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crank sensor headache/wont start/desperate

17916 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  rstolz
I have a 2009 Nissan Versa 1.8 Hatchback 6 speed that has been causing me months of problems so ill start from the beginning and blow your minds because even for the month it was at the dealership and when the "expert" tech came from Tennessee to New Jersey to check it out himself, he was mind blown.

November 2013-check engine light came on for crank sensor ONLY. my mechanic tried 3 different sensors (2 from dealership) but the car would only run with the original "broken" sensor. i was told either timing jumped/stretched or ECU needed to be reflashed. either way the car ran fine so i brushed it off, just had the CEL on.

March 2014-check engine light turned off for a solid month randomly, my inspection was up in April so i was giddy to get it to the inspection station. after going through inspection, i failed due to there not being enough output information sent from the sensors to their computer....i had many "not ready" highlight marks on my fail sheet.

i pushed off the inspection until April until things got worse. While delivering pizza the car would randomly stall at stop lights and parking lots with the clutch pushed in! if i sat in neutral and not moving and pushed the clutch in repeatedly, the car would stall. sad part is the car ran perfectly fine until it was at those low rpm's and it would struggle. my guess would be to replace everything in the fuel system. FPR, Pump, injectors, etc.

crazy thing is after the car stalled, the engine would turn over but would not start. if i rolled it and dropped clutch in first it would start and drive but once you came to a stop and pushed the clutch in the car would die. if i waited 30 minutes the car would then start up fine.

3 days later my check engine light came back on so i decided to go back to the dealer. on route to the dealer, the car dies on me at a busy intersection and i rolled up to it with the clutch in. (2 miles from dealer) so i had it towed and the dealer had it for a whole month, running tests, replaced the crank sensor multiple times and also cut and soldered on a new clip on the harness for that sensor. still nothing and the car refuses to start. they checked if my timing chain stretched but the results they got back dictated any real mechanical issue with the engine, so they told me the problem is electrical and probablyy my fault from my wire upgrade.

I have spark, dealer said i had plenty of fuel pressure although i believe he only checked by pulling the hose off of my fuel rail and saw fuel coming out.

I'm out of ideas, i do have a sound system in the car and i did my BIG 3 wire upgrade, as well as a bigger wire going to my starter, however the issues began PRIOR to the BIG 3 upgrade, but about 7 months after my initial sub/amplifier install so i don't believe they are related being the time frames don't match up. to do my big 3 i did split open my wiring harness to remove the old alternator to battery wire but the car ran fine for 3 months after i replaced those. i live in Northwest New Jersey. if anyone can help me out id appreciate it.

right now the sound system is 100% disconnected so i know there inst any interference. although i had an Apline PDX-M12 amp pushing 4 Polk Audio DXi 104 sub woofers. it was crazy bass so if i broke something that's causing this issue, i wouldn't be surprised.

if i don't get a response ill just replace my FPR and see if that changes anything. when i get the car home next week ill try and roll start it again as that was the only way it started prior to bringing it to the dealer.

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They must be missing something. Already replaced the PCM? Did they actually probe the sensor to make sure it's working properly? Perhaps the sensor may need to be shimmed, maybe the old one was shimmed and the tech didn't think anything of a shim. Some motors from the factory may have been shimmed due to low clearances, there is an air gap spec most likely, it's just not officially serviceable i don't think. I have shimmed crank sensors before for issues like this. Crank sensors will cause all kinds of issues, usually just no start, but sometimes this.
what is a PCM?

and can any shop shim a sensor or does the dealer need to do it?

if i cant get it started its going to the junk yard, i dont need this headache.

what a shit car
PCM is the Powertrain Control Module, it is engine management, it manages spark, A/F ratio and just generally modulates engine controls for the best driveability. Example, increasing idle speed with clutch in and in a gear for easier take off, fast warm up, intake cam VVT actuation, EVAP purge, fuel pressure. They do go bad rarely, and when they do it's usually an internal fault that isn't worth repair.

With engine management its generally better to go to a dealer because they have the Nissan specific communication interface, and the experience in a certain brand. That said not alot of techs are good at electrical diagnosis even with the best tools available. They just can't connect the dots. Try a different dealer, or a reputable independent, an import specialty independent shop if possible.

If you scrap it, I call first dibs on parts.
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find a performance tuning shop in your area. any import will do, but not a "import expert" general shop. those are generally a bunch of malarky. Look for a place like this:J-Tune Performance » Nissan and Infiniti Performance Specialists. Dyno Tuning. Everything For Your Motorsport Needs.
(I have no affiliation, nor have I ever worked with/for them)

Nissan/Infinity would obviously be best, but Mazda, Honda, whatever... hell even a European shop will work ok for this.

Tell them that your engine stalls with no load, but drives fine under load. the "no load" is important. Also obviously tell them you're getting a crank sensor code, but changing the sensor is getting you nowhere. These guys are experts at diagnostics; to properly build a highly tuned car, you have to be an expert at diagnostic work.

Now, this sounds like it may be a case of bad compression. If you bought the car used and the issue was present almost from day one, you wouldn't know it until you started to stall out or got your sensor code.

Piston slap is a relatively common failure on these, and results in lost compression as the cylinder walls wear away, allowing the piston to wobble, and piston rings to lose contact, which bleeds compression away. If the issue is minor to moderate, the worst impact will be at idle, under no load. it may have enough contact still so that once you get it under load its being fed enough A/F to mask the issue.

This you can check for yourself. Go and pick up a basic compression tester, then google online for the procedure. Doing the test cold is fine for this; All you're looking for is difference between the cylinders. Greater than a 10% drop signals an issue. For instance, if you get 150-150-150-80, then cylinder 4 either has bad rings, piston slap, or leaky valves. to rule out valves, pour a capful of oil into the cylinder, then quickly re-run the test. if it jumps back up, then the issue is valves, if it stays low, then its the piston or cylinder.
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If you bought the car used and the issue was present almost from day one, you wouldn't know it until you started to stall out or got your sensor code.
I was wondering if the car was used as well, but with a different issue in mind… could it have been previously flooded out (Hurricane Sandy specifically) and passed off to someone else? You would expect all kinds of weird issues to creep up from that.
Nah, flooding a car causes the car to become useless. It goes nuts. It's a total writeoff because you'll never fix any of the electrical problems, people who are buying them cheap and thinking they can fix them to be good again are idiots, and should be shot. Take that insurance cheque and buy a new one.

You just need a good diagnosis/driveability guy, and those are few and far between.
if i decide to part it out, what are parts people are looking for?

only aftermarket stuff is aem cold air, megan lowering springs with 35k on them, corroded wheels, i just dont see too much value in even trying to part it. these are such cheap cars
Keep the car, swap an MR20 into it LOL. I can't see making too much on a partout. Hell my Versa running perfectly I couldn't see getting more than $3k for.
i have to agree, parting it is going to be a lot of effort, for very little in return, or at least a lengthy timeframe to get the stuff sold..

you could get some cash for the 6MT (trans, shifter, mounts, cables), CV shafts, ECM/BCM, engine harness and ignition switch with keys.

I know there are folks looking to do MT swaps, and those are the parts they'd need to avoid a trip to the dealer to get the IMMO serviced.

beyond that it gets sketchy. maybe the A/C compressor and a couple other random goodies fetch a few bucks.
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