maxima

Asked by Dec 24, 2010 at 01:48 PM about the 1990 Nissan Maxima SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

i have a 1990 nissan maxima i started it a few days ago and let it idle to warm up.
it idled fine and ran fine until i pulled out onto the road. when it changed into
second gear it just died so i put it in neutral with the car still rolling and tried to
start it but nothing happened. the motor will turn over but it just wont crank. ive
checked the fuel pump the coil and the spark plugs and theyre all fine but i cant
figure out why it would do something like that. i was wondering if anyone has ever
had this same problem or if any one knew what was wrong with it. any feedback is
appreciated

6 Answers

95

It could be a lot of different issues that would cause a sudden quit followed by a no start. Did you try to get the codes from the ECM? They will more than likely at least help get you started down the path. I had the same issue with a 92 Civic. Came to find out that a rather large capacitor inside the ECM went molten and shot a hole in the circuit board. Pretty neat. Good luck

85

I don't know why it would have died going into second gear, but the turning over but not starting could be an issue with the cam position sensor. Not sure how it is on a '90 Maxima but I have a '96 and when that sensor goes bad the starter will turn the engine but the computer doesn't know the engine is turning so it won't fire the spark plugs. The sensors at least for my year are relatively cheap so might be a good place to start if you've ruled out anything else.

85

Wow that's quite an epic circuit failure there haha. Has the ECM been reflashed or was it completely stock? Crazy that it would just decide to do that.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
95

It was a coworkers car at the time... bone stock and completely unabused. I bought it as a non-runner from him and eventually figured out the issue. After getting a used ECM from eBay and confirming the fix, I cleaned the grounds, replaced the alternator, battery, and spark plug wires... that was about 8 years ago and it still runs like a champ.

95

I had same generation maxima (95) and that definitely was a pretty common point of failure. I'm not sure if those older SE's had coil-over ignition systems. If it doesn't have coilpacks and instead has the regular old sparkplug wires with a distributor, the coil may be bad or coil wire may be bad. Other items to check, Mass Air Flow sensor, Crank Shaft sensor, or aftermarket security system... check all fuses.... especially fuel pump circuit (fuse) Easy fuel pump check would be to turn off all accessories (radio, blower, etc) so it quiet in the car. (with a good battery) Turn the key from Acc. to On... you should hear a whirring or buzzing sound from the back seat. If you hear that, then you shouldn't have to worry about the pump. If you don't hear that, you need to check your fuel pump for power and/or operation. If that checks out, then check FP fuse, check ECM to make sure it's fuel pump signal circuit is putting out a voltage. If what I just typed doesn't make sense you could just pull the ecm out and open it up (carefully!) and make sure there isn't anything obviously wrong with it (burn marks, broken solder joints, cracked board, etc).

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
25

Sorry to go off point, but since you have a 1990 Maxima... be sure that you have that timing belt changed BEFORE it breaks. It's an "interference" engine, and there's a very good chance that you will ruin the engine if the timing belt snaps. I know....it happened on mine (I had never heard of an "interference engine" before then) and it cost me $1600 to put a junk yard engine into my Maxima (not a bad price, since this was back in 1992).

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