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5th Generation Maxima (2000-2003) Learn more about the 5th Generation Maxima, including the VQ30DE-K and VQ35DE engines.

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Old 06-22-2012, 03:11 PM   #1
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2000 Maxima. Hard start. No CEL. Please help me Troubleshoot!

Hello everyone. I've searched and read many threads on maxima.org on trying to troubleshoot the problem on my car. However, I have not found a solution to it yet.

Problem: Hard starts on a 2000 MAXIMA SE, AUTO. It takes 3-4 tries to get the car to start from just turning the key ignition on. Most times, it will start on the 1-2 try if I press on the gas pedal. NOTE: When it does start, I have to press on the gas and keep the RPM over 1000RPM for 1-3 seconds before it idles normally or else it will just drop down to 0RPM and die. The car runs perfectly fine afterwards though. No CEL, no loss in power, no pinging, no bogging. Sometimes, it will start right up in the morning no problem.

My hypothesis: I suspect the crankshaft position sensor is bad, or a bad fuel pressure regulator, or I have a bad ground somewhere.

I've clean the MAF sensor, throttle plates, had NGK Iridium IX spark plugs put in (1000 miles ago), checked battery voltage (12.8V with car off) and cleaned the battery terminals. I only fill my car up with PREMIUM gas 91+ octane. The car has 180,000 miles.

Next is testing voltage on parts with a multimeter. What parts should I test and what should their voltage be reading?

I will greatly appreciate any input you guys have. Thanks!
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Old 06-22-2012, 04:21 PM   #2
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I had this problem intermittently. I changed our both crankshaft and camshaft sensor. It helped, but the ultimate fix was adding a ground wire from the top of the transmission to the negative battery terminal. I use a 2-gauge wire. If you look at the top of your tranny you will see an open bolt hole on the top. This is where I connected the ground.

It has started perfectly ever since. I did this over 6 months ago.
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Old 06-23-2012, 04:42 PM   #3
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Do you know what size bolt goes on top of that bolt hole on the transmission?
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Old 06-26-2012, 01:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000_Maxima_SE View Post
Do you know what size bolt goes on top of that bolt hole on the transmission?
Nope...I ended up using a different size than the hole and had to modify both the bolt (cut it shorter) and tap the hole. I just used an old bolt I had at the time which is why I went this route versus trying to find the correct size.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:34 PM   #5
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Please let us know if it worked. I have the same problem but I need to let my 2001 Maxima warm up for like 10-15 minutes before driving or else it stalls. I haven't changed the MAF or sensors but will try since I think this may be the issue.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by goody7481 View Post
Please let us know if it worked. I have the same problem but I need to let my 2001 Maxima warm up for like 10-15 minutes before driving or else it stalls. I haven't changed the MAF or sensors but will try since I think this may be the issue.
Do you have any CEL? Any bogging or performance loss when driving? Try seafoaming your car, cleaning the throttle body and MAF. It does not take long to do. Let me know if you need directions on how to.

Today I will be doing the following:
1. Install new crank position sensor.
2. Check ground wires.
3. Check ignition switch.
4. Check starter relay.
5. Seafoam.
6. Oil change.
7. Painting my custom lip kit.

I'll be giving an update later in the evening. Stay tuned.
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000_Maxima_SE View Post
Do you have any CEL? Any bogging or performance loss when driving? Try seafoaming your car, cleaning the throttle body and MAF. It does not take long to do. Let me know if you need directions on how to.
Sorry, I'm new to atuto language . Google told me CEL=Check Engine Light. Yes, I have CEL and I will be going to Autozone to get the codes. I only get bogging (sometimes stall) if the engine hasn't warmed up long enough. Also, every time I start the engine, I have to step on the gas and slowly let off so the engine doesn't stall. EVERYTIME. If the car is warm I can drive off immediately, or else I have to wait for it to warm up.


I have a few days off next week and will attempt to clean the Throttle Body and MAF. I found some threads with directions so I won't need to hassle you for directions, unless you have better instructions for beginners.


My 2001 Maxima GLE is automatic. Thanks!
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:31 PM   #8
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It's pretty straight forward.

Cleaning the MAF:
1. Push down on tab to remove connector from MAF.
2. Use a #15 Torx screwdriver to remove 2 torx bolts on MAF. It's optional if you want to replace the torx bolt with hex head bolts.
3. Remove MAF from intake. If it's stuck, it may help if you turn the MAF 90 degrees and/or very carefully using a flathead to pry in between the bottom of the MAF and top of intake.
4. Use MAF cleaner and spray on the MAF end where the air inlut is. Let it sit and dry for for 15 minutes.
5. Reinstall MAF. Make sure the MAF is installed the correct way. The air inlut should be facing the air filter.

Cleaning Throttle Body:
1. Remove intake.
2. Spray Carb/Throttle Body cleaner in throttle body. Open throttle plate by pressing down on accelerater cable and spray inside throttle body again. Wipe off any carbon deposits.
3. Reinstall intake.

I installed the new crank position sensor today. It did not fix the hard start issue. I did not have enough time to check the ground wires because I was doing some paint job and oil change. I'll be checking the ground tomorrow! Hopefully, the ground kit I ordered from a maxima.org member comes in tomorrow and I can install that too. Knock on wood. If my ground is good, next thing I'll look into will be the ignition switch, starter relay, and starter. Fingers crossed.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:03 PM   #9
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Today I just added a ground wire from my negative terminal to one of four bolts on a plate on the transmission located right under where the snorkel piece connects to the stock airbox. It helped the starting issue. However, it did not completely eliminate it. It's time to check the other grounds, ignition switch, and starter relay. Below is a short write up of the transmission ground I did.

Materials:
- 0-8 gauge wire (I used a 4 gauge, 24 ft battery terminal from walmart. cost me $4.44)
- another nut to the battery

Install:
- remove negative terminal with a 10mm socket.
- unplug sensor on snorkel.
- remove snorkel. you may need to remove the transmission dip stick for clearance. you also do not need to remove the boost sensor.
- after removal of the snorkel. you should see a plate with four bolts on the transmission. use one of them as a ground. remove with a 12mm socket.
- it's recommended to sand the area you are grounding but you don't have to. add one end of the ground wire and reinstall bolt.
- reinstall snorkel.
- install the other end of the ground wire to the negative terminal bolt.
- you should have two nuts to connect on the negative battery terminal. add one nut to the other end of the ground wire where you attached to the negative terminal bolt.
- insert terminal bolt into negative battery terminal.
- install the last nut. that's it! should be a 15 minute job.

Click the image to open in full size.
Ground wire install.
Click the image to open in full size.
Connect one end of the ground wire to the negative battery terminal.
Click the image to open in full size.
Connect the other end of the ground wire to one of four bolts on the plate of the transmission.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:18 AM   #10
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Hmm.
I tried this last night but it didn't work for my issue, however I feel better knowing I have a good solid ground to prevent future issues. I think I'm looking at a fuel pressure regulator.
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:18 PM   #11
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Today I installed Shinjiduo's hypergrounding kit. It seems to have eliminated the hard start issue! I'll report back in a couple days to confirm this.
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montego Murph View Post
Hmm.
I tried this last night but it didn't work for my issue, however I feel better knowing I have a good solid ground to prevent future issues. I think I'm looking at a fuel pressure regulator.
There are 5 more ground wires you can add. You can order Shinjiduo's kit for $60 (I highly recommend) or get the walmart 4 gauge wire again but modify it to the right length along with a few bolts and washers and follow Shinjiduo's install instructions.

Have you tried testing the ignition switch, starter relay, and starter?

Keep us updated.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:17 AM   #13
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Problem:
1. Hard start
2. RPM drops after car starts then goes back up.

Here's my youtube video:
http://youtu.be/ygfJ7jXVxRQ

Once I again. I can't seem to pinpoint the problem. I'm thinking a bad starter because there is a voltage drop during cranking. A good starter should not have a voltage drop right? I'm thinking the other problem with the RPM drop after starting is a vacuum leak. Any ideas? The car runs fine though after starting up.

I have:
- Cleaned the MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor)
- Cleaned throttle body
- Cleaned battery terminals
- Changed crank position sensor
- Checked ground wires. All good. I also installed a Hypergrounding kit
- Changed spark plugs (NGK Iridium IX)
- Checked voltage of battery. Reads 12.4-12.6V when car is off. 14.2-14.4V when car is on.
- Checked voltage of starter. Reads 12.4-12.6V when car is off. During cranking, voltage drops to 9V. When car starts, voltage reads 14.2-14.4V.
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Last edited by 2000_Maxima_SE; 07-05-2012 at 10:23 AM..
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:04 AM   #14
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That is NOT hard starting! Sure it takes little longer than usual but I counted less than three second of cranking from your video.

Have you tried giving the ignition and then waiting for 5 solid seconds before cranking? Your car is behaving as if the fuel pressure has been bleed off when it sits overnight.

Were you touching the gas pedal during this video? If not, then you need to clean the TB and IACV. The symptoms of rpm dropping and going back up indicate a problem with IACV.

From the video, starter and battery both sound healthy. A weak starter would have been already struggling at the end of the 3 second crank and yours is still strong when the car catches up.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:09 PM   #15
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mine starts the exact same way, and have replaced numorous amounts of parts, cleaned throttle body, IACV grounds, added grounds, load tested batt. starter etc. i know my car had the IACV replaced under a recall (at least thats what nissan told me) i also get surging.from 1400- 1800 rpm which is way more noticable when cold and almost completley dissapears when warm.

mine takes a bit longer than urs though.. when its cold its just a delayed start, when its warm it fires up right away but struggles for 2 seconds in lower rpms.. then bounces back up , rather than how yours drops and levels out at the right rpm. if thats understandable.

i will be taking off my iacv and doing a good clean on it this weekend. give cleaning it a try like sontakke said and post back
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:19 PM   #16
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i know my car had the IACV replaced under a recall (at least thats what nissan told me)
there was an IACV recall? do you have a 2001? i'm not sure if mine did but last time i brought it to dealership they said there were no outstanding recalls.
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Old 07-06-2012, 05:27 PM   #17
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i dont know, im in a 2000 and up in canada. i called a year ago, asking about a tsb, the lady said my car was in there back in 2001 for a recall on the iacv.. i still dont know if she really knew what she was talking about.. but it was replaced.. whether it was for a recall or not, im not too sure.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:32 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sontakke View Post
That is NOT hard starting! Sure it takes little longer than usual but I counted less than three second of cranking from your video.

Have you tried giving the ignition and then waiting for 5 solid seconds before cranking? Your car is behaving as if the fuel pressure has been bleed off when it sits overnight.

Were you touching the gas pedal during this video? If not, then you need to clean the TB and IACV. The symptoms of rpm dropping and going back up indicate a problem with IACV.

From the video, starter and battery both sound healthy. A weak starter would have been already struggling at the end of the 3 second crank and yours is still strong when the car catches up.
Thanks for the advice! I'll give an update soon after cleaning the TB and IACV. One question. If I turn the ignition, wait 5 seconds, and it starts everytime the FPR is bad?
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:33 AM   #19
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I cleaned the throttle body and IACV. The problem still remains. Tried leaving the ignition on for 5 seconds before starting car. No change. What should I do next? I'm stomped. I don't know if the problem is a bad IACV or a bad fuel pressure regulator...
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:21 AM   #20
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Have you checked the camshaft position sensor? This one HERE.

But yeah, that start in your video does not seem too bad. Does it get worse sometimes? Mine would start fine some days, but then other days would be very long cranking then start until one day it just cranked. Never threw a code for the Cam sensor until it completely went and even then, code did not come up until i kept cranking. Check that sensor, right on the timing chain cover, and report back.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:11 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2brosgixxer View Post
Have you checked the camshaft position sensor? This one HERE.

But yeah, that start in your video does not seem too bad. Does it get worse sometimes? Mine would start fine some days, but then other days would be very long cranking then start until one day it just cranked. Never threw a code for the Cam sensor until it completely went and even then, code did not come up until i kept cranking. Check that sensor, right on the timing chain cover, and report back.
The starting doesn't get worst. It's quite annoying though. Sometimes I have to press on the gas pedal for it to start. I did a resistance check on the camshaft position sensor. Read 2.5K ohms. So it checked out good. The connector and harness looked ok as well.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:08 AM   #22
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Can you have somebody watch the exhaust while you are starting the car? If you get a puff of a black smoke when it starts, it would mean that you have fuel but not the ignition and then it would imply faulty cam sensor.

Essentially, you are trying to figure out if during the cranking is it missing fuel or is it missing spark. There are other ways of finding this e.g. noid light on the injector or capacitive pick up on the ignition signal or a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel rail etc.

Assuming you have access to the factory service manual (everybody should, it is available on internet), look at what is involved during the cranking of the engine or rather what can prevent the injector or coil from firing.

And if it starts immediately when you play with the gas pedal, then it is 99% IACV problem. Hold the pedal half-way during the crank. If it starts instantly, then you have bad IACV. Hold the pedal full-way during the crank and if is starts, then it means you have a leaky injector which is causing the flood condition. Holding pedal all the way to the floor instructs the ECM to enter clear flood mode during which ECM cuts all the fuel to the engine. However, both of the above condition would lead to rough engine running for few seconds when the engine catches. At least from the video, it does not look like that to me.

Last edited by sontakke; 07-11-2012 at 08:13 AM..
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Old 07-23-2012, 05:00 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sontakke View Post
Can you have somebody watch the exhaust while you are starting the car? If you get a puff of a black smoke when it starts, it would mean that you have fuel but not the ignition and then it would imply faulty cam sensor.

Essentially, you are trying to figure out if during the cranking is it missing fuel or is it missing spark. There are other ways of finding this e.g. noid light on the injector or capacitive pick up on the ignition signal or a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel rail etc.

Assuming you have access to the factory service manual (everybody should, it is available on internet), look at what is involved during the cranking of the engine or rather what can prevent the injector or coil from firing.

And if it starts immediately when you play with the gas pedal, then it is 99% IACV problem. Hold the pedal half-way during the crank. If it starts instantly, then you have bad IACV. Hold the pedal full-way during the crank and if is starts, then it means you have a leaky injector which is causing the flood condition. Holding pedal all the way to the floor instructs the ECM to enter clear flood mode during which ECM cuts all the fuel to the engine. However, both of the above condition would lead to rough engine running for few seconds when the engine catches. At least from the video, it does not look like that to me.
Today I installed a new IACV. Then did an Idle Relearn afterwards. The problem is still there... I'm stomped again!

I want to test to see if my FPR is good. Can I connect a fuel pressure gauge in between the FPR and the fuel line? Can someone confirm if this is the right way? I'm thinking...

1. open gas tank.
2. pull fuse for fuel pump.
3. start ignition to relieve pressure.
4. disconnect fuel line from FPR.
5. connect new fuel line between FPR to fuel pressure gauge.
6. connect old fuel line to other end of the fuel pressure gauge.

The other things I have not replaced yet:
1. Front crankposition sensor. I did a quick resistance check with a multimeter. Correct me if I'm wrong, the crankposition checks good if you move a metal object by it and it changes resistance. The crankposition sensor is bad if it shows no change in resistance when you place a metal object by it.
2. Engine Coolant Temperature sensor. I have read posts of starting issues with a bad ECT. Why is this?
3. Ignition switch. Correct me if I'm wrong, the ignition switch is good if you put a flathead in it and turn it and the car starts every time. The ignition switch is bad if you turn it and the car does not start. My car seems to start fine in cold mornings. But when it's warm, it's hard to start the car. I remember reading other maxima owners saying that heat messes up with the solder on the ignition switch and can cause a no/hard start situation.
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