Maxima dies suddenly

My new (to me) 2001 Maxima died on the highway on the way home from work less than 24 hours after I bought it. The cruise was on and I pushed on the accelerator to pass a truck, about 45 minutes away from work. Got up to about 80 in the passing lane and the engine suddenly died. No warning lights or check engine lights came on and all the electronics stayed on just fine as though the engine was still running (radio, fan, etc)- I actually had to disengage the clutch and watch the tach go to 0 to confirm my suspicion that the engine had died. After pulling over and waiting for about 10-15 minutes it started again and drove me back to the dealership (who refused to give me my money back and just wanted to have a mechanic look at the car). This mechanic decided that a cam sensor failed and replaced it, even though there was no actual indication that the sensor had actually failed (no computer log of the event).

That’s problem number one. Problem two is that it will sometimes shudder and surge horribly when driving slowly in first through parking lots (when the engine is warm and I’m trying to keep it under about 10 mph). At first I thought that I just wasn’t using the clutch right, but I’m a pretty experienced driver and lots of practice and concentration hasn’t fixed the problem, leading me to wonder if it isn’t mechanical. I wonder if the two things could be related?

Thanks for your help!

I would be suspicious of the fuel pump system causing the trouble. Possibly the fuel pump relay is intermittent. The other trouble may be related to the engine stalling. The throttle position sensor is a possible area to check. There may be a bad spot on the pot causing the trouble.

How many miles on the Maxima, and do you know anything about its maintenance history? For instance, has the fuel filter ever been replaced? How about the spark plugs? On an eight year old car almost anything is possible.

Has the car stalled at highway speed since the installation of the new cam position sensor?

I agree with Cougar about the throttle position sensor as a possible cause of the low speed problem. When he says “pot” he means potentiometer.

The car has 90k. As far as history goes, all I have is a clean carfax and an owner history that shows only 2 owners .

Yep. :frowning:

Great suggestions. I was leaning towards the fuel system myself because when it finally starts back up it coughs and sputters like it’s just finally getting gas again. We’ll see what the dealer says.

How hard/expensive would it be to replace the “pot” myself? Same question for the fuel pump relay. Thanks!

The relay just pulls out of a socket. The TPS sensor shouldn’t be real hard but may need to be calibrated. The biggest job is to find what the real problem is before replacing parts.

So true. Thanks again! I’ll keep this thread posted on the results of their investigation tomorrow.