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SE wouldn't start today after heavy rain/puddles?

3636 Views 10 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  svasica
I was driving to work this morning in the heavy rain we received on Long Island. It had rained for a good part of the night before so lots of big puddles on the road as well. I so happened to go through a couple of the larger ones (no choice they were on the Parkway and just snuck up on me).

No symptoms appeared i.e. sputtering, choking, loss of power, etc. I got to work fine and didn't think anything was wrong.

Well, 10 hours later when I go to start the car, its just cranking, and cranking, and cranking, but doesn't want to fire. So I let the car sit for another 30 minutes (figuring I flooded the cylinders) and try again. This time it fires up, but runs rough for a couple minutes, and then just suddenly dies!

I let it sit for another 15 minutes or so, try again, fires up, but almost immediately dies again.

I open the hood, wiggle the wire's around a little to make sure nothing is loose, then fire it up again. This time though, when it turns on, I give it gas so the revs are up around 3k. I do that for a couple of minutes until it warms up (as it's warming up, the engine does some surging up and down). Once the engine is up to operating temp, everything seems to be fine and I drive home with no problem and no surging (even though it's still raining!)

What could be the culprit? Is this a common problem with the 2001 Sentra SE? Anybody with similar problems?

It is a manual, 2001 sentra se with 95k miles on it.
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I don't know what your issue is but if its been raining check inside the distributor cap, rotor, wires make sure they are dry, look for arcing inside the cap and on the rotor.
Also Check for Codes. If their are none check the distributor again !!!
Checked all the "obvious" things.

I did have a related problem today though....this morning I started the car up just fine, got on the road, and then the car started dieing on me. It was almost like the power was being cut to the car, or maybe even the fuel. I was able to drive it back home and park, but the engine light finally came on too. Maybe that will give me a starting point for troubleshooting. How can I read my codes without going to a shop?
see this sticky....

I saw a comment is down, so you may have to find the codes elsewhere.
More bad news. I went to Autozone to get my codes read, and they couldn't read them. When they hooked up the scanner and tried, it displayed "error".

Worse yet, the car then would NOT start again, and this time for good, because I had to tow it home!!! I waited a couple hours, came back, cranked it, engine started for a second, and then died again.

Quick question, could my ECU be dead? I suspect it may be for several reasons. When I turn the ingntion key to the AC power on right before cranking, the "service engine soon" light does not come on. I know the ECU was throwing a code out (it was lit up driving to Autozone), so is it possible thats due to the ECU being dead? This may also explain why they couldn't read the error code.

I checked the engine control, fuel pump and injector fuses, all good.
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try and read the codes yourself, if you cant then yes i suspect the ECU is bad.
Upon further research on this forum, I realized the ECU is actually housed in the engine compartment (excuse me for my ignorance in the below post).


I will try the process of "manually" reading the codes as outlined earlier in this post. Is there any way to determine for sure that the ECU is dead? If I yanked it out, how could I troubleshoot? Is there a recall on the '01 Sentra SE for this?

If I do need a new ECU, where can I get one for a reasonable price? Is it a fairly easy switch from the old to new.....I mean do I need any specialty equipment or knowledge?

What I don't understand is this all started after I drove in that heavy rainstorm, how could that have affected the ECU (I'm not argueing that the ECU is bad, on the contrary I think it IS bad)?

Sorry for all the questions, and thanks for the response!
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ECU Failure?? - - Nissan Sentra Forum

This is EXACTLY whats happening to my car including the "arching" sound behind the glove compartment. Looks like I've got a lot of troubleshooting ahead of me!
The B14 ECU is in the center consul stack under the radio, i would be surprised if its in the engine compartment on the B15

I have not had to do this yet so i a not sure i think you can just swap it out. ( its more of an issue with coded keys on newer models)
make sure you get the same type, ie engine series and manual or auto

If it was caused by rain you may have some corroded or shorted wires under the hood ??

I would get one form a local wrecker yard that gives you a 30 day replacement guarantee, expect about $100 or so....
A short in the wires, or just corrosion is one of the first things I will be checking once I get a chance.

However, the ECU is in the engine bay (upper firewall passenger side) on the B15. Bad design I think, but eitherway, it's there.
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