2001 Nissan Sentra SE: Sputtering Between 1.5k-2k RPM

pilot1226pilot1226 Member Posts: 166
edited August 2014 in Nissan
Hi all,

Long time poster over on the Subaru forums, had to jump over here for a relatively new issue I've been having with my 2001 Nissan Sentra SE (the 2.0L engine)...

Hoping to get some fingers pointing me in the right direction for this.

About 4 months ago, I noticed that I would occasionally get a "squeal" for a few seconds when the car was first put into Drive in the first gear when the air conditioner was on. This would go away for the remainder of the trip after the first squeal.

I have noticed it more and more, especially after it rains.

The other day, leaving work after it had rained, I backed out of my parking spot, had the A/C on, and put the car in drive. When I stepped on the gas pedal, the car sputtered between 750 and 1500 RPM, and eventually "caught" and drove normally. No squeal, but definitely a second or two of hesitation as the tachometer ping-ponged between the RPMs.

Today after I'd parked my car, I played around with the gas pedal a little bit, in Park, and noticed that when I apply just enough pressure to get the RPMs between 1500 and 2000, the RPMs will ping-pong between the two. I don't think it's misfiring, because it doesn't make any detonation-type sounds, but it definitely sounds like you're stepping on the gas then taking your foot off, over and over again.

So, what are you thinking here? I was originally suspecting the serpentine belt or the tensioner(s) creating the squeaking sound with the air conditioner, but I'm not liking the weird hesitation and unstable RPMs.

There's no error codes that have popped up to on my OBD, so I'm not really sure that bringing it to a local shop like Meineke will help me, and they'll just be blindly changing things like the spark plugs or distributor - and padding their wallets.

Thanks much,


  • pilot1226pilot1226 Member Posts: 166
    edited January 2011
    I thought I would follow up on this for a change, and I bought a Mass Air Flow sensor/housing combo on eBay for around $65. I replaced the part in about 10 minutes, and the local dealer quoted me a price around $600 for the part and labor. I definitely came out ahead on this one, just hope it lasts until I sell it!

    The part was replaced back in October, and it's been great since then (with much better fuel economy too, as you could imagine!)
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