Nissan Quest not starting up properly. Need Help

My wife and I have a Nissan Quest 2000. Our vehicle broke down last November 21, 2010 and the mechanic replaced the alternator and the battery. Our vehicle worked fine after that, but two weeks ago the battery cable came loose and I had to have that fix, by another mechanic. Our van worked fine for a week and now the Quest takes 15-30 minutes to turn over. What is wrong?

Can you define “takes 15-30 minutes to turn over”?

If you hear the starter cranking the engine when you turn the ignition key, then the engine is “turning over”.

Do you mean to tell us that, for the first 15-30 minutes of trying to start the car, you hear nothing?
Or do you mean to tell us that you must crank the engine with the starter for 15-30 minutes in order for the engine to start?
There is a major difference between these two situations.

Also–we need to know the maintenance history of the vehicle–in some detail.
Please don’t give us a meaningless statement such as, “it has been well-maintained”.
For instance, when were the spark plugs and plug wires last replaced?
How about the air filter and the fuel filter?

Is the Check Engine light illuminated?
Can you describe the weather conditions when you have the no-start condition?

Thank you for your response:

We crank the engine from a cold start with the starter for 15-30 minutes, after that the vehicle runs.

Spark plugs and plug wires replaced in 3/2010

Filter replaced in 5/2010

As for the fuel filter I have no idea

I had the distributor cap replaced in 7/2010, vehicle will stall/stutter when it heats up.

The Check Engine light does not illuminated.

Cold here New York 26 to 31 degree, right now 34. It has been colder, but this is the first time this has happen.

You can’t crank and engine for 15-30 minutes as neither the battery nor starter will take it. So presumably you’re cranking for a while…stop…crank for a while…stop…?

Anyway…try this: turn the key to the on/run position - just to where the dash lights all come on but before it actually cranks. Hold for a few second and then turn back to off. Then back to on/run for a few seconds - off - on/run - off… do that about 6-7 times.

If that gets it to fire right right up, then replace the fuel pump. (Or live with that procedure as long as you can).

No matter what get a new fuel filter on it.

Thank you for your response:
?try this: turn the key to the on/run position - just to where the dash lights all come on but before it actually cranks. Hold for a few second and then turn back to off. Then back to on/run for a few seconds - off - on/run - off… do that about 6-7 times.?

Does not work, no change.

So it could be the fuel filter?
I will have it looked at. If there is anything else I should have looked at please let me know.

Again thank you.

Took My Nissan Quest to the car mechanic and they check everything, fuel pump, fuel filter, starter, alternator, etc. the weather temperature was approx. 30 to 40 degrees. I left and drove the van without problems back home. Next day it dropped to approx 18 degrees (NY) and I could not start the vehicle. What is going on? Need help!

“I could not start the vehicle”

Anytime you say it won’t start you have to describe. Are we still talking about the same thing - where it cranks over just fine but won’t actually fire up? Or are you back to having something more like power issues where you turn the key and get little or no cranking? Describe it in detail.

If it is cranking but it won’t actually fire up start by finding out whether you have a spark or fuel problem. At an auto parts store you can buy a spark tester and can of starting fluid.

At one of those times when it won’t start spray some of the starting fluid into the intake. If that gets it to fire up, even if briefly then you can lay odds that it is the fuel system that needs troubleshooting.

If that doesn’t do anything use the spark tester (they come with instructions) to see if you’re getting spark. If not, then you know it is the ignition system that needs troubleshooting.

That is is It! It is cranking but it won’t actually fire up!

So I apark or fuel problem? I will check, but I sm nnot sure what to do.

-Correct cranks over just fine but won’t actually fire up!

As I continue to do this, it gets weaker.

Try a can of starting fluid, sprat a 2-3 second spray into the intake for the air cleaner. If the van then fires up briefly you have a fuel problem

If it doesn’t fire up with starting fluid, you can buy an inexpensive spark plug checker to put in-between the plug and the wire. If it doesn’t flash you have a spark problem.

If you are not comfortable doing this, leave it with your mechanic on a cold night so they can test it in the morning when it won’t start.

I left it with the mechanic at a Nissan Dealership and so far they are still trying to figure out what is wrong. They saw the problem with it cranking, but not starting. I was told the Nissan mechanics were unable to start it up until they stored it in a warm area. Later I was told they noticed ?a cam misfired when checking the codes. So far the spark plugs are still good and the mechanics are still working on the vehicle.

“a cam misfired”

Are you sure that this is what they told you?

All I can imagine is that they found that the valve timing was “off”.
Was the timing belt replaced just before the starting problems began?
Has the timing belt ever been replaced?

It sounds like the shop is checking the error codes to help solve this trouble which I think may be important in helping solve the problem. If using some starter fluid to help get the engine running doesn’t work then I would have to think there is something wrong with the ignition system. The cold may be effecting one of the engine sensors perhaps.

Hey guys,

I had to take the Nissan Quest from the Nissan dealership to another mechanic who found the problem to be a defective distributor cap and shaft plus the rotor assembly. The vehicle runs alright, but stalls from time to time. I guess I have to deal with that until I get enough funds to purchase another vehicle.

Thanks for the feedback and glad you got the issue solved. The stalling problem may be due to a dirty EGR sensor or perhaps the MAF sensor.