86 nissan pickup d21 4 cylinder 2wd automatic


Asked by Jul 17, 2015 at 02:34 PM about the 1986 Nissan Pickup

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

So I bought this truck for a good deal, but there is no fire coming from the distributor.  When I pickup up the truck, the distributor was in pieces and radiator pulled from vehicle.  The owner said the black wire to the plug that goes into the distributor was broken so they replaced the plug and wire with another and left it for someone else to put together.  I put the distributor back together to see it there solution fixed the problem, but I still get no fire from the distributor while cranking the motor, and the odd part is two seconds after I stop cranking the motor the motor fires once.  and it does this every time I crank it no fire, then I stop cranking and I get one poof.  lol  any thoughts would be helpful.  I am aware My timing on the distributor might be a little off since I was not the one to remove it, but I can fix that after I am getting fire from the distributor.  any info would be awesome

16 Answers


That is all that it takes a little bit off and its is not going to start it has to be right on the money to start.


Well yes that is true, but my issue is that I have no spark. I need spark before I can worry about the timing of the spark. Right now I have no spark.

1 people found this helpful.

Sounds like you need a Ignition Control Module.

2 people found this helpful.

Where would I look on the vehicle to find an ignition control module? and is there a way to test it?


You may want to check but I believe the ignition control module on that vehicle is on one of your wheel walls like on fords but if not it is under the distributor cap.

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Best Answer Mark helpful

As far as testing it no spark is usually the problem when this part goes bad. Now taking it somewhere to have it tested do not no you can ask a parts stores person if that can test that part.


Ok I found out where the CDI is located, just below the coils toward the front of the driver fender. How do I know which one to replace though? One has a 4 wire plug and the other has a three wire plug. I Don't wanna replace both of them if its not necessary since I know one of the CDI should only fires and higher RPMs.


Its the one with two wires one coming out of each end.


I'm pretty sure they both have two wires coming out of the CDI, but I will double check.


Another question would be should I order a new part or go pull one from the junk yard selection. how likely does Ignition control modules go out? I mean is this a bad design that needs and aftermarket betterment, or just a freak accident and another stock replacement will work perfectly?

1 people found this helpful.

It's your decision but it is a 50/50 shot with a junk yard one but you may get lucky. I do remember them having problems with the this design but I am quite sure they have made improvements to the replacements they sale today.


Could it maybe be the relay to the Ignition Control Module as well?

1 people found this helpful.

Yes you could check for fuse or relay first.


So I installed a new ignition control module for the intake side spark plugs, and the truck still acts the same. No spark on cranking, then a sudden fire once a few seconds after I stop cranking the engine. I'm thinking either a ground issue, or crank angle sensor issue. Any thoughts? Also the fire after I stop cranking the engine is louder, the longer I crank the engine, I assume this is because the longer I crank the engine, the more voltage that builds up.


Check ground to ignition control module and recheck connections going to it . Check the spark coming from coil through spark plug wires. You can do this two ways first you can buy a spark plug wire tester or remove wire from plug and put a screwdriver in the end of wire ( Phillips Screwdriver) then hold the metal part of the screwdriver close to a ground while holding the handle and have someone crank over the engine and check spark. Should get a thick strong spark and constant spark.


This sort of no fire problem is common on these trucks. You're getting a strange firing sequence for sure. I am thinking it either skipped time - and it will do this and then appear the timing chain is securely tight. This is because of the torque created when you hit the gas. This pushes a lot of torque in a way that creates a loose chain if old. Check mileage - if it is near 200,000 or even 100,000 and you are not sure it was changed - then that is most likely the problem. I have had this same problem when a timing chain skipped. I would try junk yard replacement for the distributor first. ALSO - with the radiator out -- and the distributor taken apart - - this points to timing chain. With the radiator out it is going to make getting the timing chain repair easier. Look inside the valve cover and clean that -- if the grease coming off the valve cover is super think and or sticky -- you have a lot of mileage and most likely should put a chain on it. Why get it running - just to have to pull all these things off again in a just few thousand miles? Needs a timing chain no matter - that will most likely fix the issue. Good luck

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