I have a 97' Altima 5spd. with 110k miles. It has never had any problems since I got it 6 years ago with 50k miles. I replaced the clutch at 100k and thats it. I havent been driving it at all lately because my girl and I just drive my Miata all the time. So its been driven maybe 50 miles in the last 3 months.
About 2 weeks ago, my girlfriend was driving us to lunch when the car started sputtering really bad in 1st gear and jerking, like it was out of gas and losing power... it did this for just a few moments. I drove home without incident and didn't feel anything abnormal in any gear. I thought maybe my girl had forgotten how to drive a manual...
Yesterday, I filled the car up with a full tank of gas at a Chevron that I always go to, to take a 75 mile trip. Got there just fine in 85 degree heat... no problems whatsoever. On the way back, almost immediately after leaving, the car started doing the sputtering thing again REALLY bad. To the point that after 2 miles of driving, the car had no power and I had to pull over. It idled fine at 1000 rpm, but when I revved it up, hitting 3000 rpm, it lost power and the needle just bobbed between 1000 and 3000 rpm sporatically, and the engine was shaking badly. When I pulled over, the car still idled fine, but had no power above 3k rpm. THEN after about 10 mins, it died and I couldnt even get it started again.
I pulled over and checked under the hood, oil and such... everything looked fine but still wouldnt crank up. I went ahead and called a tow truck. He towed me home about 30 miles. When I got home, I tried cranking it up and it started just fine and had full power!!! I drove it around the block and it ran just perfectly????????
Does anyone have any idea what might cause this? I thought maybe clogged injectors? bad gas? bad distributor????
I haven't driven the car since I got it home because since it failed so randomly, I cant trust it until I figure out what went wrong. Any help is appreciated.
REMEMBER: MAF CAN FAIL PARTIALLY, NOT THROWING A CODE, AND NOT HAVING THE 2500RPM SAFETY LIMIT. IT CAN CAUSE RANDOM STUTTERS, STALLING, AND OVERALL BAD GAS MILEAGE WHENEVER IT FEELS LIKE IT.
I would recommend going to an auto parts store, and having them read your OBD code. You may have a "non-lit" code stored because it hasnt happened enough times.
Otherwise I would suggest taking the cap of the distributor, and removing the 2-3 screws on the protective plate so you can see the camshaft position sensor wheel. See if there is an oil residue in the area, or on the camshaft sensor wheel itself.
If it is bone dry, then you may have a break in your MAF sensor internally. The pins go inside the assembly, and where they connect to the circuit board the solder sometimes breaks. This can be repaired with some skill, there is a thread I posted about it a few days ago.
Those are going to be your main 2 culprits. Dont buy anything yet.
It has been a while since I first posted on this problem, but the car has been sitting in my garage for about 6 months.
I just took the distributor off tonight and the gasket was quite mangled and there was about a tablespoon of oil on the bottom of the distributor.
To clear the RPM issue up, it would rev above 2500rpm sometimes, but when it would get really bad (the few times that it would quit altogether... which was a gradual process) it would progressively go from losing power and sputtering to losing all power and barely keeping it running to it dying and staying that way for 30 mins. Then it would crank back up like nothing ever happened and have full power. SO, I dont think the MAF sensor would be the problem there. The issue of the very visible oil that I saw on the distributor..... now seems like the most likely cause.
If this is the case, should I get a completely new distributor or just new gaskets?
i replaced the distributor with a re-manufactured one from advance auto-parts and I drove it about 25 miles with no problems. I think that between the new gasket and the new distributor, the problem is solved.
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