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Nissan Quest/Mercury Villager Starting & Stalling Problems



  • aseitzaseitz Posts: 5
    We are having similar problems with our 00 Villager. Once the car is warm, the OD light will flash 16 times when you start it. It does not do this the first time you start it in the morning. The check engine light is on with a code P0500 (VSS). The speedo works just fine. Every once in a while, it will do the stalling/hesitation thing as well. If you put it in neutral when it does this and then back in drive, the problem goes away. To date, we/I have changed the VSS and have spent a bunch of time using a high dollar scanner which will let us reset the check engine light but it always comes back on right at 50 miles. It is currently in the shop for the second time. The first shop (one that I do trust) could not figure it out after 4 days. We're stuck at this point. It needs a state inspection but it will not pass with the check engine light on or with it cleared as it'll show "not ready" in the state system. Any ideas greatly appreciated! :sick:
  • aseitzaseitz Posts: 5
    Just got the car back from the second shop - who also put up the white flag. Went and changed out the transmission control module yesterday when I got home from the shop. No go. Same symptoms. The check engine light has not reappeared (YET) so maybe we'll be able to get it inspected. Will try the cruise control module next, I guess. Anyone have any suggestions? Please?
  • Well, here's what's happened. The computer was showing a "knock" code and also a speed sensor code. We changed the fuel filter which was very gunked up. TOok the car home and it still hesitated a few times. Hesitate is really not the right word. It acts exactly as it would if it ran out of gas. They checked the fuel pump and said that it was putting out the correct amount of pressure. The stalling effect is only when I'm accelerating. If I let off the gas when it acts up, it stops doing it. But, the entire episode can last several minutes. It never completely stalls.

    I just had the speed sensor replaced and it's been 2 weeks with NO issues. Crossing fingers!!!!!
  • aseitzaseitz Posts: 5
    Had to replace our battery Friday. When we replaced it, the CEL went off and actually stayed off for 271 miles. Thought we were home free and then it came back on. Drats!

    Sounds like the VSS was your issue. We replaced ours but still have the same problems. Will try yet another shop this week. Can anyone diagnose vehicles any more?
  • pegkemppegkemp Posts: 1
    did you ever get the relay's switched, and did it work?
    we have had this phantom starting problem for the past 6 years, and have replaced everything "electrical"... and I was stranded today for 3 hours... then I get in, and it starts right up... have had it towed MANY times, but it always starts for the mechanic, with no indication of a problem. If I go to the shop, and say "replace the two identical relays under the hood" will they know what I mean?
    other than that, this car has been GREAT. 213K miles and going strong.
  • My villager just started doing this this summer. And really only when we run the air conditioner. I figured it was the fuel pump but haven't got it replaced yet. Let me know what you end up finding out.
  • Hello,

    I had my 2001 Nissan Quest in the dealer service shop for 3 full days and kept going online to give them all the info out here we could find on the same exact problem. My speedometer dances or goes to 0 while I am driving and the car hesitates and sputters as if I am running out of gas as you described. I thought it used to be related to every time I had my air conditioner on. But I have turned it off in the last week and it doesn't recover like it did a month ago when this problem started happening.

    When Nissan service checked the ground wire and the speed sensor (and every other sensor) it all tested fine. They said it would have to completely fail before they know exactly what it is.

    How is your car doing now after replacing the speed sensor? Still no recurrence of the sputtering? I am ready to tell them to replace it and see how it goes.

    Thanks a lot.
  • Well, since the SS was replaced there have been NO instances of the problem again. I think it's been almost a month and I've driven several hundred miles on it. (we went on a trip, and no problems at all) I don't know if it was a combination of the SS and the fuel filter being replaced, but I think the SS did it.

    You should know that the SS when it first started going was always acting up and didn't throw the CEL on until it completely died. When I had taken it to the shop, the CEL had gone back out so they were unable to get a reading. It wasn't until the SS completely failed (stopped working at ALL) that the CEL stayed on and they told me to replace it. Your symptoms though are classic for SS. It's a relatively cheap fix, so why not go for it and hope for the best??

    Hope it works out for you!!
  • When you were having the sputtering problem, did your van also shift hard from 1-2? My uncle has a 96 with 174k and it has recently developed this odd problem. Runs fine up to full operating temperature, then the first symptom is the idle becomes erratic. After idle goes erratic, the hard shift starts. So far, he has replaced the throttle position sensor, which did not resolve the issue. And, to clarify, when I say hard shift, I mean it would make the whole van "jump" when shifting. Any help appreciated.
  • I have a 1999 Mercury Villager with 123K miles. No problems until yesterday. 3 times the motor quite, clock reset and all power seemed to be lost. The vehicle keep going after this 1-2 second kill. Looked under the hood and could not see anything on cabling that was shorting. Looking for help.
    Don Larson
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,004
    How old is your battery?

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  • My battery is about 3 years old.

    I also talked with the local Mercury Service manager. I told him the first time I tried to start the Villager after the 3 kills, it was like the battery was dead. I red status dash lights did not even come on. I tried again and it started right up. He suggested it may be the ignition key tumbler. As he suggested, I sprayed WD-40 in the lock and it works much smoother now. I have only taken it on a few small local trips without any problem so far.

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,004
    Interesting; I'll have to remember that trick for my '99 Quest if it starts acting up.

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  • Hi Druid, have you tried checking all grounds including HIGH RESISTANCE on the neg battery cable? Check out this web site-

    Bad grounds are notorious for villager drivability problems, i found out the hard way spent thousands and pulled my hair out at inept mechanics. hope this helps.
  • My vehicle did the same thing. Bad grounds! I had HIGH RESISTANCE on the neg battery cable. Change it and clean up all grounds and see if it helps or look for bad grounds.
  • I have had the very same problem with my mer villager.Tell your mechanic to pull out the distributor and clean the debri off the photo sensor and re-install it. I have spent thousands trying to fix this very same problem. hope this helps.
  • I have had the very same problem with my 98 Mer Villager. I have had dirt build-up on the photo sensor on the distributor. The Nissan tech just cleaned it up and re-installed it. He told me if it happens again, the distributor will have to be replaced. This is a common problem with villagers/quests.
  • Been reading all your posts on this issue and so far we've changed the plugs, the wires, the distributor cap, the rotor, the fuel filter and the air filter with no help in the bogging out problems when we're idling. However, have an appointment with the shop friday to check for a loose ground wire at the ECM. Will let you know if that solves the problem.

    By the way, thanks for all the tips, since I'm female it's really nice to have a little info BEFORE I go to the repair shop!
  • Just discovered today problem with 1999 Villager with the same issues, the bearing had failed in the top of the distributor I replaced it and now it runs like new. A Ford dealership could not find the problem.
  • aseitzaseitz Posts: 5
    Still dealing with the same issue. Have replaced the trans computer, the cruise control computer, and the VSS. Have checked the VSS wiring and also the ground for the ECU. Nothing has helped. I have an output speed sensor on order from the local dealer ($28 so why not?) but it won't be in until Friday. Vehicle still runs and drives well except for when it decides to do the hesitation thing. We've take 3 trips of more than 500 miles with no problems. It once went 271 miles before the check engine light came back on - we thought we had it fixed but no such luck. OD light still flashes 16 times on a warm start. Check engine light code is P0500 - vehicle speed sensor malfunction. We need to get this resolved as the state inspection is expired. Any thoughts or suggestions greatly appreciated!
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