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Old 08-02-2016, 07:11 PM   #1
54Scorpio
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1998 Sentra won't start

Hello Everyone, it's been awhile since I've asked for help from all you automotive geniuses and I mean that in a good way!
I have a new problem and I'm desperate for some help. The other day I pulled into a store in my 1998 Nissan Sentra XE and shut it off. When I came back out it wouldn't start, it wouldn't even try to turn over. No sound with the exception of a faint click which i think was the starter relay in the fuse block under the dash. Everything else worked, headlights, radio, wipers, blower motor, etc.. Not knowing what it could be, I asked a guy for a jump and still the same thing, it wouldn't make a sound. I checked everything I could think of, all the fuses were good, battery connections were tight, and since I thought i could hear it, the starter relay was good. With the starter being extremely hard to get to and not knowing if there was a way to check the starter without crawling under the car, I'm not sure what else could be the problem?? When I said i was desperate for help I really am. I'm without a car now and i have an important job interview in a few days. Thanks to anyone who can offer me some suggestions!
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:01 PM   #2
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Re: 1998 Sentra won't start

ok, unfortunately you may have to get access to the starter. It very well could be 1 of 3 things wrong. 1. the main power cable to the starter is corroded and not making good contact. 2. the solenoid on the starter is toast. 3 the main ground to the block is corroded.

Answer me this... the following may help to avoid having to remove things or jack up the vehicle, etc.

Question to you:
Have the lights on or interior dome light on. Now crank the engine. Do the lights dim while attempting to crank?

Also, is this an automatic or standard? If an automatic, try starting it in nuetral or jiggling the shifter while attempting to crank.
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Old 08-07-2016, 12:31 PM   #3
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Re: 1998 Sentra won't start

Thanks for answering my post. Before I received your reply I went ahead and put the car up on jack stands to get access to the starter. I had first checked to see if I had voltage to the solenoid and I did. I then jumpered the two posts on the solenoid and went up and the car started fine. A few days ago I was checking the ignition switch itself and had removed the two small screws holding the back of the switch to the main part of the switch to see if there was any visible problems there, but I couldn't see anything wrong. I'm assuming that one of those wires on the back of the ignition switch goes to the starter, am I correct? If so, is there any way to do what I did down at the solenoid from there and would you have any idea which wires I would need to jump? Thanks for your help!!
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Old 08-10-2016, 05:23 PM   #4
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Re: 1998 Sentra won't start

To jump from the ignition switch is not likely, because I don't believe your issue is at the ignition switch. It's more likely that the Starter solenoid or its connections are a little corroded. Before you get stuck again, I'd suggest jacking up the vehicle, use jack stands for backup. Disconnect the negative terminal on the battery. Then go down to the starter and remove both of its connections. Use a wire brush to clean the posts on the starter and the wire ends the best you can. Inspect them... Do they look corroded? Is there white or green deposits on them? Be sure to remove all the corrosion you can because this will keep you from getting the best possible connection. It also prematurely wears out your starter, ignition switch & battery cables. If you can't reach the connections on the starter with it bolted, unbolt the starter. It'll be easier to clean off & inspect the solenoid anyway.

I know it seems like a PITA, but better to do it on your own terms & not get stuck someplace.

Next time, if there is one, if the vehicle doesn't start. Verify (need a buddy) that you have 12v at the little post on the solenoid ...when buddy is cranking. If the starter isn't cranking, you're buddy can hold that switch as long as he likes without the threat of hurting anything, while you are checking for voltage. If you have 12v when buddy is cranking,.. Ign. switch is definitely good. Then, you verify 12v at big post... and then verify good ground on the body of the starter.

If all checks out good, you definitely need a starter.

I posted all the info now, so that if in the future you need it, it's ALL right here. I'm glad it's up & running at least. Sorrry for the delay in responding. Too much work. LOL
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Old 08-10-2016, 06:03 PM   #5
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Re: 1998 Sentra won't start

I can't thank you enough for taking all the time that you have in helping me with the problem. I was happy that you did respond to my last post, but when I read what you suggested as far as removing the starter if I couldn't get to the solenoid connections, my happiness went to dread. On this car it's so damn hard to get to the starter with so much in the way, I think you'd almost have to be a surgeon to get it removed! My question to you about the ignition switch wasn't because I thought the problem was there as it was evident it was down at the starter. I was just asking if it was possible(in case I do get stranded before I get the chance to put it back up on the jack stands) to do what I had done down at the solenoid jumpering it out? Thanks again for all your help and patience!
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:16 PM   #6
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Re: 1998 Sentra won't start

If you can't get to the starter or the main connections on the starter.... then honestly you can do much. Do you have a stick or automatic? That was never answered.

On an automatic, in order to start it you would leave the car in Park, Ebrake if you'd like too. Then turn the key to On, like it's running. Then you'd jump or bridge on the solenoid on the starter (& this cranks the starter) the little wire on solenoid to big post positive power on the solenoid.

Essentially, you are using the always HOT or Positive wire from the Battery to power the little post/ignition switch wire. Since they are next to each other on the solenoid, this is usually the easiest place to jump. So it'll crank for as long as you jump the two connections... and you basically want to let go once vehicle starts. You can use insulated alligator clip jump wire to do this. Maybe 14 gauge at the littlest (if you understand wire gauge). I hope this helps explain "how" it works.

If you have a stick, it's a similar procedure, but make sure Ebrake IS ON & NOT in gear.
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:49 PM   #7
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Re: 1998 Sentra won't start

Thanks once again for taking time to further answer my question!! I promise that I won't bother you any more about this particular problem
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:53 PM   #8
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Re: 1998 Sentra won't start

I must be losing my mind!! I had meant to answer your question about whether or not the car was a stick or an automatic in my last reply in the message I just sent!! It's an automatic. Thanks again!!
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:22 PM   #9
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Re: 1998 Sentra won't start

LMAO... It's seriously not a problem. I don't mind questions... you ask good ones, and I'm not repeating myself. Lol.. & I gave both the procedures for either stick or auto anyway.
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Old 09-02-2016, 05:49 PM   #10
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Re: 1998 Sentra won't start

Hi bellaCuba, I just wanted to give you an update on the problem with my Sentra and to thank you again for your help. It turns out it was the starter. As much as I hate to pay anyone to do work that I might be able to do myself, I was forced to have it towed to a garage four miles away and have them install the starter to the tune of $345.09!! It might not sound like a fortune, but when you consider the Kelly Blue Book value is listed at $298 it is!! I have another question for you, but I should start a new thread and I hope you catch it and give me your opinion! Thanks

Last edited by 54Scorpio; 09-02-2016 at 05:51 PM. Reason: Didn't address it properly
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