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Nissan Quest/Mercury Villager Starting & Stalling Problems



  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    To quote Mr_Shiftright around here, premium gas isn't like a doggie treat for your car. :)

    In fact, in the compression is a bit less than when it was new, you'll probably get worse performance than using regular gas. Premium resists knock because it's harder to ignite than lower-octane fuels. As a result, some engines won't start as quickly or run as smoothly on premium. (USA Today)

    Read your manual; your car runs best on the fuel it was designed for.
  • rockmobilerockmobile Posts: 115
    nq 94, I have always used the cheapest gas: BJ's, Wa-Wa, etc. with the lowest octane, 87, and my van has never complained. I was just trying to put two and two together and find a logic for all those additives.

    Steve has a lot more knowledge than I about fuel, so I would not be spending a lot of money on high octane gasoline.

    Let me ask another thing:

    When was the last time your van had a real tune-up? New plugs, air filter, timing belt, ignition wires, cap and rotor, etc.? I would add oil change but I don't think that's in your vocabulary.
  • Thanks a lot! This is a very good article. I think I would just get the regular as I always did.
  • Last year I got new plugs, plug wire, cap, air filter, ...etc.

    So, I think I may need to do an oil change, more precisely, an oil filter change. over 3 years are kind of long if 15,000 miles 1 year is about what Nissan Quest manual suggests. I thought about that, but I just wanted to do an experiment of adding this Engine Restorer, which worked very well.

    One thing I kept on forgetting was that the oil dip stick shows only the status of top one quart, so when it shows clean does NOT mean the whole oil tank is clean, especially the bottom parts. When the vehicle is parked and cool in the morning, the cleaner and lighter oil moved up to top like fuel in gas tank moved up to top and water went down. However, once the engine start, it all mess together because the crankshaft motion, unlike the gas tank where no part to stir it constantly.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I don't think oil separates like that. Can't find a link saying that either.

    One of the jobs of oil is to hold contaminants in suspension so they can be removed by the filter. I don't think that stuff if going to settle out overnight and sludge up the oil pan.

    Okay, since you like additives, check out Seafoam. :shades:

    And if you really want to get into it, look up the Inttellistick oil dipstick that has a sensor on it for supposedly constant monitoring of your oil viscosity and additive status.

    You really should head over to that oil discussion though, since this is the start/stall board.

    Steve, visiting host

    (btw, I updated my spreadsheet and my lifetime mpg is 21.53 and my cost per mile is running around .18 cents. Call it .30 cents with depreciation.)
  • nissanquest94nissanquest94 Posts: 81
    edited July 2011
    I don't think oil separates like that. Can't find a link saying that either.
    // This local auto service owner with over 30 year experience told me that they only let go the bottom 1 quart of dirty oil and add 1 quart of new oil in crankcase when they change oil for their customer in New York City. And Lube Express or Valvoline when I drove thru and changed oil while I was in the driver seat, at the end, their people would show me my dip stick that engine oil is CLEAN and FULL to make me the customer feel they did do the oil change. There is really no way to tell if they change all 5 quart or just 1 quart because the dip stick only shows top 1 quart.
    // I just went out to check my dip stick, and the engine oil was CLEAN, even after 3 years, not yet changed oil, but top up cheapest Walmart 5w30 every now and then, and recently add image also got from Walmart. But, I am always wondering where did those "dirty things" go?

    One of the jobs of oil is to hold contaminants in suspension so they can be removed by the filter. I don't think that stuff if going to settle out overnight and sludge up the oil pan.
    // So, I guess the dirt must have gone to oil filter as you said. If it accumulates for over 3 years or even longer, would it make oil flow slower? especially in the morning when first start up engine? but later when engine warm up for 3 minutes, everything back to normal?

    Okay, since you like additives, check out Seafoam.
    // Seafoan is a brand, which product do you recommend? I have no problem to try it out as long as it does not cost much. I would not let auto mechanics doing guess work any more, it often cost more than the van itself.

    And if you really want to get into it, look up the Inttellistick oil dipstick that has a sensor on it for supposedly constant monitoring of your oil viscosity and additive status.

    You really should head over to that oil discussion though, since this is the start/stall board.
    // I think I have eliminated all problems of my Nissan Quest 94, except the start and stall problem, it only happens at the first start of the day. Any idea? other than my not changed oil change for 3 years?

    Steve, visiting host

    (btw, I updated my spreadsheet and my lifetime mpg is 21.53 and my cost per mile is running around .18 cents. Call it .30 cents with depreciation.)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I'm pushing "60 years of experience" and I keep finding out that I'm wrong about a lot of stuff. :P
  • rockmobilerockmobile Posts: 115
    edited July 2011
    nq94, I don't know if you are familiar with this website: Villager Quest FAQs. If you click on the subtopics you can find a lot of info on older vans like yours.

    Hope that helps.
  • Yes, I have gone thru it, and that's why I am sort of Nissan Quest expert now ...

    I am working very hard and I spent 14 hours a day on learning all these; that's why I was able to decipher all sorts of "fraud" or "guess work" from auto mechanics ...

    For one thing, if your Nissan Van can change oil 15,000 miles, why they would lie to you to change "3,000 miles or 3 months"? We are not talking about 5% to 15% difference that often is tolerable. We are talking about 500% "error". Not to mention, many members here were "tricked" to change all sorts of parts unnecessarily, yet, the problems remain ...

    So, I posted this topic and question, and that is also I used to screen auto mechanics. For every auto mechanics I interview, if they start bragging "changing oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months", I know I am talking to people either "doing lots of guess work" or "fraud".
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I don't know about the first generation, but the second generation vans, like my '99, go by a 7,500 interval for normal service.

    Defining "severe service" is a whole 'nother topic of discussion.
  • I have found this Seafoam video that seems to be very clear showing how to do it, and it is pretty simple.

    What I was wondering was that most additives I used before, they either add into crankcase like Engine Restorer or fuel tank like Heet, iso-Heet, Lucas fuel injector cleaner, ...etc. But, this Seafoam seemed to be able to add into both fuel tank, crankcase, and thru PCV, and 1/3 of the 16 oz Seafoam bottle.

    However, this another one doing his Seafoam on his Honda 99, he pour 1/2 into his vacume line that going to intake manifold, and the rest into fuel tank.

    This Seafoam on Nissan Quest 95 and #2 look really scary and produce lots of smoke. My neighbor may complain if I do this.

    I am wondering can I just add Seafoam into fuel tank? and not use it for crankcase, since my Engine Restorer has "proven" to me that it did a wonderful job that engine is now so quiet and engine oil so clean and smell so nice ...
  • I went to this Valvoline lube express today, but so many cars, besides my $10 coupon has expired, so I just left, not experiment if oil changed and in particular oil filter changed after 3 years, my Nissan Quest 94 would solve the problem of initial start.

    So far, all problems seem to be gone with all these additives, here and there, people advised. The only one left is that when it first time start, whether cold morning or hot afternoon (it is 93 degree now), it can be easily crank and start and RPM went up, but then immediate going down RPM and stall unless press the throttle, and about 2 to 3 minutes "warm up", it is perfect, and through out the day, it can be easily start and run, and engine so quiet (Thanks to Engine Restorer), and power pick up, throttle response faster (thanks to Heet, Splash and iso-heet)

    Last night, I met a person at Barnes & Noble who selling some additives so ofter me to tried out the additive he claimed he used for his Nissan Maxima 2000 that keep his engine running great. I asked him how low the fuel tank he got before filling up the gas, he said, he often waited it till E (empty), then add his additive and run for another 50 miles before refill the gas.

    That's amazing! That implies his gas tank may not have much "water", although his car is relatively new. Anyway, I just invite him to go get his magic bottle he wanted to sell for around $12 and claimed to be able to use for dozen times, i.e. one squeez of about 2oz for just $1 and good for a tankful of gas. So, he squeezed 2 oz into my fuel tank and assure me will feel different immediately.

    It DID! My Nissan Quest 94 ran good and powerful on the way back. When I checked the bottle instructions, it says something like "oil system treatment" but did not see "remove water" or the like. His enthusiasm was just like every now and then I squeeze "Lucas Fuel Injectors Cleaner" to neighbors cars or whoever complained gas price hike, ...etc. I even squeeze some for people on the parking lot of Pep Boys. Why not? It is free!

    I started getting one 5.25oz Lucas Fuel Injector cleaner by accident at Advanced Auto Parts when they had a 99 cent sale at casher. Wow! amazing! much better than STP red and white bottle I jused before. So, I decided to switch to Lucas and got the 32 oz bottle for only $10 at Walmart because that small bottle went up to $5.99 and even $5 at Walmart. So, every now and then I squeeze some into my cars and others. Later, I found the one gallon 128oz Lucas at Pep Boys for only $29, so I started buying gallon Lucas Fuel Injector Cleaner, and fill them to the 32oz bottle for easily squeeze.

    From then on, every time I drive far or long trip, I would squeeze some Lucas into the fuel tank, in addition to pumping some air to tire, check all liquids, ...etc, and of course, charge battery for a few hours.

    What I really want to learn is like medical doctor when you go see them with a problem, they will "prescribed" some drugs for you to go to pharmacy to pick up and take, and magically cure the problem. Instead of general advise of "taking some vitamin" ...etc.

    For example, I would like to know "what additives should I pour into my van"? to cure my initial start and stall problem ? Your guess work is very welcome! I would just try and test one at a time to see which is the right one... and I want to become an expert level of "Auto Pharmacist". If I can guess or Diagnostics correctly at the very first time, I would be very famous and able to help many many people to fix their headache in a few dollars. Otherwise, a few try and error would still be much cheaper than the "guess work of auto mechanics" to replace parts here and there, every time hundreds to thousands, yet problem persist.
  • Somehow, they sent me another $10 coupon, so I just went changed my oil and oil filter there at Valvoline. With coupon about $22.

    Then, I felt better, but I also knew that oil and oil filter has nothing to do with other problems. At least, I do not have to worry about change oil and filter for next 3 years.

    What I really need to remember to do is add Engine Restorer because, ironically, after new engine oil and oil filter, the van was supposed to be running smoother, but it does not. I think the chemical in Engine Restorer in the crankcase were also flushed out.
  • rockmobilerockmobile Posts: 115
    You may have other problems, I've never heard of an oil change making a car run smoother, unless of course, it was filled with molasses.
    Then again, I've been wrong many times before.
  • Yes, every time after I changed engine oil even not replace oil filter, I could feel engine running smoother even before I tried Engine Restorer.

    This time Valvoline did not leave room for me to add Engine Restorer image as months ago I added it to my crankcase after 3 year not change engine oil and filter. Maybe I have got used to the smoother and much quieter engine that Engine Restorer brought me.

    Now I have to wait till engine oil shrink in the crankcase to add some Engine Restorer, may be I will just buy small bottle for 4 cylinder rather than 6 I added last time. It took about 3 to 6 months to shrink 1/4 quart when others may change oil and oil filter, I often just top off with 5w30 recommended by Nissan Quest 94 manual.

    I did have other problems because the "check engine light" on, and I just adjust idle screw after start engine and idling to tune it to most smooth position. Now, it can idle well, especially when stopped at traffic light.

    When I started the engine first time of the day, the engine will stall unless I push the gas pedal, and about two minutes later, it will idle normal, and through out the day.

    Someone I met on the parking lot asked me when was last time I replace "fuel filter", and I said I never replace "fuel filter", should I? He said fuel may be clogged by dirty fuel filter. Is that right? May be I should change a new fuel filter ... How much would it cost?
  • some engine restorer additives are like molasses so beware, your engine may likely full of sludge!
  • rockmobilerockmobile Posts: 115
    edited July 2011
    I don't know how much a fuel filter would cost for your van but a good mechanic can give you an estimate and take care of it.

    See if you have any of these symptoms: Bad Fuel Filter Symptoms
  • nissanquest94nissanquest94 Posts: 81
    edited July 2011
    Which engine restorer additives would you suggest to avoid? Or, even better, which ones that you have used for your Nissan Quest and work great?

    So far, I only used Engine Restorer once, and it seemed to give me immediately great effects of the following:

    1. As soon as I start the engine, I notice the engine quiet down, and it quiet more each day for the following few days I drove till very very quiet.

    2. I noticed the smell used to came out of under hood when engine start were all gone, instead, it smelled very good, like the smell of early morning in the forest.

    3. No more smoke came out of the tail pipe, in fact, it came out some water drips when it starts and warm up.

    4. The engine oil turned from dark brown into very clear like new engine oil.

    5. The millage increased unexpected.

    Basically, what they testified in their website in line with my own experience with Engine Restorer. And, every time I revisit their FAQ section, I understand it better with more insights.

    For example, I have set up a schedule to wait till my newly changed engine oil to shrink 1/2 quart to add Engine Restorer of 4 cylinder (rather than 6 cylinder) instead of use Engine Restorer every time I changed engine oil and filter (because I only would change engine oil and oil filter every 3 years, other time, I would just top off the 5w30 engine oil as recommended by Nissan Quest manual), and as I top off Engine Restorer rather than 5w30 from now on, I would have more of it than just bigger can for 6 cylinder. This also came from my own experience on adding Engine Restorer 3 year after previous engine oil and filter changed. I feel it does not need to be replace Engine Restorer every time change oil and oil filter.

    If from most auto mechanics "myth" of "3,000 miles or 3 month" change oil and oil filter and Engine Restores' suggestion of add it every time change engine oil. It would be too much waste. However, if add it every 3 year when I changed oil and oil filter, it may be too long (yet to be seen, and I will find out). The thing is that I do not change oil and oil filter myself, instead, I drove thru to get them changed and replaced by places like Lube Express or Valvoline Express, so it is hard for me to bring a can of Engine Restorer to ask them to add for me.

    So the perfect timing to add Engine Restorer may be wait 3 to 6 months when engine oil shrink dark brown to about 1/2 quart to top off with 4 cylinder Engine Restorer. One thing that bothers me is that their design is like coke, you either open and use the whole can or not open or waste. Ideally, if it can be squeeze into crankcase a few oz every so often or whenever needed like Lucas fuel injector cleaner that I squeeze into gas tank every time I going to go long trip.

    Another thing I need to find out is to see if there is gallon container of Engine Restorer. e.g. the 5.25oz Lucas fuel injector cost about $5 at Walmart, where as 32oz, about 6 times more, only cost $10, and I found 128oz the gallon size (4 times more) of Lucas fuel injector at Pep Boy only $29, so I use the gallon size now. Every time I bought the gallon, I filled the two 32oz bottles, and every so often when I go long trip, I just squeeze a few oz into fuel tank depending on how much gas left, NOT need to worry about fill the tank right after.
  • I found one place selling Nissan Quest fuel filter for only $12.40 and I have been able to identify the location of the fuel filter; it is on the right side (drivers side) right in front of firewall; very easy to reach.

    According to this website, it seems "fuel filter" causes the problem, and that are in line with what you suggest Bad Fuel Filter Symptoms.

    I also found this wonderful clip showing how to replace fuel filter on Honda Civic, but not yet found one for Nissan Quest.

    If you know where there is such clip of changing Nissan Quest 94, it would be very helpful ...
  • nissanquest94nissanquest94 Posts: 81
    edited July 2011
    Ok, here I found a video clip that shows how to replace fuel filter for Nissan Maxima which is very informational because Nissan Maxima 94 is the same engine as Nissan Quest 94, and I have checked the layout of under hood of both cars; they look so similar.

    I also went talk to STS who gave me an estimate of the job was $120 plus tax, may be more, depending on the parts.

    Somehow, I found this $3.66 fuel filter that seems to be the correct price because a fuel filter is no more complicated than an oil filter with similar size.
  • I just went back and check the statement given by Valvoline Lube Express and found out that they only add 4.2 quarts of new engine oil to my Nissan Quest 94, whereas it was supposed to be 5 quarts.

    But, when I checked the oil dipstick, it shows full of the engine oil and very clean and clear. Where was the 0.8 quarts gone?

    By the way, as time goes, the engine running much smoother with newly change 5w30 engine oil and Valvoline oil filter.
  • rockmobilerockmobile Posts: 115
    Are you sure? My 99 Quest has a 3.3 liter engine and it does not take 5 quarts.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Me too - my '99 takes 4 and 1/4th quarts with a filter change. 4.0 liters exactly.

    Steve, visiting host
  • nissanquest94nissanquest94 Posts: 81
    edited July 2011
    Wow! Thanks a lot! That's great to know!

    I was wondering why 4.2 quarts; I thought it may be something left in my oil pan because I did not change oil and oil filter for 3 years.

    In the past, the Lube Express, now bought by Valvoline Express, always told me the oil pan was dirty and need to pay them extra to clean up the oil pan, but this time before oil change, I added a can of Engine Restorer image that not only turned my Nissan Quest 94 engine very quiet but also turned dark engine oil clean and clear. I guess if there were any sludge in oil pan, they could have been cleaned out.

    Somehow, I did not add another can of Engine Restorer after oil change this time as suggested, but my engine still very quiet and no smoke come out in tail pipe, but mileage seems to drop a bit back to original.

    I thought I did not add Lucas Fuel Injection Cleaner 5.25oz $4.84 in our Walmart image and mileage dropped a bit, so I squeeze some from my 32oz bottle image $9.89 at Walmart that I actually fill up from this 128oz Lucas gallon image I got from Pepboys $29.98 because our local Walmart did not sell this gallon 128oz Lucas Injector Cleaner, but small ones which is much more expensive. e.g. the 5.25oz bottle is about $1 per oz, and 32oz bottle is about 30 cents per oz and 128oz gallon is only 25 cents per oz.

    On the other hands, my local Walmart now had 32oz bottle SOLD OUT, and over 2/3 of Lucas 5.25oz bottles sold, only dozens left.

    So far, I found the best price is this one only $21.95 per gallon 128oz and on eBay also $21.95 but with flat shipping.
  • rockmobilerockmobile Posts: 115
    nq94, I have an old Haynes Repair Manual for Mercury Villager and Nissan Quest, models 1993 thru 2001.

    Most of the stuff on it is for model years like yours. It costs something like $15 and is available at places like Pep Boys.
    It might help you see with more clarity what you got under the hood and also maintenance schedules.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited July 2011
    Pretty pictures aside, all your Quest really needs is a simple oil and filter change every 7,500 miles and fresh 87 octane gas when the low fuel light comes on. The additives required by federal law in all gasoline have plenty of detergent to keep your injectors clean.

    Everything else is just a waste of time and money.

    Did I mention that my '99 has 158,000 miles on it? Lifetime mpg is 21.53. My maintenance costs per mile are running .04 cents a mile.
  • That's impressive! Did you only add gass after "low fuel light comes on"? At that moment how many more miles can your Nissan still go? Have you tested it?

    My brother-in-law always brought a gallon of gas with him when he bought a new car and test it out how many miles will go till "ran out of gas" and how many more miles can go after the "low fuel light came on" so that he knew exactly what to expect and never panic!

    Unfortunately, he did not have van, so I have no idea what those numbers would be.
  • That's good to know. Thanks. I may check it out next time I am there.

    By the way, do you still need your copy?
  • rockmobilerockmobile Posts: 115
    I will keep my repair manual as long as I have my van. Next time you go to Pep Boys instead of buying Engine Restorer, get yourself a copy of the Haynes manual. It specifies fluid capacities and things of that sort.

    Also, at one time I think I drove something like 10 or 15 miles in the Jersey Turn Pike with the low fuel light "ON". The light turns on long before the needle hits the end in the display.

    I kept reading your posts because I think you are a test of endurance for those engines. Three years without an oil change is a real test, but you taught me a lesson: an oil change will make my engine run a lot smoother than using any additive out there.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited August 2011
    I'm pretty casual about fueling up. I use the trip odometer and when the gas gauge gets low and I'm around 300 miles on the odometer, I start thinking about getting gas. Often the light comes on, but it's more convenient, I may just buy gas early. Even then, my usual fill over the 499 tanks used to date averages 15.6.

    And I did intentionally run this van out of gas early on. There was plenty of reserve after the light came on. The most I've ever been able to cram in the tank was 18.9 gallons. But I don't think I'll intentionally run it empty anymore. Cars don't like being run out of gas. Occasionally you'll read about someone who ran out of gas and their car won't restart even after filling up.

    I don't remember how far I went when it was new when I ran it out of gas. That was twelve years ago. :blush: Easily 30 miles though. Sometimes the light will come on and I'll ignore it, and the next day the light doesn't come on for a while.

    Btw, I got an official factory manual when my Quest was new. Paid $100+ for it. I used it for a front axle change and a lot of interior trim messing around. Most of it is way over my head though. If you search around on the net, you can find them free for downloading. Try the Villager/Quest group at Yahoo; might be a link there.

    Steve, visiting host
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