Intermittent No Start / Difficult Start

New Topics Forums General Discussion 1993 – 1998 Nissan Quest Intermittent No Start / Difficult Start

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Villager Factory Engineer 5 years ago.

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    I’ve been struggling with a problem on a 94 Quest for a few months now.

    Here’s what happens:

    Randomly, probably 1 out of 5 times trying to start, the engine turns over and won’t start. Doesn’t seem to be “catching” at all. When it does this, the best way to get it to start is to wait 10 or more minutes and try again, use lots of throttle. Once it does start, it runs very rough for the first couple of minutes and tries to die. Then it clears up and runs fine (after holding the throttle at about 3000 rpm until it smooths out)… The other 4 out of 5 times, it starts and runs fine.

    so… it’s complicated. Here’s a breakdown of what it does and what I’ve tried.

    1) 4 out of 5 times try to start it, NO PROBLEM. Runs smooth.
    2) 1 out of 5 (approx) it won’t start or is very difficult to start.
    3) When it doesn’t start, sometimes wait 10+ minutes and it will start.
    4) When it has a difficult start, sometimes it seems “flooded” with fuel and blows white smoke after starting.
    5) When it has a difficult start, it runs rough for the first 30 seconds to 2 minutes, have to hold idle up to keep it from dying.
    6) After it smooths out, it runs fine.

    1) It can happen any temperature, day or night.
    2) Sometimes it happens if it’s been sitting overnight.
    3) Sometimes it happens if it’s been parked only 5 minutes…
    4) No engine light activation.
    5) Happens on both full and empty gas tank.
    No discernible pattern to “trigger” the no start/hard to start condition.

    Have tried (mostly basic stuff)
    1) Fuel Injector Cleaner
    2) New plugs & wires
    3) Inspect distributor for cracks or wear (looks good, mechanic agrees)

    I already took it to a mechanic, who claimed he couldn’t reproduce any problem at all. I’m being asked to take it to yet another mechanic, referral from a “friend of a friend”.. but I really don’t want it to end up just being replacing expensive part after expensive part without knowing why.

    I am pretty competent when it comes to doing work myself. I just can’t nail down a proper diagnosis on this – nothing seems to explain everything it does.

    Any suggestions here guys?



    1. I would start by checking the intensity of ignition sparks. You might have an ingition coil that is dying. If too weak, replace the distributor.

    2. I would also check the fuel pressure. You might have a fuel pump that is dying.

    3. Avoid flooding the pistons with fuel. The extreme of flooding is hydrolocking the pistons. That is not good.



    Just to toss a couple of more possibilities. I’m not as knowledgable as prgonzales but I had a similar problem with my 2000 Intrigue. The ignition switch went bad and I had similar issues. I also experienced stalling. The other possibility is the stater. From my observations, if you’re not having drivability issues or “check engine” light, you should look into the ignition system. You could have a starter that needs replacement.

    Just some thoughts. Hopefully they help.



    Well, as often happens… the problem had to get worse before it could really be identified (I hope)..

    It acts like it is flooding. Since it’s not a carb, obviously that’s a fuel problem in the injectors.

    So, I tried unplugging the fuel pump relay. Voila, it will start EVERY time if you unplug the fuel relay. Of course, it will only run momentarily when you do that. But then when I put the relay back and start it again (dry on fuel) it will start/run OK. But try to start it later and it goes through the whole won’t start junk and you have to do the whole unplug relay/start/plug back in/start routine.

    So.. I’m pretty sure it’s a stuck open or leaking fuel injector. Especially since it was missing on cylinder #1 a while back despite having a spark. So probably that injector. Probably got debris in the lines when a fuel line had to be replaced not long ago…

    Now have a set of injectors off ebay – will see if this fixes it. Then I get to tackle the A/C.



    It is good to hear that you have confirmed the problem is in the fuel delivery and that you confirmed the ignition is in good order.

    Keep us informed about the progress. Sharing our experiences today will help others in the future.


    This could be the fuel pump failing, the check valve in the fuel pump or the fuel pressure regulator on the fuel rail not keeping the pressure in the fuel lines and at the injectors.
    Try this – Turn key to ON and wait 5 seconds for the pump to shut off. Then turn key to OFF and wait for about 5 seconds for the PCM power relay under the dash, to click off. Then repeat sequence and start engine. This builds up pressure that bled off if you have a bad check valve in the fuel pump.
    You should have 43 psi key on , engine off, and 39 psi engine running.
    I run the villager-Quest yahoo group witha couple of other guys. A lot more technical info there. I work for Ford and worked on the joint program from 3 years before launch to 2002 when it ended. We handled the TSBs, concern identification, recalls, owner notification programs, etc. No one knows more about Villager Quest than our site and we have tons of files.
    I still work at Ford Motor Comapny and have acces to all manuals and catalogs.

    Gerry in Detroit

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