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Nissan Quest/Mercury Villager Starting & Stalling Problems



  • The problem turned out to be a bad fuel pressure regulator. $125.00 for the part and $275.00 labor = $400.00 total parts and labor.
  • :confuse: Hello,
    Searched though this site and did not see my exact "problem". I have a 97 Villager I bought a year ago and it's run fantastic ever since. Except now. I have discovered that if it is parked with the nose lower than the rear it will not start and I can smell gas outside the car. Pump runs like a champ, fuel pressure is spot on. How on earth can a fuel injected engine flood out tike this? The only way we found to get it started was pushing it into the street and waiting an hour or so and she started up but of course belched out a cloud of smoke due to being flooded. Otherwise runs and drives just fine. I'm thinking it has to be the pressure regulator leaking. Anyone found this issue before? Thanks in advance for your time.
  • My 2000 Villager recently had both ac hoses replaced, new tires, fuel pump, brakes, the list is endless. Driving the expressway it just stalled. It would turn over, but not remain started. Mechanic couldn't find the problem. It drives rough now and I am sure it will happen again. It has under 85000 miles an been pampered. Over $2500 in repairs in the last 2 years. I can't afford to keep it, or let it go!
  • I found this same problem with my 97 Quest (except for the gas smell)
    when parked nose down on quite a steep hill.
    I found that less than a quarter of a tank caused this problem especially when it was cold.
    The pump is situated near the back of the tank so thats easy to figure.
    my 2 cents.
  • Ummm,
    Anyone else have an idea on this issue? As stated in my orginal question, the pump and pressure check out fine. It just floods if left sitting nose down at even the slightest angle, with any amount of gas in the tank. I also noticed this week that milage has gone down the tubes on this van but the engine seems to run fine and no blue or black smoke either. Throttle response is fine as well??????
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Are you sure it is flooding? I never heard of fuel injected engine flooding before?

    since you are smelling gas and losing gas mileage, you should have your mechanic look at your van.
  • eewayeeway Posts: 5
    My 1999 stalls out after about an hour. Just had a tune up done, problem persists. Local mechanic stumped. Fuel pressure is ok, new battery installed. The rear window wiper was doing crazy things when he started it up. I relayed the distributor information posted in this thread, but haven't heard back yet. Any other suggestions would be most welcome.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Since you just had it tuned up, I'd suspect the wiring. Ask your mechanic to check all the grounds. I've seen reports of the throttle position sensor getting intermittently flaky due to a bad ground. Maybe that's related to the flaky rear wiper.

    But who knows - these kinds of problems can be hard to figure out. If it's been unseasonably cold there, maybe you have a bit of water freezing in a fuel component somewhere. A bottle of gas-line antifreeze would be a cheap thing to test.

    And I've also read reports of the torque converter locking up and stalling the engine. Maybe put a transmission fluid change and pan cleaning on the todo list?

    Steve, visiting host (and lousy mechanic :))
  • First, the problem. on my 97 Villager I drove about an hour to work. Just before I arrived, the RPM started to drop and recover every 5 seconds or so. It got faster until it RPM was down up down up. It tried to stall, but I gave it gas and made it to my parking spot. After work it started like nothing wrong. I made it 45 minutes and the issue returned. This time it bucked severely until it stalled. Felt as if trying to shift 2nd to 3rd back to 2nd... jerk jerk jerk. Done. No start. I waited about 5 minutes and it started, but VERY rough and bucking. I made it about 50 feet and stalled. Let it sit this time for 15 minutes. Started but rough, though less than last try. Made it about 100 feet, and died. Left it overnight then no trouble getting it home.

    I changed the PCV valve, fuel filter (fuel pump is less than 2 weeks old). Took a test drive and after about 20 minutes it started to chug again. RPM down up down up. Made it home without stall by keeping the gas down a bit more than usual. Changed the (much needed) distributor cap and rotor. Ran fine over a week. On my way to work, fine. After work it made it 20 feet across the parking lot and... RPM down up down up stalled. VERY hard to restart. Let it idle for about 15 minutes, the drove home with little noticable issue. Only a slight dip in RPM then back up when decelerating around corners or at lights. I'm going to check the distributor photo eye tomorrow, and maybe the Idle Control valve/relays. If neither, off to the shop. I'll post what I find when I find it.
  • Search this forum for the word "relay" or "will not start" and you will see some references to relays under the hood that cause similar symptoms
  • For those searching for the "two identical relays" I have a bit of help. I have a '97 Villager/Quest, but the placement is similar to many years. The relay for the Air Idle Control is identical to the relay for the Air Conditioner. Under the hood on the passenger side front is a relay box (long black rectangle). After removing the cover, the layout of the relays is printed in the cover. There are actually two sets that are identical, and a otal of five relays in the box. If your lable is missing, the layout is relay, relay, gap, relay, Air Idle Control Relay, A/C Relay. Hope this is able to help someoone.

    As for my issue, the van went to the shop for repairs Friday. After three seperate shops suggested the same issue, I decided to try it. All said it was a bad Crank Position Sensor (CPS) though my issues don't seem totally consistent with it's function. I've not had trouble starting which is a typical symptom of a bad CPS. The repair was made late Friday, and it seems to be driving OK over the weekend. I'll have to see how it does with my hour drive to work Monday. I'll update when I have a conclusion.
  • eewayeeway Posts: 5
    Turned out to be a bad distributor bearing. Replaced distributor, new problem. It doesn't stall anymore, but if the car is in drive or reverse, there is a noticable vibration when standing still with my foot on the brake. Once I release the brake and give it some gas, the vibration goes away.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Thanks for the follow-up. How's the idle when you are standing still? But even if it was a bit high, I guess it would be racing more than vibrating.
  • engine missed,drove 2 miles turned day drove 5 miles engine acts like not getting gas.stopped,would not start for 5 mins. drove 1 mile towed it home.would start cold than stall out. as it warmed up giving it gas made it stall will barely start same stall out problem with giving it fuel .fuel pressure good, got spark,distributor checks good any thoughts? thanks
  • eewayeeway Posts: 5
    OK at idle in neutral or park.
    Took it to a Nissan dealer who found play in the rebuilt distributor. Will exchange for another next week.
    He also said that the spark plugs weren't NGK, the preferred brand. (they are Bosch)
    Tried to sell me a new set of these, but I said that at $240. for the package, I wasn't interested.

  • eewayeeway Posts: 5
    Would recommend a disgnostic check of the engine to see if any codes come up. Sounds like a sensor somewhere.
  • thanks eeway,all electrical checked good so i pulled distributor discovered bad bearings.trip to junk yard $200.00 later the van is on the road. I would like to say thanks to all that have posted and replied to this forum.The information here has helped me tremendously.WHEN IN DOUBT, PULL DISTRIBUTOR.
    Thanks, RLD
  • I'm test driving a 98 villager, had a 94 for 212,000 and looking to get one with fewer miles. When I'm on a hill or accelerating it seems to be surging a bit. Not enough to show on rpm put you can feel it, on/off, on/off with a rhythm to it. It is suppose to have had new plugs and wires recently. I've checked over vacuum hoses and look good. Checked air filter, and mass airflow screen - clean. I've ran Lucas injector cleaner through also. There are no check engine lights coming on either.
    Sprayed cleaner in throttle body and sea foam in intake but nothing so far seems to help it. I don't want to buy it if it is something major that I don't know about. Seems to idle fine and has plenty of pick up in acceleration, the surging is just annoying at this point but don't know if it would get worse or cost a lot to fix.
    The van has 128,000 on it. I put a new fuel filter on it last night though the old one was only on for about 10,000.
    Seemed to help some, but when you step on it for freeway entrance ramp the up and down is still there. There is a slight rpm change, but not drastic. Auto parts fellow thinks it is possibly throttle position switch but at 98.00 hate to put it on just to see, especially when it's not mine yet. Wonder, could you get one at the junk yard to see if it changes things? Pulled one plug - only 10,000 on them too - seemed a bit black like it's running rich. I'm going to try and get the codes read today if I can find a place to do it. Pulled vac hose off of fuel regulator and not gas coming out - so hopefully that is ok. Have no idea of what they get to check codes on trans.
    Replaced the fuel filter the other night - seems to help a little bit on the surge
    Had a mechanic drive it, thought it was the throttle position sensor, so got that and put it on. Still surges somewhat - would like to get if fixed so I know I don't have some other big issue waiting to go bad after I buy it. I'll try and check the optical sensor for dust tomorrow. Any other ideas - would be appreciated.
  • dapodapo Posts: 1
    My 1997 Nissan Quest will start nicely and ride good for about 10 -15 minutes and then dies . All attempt to restart it will fail. If left over several hourd (5-6 hours) or overnite, it will start and runs beautifully for 10-15 minutes and then dies again. This is a reoccuring problem. Any solution to this nagging problem?
  • nag3nag3 Posts: 2
  • nag3nag3 Posts: 2
    hello everyone this is a great forum it's really informative. There was one post here I read someone found out that when he/she tried to fix there quest from dying on him/her when hot but when cold it would start up nice and smooth, but after a couple of few feet it would start chugging like is was out of gas but it had gas.
    Well i have the same problem but only thing is, i changed the fuel pump thinking that was the problem and the fuel filter and took it to my Neighborhood Mechanic to check the fuel pressure and the regulator, well the mechanic said everything checked out good , But he also said that he ran a diagnostic and electrical check it came back saying the it was an electrical Problem, and he told me to "Replace the PCM or Powertrian Control Modual or the computer.
    But when i came to this forum to read up i found a gay/gal saying that when they replaced the distributor everything was fine? i think my self it also is the distributor , cuz the PCM is hard to break down am i right? and the PCM controls alot of sensors which would also show symptoms if the PCM went bad? Please guys/gals help me figure this one out i would really appreciate it Thank You :)
  • jmaliksjmaliks Posts: 1
    I was at a light on a hill pointing up hill and after 30 seconds the van just shut off. There was no sputter or other warning it just stopped. The ignition turned over but it would not start. Pushed to the curb and still would not start. Battery and electrical all strong. Towed to the house and no Change. This is all of a sudden. There did not seem to be any sigh of trouble prior to this. Any thoughts?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Timing belt? How many miles are on it?

    Since you mentioned that it was pointing uphill when it quit, are you thinking it may be a fuel problem?

    Steve, visiting host
  • I had a similar problem parked facing uphill with just under a quarter tank of gas in 20 degree weather...just stopped and wouldn't start.
    put some more gas in it from a can and it started right up.
    The pick-up in the gas tank is near the front (parked face up a hill, all the gas will be at the back) and with a little moisture in the tank the screen on the pump froze up just enough to drop the pressure.
  • I have a 99 mercury villager that starts and runs fine for about 20 mins then dies. Will start back up and keeps dying at idle. When i keep the rpms up driving like a race car driver with one foot one gas and one on brake i can usually get around for a while. Other times i cant do that. It has been in the shop for three weeks and this is what has been done. New fuel filter, fuel pump tested fine, timing belt checked out fine. He tried an aftermarket maf(mass air flow) sensor and it ran awhile only to do the same thing again. He sent the maf back. He had a Nissan mechanic come to his shop to check it out. He said its usually one of two problems. water/ rust in the computer or the maf sensor. There was no rust in the computer and he then reccommended a oem (original equipment manufactured) maf sensor which costs $400. His nissan friend said that he has had several problems with after market sensors and you absolutely need to have the oem maf. My mechanic is now having his nissan friend come back and run a special diagnostics test (i guess a more high tech one for nissan engines) to see if it throws the code for the maf. I will know more this afternoon about what code he gets. The only code I got from auto zone was a knock sensor and several mechanics told me that it is not the problem with the van. Keep in mind that my vans check engine light is not on. I know it works because it lights up when you turn on the ignition and then goes off right away. Anyone have any suggestions as to what this problem is? And anyone know if it really matters if you get the oem mass air flow or should any one auto zone sells be fine? Please respond with any info you have. I am unemployed and certainly cant afford useless costly parts put on my van. :mad:
  • Mark,
    I've searched the net for weeks and asked everyone i know and have come to the conclusion there is no easy fix for this. My '96 was fine until last month when it started crapping out when it warmed up. Cool off and it runs good, fifteen minutes later it's a bucking bronco. Won't restart til it cools off. I've replaced a ton of parts on it and still no luck. I'm amazed that so many have the same problem and no one can come up with a solution. When I'm looking at 400 dollar maf sensors and 600 distributors I'm thinking that those two items alone equall the current value of the vehicle. I won't do it. It's been a great van and I've owned it for nine years, but all good things come to an end. Good luck.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    The '96's distributors are different from the '99s. The coil (and something else) are inside the distributor on the '99 generation. Aftermarket ones for the '99 run around $200.
  • petakapetaka Posts: 12
    In the old days when the ignition coils were separate the diagnose was simple. When the engine compartment, and hence the coil got hot, the engine would die. You would push your car to the side and wait for things to cool off.
    The solution was to replace the coil, not the distributor. I think that might still be valid for any car that has a separate coil, and I said might because with today's cars I am not completely sure but this could be used as a lead.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I read somewhere searching around yesterday that you can get some "cold shot" spray stuff at the parts store and when the van dies, hit the distributor with the cold shot. If the van restarts, that's supposed to narrow down the problem to the distributor.

    That test is supposed to work on the newer style distributors too.
  • grtfredgrtfred Posts: 1
    I was having a misfire problem. Scan said knock sensor. Scans can be misleading.
    The bearing in the distributor had gone out. Opened the distributor, there were many small metal flakes inside. Replaced the distributor, runs fine. Note; the timing marks are hard to find. The pointer is right under a hose fitting that is steel colored among the black. Stand by the right front wheel facing left. May have to push a hose to the side. Aim your timing light down through a small space and you'll see the pointer right above the pulley with the marks. Took me a lot of searching with a flashlight to find it.--Good luck, Fred
  • cheri6cheri6 Posts: 21
    I just bought a 93 villager with 102,000 miles on it and it seems to bogg out and lose power when going up a longer hill. It also slightly cuts in and out after the hill on flat ground. Then sometimes when it is warmer out it loses power on the highway. I can floor it and it acts like it isn't getting any gas. When I remove the gas cap, a lot of air pressure comes out. It definately runs better when it is cold or colder out. The fuel pump was just changed to correct the problem but the problem is still there so it must not be that. I am worried about when the weather gets really hot. Does anyone know what else it might be? Thank you for any help with this.
  • canyonsvocanyonsvo Posts: 23
    Same problem here with a 2000 model. The check engine light had been on for quite some time with a vss error. I didn't want to mess with replacing that sensor as the van had always driven fine. Last week my wife calls and says she is stranded. I managed to limp the car home and changed the plugs, plug wires, cap and rotor, fuel filter and fuel pressure regulator. Started it up, ran great, super! Not so. After the engine reaches operating temperature (10 minutes or so) it cuts out misses. The cel now has a code for knock sensor. WTF? If I can find a cheap dizzy from a junk yard I'll try replacing that. But I really hate to keep throwing parts at this thing.
  • markhagenmarkhagen Posts: 5
    Well everyone. As i thought it after reading these posts in here and after 1 month in the shop it turned out to be the distributor. After talking with several mechanics a knock sensor is in no way urgent to get replaced and is not the problem your having. Mine throws that code now and it runs just fine. I would check the distributor. The van runs great now but im selling it. thanks to all on here for your help.
  • cheri6cheri6 Posts: 21
    The guy at nissan explained that as the barrings in the distributor wear, they throw metal shavings around in there and they dirty up the inside of the distributor. This causes those barrings to become smaller and when they heat up they just roll around in there and cause the misfiring to happen. A remanufactured distributor is 200 buck! A brand new one is $385! Then 50 bucks to the mechanic to install. Not a cheap fix unfortunately. Especially after you have already changed other parts. I did find a distributor at a junk yard for $45 but I worry that this might have the same problem. But I wonder if a person can open the distributor themselves and clean it out. I think I read that others have just done that and fixed it that way. Does anyone know about fixing the distributor itself? Can that be done? It sure would be cheaper. Thanks
  • cheri6cheri6 Posts: 21
    The guy at nissan explained that as the barrings in the distributor wear, they throw metal shavings around in there and they dirty up the inside of the distributor. This causes those barrings to become smaller and when they heat up they just roll around in there and cause the misfiring to happen. A remanufactured distributor is 200 buck! A brand new one is $385! Then 50 bucks to the mechanic to install. Not a cheap fix unfortunately. Especially after you have already changed other parts. I did find a distributor at a junk yard for $45 but I worry that this might have the same problem. But I wonder if a person can open the distributor themselves and clean it out. I think I read that others have just done that and fixed it that way. Does anyone know about fixing the distributor itself? Can that be done? It sure would be cheaper. Thanks
  • canyonsvocanyonsvo Posts: 23
    Getting expensive fast! I'm into it about $300 so far, and that is with me doing all of the work! I just ordered a new dizzy off of Ebay for $160 shipped. If that is not the problem, I think I may crush this thing.
  • canyonsvocanyonsvo Posts: 23
    If fixed it! I took off the distributor cap, rotor and cover plate. I noticed some metal shavings around the bearing/shaft area. Using compressed air and a pencil magnet I was able to remove metal shavings that amount to about a dime sized piece when lumped together. I put a light amount of white lithium grease on the bearings and reassembled everything. Runs better than ever! I just drove about 15 miles and get no hiccup from the engine at all.
  • canyonsvocanyonsvo Posts: 23
    still going strong two days later.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
  • cheri6cheri6 Posts: 21
    Good Job. glad to hear you got it fixed. I have a question for you.
    Do you think that a person could get away with just cleaning the metal shavings out and still using the same distributor, or do you have to replace the entire distributor? I just hate to spend all this money! Thanks, Cheri
  • canyonsvocanyonsvo Posts: 23
    Same distributor. Just clean out the shavings and spray in a bit of lube.
  • cheri6cheri6 Posts: 21
    Thanks for the info. I wrote your instructions down and will take them to our mechanic. I hate to spend money on cars!!! Take care, Cheri
  • canyonsvocanyonsvo Posts: 23
    You really don't need a mechanic. There are a total of 5 screws to remove. Just remove the two bolts that hold on the distributor cap and set the cap to the side. You don't even need to remove the plug wires. Next, remove the screw that holds the rotor on to the distributor shaft. You can now remove the two screws that hold the brown plastic cover in place over the bearings. I used a can of "keyboard duster" to agitate the shavings around so that I could remove them with a pencil magnet. After you get out the shavings spray some lube onto the bearings and put everything back together. It will only take you 15 minutes at most.
  • cheri6cheri6 Posts: 21
    Way cool, Im going for it! Thank you thank you. I'm gonna pick up the stuff today and do it tomarrow morning. Heck, I can turn a screwdriver.
    That sounds easy! I' ll keep you posted on the outcome. Have a nice day! Cheri
  • thertthert Posts: 3
    I have a 1997 Nissan Quest. For a second time in about 6 months, it started acting up, and then the check engine light came on. We had driven about 40 miles, stopped at a grocery store for about 15 minutes, and when I came out and started the van, it started rough and begin to miss. We drove up the street and stopped at another store for about 30 minutes. This time, it didn't want to start. I had to hold the pedal to the floor before it would start. It smoked heavy white smoke and smelled strongly of gas. The 35 mile drive home was a long drive. The further we went, the better the engine ran. The next day, the problem was right back full strength. The first time it happened, I took it to the shop, spent almost $400, changed the plugs and wires, not sure what else. Any thoughts would be appreciated. :cry:
  • jwoodenjwooden Posts: 5
    Just so I understand this - is the bearing under the slotted disk - not sure what I'm looking for. I've had the dist cap, rotor, & the metal covering that goes over the disk with all the slots in it. But where is the bearing located - do I have to remove the disk? Or am I to get the little metal pieces out from under the disk. I didn't see that mentioned. Another thing in the Dist. that I'm wondering about is - To clean that photo eye - is it ok to take out the two little screws that look like they hold it on - don't want to mess up some thing more than it is.
    Thanks a lot.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Sounds like it could be a sensor maybe.

    Try to get to an auto parts store and ask them if they can pull the codes. If any show up, they can read them for you or you can come back here and someone should be able to tell you what they could indicate.

    Steve, visiting host
  • cheri6cheri6 Posts: 21
    Hello, I haven't gotten to doing this yet so I myself am not sure about the slotted disk you are talking about. But I do think I read some where that people just clean or dust off the photo senser. I don't remember hearing that they took it out. If this helps any! But good luck and please let us know the outcome. Im going to try this but Im a little nervous. Thanks, Cheri
  • canyonsvocanyonsvo Posts: 23
    Once you remove the rotor, you then remove the two screws that hold the brown cover and remove the cover. That is the end of removing parts. Under the white disk you will see the bearings surrounding the shaft. There is a thin washer that rides atop the bearings. Compressed air shot into this area will agitate loose any shavings and a thin magnet will remove them.

    As far as cleaning the sensor/lens, I just hit everything with air and put it back together.
  • cheri6cheri6 Posts: 21
    Hello, ok I am ready to go do it. I got the aircleaner, lube and a magnet. Yesterday you said pencil magnet. Does it have to be pencil thin. I got the smallest one they had at the auto parts store. Will this work? Then last question, for now, where is the distributor and what does it look like? Once I get there I can do it. Thanks, Cheri-oh ya, does it take a phillips or flathead screwdriver?
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