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Nissan Repair/hard to start, frequently stalls


QUESTION: Hello. I have a 1997 Nissan sentra that takes a long time to start no matter if it's cold or not. I have to hold down the gas to get it to start and then rev the engine to keep it from dying. After being started, it will die randomly when braking at low speeds or when stopped (non-throttle condition). I've noticed every so often it will sputter even with gas pressed. It seems to be getting enough gas as it smells like it's running rich. I have replaced the mass airflow sensor with no change afterward. I read a thread that mentioned replacing the distributor. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Let me know if you need more information. Thanks for your time.


ANSWER: Hi Travis -

Can you tell me if your check engine light is on?


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes, I currently have an evap code for my charcoal canister and a vehicle speed sensor. I currently have my mass volume purge valve for the evap system unplugged so it doesn't affect the running of the car and I have just acquired a new vss so I will replace it as soon as possible.

Hi Travis -

The codes need to be cleared before any further diagnosis or repair can be done.

However there are 2 components that are not affiliated with the check engine light fault system, that is the ignition module inside the distributor, and the fuel pump operation, including the fuel filter. Might want to start there once the codes are cleared.

Ignition module:
Typically causes the car to cut out, no start (but you can start it after the engine is cooled down), usually causes issues when the engine is warmed up.

Fuel Pump:
Cuts out under load, inconsistent power surges, engine cannot idle, no start. Pressure should read at least 35 PSI, and volume test should fill 1 cup of fuel in no longer than 3 or 4 seconds.

Hope this helps -

Nissan Repair

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Calvin Iwashita


All general car repairs for all models of vehicles, except technicals (overhauls) on A/C systems and transmissions.


16 years as a car mechanic from 1974 to 1990, and still repair cars on the side.


High School and college graduate

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