94 Nissan Pickup Won't Start

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04-04-2005, 11:02 AM
I have a 94 Nissan Pickup/stick. A few months back it would not start when I turned the key. I would hear a click (behind the firewall), but the starter would not do anything. I replaced the starter (bought at Autozone) and the truck ran fine up until the other day. Once again, turned the key, held in the clutch and nothing. Tried tapping the started with a wooden stick and still would not start. I took out the starter and had it tested at Autozone. At first they said the starter was bad, than they compared it to a new starter and said it was good. I re-installed my original starter and tried to start the car again. No luck, it still would not start. Kept turning the key and eventually the truck started. It has started every time over the past several days. My concern is that it will not start again. I was told about the possible windings issue (only occurs when you land on that single winding), but shouldn't they have detected a bad winding during their test. Also, kind of suspicious that two starters would have the same problem and only happen every few months. Any ideas? Thanks.

04-04-2005, 08:29 PM
Sounds like you aren't pulling enough juice from the battery. Check the water level in the cells and do a load test. Autozone can do this also.
IF that doesn't do it, check to ensure that you have a good ground on the firewall and check the connections to the solenoid.

04-25-2005, 01:19 PM
Had Autozone provide me another rebuilt Starter. Had to convince them that the one they sold me three months ago was bad. Since replaced the starter and have not had an issue, started each and every time. Goes to prove, just because the part is only a few months old, it can still go bad.


05-01-2005, 02:54 PM
I have an 86 1/2 Hardbody 2.4L 4x4 that has given me intermittent starting problems for probably 10 years in one form or another. Many things replaced like inhibitor relay, starter ignition switch, and a new starter from one of the 'CarQuest/AutoZone' like places. I asked a friend to do it, but I don't remember where he got it.

After the starter was replaced, it started about a half dozen times before the intermittent problem recurred. Lived with this situation a long time (parking on hills for insurance), and after more troubleshooting without success finally took it to a dealer. They said it was the starter solenoid, and put in a new 'factory' starter for $553! ($289 for the starter alone.)

So far so good........starts every time......so I'm wondering if it's just poorly manufactured solenoids that are out there on these cores causing a lot of havoc. Does anybody know where good solenoids can be found by themselves? I still have the original hitachi core that I'd like to mate up to one to have as a spare.

I still carry around a spare inhibitor relay as well these days.

05-04-2005, 10:32 AM
Starting problem has come back. After replacing the starter, truck started everytime for a few days, than it became intermittent again. Last weekend took out the starter and confirm I had good connections. A couple of the connectors were exposed, so I applied electrical tape. Started fine for a day, than back to intermittent. Now it will not start at all. I bought a new ignition switch, only $28.00 and easy to install.

I wonder if it is the solenoid. I have used the parking on the hill and it does start every time in this manner. What is the inhibitor relay? Is this a way to bypass the Solenoid? I'm willing to try anything.

05-05-2005, 08:23 AM
Replaced the ignition switch and the truck would still not start, so I took off the starter again last night. I now can get it off in minutes, I've done it so many times. With the starter off, placed a wire from the battery to the large connector on the Solenoid. Turned the key and once again nothing happened. Pulled the connector that goes to the small cable off the the solenoid, this is the cable that goes to the key switch. Shorted this small connector directly to the battery and the starter turned. Apparently, I have a problem with this small cable that goes back to the key switch. I have no wiring diagram, so will have to try and trace it back. Also, not sure how the key gets it's power. It appears I either have a problem with the power going to the key or the cable from the key to the Starter Solenoid. At least I narrowed it down.

05-05-2005, 08:22 PM
Don't know if it will help, but the inhibitor relay on my 86 1/2 hardbody is on the passenger side near the battery. I put a photo up in my member gallery if you'd like to take a look. Not sure if your model has one.

It can be bypassed by shorting out two of the connectors on the underside....I made a spade to spade wire. It's been awhile, but I believe the two connectors on the 'front' side of the relay....in the image, the connectors with the red plastic on the plug....are the ones to use for bypassing the relay. Sorry I don't have the time to check this out for you myself.....so be careful!

When you go to a Nissan dealer, they'll be the first to tell you that they sell a lot of these. I think you can get them for half the dealer price at rockauto.com . At RockAuto mine looks something like this:


Let us know what you find out......I've come across several people who still haven't completely solved this sort of intermittent problem.

05-09-2005, 10:41 AM
Replaced the Ignition Relay (Dealer $25.00). With the Starter still removed and cables connected, turned the ignition key and the starter turned. Thought I had the problem fixed. Re-installed the starter and the truck turned over on the first few tries. Tried again the next day and it went back to being intermittent. I pulled the connector off the Ignition Relay and applied power directly to the small cable going from the Relay to the Starter Solenoid and the Starter turns. It has to be something between the Ignition Relay and the key Switch. Possibly the Clutch Safety Switch. I rigged two 5' cables that I extend from the Relay Connecter and the Battery through the window of the truck. For now, I start the truck by having the key turned on and shorting the two wires together. It gets me where I'm going, but still need to find the root of the problem. Autozone told me the Clutch Saftey Switch is a dealer part. Not sure of the cost, but I believe this is the last remaining switch/relay in line with the ignition key. I suppose I can try and short (bypass) the Clutch Safety Switch and run a test, if I can find where it is located.

05-09-2005, 12:17 PM
At the risk of leading you further astray, I've put up a diagram from the 86 1/2 Factory Service Manual in my gallery. It may not apply, but serve as some sort of guide. In the past, I've shorted out the clutch interlock switch while troubleshooting, but it didn't solve my problem.

According to this diagram, there's possibly even another (or two!) clutch switch that I just now came across in the manual. Something is screwy about that, though.........as I don't see any other switches in the wiring diagram except for the clutch interlock switch. And I don't see anything that looks quite like those two switches under the dash.

I kind of like your double 5' wire solution... 8^) . If mine ever acts up again, I might just try that and attach a momentary switch under the dash! As long as you have to have the key in it, I don't think I'd mind that setup.

Good luck.

05-16-2005, 10:44 AM
Thanks. I'll take a look for the switches under the dash. I'll try and bypass the switch.

05-26-2005, 02:22 PM
One other thing that recently happened to me was the plastic disk on the back of the cluth pedal arm that engages the clutch switch broke off so that the clutch switch wouldn't get pushed in. I think this thing can wear which can result in weak engagement of the switch.
Just something to be aware of in the future.

07-11-2005, 01:10 PM
I have been having the same exact problem with my 1994 Nissan pickup as well. The starter began acting up a few weeks ago, where it would not crank when I'd try the key. I replaced the starter and it didn't do a single thing to fix the problem (although the starter was the origonal on the truck with 160k miles). I started unplugging and plugging the relays under the hood to make sure they were all seated properly, and still nothing when I tried to start it. I finally opened the fuse panel under the driver side, ran my thumb over the bank of fuses just to feel if any were loose. I then tried starting the truck again, and it fired right up. I figured that was the problem, and it was starting perfectly for a couple days. Now it's back to the same issue as before; won't start. My guess is possibly either a bad relay in the fuse box (i checked all the fuses), or else a loose wire perhaps? I'm also wondering if possibly it could be the ignition switch on the column..

07-12-2005, 12:21 PM
i used to have a 94 nissan pickup with the same problem bigbill. i tried everything. in my case it was the clutch safety switch. lay on your back on the driver side floorboard, and look up at where the clutch mounts to the firewall. you will see a switch that gets pushed in when you apply the clutch. attached to the switch are two wires (colors vary, mine were both black). connect these two wires together preferably with t-taps and male spade connectors. this will bypass the switch. HOWEVER: this will also allow you to start your truck in gear with out the clutch being pushed in. Be careful as your truck will lunge forward if it's not in neutral or the clutch isnt pushed in. hope that helps.

07-12-2005, 04:08 PM
Yep, that's what mine ended up being also. The connectors that keep the wires connected to the switch were loose. Messed around with everything last night for about 3 hours until I ran across that one.

john ranck
08-23-2005, 01:05 AM
Thanks for letting me sit in. I just recently experienced the same problem you are describing. Turns out it was just like scarredpelt suggested....low electrolyte. I wont say how many hours it took me until I inspected the spot where I should have started from. Thanks for the heads up!

10-01-2005, 06:41 AM
Clutch Safety Switch: On my 94 XE King Cab 2.4 stick I twice had to replace the CSS. Its a fairly large plug in switch on the drivers side under the hood with Blue plastic wraped around it.I only suspected it cause I had a stick shift. The battery was new so I didn't start replacing things randomly.The only other trouble I had early on was the V belts kept giving me trouble but the Nissan mechanic finally fixed them and haven't changed them in at least 5 years.I now have a cooling problem that I think was caused by the heater core not being used in 11 years. I ran some Barrs leak thru the system stopped the slow leak but the truck ran hot. Now after many flushes it runs normal if the heater is open and a little hot with the A/C running.

03-09-2006, 01:10 PM
93 Nissan Hardbody, v6 XE 4x4: Blue box ignition relay, right under the hood, by the right wheel well. Part number 252330. $17 generic brand at my local parts store.

That's what the problem was the first time, about half a year ago. Drove me nuts trying to figure it out on my own. Took it to a shop and they charged me $350 to fix it. Now, truck is doing the same thing, but I jumped the relay with no success. Still hear the click when I turn the key, but instinct says it's not the solenoid (you can fool me once...).

Things I checked:
-Battery voltage is good.
-There's no voltage drop across the battery terminal wiring harness; sometimes corrosion in the harness can be the culprit--you may have volts across the battery, but not across the connectors. Very sneaky.
-I removed the blue ignition relay, put my meter there, and saw over 10 amps current draw when I turned the key.
-I tried jumping the ignition relay with no success.

I'm going to check the clutch switch and the relay above the fusebox today. Here are some good links I've found about the problem:


Question-what's the clutch interlock switch for? I really don't get that thing.

03-10-2006, 10:55 AM
I was wrong! I just put a long stick against the starter motor and whacked it with a hammer a couple of times and sure enough, it started!

And yet I'm stubborn enough to still think it's not the starter. When I pulled the starter out half a year ago and bench tested it, it spun up like a champ, almost jumping off the bench even though it was tied down. There was no hesitation in starting. Whereas when it's in the car, it sounds like it's struggling to get current. Plus, some other electrical components are behaving weirdly--stereo display is dimming, power window switch produces a click from somewhere under the dash or behind the firewall (relay?), and the power locks are weakly struggling to depress all the way. I have a feeling it's hidden corrosion. There have to be a million connections coming off the positive battery terminal, and I highly doubt it came from the factory looking like it currently does.

Any advice on how to best test or replace the terminal connections?

03-13-2006, 05:40 AM
well it cam be a few things. I have heard of Starter motors sticking once you wack them you free them up for a while , but eventually it will do it again.

or you can check your charging system. Altinator and battery , check for A draw. Low battery voltage can also casue the clicking of the starter. Not enough Juice.

I would Start with just checking your charging system first

03-19-2006, 08:32 PM

Well, I tried jumpstarting with no success. Thus, I figured it was the starter itself. Today I pulled the starter out, took it to my local parts store, and had it tested. Sure enough, the darn thing started right up. BUT, the parts guy said it sounded a little slow AND it was drawing over 100 amps (he said it should only be drawing like 30). So, I bought a new (remanufactured) starter with a lifetime warranty for $114. I had him bench test it, and it spun up really quickly.

I took the new starter home and right before I put it in the truck, I decided to wire it up and see if it would start before I installed it. The solenoid worked (it popped the gear out), but it didn't spin. I then tried it on a friend's car and it did spin.

Sooo, to make a long story short, it now looks like it's the battery. I have a hypothesis that the starter was getting worn out and drawing too many amps which in turn killed the battery. Though I don't know why it didn't work when I tried jumping it. Maybe there still wasn't enough current to spin the thing.

I'll replace the battery and starter tomorrow and report back.

03-20-2006, 12:33 PM
I've had this problem since 2000. I've replaced the starter, the starter relay, the ignition, had someone troubleshoot the wiring, bypassed the clutch safety switch and replaced the battery and still no fix. Now the starter doesn't get any fire at all. Clutch starting is no problem and the engine runs fine. I've read on the internet a lot of people having this issue, but have never seen a fix. My cousin's 4x4 v6 Nissan truck had the same issue, but intermittant. He sold it while the issue was still intermittant. I wonder if it is the on board computer under the passanger seat. Is there a way to bypass the ignition and hot wire the battery to the starter? And say put the switch in the cab. I'm desperate and poor! :banghead:

03-20-2006, 05:30 PM
Okay, read and tried everything but, the ccs. First, the battery, then the solenoid. Ran through the wiring and the ignition sensor. Even looked at the fuel pump sensor. The problem is intermitten and this 198,934 miles on this 94 Sentra 1.6 has many good mechanics puzzled. Nissan wants me to bring it in. Wondering if those who changed the ccs have had any problems since with anything else, and was anyones check engine light on?

03-20-2006, 06:52 PM
No Check Engine light here. 220,000 miles and the truck has never had any major failure. Bypassing the clutch safety switch did nothing. Taking it to another machanic tomorrow AM. I told him the complete history of the problem and that this was a real doozie. He was sure it was the starter relay. :screwy:I told him twice that I had replaced it, but he was sure that is what it was, my truck awaits it's next victim.:lol: He said that he could in fact fix this problem. Can't wait to post the "fix". Now this problem has had a tendancy to go away for 2 weeks and return. So only time will tell on the latest installment of the truck starter from heck.:evillol: I've bet my Dad that the machanic couldn't fix it. I hope I loose the money.

03-20-2006, 07:15 PM
oh it's a stick .. Its a clutch relay that goes bad on those trucks the relay has two plugs going to it and it blue , i can't remember where it is located though . It's a fairly cheap part and you can tell if it's it by jumping the relay there . If you by past the relay and it starts .. there you go :) GL

03-20-2006, 07:49 PM

Went to Les Schwab today, had them check the battery and sure enough it was bad (whatever that really means). Got a new, better one for 20% off since the old one was 4 years into its 5-year warranty.

Put the new starter in (with a lifetime warranty), put the battery in, and sure enough, she fired right up. I just hope she stays working for the long term.

To recap:

-This problem first appeared 9 months ago and turned out to be the ignition relay (blue box right under hood).

-Worked great since then, except for a loose neg terminal that kept popping off the battery for a couple of months. Finally replaced the negative terminal and cable (to the enginer block).

-Two weeks ago she wouldn't start (I push started to get home). There were some small symptoms leading up to this, but I didn't think anything of them until afterwards (flickering stereo display, clicking power window relay, and even a little hesitation when starting).

-Checked the relay, bypassed the relay, didn't work.

-Tried a simple method for checking the clutch safety switch: WITHOUT the clutch pushed in, I turned the key to Ignition and held it there. I then pushed the clutch in, and heard the "click" so I ruled out the CSS.

-I was able to tap on the starter and got it to start once, but never again.

-Replaced the flimsy positive battery terminal with a beefy one. Redid auxillerary connections at the terminal. Terminals were corroding badly, but cables were fine.

-Tried jumping it, no luck.

-Bench testing the starter showed it drawing too much current (100 amps) probably more than could be supplied by my battery AND the jumping car.

-Replaced starter and battery, and VAAAAROOOOOM!!!!!

-Power window relay still clicks (relay sound like it's under the dash?)

I don't know what caused all this trouble to start in the first place, but I think once the starter motor starting going bad, it drew too much current and killed the relay and battery. I wonder about the grounding; whoever worked on my truck before me didn't do it very well and I think I'm going to re-ground a couple of connections. I have a dome light in the canopy that "intermittently" comes on; eerily similar to some of you guys' problems. I wonder if it's the same root cause.

Good luck to you all!

03-20-2006, 07:54 PM
Interesting article is below. I'm going to try this in the morning to see if I can get it to work. I think I have a compound problem, since I always heard a clicking noise in the starter and then it would crank about the 4th or 5th turn of the key. Now I get no click.


03-21-2006, 08:30 AM
Tried jumping the relay with no success. Taking in old green to the shop.:rolleyes:

04-14-2006, 01:40 AM
My 94 p/u was also having the same problem. It would not start, I would just hear a click coming from the blue interlock relay right under the hood near the battery. I unplugged the relay and jumped the hot connections with a piece of wire and it started right up. I guess this relay is the clutch safety relay that people were talking about earlier because when I jumped it, you didn't have to put the clutch in when starting it up. Of course, this was after I paid Pep Boys to change my starter--never again. Thank you to everyone in this forum who helped me figure this one out.

06-30-2006, 07:59 AM
I have a '93 4WD V6. Sometimes it would start, sometimes not. Dash lights come on, dome light comes on, radio plays, didn't seem to be the battery. When it started there was no weak cranking, it wasn't hard starting, it was no start. For awhile trying the key several time would work, finally nothing. After replacing the start/solenoid, I read these and other post, tried shorting across the ignition relay. It's a blue relay under the hood, right side, near the battery with two connectors. Disconnect both connector and connect pins 3 and 5 (marked on top of the relay), then try the key to start. If it starts, replace the relay. Mine was less than $20 at the local Auto store.

Thanks to all who posted.

12-25-2006, 02:34 PM
Well, sorry guys, but it's good to know that I'm not the only person with this problem. I just pushed my truck half-way to work on Christmas Day. I've been dealing with this for months, and the only thing that you guys have mentioned that I've not checked is where my clutch meets my firewall. thanks for all the good info, and if anybody wants to buy a nissan truck for about 2 grand let me know.

01-09-2007, 08:38 PM
First off, remove replace all those factory plugs/connectors at the battery post with solid/direct connections.
Second, make sure that BOTH of the battery cables, both positive AND negative are in GOOD SHAPE on BOTH ends.
Third, it could be a Stater Relay; a co-manager that used to work for me had to replace his every other year.
hope this helps

01-09-2007, 08:47 PM
Forgot about the blasted clutch switch!!!!
Must check!!!
Get rid of!!
or by=pass it

01-11-2007, 05:56 PM
1991 2.4 L p/u. I had the same type of intermitant starting problem about 2 week ago. Heard the click but no start. My starter is only 4 months old and I have a new battery. I changed out the starter relay and it started everytime for a week until today. Back to the intermitant problem. I am able to start it by holding the key in the ignition position and pumping the clutch a bit to engage and disengage the CCS. Each time it engages it will click and then finally start after a few times. One guy above said that rules out the CCS as a problem but I am not sure about that. Any thoughts on where to turn next?

01-15-2007, 05:54 PM
I actually found a bad starter ground wire. Cleaning the contacts and reattaching it seems to have solved my problem.

Stitz Love
01-16-2007, 08:21 AM
Hello bigbill66,
I have been having the same problem with my '93 4 Cyl. 5-speed manual, FI truck. I too, have replaced the ignition relay, and the battery, bypassed the CSS, ... then Sunday (1-14-'07) smacked the starter with a 2x2 a few times and she has started 4 times so far.
I am going to replace the starter one evening this week, and wondered if you would share your technique for removing and installing the starter, as you indicated in one of your posts, "...in minutes, now...".
The Haynes manual I bought is not really specific enough, it looks like it's going to be pretty tight and more difficult than they let on.
I think many 'ol Nissan p/u owners, like myself would appreciate a little step-by-step, time saver.
Would you post it, or e-mail me, please? Thanks in advance!

04-06-2007, 12:17 PM
Where exactly is this starter relay (on my 2 wheel drive 2.4 1993)? I found a black box with relays in it in the engine compartment and above the passenger wheel, but there's nothing to indicate an ignition / starter relay.

I took my starter off this morning...certainly not in minutes. The bolts are 14mm and what a time I had inching them out! I went back and forth between a small socket and a wrench. Finally, when I got both bolts out, I had to maneuver the starter down and toward the back of the truck before I could actually pull it free. Ugggh!

I'm not looking forward to having to start that top bolt once the starter goes back in! It's all I can do to fit my hand in above the starter... and I don't have big hands.

09-15-2007, 07:25 PM
I have a 1994 Nissan 4X4 pick up automatic with the 3.0 motor, the problem is when I go to start my truck, I turn the key, hear a click and I hold the key in the start position and in about 2 to 4 seconds the truck will crank and start. The 2 to 4 seconds I'm holding the key nothing happens and then all of a sudden she'll start cranking and start right up. Any ideas what's causing this?

Stitz Love
09-18-2007, 09:29 AM
Hey Joe,
This is a long thread with a lot of great info in it.
For me, it was the Starter.
Replacing the starter on my '93 is such a time consuming hassleand I mean "HASSLE", for someone of my limited mechanical skills and no work space. So I paid $385. for parts and labor at a Nissan specialist repair center.
The Starter was (is) a Nissan Factory rebuild and so has great warranty, great reputation, and the labor also with great warranty.
It was worth it to me.
There are less expensive ways to replace your starter... maybe $120. cash and $260.00 worth of your own time. Given the difficulty I have with the location of the starter... having to remove a freakin' TIRE to get it out.. etc. .. not haveing a garage to work in.. etc.
It's a call you need to make for yourself.
I can only add that these vehicles are really worth keeping up... repairing when they need etc.
I have 217,000. miles on mine and it's still going strong.

09-19-2007, 05:41 PM
Turned out to be a bad battery.

Dan O
04-06-2008, 11:17 PM
I have been chasing this problem on my Nissan 1995 pickup for several months now with no obvious success until today (hopefully). I have replaced the starter twice (the first time was for a bad starter clutch), the battery twice, the clutch inhibit relay several times, and most of the wiring which connects the relay to the starter.

The problem has been intermittent with long periods of not showing its ugly head to times when it crops up every day. Recently it occurred every day, usually in the morning on the way to work. When I turned the key I either heard a click or a stutter from the clutch inhibit relay, or in some cases nothing. Using a multimeter I would trace the fault back a ways until the starter began acting normally and thus preventing me from continuing to chase the problem.

Today I managed to isolate the problem to the ignition switch. This switch has two major components, one is the steering wheel lock and the portion where the key is inserted, and the other is the electrical switch. The mechanical linkage between the two components had become slightly worn and loose. The steering wheel lock portion limits key rotation to prevent the electrical switch from rotating beyond the start position. The wear and loose allowed the electrical portion of the switch to rotate far enough that the limit on key rotation prevented the key from being able to activate the starter. I simply rotated the electrical portion back and tightened the screw holding it and viola, the starter engaged reliably. Before I tightened the screw I was able to keep the key from starting the car by rotating the switch one way and force it to start the car by rotating it the other way.

I think the switch will eventually get loose again, so this is probably not a permanent fix. Since Schucks wants $160 + shipping for a new ignition switch, I will probably simply install a button on the dash which I can push to engage the starter.

07-14-2008, 10:20 AM
Here is a new one for everyone, any help is greatly appreciated:
I have a 1992 Nissan Pickup with 2.4L engine. I tried to start one day, but had no power when turning key to ON. I replaced battery, but the old one was fine. I replaced the ignition switch and the truck had dash lights and started fine. A couple of days later I had the no dash lights problem again. Battery checked out fine. Clock on dash is on when key is off, then goes blank and resets itself when the ignition is turned to ACC or ON. Truck doesn't start. Replaced switch again, but had the same problem. Am I getting bad switches, or is this a different problem?

08-17-2008, 10:53 AM
I have a 1994 Nissan truck, 5 speed 4 cyl. It has a new battery, new cables, altenator and starter, however it will not turn over. Its like the battery is dead and there is a clicking under the dash, but not from the battery when you try to start it. All lights and accessories work. The truck sometimes acted like it wasn't going to crank before. Is it the ignition switch or is there a switch when you push in the clutch to start it? You do have to engage the clutch before cranking even in neutral. Help please if you can

08-22-2008, 12:48 PM
I have a 95 Nissan p/u in very good condition. I have done most of my own maintenance. As for the starting problem, it is usually the starter and alternators every 4 years. This time I have detected a new problem. I am almost positive of the source since it is starting sometimes and not others (the starter and alternators are both less than 2 years old).

I believe, though have not confirmed yet, that the problem is probably the relay switch between the clutch pedal and the starter. Since it will start sometimes after a couple of pumps on the clutch, this makes the most sense. It might be worth investigating this on your own truck. It is a cheap and easy fix. I am going to go check it out today since I finally have time to!!!

It seems to me that a lot of you are experiencing the same issues. Intermittant starts. Good luck!!! Not bad for a girl, eh?

08-22-2008, 12:49 PM
Looks like some of you beat me to it....ah well. I felt really smart for a few minutes!!

10-27-2008, 08:41 PM
Replaced the ignition switch and the truck would still not start, so I took off the starter again last night. I now can get it off in minutes, I've done it so many times. With the starter off, placed a wire from the battery to the large connector on the Solenoid. Turned the key and once again nothing happened. Pulled the connector that goes to the small cable off the the solenoid, this is the cable that goes to the key switch. Shorted this small connector directly to the battery and the starter turned. Apparently, I have a problem with this small cable that goes back to the key switch. I have no wiring diagram, so will have to try and trace it back. Also, not sure how the key gets it's power. It appears I either have a problem with the power going to the key or the cable from the key to the Starter Solenoid. At least I narrowed it down. Hi BigBill66 I have a 93 nissan PU 4 CYL , I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get to the top bolt up almost against the firewall under the intake,My question is how do I get a socket on that top bolt?. I have had problems with that cc relay or what I thought was a starter relay when it was high humidity it would act up so I would hit it and it would start. But Todays problem is 2 weeks ago I was having problems with my 4 yr old battery it had a dry cell so I added water to the one cell 2 wks later on a cold morning it barely started so I went and bought a new battery . Nothing happened no crank at all, Should I tie the wires together on the clutch safety switch? Maybe Bypass the two blue plug in relay boxes on the passenger side wheel well near the battery if so How? I live alone and have no neighbors or relatives near. Any help to get the starter off and anyway to get my truck running would be greatly appreciated Greg

10-27-2008, 09:01 PM
I actually found a bad starter ground wire. Cleaning the contacts and reattaching it seems to have solved my problem. Hello MMCCMM On the ground wire was it the one on the bottom attached to the bottom starter bolt , Mine has a Braided Grnd wire that goes from the starter bolt to the frame it plugs in at a terminal on the frame it appears either weathered or half the plastic either burn't or dry rotted maybe replace that ground or is there a more significant grounds for the starter?
Where is this ccs relay is it the two blue plastic plug in boxes on the passenger wheelwell near the battery and if so can those two one bigger than the other be ByPassed? what I always called the starter relay. I put a new battery and all I hear is the relay clicking on the wheel well near the battery. The truck is my only transportation and I live way out in the country. Any Help would be appreciated.

Raider Mike
11-12-2008, 09:45 PM
OK, I've read most of the treads here, I have a 93 D21 Pickup V6SE, well maintained and clean. Most of these intermittent starting problems were solved with the Clutch switch fix. What about the guys/ gals with Automatic Transmissions? I turn the key and no clicks ( the only click I hear is when the ABS light goes out) I, too, have new battery and starter. I see (two) ignition relays near the fuse box, Which one should I replace? Both? Where is the "starter" relay? I can't seem to find it anywhere and I have the Chiltons book. As everyone above, any help would be appreciated.

12-28-2008, 09:34 AM
My 94 Hardbody is now starting to act up like the previous posts and as my girlfriend's 93 Pathfinder did. She ended up getting rid of it, having spent a lot of money on starters, battery, relays and it still wasn't fixed. I'm seriously considering it myself because there seems to be no rock solid solution that I've found over 4 years. I replaced my clutch relay and that seemed to work for a long while. Now it's happening again. There are as many reasons and fixes for the problem as posts. The bottom line; I'm too old to put up with this and can't afford to get stuck. I bought this because Japanese is supposedly the most reliable. Now it's not and it's apparently one of those major and pervasive flaws that makes an otherwise good vehicle a dud. At least this Japanese make. Toyota here I come.

07-27-2009, 11:55 PM
1992 D21 w/5spd. Had intermittent start issue, usually when going to work in the morning end up driving the wife's "tank" to work. When I come home in the afternoon it usually starts right up. I happened to catch a break and I had the key held in the start position and banged the steering wheel with the heel of my other hand. Started right up. Turned the key a billion more times to get a no start and did it again. Took the cover off the column and found the electrical portion of the ignition switch has an occasional open circuit. I still can't get a ready repeatable start failure but am sure the switch is the core issue.

09-13-2009, 05:26 AM
Two days ago my ignition died (Nissan Mistral 1996). Prior to this, I had been starting to feel that I had a bad connection somewhere in the steering column key switch itself. On dying, the starter turned, became slower and stopped, as if electric power had slumped and run out. Since then, I get only a click from a black box above the front passenger wheel when I turn the key. However, headlights, dome lights, dash and radio all seem to work, with significant dimming on attempted ignition.

When I looked at my battery, the positive battery clamp was badly corroded (green/white powder collected around it). Suspecting heavy discharge (the vehicle had recently been unused for three weeks, with two weeks of daily ten-minute dashes to work thereafter), I bought a charger, recharged the battery overnight, and tried ignition again - nothing. I have checked the battery for voltage and sufficient amperage: all appears OK. The CCS - which, having read through this forum, I think is what is under the black box attached to the passenger fender - clicks when I turn the key, so I am assuming that this works and does not need by-passing or replacement.

A lot of people seem to be going round in circles with this same ignition problem. Is it the infamous CCS, battery, starter, solenoid, key ignition, or what? I have no idea where I should start - but I'm sure not going to start hitting unfamiliar engine parts with a hammer, or spending greenbacks I cannot afford when there might be one simple idea to try. I have come across this problem and solution: http://www.samscars.com/mage9.html (http://www.samscars.com/mage9.html) . Given the corrosion on my battery lead, I am certainly going to investigate further here first. It being Sunday, in Lima (Peru), when it's the mother-in-law's birthday AND I also have a rugby club BBQ to attend, and with mechanics galore champing at the bit to needlessly replace solenoids, etc., a hunch tells me this might be where my problem lies...

Has anyone found simple corrosion to be at the root of this ignition problem?

06-27-2010, 08:01 PM

Nissan intermittent start problem solved.

It is a ground strap, if your Nissan won't start, it is because your truck for whatever reason does not have a ground strap between the engine and body. It has a battery ground, a main ground, but most trucks from the factory shoul've come with a strap between the intake plenum and the firewall, and another one from the transmission to the frame.
Up until this point, your truck has probably been grounding itself through the motor mounts or something, which is why it doesn't always work.

Go to the autoparts store, buy a 4 dollar ground strap (14" would be plenty) and attach one side to an intake manifold screw, and the other one to the firewall, if you still have a problem, add another one somewhere else between the engine and the body or frame.

07-13-2010, 12:31 PM
Right on, with the ground wire problem. shorted the ccs [ couldn't get it off to replace] ; plus it helps to have the solid body ground from the strap [mentioned above; way cool] to the rear of the starter on transmission. mine are rotted inside and do not work electrically. relays can be checked with a couple wires and a volt/ohm multimeter.

while you are in there, check the ground for the alternator [to the block] if you can you can save yourself a misdiagnose for an alternator failure. when you have these electrical problems they spread throughout the system through *dirty electricity.

great suggestion about taking the tire off. mine is lifted so it did not matter.
my way for the starter top bolt is to use a boxwrench [yes, the tom and jerry kind] for the top bolt 14mm/closed end. coolant lines are kind-of in the way.

i undo the top bolt first taking it off and the reverse installing.

took the starter off and bench tested it on the battery, be careful!
I should have done this when the starter was on the car but I could not even see the wires I was dealing with and their condition. very strong cranking amp electrical hazard! the solenoid is bad, and the motor is pretty bad as well.

thanks everyone for this! i will update.

for search :

88 4cy 2.4L z24 tbi
88 nissan d21 truck king cab [XE] 2door

07-13-2010, 12:40 PM
link with great info about the electrical circuit and starter relay.


07-27-2010, 09:09 PM
hey i had same problem- 1st started with a new starter. Would have bet money on it. After 3hrs. Figthing the starter out and new one in, i jump in press down the clutch. Then with a big grin on my face, i turned the key and nothing.

How could i have been wrong? Messed around checked some other things still nothing. Then i swollowed some pride and found my way to this sight. After reading all the post on this page. I concluded ignition problem.

very easy fix.:) i took the steering coloum cover off. Then i tightened all screws on the ignition switch. Pushed in all wire connectors to make sure they were all snug. I think the one on the bottom of ignition was loose. Turned the key and praise the lord. It started right up. Still does everytime. Hope this helps alot of frustrated folks. Thanks for the posts.

09-01-2010, 01:48 PM
Hi, I have a 95 Nissan pickup I bought recently. My Problem is it won't start at all. They only way I can drive it if I give it a push start. So far I have replaced the starter that still did not work then I replaced the ignition and that was not it either. So then I tried checking all the grounds and the wires and relays and I still am stumped oh yah I also wired the nuetral saftey switch together and that did not seem to be the problem either anyone have any other Ideas? THanks

09-01-2010, 02:25 PM
Hi, I have a 95 Nissan pickup I bought recently. My Problem is it won't start at all. They only way I can drive it if I give it a push start. So far I have replaced the starter that still did not work then I replaced the ignition and that was not it either. So then I tried checking all the grounds and the wires and relays and I still am stumped oh yah I also wired the nuetral saftey switch together and that did not seem to be the problem either anyone have any other Ideas? THanks

06-07-2011, 07:31 PM
It was fascinating to read this thread - so many different solutions/problems all lumped together as "Won't start." Well, here's my story. '90 pickup I've had for three years with no problems, suddenly won't start. I'd recently had a small battery problem so immediately went there - got a little wiggle on the cables, played with them and then got it to start. Half hour later again no start, battery appears strong, no sound at all from the starter. Tapping makes no change, nor a jump so we push start it and I get home. From my fairly limited experience, I figure it must be the starter - and even though I can see what a monstrous job it was going to be to pull it, I decide to pull it. Fortunately, I did have the sense to take it in for a free bench test. The starter was fine, and, of course, the guy who did the bench test would be happy to start running multiple guesses on my truck at his shop rate...

So I reinstalled the starter (grr I say to you, Nissan) and then read the above forum as part of my research on my next step. Getting ready to start bypassing relays and such fun things I started first with the clutch pedal. Lo and behold, up at the top of the pedal, where the pedal meets the starter safety switch there is a hole in the pedal's arm that allows the pedal to go fully back without activating the switch. At first I am totally baffled, then I have a realization and searching the debris of the floorboard comes up with a broken blue plastic piece, kind of a rubber grommet that used to fit in the hole and push on the switch and make the car go vrrmmm.

Thought I'd pass it on, fwiw,


the kuz
07-31-2012, 01:25 PM
1990 pickup with 180K miles, would not crank/start. After reading this thread, checked the clutch lever where it engages the safety switch and sure enough the plastic button was missing so there was nothing to press in the rod on the switch (found it broken on the floor). A small round head screw/nut through the hole in the clutch arm and works like new. Thanks for the posts - you saved me a lot of work pulling the starter and/or chasing down the electrical circuits.

Best Regards, Bob K

12-05-2012, 01:39 PM
OK - Having the same problem with my 95 XE reg. cab 2WD. I have owned it from new. Currently around 135,000 miles and never had any real problems. It had been slow cranking for about a year or so, and this gets worse when hot but it has always started. However, a couple of days ago, it refused to start altogether. When I turned the key, I could hear the load shedding relay clicking off and another click from the starter relay and/or solenoid but no starting. After about 100 clicks, it finally started. Did the same thing again a few hours later. Since then it has started every time but the sluggish cranking seems to have gotten worse. I have checked the clutch interlock and that seems ok (I get no click at all without the clutch depressed). The battery seems to be fine so I am thinking starter solenoid and some other issue with the starter leading to slow cranking.

I can get a rebuilt starter fairly cheaply and plan to install myself (I do all my own mechanical work.) Have seen one or two people state that it's pretty easy if you go in from the wheel well, pulling back/off the fiber-board wheel well liner but have a few other questions:
1. What other problems can I expect to encounter getting to the starter (someone indicated the oil filter had to come off for example)?
2. How easy is it to get the wheel well liner to stay back in place when replaced? Will I need to buy new clips for example?
3. Is there (as some have reported) an extra ground cable connected directly to the starter?


04-16-2013, 10:56 PM
new here..have had the same prob.with my 94 xe not wanting to start sometime and traced it to the aftermarket anti-theft switch.unwired it and starts fine now.

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