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2000 Infiniti I30 stalls when shifting into reverse or drive in cold weather

Two/three months ago, I started having problems with my trusty Infiniti I30t (3.0l V6, automatic transmission, 120K or so miles) sedan. As the mercury would drop, the car would have trouble getting moving in the mornings. The car would crank right up and idle pretty high, nothing strange about that given the cold weather, but the second you would shift the car into reverse or drive, the engine would stall and die outright. The car would crank right up again afterward and continue to drive normally. Lately, the problem has progressed to the point where this cycle continues for five, sometimes even six crankings and stallings. I have made at least three trips to my local mechanic to sort his problem out, and nothing he has done has remedied this problem. Among the things he has done have been to test and replace the battery, testing the alternator and replacing a voltage regulator on it, replacing the EGR valve and performing a “major tune-up” of some description. Everything that he has tested has come up as being fine, and every component that seemed to be questionable was replaced, presumably with aftermarket parts. Every time he hands the car back to us, it has cranked right up and has driven off without a single hitch, but the next morning after the same problem rears it’s ugly head.

Again, the temperature does -seem- to have some correlation with the problem. On warmer days, the frequency of stalls and recrankings is considerably fewer, but even in South Carolina the temperature is dropping well into and below the 50’s, meaning that this problem will only presumably be getting worse.

It needs to be noted that the “Service Engine Soon” light has been on for… about two years, possibly longer. My mechanic has repeatedly checked and cleared the code, promising me that the code is as he describes it “benign”. Every time he clears the code, it always comes right back within about a day or two. From the moment the light has come on, there has been absolutely -no- impact in the way the car has been running or anything of the sort. This stalling issue that I have been experiencing has been the only major mechanical issue I have had with the car in years. It also bears noting that I have always been quick to perform routine maintenance and oil changes on the vehicle, and also have always filled it with premium gasoline.

Any help that can be provided will be greatly and warmly appreciated. Thanks for reading my long winded post.

You need a new mechanic. Maybe you needed a new battery because it was just old, but there was no way a new battery was going to fix your problem. You said “The car would crank right up” which excludes batteries and the alternator as the source of your problem.
The voltage regulator is an internal component of your alternator, so it is very unlikely that it was replaced unless the whole alternator was replaced.
Check this link on the subject:

Its more likely the correlation between cold weather and hard starts has much more to do with the often reset CEL, since any idiot can clear the check engine light by just disconnecting either the negative or positive terminal from the battery. The CEL (check engine light) would stay off until the car ran and completed a trip diagnostic.
Then the light would come on again. Sound familiar?

Get another mechanic. This one is ripping you off or doesn’t know better.

You need a new mechanic.

Yeah, I have suspected this for a little while now. My local is great with fixing my car (a crapcan 1993 Nissan 240SX), but I think he’s more than a little flummoxed by more modern vehicles.

Also, the problem has started to get worse. Now, the car will not even idle in park after cranking before it stalls out. Repeating the cranking and stalling process about six or seven times now will get the car moving, but I am growing ever more weary of it getting worse.

I have the same car and the same problem. They installed a new upper intake manifold. That solved the problem and the car doesn’t dies anymore after shifting from park. The sad part is the part is only $5 but the labor is $440.

First we need to know what CEL code the mechanic has been keeping to himself. This would be extremely helpful. The issue you are describing is a function of the Air Idle Control Valve. Have you tried to start the car on a cold morning and let it fully warm up after say 10minutes of idling? Do you still stall out after warm? I bet not.

You need to check your Air Idle Control Valve for proper operation…they get clogged and dirty and many x can be cleaned with good results. The next thing to look for is a vacume leak…this may be your true issue as a vacume leak will in essence make the AIC valve unable to perform its job…making it seem faulty. Look into this…If you did your own repairs I could walk you thru many items to sort this out…but if not you can tell your mechanic to search carefully for vac leaks…then check the AIC valve…the problem seems to lie there. AND GET THOSE CEL CODES…YOUR ENGINE HAS BEEN ASKING FOR HELP FOR A LOOONG TIME…

I believe Altitude is saying that they replaced the upper intake manifold GASKET…this is a 5 dollar part… and would also support my vacume leak theory. It is pretty clear you have a vac leak…

gasket might be $5, but a manifold is a lot more than $5.