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I bought a 99 altima 4cyl for my daughter who is away at college a few months ago. It has approx 130K miles and has not given me any problems at all. Last week, when the temp dipped to -25 below she started it up to go to class. She said it gave her a little bit of trouble, but it eventually started. She let it warm up for 10min, and then took off to class. She said it was sputtering and running rough though, and she only made it approx 500 yards and it stalled going up a slight incline. She could not get it stated again. A few days later, I had the car towed to my house, thinking it was just flooded or something minor.

So far, we have changed the plugs, distributor and cap, and have sprayed starting fluid in the snout. The engine is turning over fine, but not a hint that it is getting ready to start. Compression check indicates 90 in all four cylinders, which I assume is not normal. I know it is getting fuel and spark. Prior to this incident, it has always started immediately. I know these cars have timing chains, so I had assumed that it would not have broken, unless the extreme cold weather may have had a play in it. Does anyone have any other ideas as to what I can look for? Is it possible that it could be the timing chain?

Thanks for your help,

jim
 

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First i would just go out and buy a fuel filter- 12 dollors! sounds clogged,if after that still problenms i would check the fuse in fusebox for fuel pump(its electric), when i changed my filter at 12000 miles,my car ran perfect-took 5 minutes to install too,one more thing was ROTOR changed with distributor cap?
 

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Thanks for the tips Billie, but it turned out being the timing chain guide broke, which caused the chain to slip. So, since everything was already off, we installed the complete timing chain kit. Not a cheap fix, but it is running well now. It is good to know other possible causes f similar symptoms would occur again.

Thanks
 

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Got the same issue right now, I don't find to many threads talking about this issue with the timing chains and guides on this car. Would busted guides cause all the problems even if the chains haven't broke?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I see you did it yourself. Good job. I paid to have it done, and it was not cheap. Last week it stalled again, and I found oil in the distrubutor. Hopefully, a new distributor is all it needs this time!

jim
 

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Yea, I got it all put back together, but I had to adjust the distributor a bit to get it to fire. Runs pretty well except Iv'e got a small oil leak coming from around the power stering pump. Not sure about that, I'll look at it today. The other issue is the transmission isn't shifting into any gears. I had to replace the driver side CV axle, not a real tough job and I don't think that would have caused the problem, but it wants to grind a little when I shift back into park and I cant seem to get it to go into any gear. The shifting rod moves at the transmission, but its not engaging. I think it's some sort of range switch or position switch. Not finding a lot of info on this either. I'll keep you posted. Let me know how the new distributor works.
 
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