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812-317
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Discussion Starter #1
So here's the deal. My Alty has a real hard time starting up, and it's gotten progressively worse over the last few months. Whenever I try to start it, the oil light always comes on and stays on while I try to start it. Also, when I'm driving, I hear a clicking sound out of the front left and right side of the car. Any thoughts?
 

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Rockin the Le Bra
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1,016 Posts
doesnt oil light come one whenever youre starting together with justabout every light in the dash? dont worry about the oil light, its probably your starter starting to go out. like sassan said, look to see where the clicking is coming from.
 

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Alternator

Your handbrake led is on the same wire as your battery light. Both my lights were on for a few days, and then my car wouldn't start, because the battery was dead. It turned out to just be the contacts on the alternator, and that the battery was not charging.
 

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i think it might be the alternator cuz my brake light and battery light stayed on for 1 day and the next day the car died on the street... changed the alternator and everything worked out
 

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812-317
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209 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Okay, it's still happening. The car has a very hard time starting, and only starts after either several attemps or when I pump the gas when I'm turning the key. It sounds like the engine is trying to turn over, but isn't. And the clicking is somehow related to the speed at which the car is going, i.e. the faster the car the faster the clicks. It's loud enough so that when I'm driving next to a wall, I can hear the sound reflected back at me. And it's in both front wheels/assemblies.
 

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c'old man winter
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1,091 Posts
this kind of starting issue very well could be related to the distributor. because you are giving it gas to make it run. cap and rotor in correct condition?

other than that, I have a weird electrical problem myself that I'm trying to figure out, and that's how I came across this thread. one of the relays makes a loud noise and vibration (but I don't know if that's normal). anyhow, with key on ON, I go from 12.6 volts to about 4 - 6 volts. funny thing: i pll neg cable, put it back on, cycle the headlights to ON, and then start it, and it not only starts normal , but the weird 'varying' voltage the car had when it was on, earlier (but then I turned it off, and then try to start and get the problem that requires these steps to sortof reset the problem) doesn't occur when the car is running again. ? ? ? ? ? is this a relay issue? I have an uncomfortably-low knowledge about relays.
 

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moloney56 said:
Your handbrake led is on the same wire as your battery light. Both my lights were on for a few days, and then my car wouldn't start, because the battery was dead. It turned out to just be the contacts on the alternator, and that the battery was not charging.
They are not on the same wire, as they can come on seperately. Both lights coming on is, however, a tell tale sign of an alternator problem.
 

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The Don.
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6,151 Posts
MonkeyBizIU1859 said:
Okay, it's still happening. The car has a very hard time starting, and only starts after either several attemps or when I pump the gas when I'm turning the key. It sounds like the engine is trying to turn over, but isn't. And the clicking is somehow related to the speed at which the car is going, i.e. the faster the car the faster the clicks. It's loud enough so that when I'm driving next to a wall, I can hear the sound reflected back at me. And it's in both front wheels/assemblies.
The clicking noise is most likey that the AC idler pulley bearing that has gone bad. Other than that it could only be the wheel bearings.

The starting problem could be that the throttle plate area is very gummed up and not letting in enough air. When you clean it out make sure you clean all around the inside of the throttle area with a rag dipped with carb cleaner. Also spray any air passages and ports around the throttle area with carb cleaner,
 

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The Don.
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6,151 Posts
Brian Passarelli said:
this kind of starting issue very well could be related to the distributor. because you are giving it gas to make it run. cap and rotor in correct condition?

other than that, I have a weird electrical problem myself that I'm trying to figure out, and that's how I came across this thread. one of the relays makes a loud noise and vibration (but I don't know if that's normal). anyhow, with key on ON, I go from 12.6 volts to about 4 - 6 volts. funny thing: i pll neg cable, put it back on, cycle the headlights to ON, and then start it, and it not only starts normal , but the weird 'varying' voltage the car had when it was on, earlier (but then I turned it off, and then try to start and get the problem that requires these steps to sortof reset the problem) doesn't occur when the car is running again. ? ? ? ? ? is this a relay issue? I have an uncomfortably-low knowledge about relays.
Brian, I have already answered in another thread. Your battery is going bad. The clicking relay noise is the fuel pump relay not fully engaging. This is typical of low charging batteries.

Think of a relay as a remotely-activated switch. The coil is electrically energized, creates a magnetic field, and attracts the metal pole of the switch to the magnetic field. That keeps the switch closed and electricity can now flow through it.
 

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c'old man winter
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1,091 Posts
but after i did my trick to get it to work right, I drove to autozone. on the tester, my battery, alternator, and starter were all well within spec.
what do you think it is (after what I just said)?
Today, it worked without the issue, by the way!
 

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The Don.
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Brian Passarelli said:
but after i did my trick to get it to work right, I drove to autozone. on the tester, my battery, alternator, and starter were all well within spec.
what do you think it is (after what I just said)?
Today, it worked without the issue, by the way!
My wife's Nissan Quest had a similar problem and the mechanic had ruled out out the same things you listed. It still didn't stop from her getting stuck on the road a few more times. The problem never returned after I replaced the battery.
 

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c'old man winter
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1,091 Posts
Ok, I will get a new battery. Does this mean my battery got a memory or some other issue, when I drained it by cranking it a lot (without getting the engine to run) and having to jump with another car 2x's in the driveway while I diagnosed another problem monday , which turned out that my distributor was broken(literally)? So, maybe it's only working now because of the weird battery physics, and this might just pop up again on me?
What kind of batteries have a good repuation, does anyone know?
At work, we sell energizer which are pricey , but I don't if they are really good or not. prostart is the cheapest, but i don't anything on their reputation.
 

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SHIFT_Wounded
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1,684 Posts
if u get a new battery, get ur alternator checked aswell otherwise ur batt is gonna crap out again
 

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c'old man winter
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my alt is crap out again???

again? its like u assume two things at the same time, w/out knowledge either way.
firstly, my alternator is summer 2002, 93K miles, date of install, and its 2004 and i have 119K miles now. i don't believe it is malfunctioning.

i also haven't replaced the battery as that weird issue abated the same day i went to havfe it checked out at autozone. aparently, whatever werid physics of the battery that occured, after it incurred low power one day due to crankingalot due to diagnosing a broken distributor, have reset and the battery is functioning like normal.
 

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c'old man winter
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1,091 Posts
right after a cold start , my voltage is 14.2 - 14.4. without starting, the voltage is usually around 12.5 , which I believe is correct. I don't have a heavy duty ammeter, though. so, I have no idea what kind of amps are flying through, for startups. i do know when i start up, its pretty fast, with only 3 needed of the cranking sound (szzha szzha szhaa (quickly)). stock(119K miles) starter too for those wondering.
 

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c'old man winter
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1,091 Posts
in trying to learn the 'physics' of batteries, ive learned some interesting things. I've just read, in several different places, that something called a surface charge developes. this leads to a false reading when reading voltage -- it will tell u a higher voltage than it really is. you typically run headlights for 10 minutes, and that is good enough, sometimes a little more. then check battery open circuit (nothing using battery/battery only connected to voltmeter). in addition, this surface charge developes in cases where battery was just charged by a booster or ANOTHER CAR to jump start u. so, in other words, to apply to me, while I was trying to find my distributor as the problem, i crnaking my car over so many times, probably more than most ppl could get off their battery, because mine (ithink) was in good condition. eventually it could barely do it, and the voltage went below 12 V. this led me to get a boost from another car (taht was running). i even let the car stay connected for about 10 minutes or a little more.
When I went to start my car later, I had enough to start, but just barely. but i didn't drive long enough, in 'highway' conditions to give my chraging system 'just' enough oomph to being recharging my battery. when i went to start some other time, I couldn't, and heard weird noise from relay, and felt it and it was vibrating. i also noticedf battery votlage was at 6 (with IGN to 'on' but engine off). the battery voltage would sloyly rise. i eventually playing with it, depserately, foudn that with headlights set to on, it would start up like no big deal. I must have removed some weird surface charge thing -- this is where I am not certain.
 
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