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Nissan Pathfinder Won't Crank Over

Q. Mr. Vincent Ciulla, I have a question for you, but first I want to thank you for being available to take questions from people like me, the uneducated. Before I start here is the information you requested from your online site:

  • 1993 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 3.0 liter V-6 Manual transmission
  • 130,000 miles
Nissan Pathfinder Won't Crank Over

Situation and Question: The other day I got in my car to drive to work and no start. I have all electricity, lights, radio, electric locks, A/C, but nothing when I turn the key. There is a small click in the engine. I assume the relay, small black box on the side of the engine compartment or the little blue boxes next to that, and from what I assume is the starter coil is a low hiss noise. It is located on the left top side of the engine, under a plastic cover).

I checked all the connection that I can find, fuses, made sure the relays were seated correctly, the one I could find, and the battery/terminals; still no start. There were no warnings, no starting problems, generally no problems at all. Question: Can you help me with a list of things I should check, i.e where to start?

The car does have a history of power outages and the key ignition part (I now have two keys for this car and not one like most pathfinders) was replaced by the dealer six years ago and fixed the problem. However, the security system was the problem and not the key, it shorted out the whole system and was replaced. I have not had a problem with it since moving to Kansas in 1997 to start grad school.

I am not great with cars, but I am willing to try and learn. This car is getting old, but it runs well and I have just paid for new tires and the 130,000 check-up, three months ago, timing belt and whatever the dealer felt like having me pay for.

I have recently finished my graduate program and gotten engaged this May, so we are trying to save what little money we have.

Thus, I am going to try to figure this out and at least try before I get the car towed. I will read over the Do-it-yourself help files that are on this site, but since you have a background with Nissan, I thought you would have some advice and guidance.

I want to keep this car running for a few more years until Jayne gets out of school and I have a real job. I work as a research tech and overall gopher for the University right now.

Thank you,

A. Okay Ken, there's not too many things that can go wrong with the starting system in a Nissan Pathfinder. let's start at the starter and work our way back.

On top of the starter there is the starter solenoid. There is a black/yellow wire going to it. With the key in the START position, there should be power there. If there is, you have a bad starter. Sometimes tapping it with a hammer will get it working again.

If the starter checks out, let's go under the dashboard. On the clutch pedal is a switch with a two pin connector. Unplug the switch and jump the two terminals. Now try to start it. if it starts, the clutch pedal switch is bad.

If not, check the light green wire for power with the key ON. If there is no power, We go to the Clutch Interlock Relay. The CIR is located under the hood, near the battery. It is either a large blue or black relay with two, two pin connectors.

In my experience this is the most likely cause of the no-start condition. I have replaced quite a few over the years. In fact, have several in my tool box that I use for testing. Ground the light green wire and try to start the truck. If it starts, then there is a break in the light green wire between the relay and the clutch switch.

Check for power at the black/yellow wires of both connectors. You should have power there. If the starter and clutch switch check out, and all the fuses and fusible links are good and you have power at the indicated wires, replace this relay.

Nissan Pathfinder Won't Crank Over

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© 2003 Vincent T. Ciulla

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