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Nissan Maxima Stalling

rstewart rstewart
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 03/06
Posted: 03/15/06
02:16 AM

I have a 96 maxima that goes dead at traffic lights/stops.  It does this about 1 out of 8 stops.  Additionally when driving around 40 mph the car will suddenly begin lurching and eventually will smooth on out.  When doing so if the engine is revved up it smooths out sooner.  The check engine light is on which I understand generally means that there is something wrong with a sensor.  I have had the car placed on diagnostic equipment at a foreign car shop as well as at a Nissan dealership.  Both places state that no code shows up of anything stored or present.  My research seems to point to the Mass Air Flow Sensor and I have communicated this to both shops and they said "the computer" doesn't indicate this.  Any ideas?  

automotivejtm-#001 automotivejtm-#001
Guru | Posts: 1016 | Joined: 03/06
Posted: 03/15/06
02:37 AM

From all my experience with Nissans your research is correct, mass air flow sensors fail all the time on nissans causing rough idles boggyness (spelling)  and stalls.  

Is your car idleing rough?  If so turn it the car off..  unplug the mass air flow sensor,   the turn the car back on with the mass air flow sensor unplugged.  If the idle smooths out, then you have found your problem.  

If it still bogs out and dies the next thing to check would be your fuel pump.  

rstewart rstewart
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 03/06
Posted: 03/15/06
03:56 AM

Car only idles rough occassionally (maybe 1 out of 10 times when cranked).  On the other hand I can let it run idleing and sometimes it may run for 10 minutes and began a rough idle and at other times I think I could let it run for an hour and these symptoms never appear.  This model is designed to run on high octane gas.  Most recently I used octane booster and ejector cleaner, drove the car using almost 1/4 tank of gas, and tried to make it do this crazy stuff.  Car ran fine all weekend.  Thought I had it figured out....but guess what it started it back again.  I have also been told (not sure if true) that sometimes a faulty MAF sensor may not show up on the diagnostic machines used by mechanics.  

automotivejtm-#001 automotivejtm-#001
Guru | Posts: 1016 | Joined: 03/06
Posted: 03/15/06
04:24 AM

next time you start it and it is idleing rough unplug the mas air flow sensor while the car is running, see if the idle smooths out, if so you more then likely found your problem.  

rstewart rstewart
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 03/06
Posted: 03/20/06
02:45 AM

Thanks for the help.  In my particular case not only did it smooth out, but I could crank the car with it unplugged and it idled fine, when I plugged it back in, the car went dead.  Dealership wanted $488.00 but it went to a junk yard and bought one for $50.  Car runs great now.  I think I may go to the dealership and give them some technical advice. Ha!  Thanks again.  

automotivejtm-#001 automotivejtm-#001
Guru | Posts: 1016 | Joined: 03/06
Posted: 03/20/06
02:52 AM

glad I could help  

brianmcart brianmcart
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 06/06
Posted: 06/12/06
08:44 AM

My car is experiencing the exact same issue as rstewart described. Any tips/instruction ideas on how to unplug the sensor? Do I need any special tools? I understand it should be located in the air filter box? By the way, the fix you recommended has been elusive to the dealership where my car is currently sitting (2 weeks now!) They have recommended to fix the Crank Position Sensor...  

Weefle Weefle
New User | Posts: 23 | Joined: 08/06
Posted: 08/17/06
03:25 AM

My 1997 Nissan 200sx se GA16DE 1.6L manual has a similar problem.  It Idles fine at a stop BUT,  when I go to slow down from 45mph or more in neutral (coasting) the idle will drop from the usual 690-715rpm down to 550rpm, then 300, 200, DEAD. I re-start it in neutral while coasting and continue on in gear.  I now down-shift to avoid the problem. It did it once when I dropped into neutral from 5th at 45-50mph.  The engine sounds like either it's suffocating, or drowning. Rich vs lean....   The sparks are there, the battery is new.  So far I have replaced with new parts (I had lying around);  
 A new battery
 A new IACV valve
 A new front 02 sensor
 A new MAP sensor
 New spark wires
 New sparks, gapped correctly and indexed.
 Cleaned and checked distributor cap and rotor (minimal residue)
 Fuel filter has <10,000mi on it.

I have also re-set the IDLE speed and checked timing.  
I reset the ECU and tried to re-learn the base map in hopes of improving this, no dice.
I replaced a torn vacuum hose from the valve cover to the intake
I put a vacuum hose that had come off a T back into place.
I cleaned the TB, intake piping and air filter.

The car runs like a race-car, but has this quirk still.
I have come to HATE neutral.

I am now leaning toward checking/replacing the;
Rear 02 sensor
Catalytic converter

This is about all thats left I figure.  I don't wanna pay the $tealership.
I'm gonna try to clean the MAF before I buy one though, with the contact cleaner listed above. I think it's a bad joke that the car can stall out and no CEL gets tripped.... So much for technology. Just goes to show they can stuff all the computers they want under a dashboard, and still not know jack at the end of the day... may as well stuff them somewhere more creative Wink

And oh yes,  The MAF on most nissans I've ever seen is part of the intake tubing.  Not In the airbox, but closer to the engine, in a round plastic intake tube, connected to the airbox and has a square kinda middle to it. There should be a fairly large electrical quick-connector from the ecu harness going to the unit.  I'm sure your Crank Position Sensor is fine Smile
HEY!, I think I've been to that dealer!   (not)  

brianmcart brianmcart
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 06/06
Posted: 08/17/06
07:54 AM


That's quite a hitlist. I don't bring the engine expertise you have displayed on your list of fixes performed so far! It is funny that you too have adapted to the stalling tendency by shifting into neutral when needed. I have become accustomed to slowing down at a light, shifting to neutral, braking and revving the engine past the "stall danger zone" until the engine decides to cooperate again... It's a tiresome procedure- especially since mine is an auto transmisison and I'm not in the habit of going into neutral constantly...

I just went to another mechanic that was recommended to me for their honest track record. They have suggested

Cleaning mass air flow sensor
Replacing Air filter (evidently pretty old)
Replacing fuel filter (same thing)
Replacing an 02 sensor that is showing up as malfunctioning

Oh, and they have to fix a belt and pulley system for my electrical system (the belt decided to break the other day!)

to the tune of about $725...

Based on your list performed- the fixes they reccommend are similar to yours...
Thanks for the info! I'll keep you posted on it!  

Weefle Weefle
New User | Posts: 23 | Joined: 08/06
Posted: 08/18/06
12:05 PM

Just cleaned the MAF sensor.  Seems to have fixed the problem.  I can't get it to stumble and die anymore.  The tiny little wire and metal posts it's attatched to were sooty and black.  Against the advice of most everyone not to touch them....  I took a model paint brush of fox hair, and used goo-be-gone orange based de-greaser to lightly brush it and remove the black deposits.  I then cleaned the brush and used warm mildly soapy water to brush off the residue, and let it air dry with a fan on it. The wires were shiny when I was done.  Now it runs great, responds better, and that just saved me $500 for a brand new MAF.

samel samel
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 08/06
Posted: 08/20/06
12:48 PM

Only 1 "safe" way to clean MAF sensors:
SPRAY with
CRC (brand) Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner
NEVER use brake cleaner (strong), carb cleaner,etc.
We have gotten by with lessor strength stuff such as alcohol, but none are totally correct. ( Google Cleaning MAF)

If you touch :
you may break it if its hard crusted,
or leave skin oil residue that will change the sensor's value.

and thus apparent air flow reading to your computer ( the same that crusted "dust" particles are doing , usually due to a poor air filter or air intake from "dirty environment".)

use a 20x magnifier to see the stuff.
Its NOT grease, so a de-greasor is wrong, plus then u have to remove the degreaser film.

If you drive in bigcity air loaded with questionable "mists" that pass through the air filter more easily, i've seen the sensors needing spray cleaned
as often as the "starts off with hesitation" symptom begins...monthly even.

AND K&N air filters can leak their oil onto the sensor if not done right ( again Google it).

TEST MAF, As mentioned above, simply unplug the wiring to the questionable MAF, restart engine and see if (the computer's default MAF value) runs smoother now.The default is not perfect , only better than a way out of range (dirty) MAF sensor or dead sensor.

If so,MAF needs attention:
BUT FIRST check and clean the MAF with CRC.
If you do it soon enough, before the sensor is hardened beyound cleaning
you have saved some $$.
AND often , the "dirty" MAF does NOT tigger any code.
It is indeed still sending a signal/value of air flow,  to the computer for the computer to use, only it is wrong. The Computer does what its supposed to do: match with the corresponding fuel amount , to the WRONG air value.Thus the hesitation at start up, until you have engine running on more open throttle and the A/F ratio is more closely to what it ACTUALLY is.

good luck !

and keep those MAF Sensors on your tuneup check list !  

blukanu blukanu
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 09/06
Posted: 09/11/06
01:57 PM

I had the same problem on a 95 200sx. All I did was work the diaphram up and down a couple of times on the EGR valve. It hasn't done it again.  

jagreiss jagreiss
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 09/06
Posted: 09/14/06
11:29 AM

How do you work the EGR valve up and down? My check engine light is on on my 1991 Nissan Maxima and I runs extremely rough. Sometimes the chck engine light goes out and it runs fine. Thanks for the info!


cooldude_atc cooldude_atc
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 10/05/06
03:35 PM

Can someone post a detailed way to open and clean my MFO sensor?  

MelissaBridges MelissaBridges
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 02/07
Posted: 02/02/07
09:33 PM

I have a 1990 Maxima and I am not having a problem with stalling but my car doesn't like to start when it is warm. Basically I can get up in the moring hop in the car take off and go anywhere I want as long as I want to stay an hour or so. It will not start right after being turned off. I have a mechanic who says that it's the tempature coolant sensor. It sounds good to me he says that the car doesn't know what tempature it is so as a safety mechanisim it won't start. The car sounds like it's out of gas if I try to start it while it's warm. I'm not a mechanic and if that fixes it I will be happy. Any Advice? or any other ideas what it might be?  

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