1988 Nissan Pickup won't start

Asked by Apr 25, 2015 at 01:19 PM about the 1988 Nissan Pickup

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1988 Nissan 4X4 pickup that is not firing. I just put a new distributor & coil on it
& it still won't start.  Any suggestions?

8 Answers


If you have a no spark condition then you need to trace the coil circuit to see where the source of electricity stops. A volt/ohm meter is best for this. If you have voltage at the coil feed side with the ignition on that's good. Next crank the engine and you should see the feed voltage go off and on as you crank. This is because the high voltage coil output to spark plugs happens when the feed circuit current shuts off. The cycle happens in response to the rotation of the distributor. If the current is steady as you crank the engine then I would look at the inductive pick up circuit in the distributor. You basically must have intermittent feed current (battery voltage or sometimes less) at the coil in order to have a spark on the coil output. The coil is key. If steady or no feed current you need to back trace the circuit to find problem. Avoid just changing parts as it could be a simple as a rusted ground connection in the wiring harness. Probably a good idea to clean every ground connection you can find in the engine bay for a vehicle that old. Good luck!

1 people found this helpful.

Is it giving plenty of spark now? If so, you have a fuel issue. Have you checked to see if your fuel pump is humming when the key is turned to accessory? Have you checked all your fuses and relays? What have you done besides putting in a new dist and coil?

It's getting fuel. I can hear the fuel pump humming. Getting ready to check the fuses & relays. The new coil & distributor is the where I'm starting from. Thank you.


Did you put in a distributor or replace the cap?

I put in a new distributor

And a new coil


Double check timing and no. 1 lines up with TDC on the compression stroke. Distributors are easy to put in wrong. Even one tooth off can make a difference.


A distributor out of phase will certainly cause a no start condition too, as mentioned by Bvcxz6789, I assumed that you changed the distributor because it would not start, but if it ran before you changed the distributor make sure the distributor is phased correctly. It is more than just lining up the rotor with number one plug wire at TDC; you must make sure number one cylinder is on the compression stroke when rotor is phased to number one wire on dist. cap. Still, if you are not getting a spark while cranking engine it doesn't matter if the distr. is out of phase as spark should and must be present.

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