at Bundy Motors in LA.
Were you the one who bought it? Just curious. Are you interested in selling it?
As I said, I've been looking for one, since I have the identical car (an 84 SE silver and black hatchback, 5spd.) My hubby drives mine and he's sort of beating it to death - he's already bashed it several times. I'd like to get another that hasn't been so bashed, and as a back-up if mine ever goes belly up. Since I know how to deal with these cars...if you get fed up with it.

I'm in Northern CA, Patterson area.
Direct email is [email protected].

Oh, got one more suggestion for you - the carb has an electrical valve that sometimes acts up. You can replace it. I have a manual with the procedure, if you want it.

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89 Prairie cutting out

Sorry guys and galls I'm new on here and a little lost - tried to get inot the engine forum but was logged out. I'm driving a Prairie GL 1809cc and it goes for about 15 miles fine then suddenly loses power and cuts out. It has been losing fuel and giving a lot of steam out from under the bonnet. Any ideas? After waiting a couple mins it goes again fine...
Hi, did you ever get your 85 Sentra SE running? If not, I might be interested in the car.
I have a silver and black 1984 Sentra SE and I love it so much that I want to get another.

Email me at [email protected]

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