Jim Grant's Tech Tips
Nissan Sentra, Ignition Problems
Q: I had bought an ‘85 Nissan Sentra (second
car). It rode and handled well except that sometimes it would stall and
not start for quite a period of time.
It was said that it was vapor locked but no one could correct it. I sold
it and bought an ‘84 (good shape) and I’ll be darned, it does the same
thing. A friend recently told me that it could be a weak coil. What’s
friend could be right. I would also suggest close inspection of the power
transistor, which is mounted next to the ignition coil. The power transistor
is a computer controlled switch for the ignition coil that is prone to
corrosion problems and can fail when hot. One way to prove whether or
not the ignition is the problem is to prove if there is ignition spark
or not when the engine quits. Pick yourself up a spark tester; they’re
not much money. The next time the vehicle quits install the spark tester
on the coil wire and try to start the engine. If there is no spark at
the coil wire then the ignition coil or power transistor is in question.
If the spark is good and strong then there are other problems.