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05 Nissan Altima SE-R starting trouble ? Need help

My car intermittently will not start for no reason. I first thought the fuel pump going out, but you can hear it and no issues with the car running. I was told the Altima has no fuel filter only a screen, so that’s not it? The car will start perfectly 10 times in a row and then it just cranks & cranks & cranks almost to the point of draining my battery. The battery is good (had it checked). Then all of a sudden after cranking the car (good cranking) it’ll start right up & run normal … No fuel leaks to be seen, just out of options?? I called a local garage to ask about a diagnostic check and was told without a code he wouldn’t know where to start. Well, unless I bring it in when having the problem - that’s not possible. Any suggestions or comments on where to start? Thank you.

Next time it fails, unplug the maf and try it.

Have You Noticed A “Security” Light Illuminated On The Instrument Panel When It Fails To Start ?

@ Stoveguyy - I try to do most of my own work but what are you referring to as the maf?

The only lights that appears is the battery light - one the reasons I had it checked. No other lights show up.

I have run one tank of fuel cleaner - at 1/4 tank left now.

You’ll have to determine whether this is due to not getting spark or fuel.
Get a cheapie spark tester and plug it inline with any spark plug to see if you have spark when it doesn’t want to start. If you are getting spark, the problem isn’t your ignition.

Report back.

ONLY the battery light (with ignition in run position)? Sounds like an electrical problem to me. Ignition switch?

That should have been with ignition in run position (engine off). How the heck do you edit a post?
All dash warning lights should have come on.

Ok I will check on and buy the spark tester - thank you

@ LewisCannon - all other dash lights work - I was saying no trouble codes/lights were on. I have a friend with a reader and no codes came up. It’s been Saturday since the last time the car would not start - being started 4 times or more each day. There is no consistency to diagnose - and then the car will start after trying for a minute or two.

" I have a friend with a reader and no codes came up. "

What if the problems is in the NATS ? I doubt your friend’s reader can pull BCM (body) codes.


@JasonM MAF mass airflow sensor

If your engine has one, it’ll be between the air cleaner and the throttle body

Hook up a fuel pressure gauge
Check compression (if it’s low your valve lash may be too tight)

How many miles?

When it fails to start immediately the next time, try removing the cap from the Schrader valve on the fuel rail (on cylinder head opposite the spark plugs) and depress the valve pin inside the valve body. If you don’t get a good spray of fuel, you’ll know that you have an intermittent problem with the fuel system, like a failing fuel pump, loose ground wire, bad fuel pump relay etc. If you get a good spray of fuel from this simple test, I’d go ahead and replace the Crank Position Sensor (CPS). These are less than $20 on a 4 cyl Nissan; not even worth the time to try to diagnose an intermitent failure. Sometimes a failing CPS will cause occasional failures without throwing a trouble code. Good luck!

crankshaft position sensor is known as CKP sensor

camshaft position sensor is known as CMP sensor

The check engine light is actually the MIL, not CEL, as some guys post

I’m just trying to be helpful,

picky picky picky

All the above good ideas. I expect this will turn out to be a fuel pressure problem or the crank sensor.

But if you are feeling lucky, you might try loosening the gas cap next time this happens. There’s a slight chance it is due to a gas tank venting problem. Be forewarned that loosening the gas cap might turn on the check engine light at least temporarily. But it would be an easy experiement to do at least.

I’m leaning toward a fault with the security system. It sounds like the fuel pump isn’t getting energized sometimes. Just for giggles, try driving the car with another ignition key. And see if the problem persists.

@Sean01 The Altima SE-R has the VQ 3.5L, it’s the top spec Altima of that vintage.

@keith maybe I am picky

But wouldn’t it suck if somebody here went out, bought and installed the wrong part because they used the wrong term/acronym?

If the customer doesn’t know what a part is called and maybe isn’t even sure what it looks like or where it’s located, do you think the parts counter guy will get it right?
That’s a gamble

I would argue that “crank position sensor (CPS)” is the proper proticol to indicate that henceforth in the remainder of the paragraph CPS will mean Crank Position Sensor. I prefer this form of describing a part for a few reasons; first, it describes exactly what the acronum means. This avoids confusion. Second, often different manufacturers will use different acronums and even different nomenclatures for the same basic parts. For example, Toyota calls its oxygen sensors air/fuel ratio sensors (A/F Sensor) and its alternators generators. This might be considered more accurate in my opinion, mainly because with the rectifier being contained in the alternator assembly, the output of the unit is actually in DC. Although the argument could be made that the structure of the armature, commutator, and windings is what shoud determine the correct term (does it put out a sine wave or a pulsed DC wave?).

If we describe what we’re alluding to (our acronyms) we stand a much better chance of getting problems solved. Even if our acronyms vary.

" The check engine light is actually the MIL, not CEL, as some guys post "

Pretty Picky. Actually The MIL Is The CEL And The CEL Is The Mil.

For the novice car owner/operator it makes more sense the identify the CEL as the Check Engine Light, which is on the car and often says, “Check Engine” As It Lights.

Advising to look for a Malfunction Indicator Light/Lamp would make more sense if the thing that lit up said, “Malfuntion Indicator.”

My manuals usually refer to the MIL and in my mind I have no problem with anybody calling it CEL or MIL, in fact I often don’t notice whether it’s one or the other. I’m too busy comprehending important information.

So, please forgive me if I still choose CEL over MIL much of the time.

Now parts, that’s a different ball game. Giving the proper nomenclature simplifies and streamlines the process. I knew a young lady that referred to a part (car part) as a “didgy-poo.” That’s not as helpful as “gear-shift lever.”

I’ll drink to that and what TSM says. Our advice can also be a bit of a helpful lesson.


Well, as long as she was referring to a CAR part…

What acronym should we start using for the cam position sensor?