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It was hot yesterday, about 100 degrees. I got home arround 6:30 pm. Parked the MO inside the garage which was also hot. About 2 hours later I needed to go shopping so I got into the car and tried to start the engine: crank... crank... crank... crank... and nothing! I removed the key, put it back and tried cranking the engine again for about 10 seconds. Still nothing. Held the pedal to the floor for a couple of minutes and tried again. No start. I pumped the pedal a couple of times and cranked again but no dice. Finally gave up and got into the wife's MBZ, which started immediately. My wife gave me that look and I felt so bad for the MO to have been embarrased like that.

Got back from shopping half an hour later. Before unloading anything I went to my MO, put the key in, and she started right up! As if there was never anything wrong.

My first guess was vapor lock. But it was not that hot and I am sure these newer cars have some sort of defence against that. My second guess was Nissan's Immoblizing system which reset itself later. But would it have even let me crank the engine if that was the case? Third guess ... I am not sure, maybe a faulty ignition.

Has this happened to anyone else?
 

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Actually this is a very common problem on Nissans. This was reported many many years ago when it happened to Maximas (and still does today). The symptoms always were - you parked for a short period (say a few hours) after driving the car and then when you come back, it would not start!

There is actually no fix for this issue, since what is happening is that the engine is receiving a signal from the coolant temp sensor that the engine is already warm and the ECU adjusts the fuel mixture for a warm start (uses less gas). However, your engine has cooled off long enough in those couple hours so that it now requires a "cold start" gas mixture. Hence you get a lot of cranking but it will seem as if the engine will not turn over because the gas mixture isn't rich enough.

It has never happened to me on the Murano but on my 97 Maxima, it just took a few tries with the foot slightly down on the accelerator to add a little gas. The electronic throttle on the Murano may prevent that though. Did you try stepping on the gas while cranking?

I suggest you search through the TSBs for Maximas and Altimas, you will see Nissan has issued an emergency starting procedure for these situations - unfortunately you did what nissan recommends - floor the accelerator while cranking. Time for another TSB!
 

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Also, I'm not so sure pumping the gas has any function anymore. I know its a hard habit to break, but

a) pumping became obsolete with the invention of fuel injection, and
b) we have fly-by-wire throttles anyway, so the computer may not even accept input from the pedal until the engine is running

Yes, crawl down there sometime and look closely at the top of the gas pedal. There's an electronic device at top, no cables or wires heading off into the engine. It switches to all 1's and 0's about a quarter inch from your foot.
 

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I think before electronic throttle control, a computer controlled fuel injection would still increase the fuel mixture if the throttle were opened by stepping on the gas pedal. The ECU has programming built into to prevent too lean a mixture from causing knock and harming the engine.

But EasternPA you are right, with the electronic throttle, I doubt stepping on the gas would help. This starting issue has been a fault of the VQ engine for about 10 years now!
 

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Eric, I owe you an apology. I only had a few seconds to catch up at the site and only read the top half of your post before replying. Now that I read your *entire* post, I realize mine was totally redundant (if not "dumbed down" a bit).

EPA
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the info. Now that I have experienced this problem lack of a solution does not really put my mind at ease. I hate to say it but I am glad I have a "non-Nissan" car just in case. I better look for that TSB too.
 

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No problem. ;)

Thats what this site is for - to exchange information and your post was 100% correct. Besides sometimes it takes two or three people to come up with the same idea before anyone will believe wild theories about why the engine will not start!
 

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Interesting. After reading about Muranos on Freshalloy and here, for approaching two years, this is the first time I've heard of this happening.

Might be worth asking your dealer's service staff.... If it is indeed a Nissan issue, maybe they'll have a suggestion.

Never saw it on my 2K Maxima, either. Anyone else see it happen and remember the circumstances?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
And this car is practically new, only 2.2K on it. It is funny that my wife immediately blamed the problem on the DTRL MOD that I had done just a couple of days earlier!

I called the dealer and they said: "bring it in so we can check it". But the car is running fine so I think that is going to be a waste of time unless it happens when they have the car, and I very much doubt that. Today is again a hot day so I will try to recreate the situation. Hopefully that was a once in a lifetime experience!
 

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just make sure ...

And this car is practically new, only 2.2K on it. It is funny that my wife immediately blamed the problem on the DTRL MOD that I had done just a couple of days earlier!
Just make sure you dont mention this mod to the dealer when you bring it in. You dont want your dealer to say the same thing as your wife: "it is your mod that is causing it hence not covered under warranty:.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You are right, and that is exactly why I decided NOT to do the MOD near the EPDM and stayed away from that side of the car completely. But still, it is best not to talk about any modifications when going to the dealer, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with it.....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It did not happen today. I tried to recreate the problem but I failed and I am happy!
 

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Hehe its always a nice irony when you fail at something and come out delighted with the result!
 

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This is my 3rd VQ engine (95 Maxima 3.0, 00 Maxima 3.0, and now the Murano 3.5) and I've never experienced what was described in a combined over 350,000 miles.

What I have experienced a few times is that on a VQ, if you start a cold engine for just a few moments, say to move it out of the driveway for example, then shut it off. Now go and try to start it again within the next 1-3 hours, it may just crank and crank and crank, with no joy.

The key is letting it sit for an hour, after just a few moments of running and you get basically what Eric described.

This has not happened to me in the last 3 years or so because I and all the drivers in my family know about this issue, so we're careful not to drive the vehicles just a bit and shut them off. We always wait until the engine temp gauge moves, then we're OK.
 

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dklanecky1 -

You are describing exactly the problem I was talking about above. It happened to me after driving a bit farther than the length of the driveway though, but each time it was less than a 5 mile trip, so temperature of the engine definitely has something to do with it.

On Maxima.org I believe there was a member who took readings from the coolant temp sensor and confirmed it was giving different signals between a cold and hot start, but there was no "warm start" signal. Thus, the foggy area in between is where this very unique starting problem occurs.
 

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This happened to me with many FI cars in fact. It is caused by the fuel system sending lotsa gas to the cold intake and then you shut it down before the choke closes up a little. Too much gas remain there until it is drained and/or evaporated a few hours later. It is simply flooded and the gas pedal trick doesn't work on the latest cars because it is simply not connected as it used to be.

The trick is to leave the engine running a few minutes until it warms up before turning off the ignition.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
dklanecky1 said:

What I have experienced a few times is that on a VQ, if you start a cold engine for just a few moments, say to move it out of the driveway for example, then shut it off. Now go and try to start it again within the next 1-3 hours, it may just crank and crank and crank, with no joy.
That makes sense. Although I should add that my problem occured after driving in hot weather for about an hour, then parked it in a hot (90 degree) garage for a couple of hours. Difference between the coolant temp and the engine and the resulting incorrect air/fuel mixture does make sense but in my case it felt as if either there was no fuel at all, or no spark at all. I cannot find the TSB for emergency start procedure. Although if they only recommend flooring the gas pedal while cranking, then it did not work for me. 30 minutes of rest did the trick however (I guess the coolant and the engine temp had a chance to equalize during that time?)
 

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Looks like we have all three cases:

Cold engine (dklanecky1)
Warm engine (Eric L.)
Hot engine (zebelkhan)

What you describe is exactly correct - it feels like the engine has absolutely no gas (imagine trying to start a car that has run out of gas).

One tip I can think of that really works in some cases, is first turn the key to "on" and wait a few seconds, then start the car. By turning it to "on" first and waiting, you can usually hear the fuel rail pressurizing to prime for starting the engine. If the no start situation happens again, give this trick a try.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Eric L. said:
One tip I can think of that really works in some cases, is first turn the key to "on" and wait a few seconds, then start the car. By turning it to "on" first and waiting, you can usually hear the fuel rail pressurizing to prime for starting the engine.
That is good advice. Thank you.
 
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