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Nissan Primera P12 idling and starting problem

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FinNishmo View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Jan 2018 at 12:34pm
Hi there,

Primera P12 (2004 - 1,6 manual wagon) has been doing this for years (1-2 times a year since 2011 when I bought it) but now it for the first time had to be towed to get it started.

It has always had a bit low idle speed and sometimes (a few times a year) it even stalls on it's own. The real problem is that sometimes when this happens it does not start again. This has happened only when it stalls right after a cold start.

The starter runs fine (was changed less than a year ago), but the engine won't start. The engine "tries" slightly, but does not respond to presses or kicks to the gas pedal. Sometimes when it's left for a few hours it again starts normally, or has reluctantly started to respond to pedal kicking and eventually started up. Did not happen the last time though. The most peculiar thing when this happens is that sometimes it feels like the engine is running when starting, as there is no normal starting "studder", but just smooth turning of the engine along the starter. Yet it still wont keep running and does not respond to gas pedal.

When it was shortly towed this morning I tried to clutch start it when rolling, but I couldn't quite make it if it actually started or just was being dragged, as things were too hectic and noisy. Heard nothing and wasn't able to stare at the tach for reasons unspecified. Anyway when we stopped it did start again normally.

Anyone had something similar? I'm thinking it's an ECU or a sensor problem somewhere. If this happens again before I manage to change the car, I'd like to know if there is something I could try. Is it possible to reboot the ECU or manually put it into safe mode for example?

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timeshock! View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timeshock! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2018 at 3:59pm
Hi and welcome to the forumHandshake
 
Sounds like a loose connection or bad earth problem.
 
The 1.6 is not an engine I am very familiar with.

I would start with checking the main battery earth lead where the attach to the chassis and transmission ensuring they have good sound connection and no breaks. then starting checking the connections and wiring in the engine bay, with no EML it may take some pinpointing

try reading a code anyway

http://www.npoc.co.uk/forum/p12-all-engines-read-reset-ecu-fuel-pump_topic54932.html

when you do it correctly just count the flashes of the light it will give a repeating sequence of four digits, 10 flashes representing zero

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Estyfort Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2018 at 6:07pm
No check engine light all this while?
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p11primeragt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote p11primeragt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2018 at 6:12pm
Check the chain tensioner, see how far the plunger is sticking out.
the price is forgotten long after the quality remains
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FinNishmo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2018 at 3:28pm
Thanks for info!

No check engine light.

Bad ground could be it, but as there are no other problems with the electronics it sure would be the strangest way to appear. People win all kinds of lotteries though so it's worth checking out.

What does the ECU boot in fact do? Reset to factory settings, clear the fault codes, service timers, fuel economy record etc.? Hopefully nothing that could cause more problems? I'm thinking the engine could think after that cold start stall that it is still doing something that it isn't - faulty sensor/engine status data remaining in memory after unexpected stall. So in that case maybe a reboot would help.

What about the chain tensioner, how could that be the cause?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote p11primeragt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2018 at 3:33pm
Its not unheard of for cam chains to stretch on the qg engines.

Bad cam timing would make it hard for it to start and would idle badly too depending on how far the timing is out.

Take off the rocker cover and upper timing cover to check the tensioner. The plunger should not be out anymore than 10mm max.

the price is forgotten long after the quality remains
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timeshock! View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timeshock! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2018 at 3:48pm
I don't understand what you are talking about re-booting the CPU. The link above will read any fault code previously recorded, the final step if carried out will wipe the stored memory of engine codes nothing more.
While you can not rule out a stretched chain I would expect a EML light on. Certainly follow Brian's advice above
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FinNishmo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2018 at 5:55pm
As for now, both the idle and starting are fine.  The idling "problem" is that when lifting off power the revs momentarily dip to 350-400 before picking up again in a couple of seconds. On a roll, clutch pressed, it remains at 500 for a while. Hot idle when standing still is around 700 rpm, smooth and stable. I'm sure this would not be considered as a problem, but a characteristic if I went to ask about it. But as the engine is bit small already, such a dip easily leads to a stall when combined with full turn and/or careless clutch. Nevertheless, stalling would not be a problem but a "characteristic". 

The problem is that sometimes (so far maybe a bit less than ten times in 7 years) the car wont start after such a stall when the revs have dipped and it has stalled cold (as explained in the opening post). Other than that the thing is mint, no trouble whatsoever with starts or with idle. So it can't be a chain/valve timing problem. It's either the most annoying bad ground ever, or like I'm thinking, something goes amiss in the engine management system somewhere under certain special circumstances. That's why I'm trying to reboot the system if this still manages to happen. Disconnecting and reconnecting the battery won't help.

And as for that, the link to thread "reset the ECU" does not actually reset the ECU but only gives the fault codes and clears the fault code memory? Probably won't be of any help then.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote p11primeragt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2018 at 6:10pm
The only other real problems with this engines are the Maf sensor which sometimes does not give a code..
the price is forgotten long after the quality remains
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote imckay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2018 at 7:35pm
Does sound like it could be the MAF.

The Previous Model (99-02) suffers from failed MAF at 70-100K Miles (110-160K KM) that causes stalling when slowing down.
It uses the same type of Bosch MAF.
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