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Mystery No Spark on a 2002 Nissan Altima I bought back from a customer

So I had bad luck on the sale of a 2002 Nissan Altima. I first had to change the starter for her, then she kept telling me she doesn’t want it fixed and she wants her money back. Wasn’t gonna happen if all it needed was a starter. She was talking about some other car she wanted so this leads me to believe she may have sabotaged this vehicle.

So, the next day she takes a 1.5 hour (accidentally typed mile before) drive to where some of her family live. She had mentioned someone was going to help her with the a/c. To my knowledge, the high line was clogged. She bought the car super cheap knowing the a/c was not working. Apparently, she was able to put in refrigerant and get the a/c to blow cold. Maybe the blockage came free after driving it as the car hadn’t seen much time on the road in years. She also filled the tank to the top with fuel.
This is all I was able to learn being on the phone with her when she told me the car would not stay running. She told me a tow truck was going to have to bring it back to her house. Well, she was tow-roped home as evidence by the damage to the front bumper and the now missing nissan emblem. There was also a core sticker on the battery. I am wondering if she bought a new battery then when things went south, she went to get her core back and possibly return the battery or whatever because it was my battery in the car.

After towing it back to my shop, I was wondering if it could have been the fuel pump. Then I checked the relays under the hood and some were cracked as if someone was pulling them out to check them and they’re very fragile. The car has NO SPARK from any of the 4. The fan stays running even with the key only in the on position and a cold engine. I believe it’s in some kind of fail safe mode.
There is damage to the positive battery connector but it’s working and nothing is blown there.
The ignition relay is working. My scan tool can not pull any data from the obdii.

I’m at a loss right now. I don’t know if the ecm is damaged nor how to test that. I do not have a fancy scan tool. One suspicion is maybe the battery was wired up backwards and that caused damage but I don’t know if that seems likely. I just don’t know but I already had cut her a check before even investigating the condition of the vehicle. I’ve learned my lesson on that. She was just so irate. I just wanted to hook it and book it.

This is the 2.5L engine. If anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears…eyes.

Did you write a contract with her with the mention “Sold as is”?

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We have all that As-Is documentation. But I wanted to stop the drama and not have mistruths spread online and in the neighborhood.
If the car really did have issues, I felt buying it back was the right thing. Having a heart may have screwed me over.

I have a feeling that the person will still do that . No good deed goes unpunished .


Have you checked all of the fuses and fusible links; both dash and underhood. A number of them are related to the engine management and starting so it only takes one blown one or one removed and thrown into the grass…

It seems to me you have been over backwards and I think you will get badmouthed anyway. She buys a 19 year old car on the cheap and then wants a Hyundai 100k miles warranty?
As Volvo_V70 correctly states; no good deed goes unpunished. I know; been there done that.

A brother in law wiped his Chevy truck engine out due to not checking the oil. I found a good running 350 for 250 bucks that he could drive first before it was pulled. I felt sorry for him as he was starting a new job so I offered to install it for free. The truck was done and ran great. He disappeared.
I found out several weeks later he was telling everyone that I “screwed him over” even though his wife said the truck was running fine. I went to his house one night about 10 to invite him outside for a discussion but he refused to come outside and chose to hide in the back bedroom with a gun. I did get my revenge eventually but won’t go into particular facet of it. Last time for trying to help an in-law.

Good for you :+1:

Who needs enemies, when you’ve got family and in-laws . . . sad, but true

I never touched a relative or in-law’s vehicle again after that incident. He was trying to come up with a grand for a used engine. I told him to hold off for a few days and I could check with an elderly black man who I had good dealings with. The guy had just gotten in a Chevy that body wise was beat to a pulp and rusted but ran great.

The in-law even drove the car before the engine was removed and said it ran fine. Ran fine after installation also so I have no idea where the screwed over part comes from. He paid 250 for the engine/all accesories, plus oil, filter, and coolant. That’s it. Zero labor and just as bad he never even came back and said thanks for bailing me out after taking it for a test drive.

If you are going to still try to work on this car yourself you should invest in a voltmeter if you don’t have one already. Power is most likely not getting to the OBD-2 connector and is why you can’t check for any codes. Make sure all the fuses are good. It would also be very good to have the factory wiring manual for the car to refer to.

There are too many variables to try and approach this repair using what u heard or what “they” might have done to it.

So just start from scratch as if this simoly shut down on you one day while driving. The most basic scan tools are a huge help to you in this day and age and with their cost far under 100 usually there isnt much excuse to not have one… and it can be used on other vehicles after you solve this issue.

First id check to see that the security system isnt doing this to you on purpose… look up how system works on net…
I would close the doors and lock n u lock them using the key in the drivers door to help ensure the system disarms…

After that you are just chasing a no spark condition… and your distributor is the star of the show here… it has an ignitor inside of it that can fail and stop spark… the ignit coil itself needs to be checked and i believe its also inside the distributor… the crank sensor is also inside the distributor among other real important run or no run type sensors

So the distributor is mega important here… you need to do all the sort of checks n verifies that one needs to do in situations like this.

New aftermarket distribs arent expensive so…

You need the basics in tools and a scan tool honestly… check that security system isnt doing this on purpose… check all fuses AND the sometimes hard to locate fusible links as well… they really throw people off sometimes and they are very very important

Good luck

Someone on another site talked about being treated like family. The sign on the store said “we treat everyone like family”. Don’t shop there.

At any rate as a novice, sometimes you just need to distance yourself from an irate person. Just not worth it. Seems to me though if there was a battery issue, and can’t get a reading from the ECM, gotta think that yeah, boyfriend or someone hooked the cables up wrong and blew the computer and/or other parts.