Engine turns but won't catch...help please! - Nissan Versa Forums
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-12-2014, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Engine turns but won't catch...help please!

A little about my car: it is a 2011 Versa, automatic, no fancy features except anti theft and air conditioning(no power locks/windows or cruise control), that I just bought 7 months ago(warranty is expired by a month) and now has 75k miles on it.(was at 69 at time of purchase)

Now, for my issue:

Went to go start my car Monday(10/6/14), but it wouldn't start. When I turn my key to the On position, all my lights on my dash pop up like normal, the radio works and so do the lights. When I turn the key to Start, the engine turns like it's getting ready to start, it just never does. I took a video of this and sent it to a few car wise people I know, and they both agreed that if it was turning the way it was, it was most likely not the battery or starter. Now that I think back on it, a couple of weeks leading up to this failure, whenever I would start my car, it'd take it 2-3 turns to catch and start normally then a second later would stutter then return to normal.

I've been reading up on the Versa trying my best to find out what might be wrong so I can look into getting it fixed, but haven't found anything concrete. So far I've come across everything from my Fuel Pressure Regulator to my actual Fuel Pump. Personally, if it's one of those, I'd rather it be the regulator. My Dad also suggested that maybe it was a fuse or something in my ignition system. I've tried having it jumped to no avail. I was also told to listen for a hum when I turn it to On, but cannot hear this hum the way I can on my gf's car. Not sure if it's audible on the Versa, or if that's an indication of the problem, but I figured I should point it out.

Hopefully someone can read through my windbag of a post and help me out cause I really need my baby up and running...preferably without a $400+ repair required.
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-12-2014, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Jayce86 View Post
A little about my car: it is a 2011 Versa, automatic, no fancy features except anti theft and air conditioning(no power locks/windows or cruise control), that I just bought 7 months ago(warranty is expired by a month) and now has 75k miles on it.(was at 69 at time of purchase)

Now, for my issue:

Went to go start my car Monday(10/6/14), but it wouldn't start. When I turn my key to the On position, all my lights on my dash pop up like normal, the radio works and so do the lights. When I turn the key to Start, the engine turns like it's getting ready to start, it just never does. I took a video of this and sent it to a few car wise people I know, and they both agreed that if it was turning the way it was, it was most likely not the battery or starter. Now that I think back on it, a couple of weeks leading up to this failure, whenever I would start my car, it'd take it 2-3 turns to catch and start normally then a second later would stutter then return to normal.

I've been reading up on the Versa trying my best to find out what might be wrong so I can look into getting it fixed, but haven't found anything concrete. So far I've come across everything from my Fuel Pressure Regulator to my actual Fuel Pump. Personally, if it's one of those, I'd rather it be the regulator. My Dad also suggested that maybe it was a fuse or something in my ignition system. I've tried having it jumped to no avail. I was also told to listen for a hum when I turn it to On, but cannot hear this hum the way I can on my gf's car. Not sure if it's audible on the Versa, or if that's an indication of the problem, but I figured I should point it out.

Hopefully someone can read through my windbag of a post and help me out cause I really need my baby up and running...preferably without a $400+ repair required.
You might want to see if anybody you know has a code reader to plug into the on board diagnostic port, and see if there is a code. If nothing shows up, I would go the least expensive way, and that would be to check the fuel filters to insure they are not clogged. If you purchased the car used, it could be that the filters had not been changed out by the prior owner. Same thing goes for the engine intake air filter. Good luck!!
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-12-2014, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Jayce86 View Post
So far I've come across everything from my Fuel Pressure Regulator
Very likely the FPR. Many have been replaced. No need to change the pump, just the regulator. Had mine done post warranty, about $50 for part, an hour labour at independent mechanic.
Til I had mine replaced, I pumped the gas pedal madly to get it started, and would always run normally after starting.
Hope it helps, welcome to the NVF!

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post #4 of 12 Old 10-12-2014, 12:46 PM
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I always told my brother (who is ignorant when it comes to cars) that to have combustion you only need 3 things, air, fuel and spark.

I'd say do 2 things before you start replacing parts. Pull a spark plug and leave it exposed but connected and grounded. Crank the starter to see if it sparks. If it does not, then you have an ignition problem. If it sparks then you may have a fuel problem. While the plug is out, check the condition of the spark plug, if it's dry or soaking in fuel.

If you have spark, reinstall the spark plug, get some starting fluid and spray some inside the intake manifold, anywhere convenient, maybe near the throttle body or air cleaner (a 2-3 sec squirt will do). Try to start the engine, if the engine fires and dies, then you just confirmed it is a fuel problem. From there it could be a number of things associated with fuel (fuel pump, relay, clogged lines, dirty tank, fuel contamination, etc).

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post #5 of 12 Old 10-13-2014, 06:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jas32 View Post
I always told my brother (who is ignorant when it comes to cars) that to have combustion you only need 3 things, air, fuel and spark.

I'd say do 2 things before you start replacing parts. Pull a spark plug and leave it exposed but connected and grounded. Crank the starter to see if it sparks. If it does not, then you have an ignition problem. If it sparks then you may have a fuel problem. While the plug is out, check the condition of the spark plug, if it's dry or soaking in fuel.

If you have spark, reinstall the spark plug, get some starting fluid and spray some inside the intake manifold, anywhere convenient, maybe near the throttle body or air cleaner (a 2-3 sec squirt will do). Try to start the engine, if the engine fires and dies, then you just confirmed it is a fuel problem. From there it could be a number of things associated with fuel (fuel pump, relay, clogged lines, dirty tank, fuel contamination, etc).
This is what we did earlier and confirmed that it is a fuel issue. The bleed tube near the engine when pressed was bone dry. I'm going to try and find out tomorrow if it is my pump or regulator. When I turn my car to on, I do not hear a hum of the lines priming(which means the pump it's self is bad) when I turn my car to on. I'm hoping it's just because the pump is under my rear seat and is being muffled. Going to lift up my seat and check again tomorrow.

My dealership warranty is over by about three weeks so I'll have to pay for this out of pocket. Does anyone know how long the Powertrain is on a 2011 Versa or if it would still cover this?
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-13-2014, 04:48 PM
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Check the fuel pump relay and fuse for the relay.
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-14-2014, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by antmanbee View Post
Check the fuel pump relay and fuse for the relay.
I am now convinced that this is the issue, cause my car started earlier, but now I can't get the fuel pump to kick on. The fact that it did earlier after not doing so for a week leads me to believe that it is not the actual pump because(correct me if I'm wrong) once they go, they go.

Question is, where is said relay located in my car and how do I get to it?
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-07-2015, 02:19 PM
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I have a 07 Versa that done the same thing. It turned out to be the battery. cranking the engine was drawing down the voltage to the cars computer and keeping it from starting.replaced the battery about a year ago and has been working fine.
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-21-2019, 10:00 AM
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Sorry to dig up an old thread, but my 2012 4-door hatchback Versa is having a similar issue to the one described in the initial post here. I've been researching a bunch here, & it definitely sounds like the fuel pressure regulator is the problem. It's not happening all the time - maybe once or twice a week - & the car DOES always fire up eventually ( the most it's taken so far is about 5-6 attempts ).

I'm curious about a couple things :

1. Is there a general thought about how long I can go with this issue before the car stops starting altogether? Obviously, I'm gonna get it fixed ASAP, but my schedule right now is really tight. Wondering if I have some wiggle room.

2. And this may seem like a dumb question, but I've never had this situation occur before. If it's under warranty ( sounds possible - the car's at roughly 48,000 miles ), do I HAVE to take it to the dealership for that repair? Or can the warranty-covered work be done by my local ( & much more convenient ) shop?

Thanks in advance - this forum has been a real lifesaver, info-wise.
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-21-2019, 11:35 AM
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Sorry to dig up an old thread, but my 2012 4-door hatchback Versa is having a similar issue to the one described in the initial post here. I've been researching a bunch here, & it definitely sounds like the fuel pressure regulator is the problem. It's not happening all the time - maybe once or twice a week - & the car DOES always fire up eventually ( the most it's taken so far is about 5-6 attempts ).

I'm curious about a couple things :

1. Is there a general thought about how long I can go with this issue before the car stops starting altogether? Obviously, I'm gonna get it fixed ASAP, but my schedule right now is really tight. Wondering if I have some wiggle room.

2. And this may seem like a dumb question, but I've never had this situation occur before. If it's under warranty ( sounds possible - the car's at roughly 48,000 miles ), do I HAVE to take it to the dealership for that repair? Or can the warranty-covered work be done by my local ( & much more convenient ) shop?

Thanks in advance - this forum has been a real lifesaver, info-wise.

Warranty has expired, and as far as "how long you can go before the car fails to start" is a question nobody on this forum can answer. My suggestion would be to have the car scanned for any error code, which can be done for free at most of the larger parts supplier stores. If there are no codes showing up, you next step would be to get it to a dealer or reputable repair shop to see if they can find the cause. This last thing you need is to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with a car that fails to start. Good luck!!


3 yr/36,000 mi basic, 5 yr/60,000 mi powertrain
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