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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2003 MUrano AWD SE
To start, the battery, alternator and charging system are all fine.

SCENARIO...
Had pulled in somewhere to eat and watch a movie, as I've done many times before. Finished up, ignition key was already at the first position, went to start MO and a few "dummy" lights came on, one being the battery, and it was very faint and flickering. Figured my battery had mysteriously died.

Used my Everstart portable battery booster and MO started right up. Turned MO off, and the same thing happened...no power to anything, not windows, door locks, etc., and this time when I tried to remove the key from the ignition, I couldn't...the switch wouldn't let go. I had to wait a few seconds and then I felt a click fron the ignition and the key released.

Long to short...over the next few days I experimented with various situations, and 95% of the time MO would not start without a jump. A few times all of the appropriate dummy lights appeared, but when I turned the key to start, every light went out except for those same handful of dummy lights that came on before, then I'd hear a loud, amp-like crackle-pop through MO's speakers. Whenever I jumped the battery with my booster or using jumpers to another vehicle, MO would fire right up. One time, the car-shaped dummy light with the key icon inside (refer to attached pic) decided it wanted to stay lit/steady after MO was started, when it usually just blinks until the car is started then goes out. I drove for awhile with the light on, and decided to pull over, turn MO off, and do the booster thing again, just in case the security system decided to kill my car after so many miles thinking it had ben stolen. This time when MO started, that car-shaped light turned off.

SOLUTIONS...
Went to Nissan with my VIN and was told the immobilzer sensor is the lighted ring around the ignition switch. $285 for the part. I left. Before going home, I replaced the battery in my fob with a new one just in case that made a difference. It didn't. At home, I disconnected both neg/pos leads to the battery and removed the brown valet key that had been in my glovebox for about six months, and placed it inside my toolbox in the garage. Note: while eating lunch that day, I had rummaged through the glovebox and the valet key got relocated to the other side. The next morning, I reconnected the battery leads and MO fired right up. For four days, MO started everytime without the need for a jump.

On the morning of the fifth day, MO wouldn't start. Same results with the dummy lights being on and no power. This time, I decided to remove the neg battery lead for five seconds and then reconnect it . MO fired right up and has started fine for two days. The valet key is in my toolbox about five feet away from where MO is parked. I had moved around some things in my toolboxes, and the valet key did get relocated to a smaller draw the previous night, so.... I'm going to relocate the key at least 20 feet away, just in case the chip in that key is confusing the immobilizer sensor because there are two key chips in very close proximity.

Something else I noticed...whenever I had to jump MO to start it, the clock would always reset to 12:00, but radio stations, trip odometer and such were not affected. Seems strange. However, I did not notice if it was the act of jumping MO or trying to start her that caused the clock to reset. I simply wasn't paying attention to the clock, I was looking at the dummy lights and such.

Anyway...that's what I'm currently paying attention to at the moment. If it happens to any of you, you might try the neg battery disconnect process first. If no tools to do that, do the jumpstart thing. I highly recommend paying $40 and getting an Everstart portable booster/air compressor combo, that way if your get "stranded" in a remote location, you don't have to worry about waiting for someone to drive by to jump you, or worry about no phone service to call for roadside help. That jumper/compressor combo has helped me out quite a bit in the last couple of years, and it's helped out other motorists who were stranded that I stopped to assist.

Anyone else experience any issues like this with their security/ignition system? I'll update from time to time if it happens again, or in a few weeks if things are ok. If okay for a few weeks, I might place the valet key beside MO to see what happens... :)
 

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2003 MUrano AWD SE
To start, the battery, alternator and charging system are all fine.

SCENARIO...
Had pulled in somewhere to eat and watch a movie, as I've done many times before. Finished up, ignition key was already at the first position, went to start MO and a few "dummy" lights came on, one being the battery, and it was very faint and flickering. Figured my battery had mysteriously died.

Used my Everstart portable battery booster and MO started right up. Turned MO off, and the same thing happened...no power to anything, not windows, door locks, etc., and this time when I tried to remove the key from the ignition, I couldn't...the switch wouldn't let go. I had to wait a few seconds and then I felt a click fron the ignition and the key released.

Long to short...over the next few days I experimented with various situations, and 95% of the time MO would not start without a jump. A few times all of the appropriate dummy lights appeared, but when I turned the key to start, every light went out except for those same handful of dummy lights that came on before, then I'd hear a loud, amp-like crackle-pop through MO's speakers. Whenever I jumped the battery with my booster or using jumpers to another vehicle, MO would fire right up. One time, the car-shaped dummy light with the key icon inside (refer to attached pic) decided it wanted to stay lit/steady after MO was started, when it usually just blinks until the car is started then goes out. I drove for awhile with the light on, and decided to pull over, turn MO off, and do the booster thing again, just in case the security system decided to kill my car after so many miles thinking it had ben stolen. This time when MO started, that car-shaped light turned off.

SOLUTIONS...
Went to Nissan with my VIN and was told the immobilzer sensor is the lighted ring around the ignition switch. $285 for the part. I left. Before going home, I replaced the battery in my fob with a new one just in case that made a difference. It didn't. At home, I disconnected both neg/pos leads to the battery and removed the brown valet key that had been in my glovebox for about six months, and placed it inside my toolbox in the garage. Note: while eating lunch that day, I had rummaged through the glovebox and the valet key got relocated to the other side. The next morning, I reconnected the battery leads and MO fired right up. For four days, MO started everytime without the need for a jump.

On the morning of the fifth day, MO wouldn't start. Same results with the dummy lights being on and no power. This time, I decided to remove the neg battery lead for five seconds and then reconnect it . MO fired right up and has started fine for two days. The valet key is in my toolbox about five feet away from where MO is parked. I had moved around some things in my toolboxes, and the valet key did get relocated to a smaller draw the previous night, so.... I'm going to relocate the key at least 20 feet away, just in case the chip in that key is confusing the immobilizer sensor because there are two key chips in very close proximity.

Something else I noticed...whenever I had to jump MO to start it, the clock would always reset to 12:00, but radio stations, trip odometer and such were not affected. Seems strange. However, I did not notice if it was the act of jumping MO or trying to start her that caused the clock to reset. I simply wasn't paying attention to the clock, I was looking at the dummy lights and such.

Anyway...that's what I'm currently paying attention to at the moment. If it happens to any of you, you might try the neg battery disconnect process first. If no tools to do that, do the jumpstart thing. I highly recommend paying $40 and getting an Everstart portable booster/air compressor combo, that way if your get "stranded" in a remote location, you don't have to worry about waiting for someone to drive by to jump you, or worry about no phone service to call for roadside help. That jumper/compressor combo has helped me out quite a bit in the last couple of years, and it's helped out other motorists who were stranded that I stopped to assist.

Anyone else experience any issues like this with their security/ignition system? I'll update from time to time if it happens again, or in a few weeks if things are ok. If okay for a few weeks, I might place the valet key beside MO to see what happens... :)
Are you absolutely sure that the battery is fine (i.e. have you had it load-tested etc.)? If I'm understanding you correctly, whenever you have this no-start problem you can just hook up a booster pack and it starts fine. If that's the case, I don't think this is an immobilizer problem despite the light since if the immobilizer system has been triggered then jumping the car shouldn't allow it to start, regardless. I also don't think the proximity of the valet key should matter either--when you buy the car new from a dealership they send you home with all the keys together. Have you tried pulling codes right when this problem happens (before disconnecting the battery)?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
1 - Are you absolutely sure that the battery is fine (i.e. have you had it load-tested etc.)? If I'm understanding you correctly, whenever you have this no-start problem you can just hook up a booster pack and it starts fine.

2 - I also don't think the proximity of the valet key should matter either--when you buy the car new from a dealership they send you home with all the keys together.

3 - Have you tried pulling codes right when this problem happens (before disconnecting the battery)?
1) The very top of my post says it all. As I said, it also starts when I disconnect the neg/pos battery leads, or just remove the neg for a few seconds. It also started several times (hours apart) during the first few days of the problem without any jump or batt wire disconnection. My go-to tech that I rarely use said the immobilzer sensor, as it degrades over time, can get confused with multiple chips within ten feet of the vehicle. Not saying he's right or wrong. Couple that with original, 17-year-old keys that have been dropped, stepped on, etc, and perhaps there is also a minute glitch with a key chip.

2) Keep in mind when you first get your car/keys from the dealer, everything is new and working at the best it ever will. After 17 years, electrical parts will deteriorate some, and chips within keys may have been exposed to extreme temps, been crushed, dropped, x-rayed at the airport, etc...and who knows if somehow that might affect an old sensor's ability to correctly read it.

3) No, I didn't try pulling any codes when it happened, despite having my scanner two feet away... Since there was no SES code thrown, it just didn't occur me to try, despite knowing that codes can be provided even when the SES light doesn't illuminate.

It doesn't make any sense that jumping MO would bypass security used to prevent theft. I suspect the answer lies with the immobilizer sensor and/or ignition switch. Original ignition and keys, so perhaps something is worn out and not reliably able to figure out what to do once the key is inserted. Though I've tried different key positions, rotations, half-pull-outs, push-ins, etc, to see if I can make MO not start, it's been starting 100% fine for two days now. I can't get it NOT to start. Tempted to bring the valet key back into the equation, but I'd rather wait to see if MO fails to start the same way since that will clear the valet key of any involvement.

I'll update when/if something new happens... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Okay...it's 100% not the valet key that's causing the problem.

It happened again today, after MO had been started/stopped twice this morning. On the third start after stopping at a store, I went to start MO and got the same results as last time, but without the amp-like popping noise. This time I barely removed the negative lead from the battery, then retightened it and MO fired right up. I'm serious that I barely took the connector off the battery post before placing it back on. FYI, the post/connector were already tight and clean to begin with. Also this time, the clock didn't reset, but my heat setting changed from 90 to 75. Gremlins in the wiring, just in time for Halloween.

I'm curious to see if it happens again around the same duration... Next test, take my main/black key out of the equation and use just the valet key.

Will update if/when it happens again.
 

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Have you ever inspected your battery negative cable carefully all the way down to where it connects to the transmission? Perhaps there's corrosion that has penetrated deeply into the cable underneath the insulation which is causing intermittent ground connection issues and when you disconnect/connect the negative cable from the battery you're temporarily "fixing" a bad connection. If it's the original ground cable you may want to consider just replacing it with a thicker cable (...I don't believe the 1st generation uses a battery current sensor, but if it does then you would need to replace with an OEM cable.).
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Have you ever inspected your battery negative cable carefully all the way down to where it connects to the transmission? Perhaps there's corrosion that has penetrated deeply into the cable underneath the insulation which is causing intermittent ground connection issues and when you disconnect/connect the negative cable from the battery you're temporarily "fixing" a bad connection.
While I'm not discounting anything until I've tested/inspected various things and ruled them out, the NEG cable/wire saw zero movement when using the jumpers/booster, so I'm leaning more towards it being related to an electronics glitch or with a chip that is being detected by something electrical. Point of fact: I did drop my keys while in the store, so maybe that disturbed the chip within the master key. I've got a long key tether with other keys attached which I'm constantly spinning and then catching, so there's a lot of impact on MO's key. Since I've figured out that MO fires up quickly when the problem arises, I'm not going to delve into the craziness of the wiring harness and other ground connections until I feel it's necessary to do so. I like to try simple things first. IMO, the next easiest thing to try is switching out keys. If after switching keys the problem recurs, I'll disconnect the POS batt lead to see what that does. But, again, since none of the wires are being shifted/nudged when simply clipping on jumpers to securely fastened terminal connections, I don't think it's a wiring issue directly off the battery. Time will tell. :)
 

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Corroded ground connections are a common source of strange electrical gremlins, especially in modern computer controlled cars... Bad ground connections can cause the electricity to flow in the wrong direction looking for a path to complete the circuit...

Your 17+ year old '03 is a prime candidate for this to occur, especially if you live in an are that uses road salts during the winter...
 
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I couldn't agree more with MuranoSL2003. Pre-electronic cars even had ground issues.

We had a car come thru our garage, late 70's model if I remember correctly, that has starting issues similar to yours. Replaced starter, starter solenoid and battery. Starting was hit or miss, but always started immediately when using a charger or jumping.

Turned out that when it started about a year before, the owner discovered massive corrosion on the battery and cables. Did a great job cleaning, couldn't tell there ever been an corrosion issue. One of the older mechanics suggested changing the + and - battery cables. After removing the - cable, which felt less stiffer then the new one and cutting it open, it was discovered that under the thick black coating, the copper cabling was massively corroded down through it's entire length.

Unfortunately, a normal OHM meter will not help in testing for corrosion in a cable. If the cable is corroded enough, the cable will heat up as higher amps are pushed thru. Also, once the corrosion starts under the wiring covering, there's not much that can be done except replace that wire.

Anyone who regularly tows a small trailer has run into this condition after several years of heavy use. Corrosion gets into the tow wiring harness that's exposed. Brake, turn signal, or parking light fuse keeps popping due to excessive draw due to the corrosion in the wiring. Usually at that point, its easier to just replace the external wiring wherever rust/corrosion is seen,

Good luck.

Have a good day.
 
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
It could be a corrosion issue or something else. Again, I'm trying the simple things first before diving into wiring. However, unless I'm just getting lucky enough to squeeze the key a certain way after MO failed to start, coupled with playing with a battery terminal, I do doubt it's the key thing. I mean, if I'd fooled around with the key for awhile and pressed it here and there to try to nudge the embedded chip, and then if MO fired up, I'd feel more confident about it being key-related. The valet key initially made sense, given the two very coincindental instances that were just that. With the master key being bad (if it is) what are the odds that I tried to start it three times, failed, removed the neg batt cable for less than a second, then put the key back in the ignition in a way that made the immobilzer sensor be able to read the chip, allowing MO to start? Probably very far-fetched as a cause of the problem.

I never sprayed down the engine compartment after the tranny dipstick cap blew and spewed fluid everywhere. I just wiped down some stuff. The incident happened in April. Perhaps that fluid has been doing something to some of the wiriing. Also shortly thereafter, I had that small elbow (part 14055) that started spraying coolant, and it's in roughly the same area as the tranny dipstick tube... So, two fluids that may have saturated my wiring (especially the coolant) and caused corrosion to begin or accelerate. Probably a safer bet than the key. I'm just going to wait to see if it happens again in 3-4 days, in case there's a duration/timeframe pattern.

If things end up looking too electrically involved/expensive to resolve, maybe I'll cut the NEG ground near the battery and tie in a remote switch that I can use to disconnect/reconenct the NEG contact from inside the car to allow MO to start again. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
It happened again this morning just like the last time: started fine twice while out doing things, then the third time nothing - and it happened around approximately the same time as the three previous times the problem began (9:30AM-10AM). Looks to be happening about 5-7 days apart on the third start. This time, I loosened the positve battery lead and lifted it up straight until it was about to lose contact with the post, then I slid it back down and tightened it. Put in the master key and she fired right up. No amp pop, but the clock reset and the gauge light dimmer and LCD brightness settings changed to default.

BTW, I decided not to change keys because I wanted to wait to see what would happen.

Also for those interested, I made sure to try the ignition after popping the hood, just in case that was affecting something... It never started by opening the hood, only playing with one or both battery leads or jumping it with cables or a booster.

EDIT: however...I did make one trouble-shooting mistake this morning. I tried to wiggle both battery connections to ensure they were tight, then I loosened the POS lead and tightened it. So, there's a chance that it's still a NEG/ground wire issue. I wasn't thinking because it was a bit embarrassing. I was at a car dealership, parked in front of the sales department, and had just looked at a 2019 AWD Platinum MO...and when I went to leave to look at a 2020 Chevy Blazer RS (pewter metallic, like my current MO)...she wouldn't start. I just wanted to get out of there... :)

To be continued...

EDIT: For accuracy's sake, I discovered that it's impossible to remove the NEG lead to the battery post without any wire movement. What I had said earlier was (in my mind) geared towards the entire wire being tugged in a way that might create movement at at the other end of that wire's ground connection. So, it appears that I did move the upper part of the wire a bit the last time I disconnected it. So, again, it might still be a corroded ground wire issue that has problems beneath the insulation.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I just remembered something that happened about a year ago.

In July or August of 2019, my car did the same thing after being parked for an hour while shopping. It wasn't the other ignition problem I get for a few weeks, twice a year (where I have to jog the key), it was the "dead gauge" problem where there wasn't even a click of the ignition when turning the key/. I called AAA for a jump, MO fired right up, then I drove to my mechanic, had the battery and charging system checked, and everything was fine.

So, it appears that starting issue has been a problem for more than a year, but had not resurfaced until this past month. I'd say it's getting progressively worse. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Since I had a different issue happen today that seemed to be related to cruise control, speed sensors, AWD, engine performance, etc...I decided to replace the negative lead to the battery. I didn't buy the one specifically for this car, so I left the old one intact and piggybacked the new one to the chasis bolt, after cleaning all of the connections. The original NEG wire was pliable everywhere except where it bends over the top of the battery and connects to its terminal. Hard as a rock. If for some reason this new one doesn't work properly because it's not connected like the original one, I still have the old one I can simply swap out and hopefully keep MO running until I get home and possibly buy the correct NEG/ground wire for MO.

The bracket that bolts to the tranny, that pressed on threaded stud's nut wouldn't budge...the bracket kept twisting whenever I tried to remove it, so I removed the tranny-side bolt and took the entire bracket off. I was going to cut off a portion of the old wire and crimp in the new one, but decided on the easiest way first that also allows me to use the old neg wire if things go very wrong/haywire on the road tomorrow. The old NEG lead is inside a rubber glove and wrapped with tape...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If what happened over a year ago is the same thing that's been happening lately, then I'm not sure if this problem (although appearing to have gotten more chronic) is actually fixed if it goes away for months or another year. However, common sense and logic would tend to lean towards the problem being more prevailent than before, so with that it's possible the addition of a new ground wire to the NEG battery side has solved the problem. Though the old wire is pliable everywhere except where the wire is lacking insulation at both ends (refer to pics), I suppose it's possible that the green corrosion that I would clean away every couple of years with baking soda and a brass brush, then coat with battery protectant, may not have addressedd a potential deeper issue with smaller wires within the main wire breaking off and compromising the wire's ability to provide realiable contact. Still not sure why using jumpers/booster would make it work, since the NEG terminal was never moved...but right now I'm at the end of day six and the problem has not returned. If no further posts follow, it's safe to assume the ground wire was the issue.

Thanks for the advice, guys. :)
 

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Thanks for the feedback. Glad the Murano is running smoother.

It would take the car battery several days to fully charge after replacing the negative battery cable. Might be the main reason you saw a steady improvement over the same time frame.

These Murano's love a higher steady voltage (13.8 Volts on average when full charged while running.) to run properly. Just like you have to stick with Japanize electrical parts if you want good performance.

Have a good day.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Figured I'd update anyway... Not a single starting issue of any kind since adding that ground cable. :)

BTW, if I were keeping this car or selling it, I'd either buy the correct ground wire, or at the very least use a cable with brass connections.
 

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Nice!

Any type of modern battery cable needs to have the ends lead soldered to the connectors. Just adding a brass connector without filling the wires with lead solder to the brass connector will lead to a drop in the amp load that the wire can carry.

Save your pennies and take a trip to the local recycle yard. You might get lucky and pick up a used one. Plenty of first gen Muranos being brought in.

Good luck.

Have a good day.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I was referring to the way I piggybacked a cheap tin connection onto MO's original brass one. I prefer to have alike metals to prevent any kind of reaction. Although since it's brass, it probably wouldn't cause any reaction anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
The old starting issue still exists where, for a few weeks twice a year, I have to jog the key to get the engine to turn over. This morning, on the second start after stopping somewhere, all the normal dummy lights came on, but the ignition/starter made no sound. Did a few quick key jogs and she fired right up.

As I've mentioned, this starting issue has been going on for a few years, and always happens around July for a few weeks, then starting around the end of November for a few weeks. It typically takes more key-jogging attempts as the days go on, then suddenly everything is fine for months. This Summer, I was dealing with that different starting issue, so my old issue may not have emerged.
 

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Maybe look for a used ignition switch? Sounds like something is loose inside it and once in awhile it joggles out of place, hence difficulty starting the car then. After seeing it online, this I can believe.

You should still be able to retain your original key, just swap the tumblers, if needed.

Here's a new one, $200. Used average $95.


Good luck.

Have a good day.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Anything's possible, but if something is loose, why isn't it happening every month for at least a few times? It's only twice a year, over a period of three weeks, then it magically goes away. And during that 3-week period, some days it will start fine and other days I'll have to play with it a little more. It doesn't seem to be related to outdoor temps, since about two weeks ago we had a cold blast where it was 20-degrees outside, and I drove around to the mountains where it was colder, parked for about five hours outside in the frigid wind, then started MO without an issue. I mean, the chances that something is loose and it's only happening twice a year seems to me to be very unlikely. Initially, I figured the starter solenoid was crapping out, but when that happens it usually won't (based on my experience with other cars) keep working this long. Unless I can't start MO at all and have to be towed, I'll just stick with what I have. I have no desire to start troubleshooting this problem. I was simply updating the thread to let others know that this particular starting issue wasn't solved with the addition of a new neg battery cable.
 
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