Temecula Auto Repair and Radiator / Nissan Sentra 2003 GXE 1.8
  Nissan Sentra 2003 GXE 1.8

My Nissan Sentra 2003 GXE 1.8 Liter will not start due to last weeks cold temps. I have a crank but no spark. I removed the plugs and put them back in. Still no spark. Any ideas for me?
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2010-11-19 19:23
You say you have "no spark"... Are you certain there is truly no spark energy to the spark plugs, or is that an assumption on your part since it won't run? If you've used some testing method (screw driver in the end of a plug wire, or an actual "spark tester") to check for spark and find that you have none, then there's really not much we can do without testing the ignition system manually. You may have a bad coil, bad ignition module, bad distributor, ignition switch, etc, etc. To find which item is at fault will take some time and expertise in this case. If your statement of no spark is only an assumption however, then the possibilities are still numerous, but there might be something we can try before we give up and have the vehicle towed to a shop. An occasional issue that seems to be inherant to Nissans is a fuel flooding of the cylinders that happens primarily in cold weather. This flooding results in fouled spark plugs and a no-start condition that only becomes worse and more difficult to reverse the longer you attempt to crank and start the car. The reasons how/why this happens are somewhat complex and would be difficult to put in an understandable way in this forum, but let's see if we can get your car running anyway; You said you've removed the plugs once already? Well let's do it again and have a good look at them. Are they visibly wet and/or black in color on the ends? Either of these conditions are indications of flooding. If so you can do one of two things; One, install a fresh set of plugs. Or two, clean the original ones using an automotiive spray cleaner (carburetor cleaner works well for this) and put them back in. Now when you attempt to start the car, hold the throttle pedal all the way to the floor while you're cranking the engine. If it starts and then seems to run normally, we've found the problem. If so, take it to your favorite shop and ask them to clean the throttle body. They'll know what I'm talking about. If they don't, you need to find another favorite shop! The short explanation is that your throttle body has an excessive amount of carbon buildup which restricts airflow into the engine when first started. Too little airflow with too much fuel results in flooding. Get that throttle body cleaned properly and you're troubles will be over! Let me know what happens, ok?
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What is a Directed Vehicle? In order to comply with state law, the California Department of Consumer Affairs along with the Bureau of Automotive Repair (DCA/BAR) directs a portion of the vehicles registered in Enhanced Smog Check Areas of California to Test-Only and Gold Shield stations. These vehicles are called Directed Vehicles. Enhanced Areas are those parts of the state with "serious" ozone pollution problems.

What is a Test-Only?
 Test-Only facilities are licensed Smog Check stations that, by law, are only allowed to test cars; they cannot repair or service them. Any needed repairs must be performed elsewhere at either a Smog Check station designated as a Test-Repair or Gold Shield station.  Because of this unbiased status, test only stations are certified to smog all vehicles in Califronia.

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