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'96 Nissan 200sx engine issue (random dieing and more)

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New User

Jan 28, 2013, 1:34 AM

Post #1 of 5 (1415 views)
'96 Nissan 200sx engine issue (random dieing and more) Sign In

Hey everyone, I'm dealing with an engine issue on my 96 nissan 200sx se 1.6l that has 247k miles (second engine in the car actually, the engine itself is ~100-130k miles).

For the too-long; didn't read version scroll to the bottom

Anyhow, I've been getting this issue where my car will either randomly die (say at a stop light or in a line at my nearest Taco Bell [where I first experienced this issue]), or the engine will stutter at a certain RPM. I'll try to explain what exactly I'm talking about.

Let's say I'm getting ready to shift, my car is a little over 3,000 rpms, and all of a sudden, it hits a certain "limit". The engine hits this "limit" and backs off, over and over and over (obviously very quickly). Sometimes this limit will be fairly benign at over 4k rpms which I rarely take my car to unless I'm getting on the freeway, but sometimes it will be very obnoxious and will not let me get past even 1.5k. Many times this "limit" will come closer and closer to 0rpms and the car will just sputter and die. The other night coming home from work, my car died on the onramp, doing the "sputter and die" method it so loves to do recently. My dad came to rescue me and on the way home we had the longest bout with this issue. We eventually just towed it home.

So, here is what we have done so far:
Replaced the Fuel Pump - originally we thought this would be related to the fuel pump, which looked very promising after reading the maintenance book for my year\model car. We discovered regular fuel pressures in my car while running are about 45lbs. At shutdown, the pressure should gradually release to 0 over 5 minutes or more. The book explicitly stated if this fuel pressure released quicker than 5 minutes to 0, that the pump was bad. My pump released in about 10 seconds. So happily, we bought a new fuel pump, slammed that puppy in there, and BAM a few days later the issue popped up again!
- Inspected\Replaced the Distributor - A few weeks later (a couple days ago actually), my dad tore apart the distributor and found that the chopper circuit inside the distributor was covered in oil (the seal is bad). We found a part in there had been worn by the hardened seal so we bought a replacement distributor at a junk yard. We were so sure this was the problem, we didn't get any issues for 2 days. Well tonight, while i was working (I deliver pizzas, whoop-dee-freakin-doo), I left my car idling while I ran a pizza to someone's door, getting back to my car, I noticed the car sounded kind of noisy (and just now thought that to be strange, ill make a note of that), and then suddenly sounded more normal again. I hopped back into my sweet ride, and the moment my foot barely even touched my clutch (I didn't exert any pressure upon it), the end died. About a minute later, after several attempts to start it up, it finally kicked back on. On my way back to my shop, the engine acted a little funny (it stuttered at +\- 6k rpms), driving down the road, probably at about 2.5k rpm, the engine acted like it was going to die, and then caught itself (did it at least twice, maybe three times?)

A note I made to myself earlier that hopefully will be of any use to you machine heads out there, it seems to me that this issue ONLY happens when the car has been running for a while. We will experience these issues, take it home, hope it will play along for us in the morning so we can probe it, and in the morning it will start up like nothing had happened at all.

Too long -- didn't read -- summary --
Car occasionally dies at random (only when stopped), engine revolutions randomly "limited". Fuel pump checked and replaced, distributor checked and replaced (we are waiting for a new seal for the distributor).

Thanks in advance, I hope someone has something for us, we can't really take it to a mechanic and have it checked out because it happens so sporadically.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jan 28, 2013, 10:59 AM

Post #2 of 5 (1362 views)
Re: '96 Nissan 200sx engine issue (random dieing and more) Sign In

That many miles anything can happen. Check that your fuel pressure holds with key on, engine off the key off and watch. I think that is your up front problem and may behave while driving along but not holding for idle?? T

New User

Jan 28, 2013, 3:18 PM

Post #3 of 5 (1346 views)
Re: '96 Nissan 200sx engine issue (random dieing and more) Sign In

We've tried that. We left the pressure gauge on the fuel line between the filter and engine and the pressures read normal. Even during this intermittent issue, fuel pressure held.

Sorry, there are so many things we've tried we are running out of ideas

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jan 28, 2013, 3:31 PM

Post #4 of 5 (1342 views)
Re: '96 Nissan 200sx engine issue (random dieing and more) Sign In

OK - engine is missing something and you have to catch it when happening................

Pre-written thread on this. Find out what's missing.............

Best I can do................. Tom

New User

Feb 2, 2013, 11:03 AM

Post #5 of 5 (1299 views)
Re: '96 Nissan 200sx engine issue (random dieing and more) Sign In

The Limitation of the car RPMs is generally linked to something in the computer. I have experienced this problem when I had a bad crank position sensor. It's a shot in the dark, but an idea to think about.

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