I've got a pretty old car (Nissan Pulsar J1J 1991 auto, 203K kms on the odometer) and it drives pretty well - I'm using it on a roadtrip across New Zealand and have taken it on pretty mountainous terrain without much issue.

The one issue I'm having with the car though is that when I try to start it in the morning (or after 5+ hours after the car was last driven), I'll need to step on the gas to get it to start. I've gotten the battery replaced very recently (about 2 weeks ago) and that didn't help any. In the mornings, the temperature is close to freezing but the problem has happened in the middle of the day too if the car hasn't been started in a while. It seems to be getting gradually worse, as the past couple of times I've had to try 2-3 times with stepping on the gas before I can get the car to start properly. Often, I'll also have to gently press on the gas periodically while the car is idling and warming up or the engine dies.

The last time this happened I had a half tank of gas. I haven't been paying much attention to the gas level though, but I will in the future.

I'm selling the car in about 4 weeks so am taking it in to get a full servicing. In the meantime though, any ideas what the issue could be? I'd like to be able to tell the mechanic what to look out for, as I'm sure they'll be rushing through everything on the service checklist.

  • Is this carbureted? Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 1:21
  • @Paulster2 I want to preface by saying I know next to nothing about cars but the person who sold it to me says he thinks it has a carburetor Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 1:38
  • 1
    According to Wikipedia it is. The engine for the J1J is supposed to be: The GA15DS is a 1.5 litre (1,497 cc) 16V DOHC engine with a carburetor. It produces 94 hp (70 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 126 N·m (93 ft·lbf) at 3,600 rpm. I don't know enough about them to give you an intelligent answer, but am wondering if the choke may be at fault, if it has an automatic/electric choke. The cold weather may be affecting it. It may just need a tune up. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 1:44
  • If tuning your carbs doesn't help, check your valve clearances. A hard start would indicate very loose valves. Also it could be something more simple like your battery, how old is it? Check it with a multimeter, it should read at least 12.4v without the car on.
    – DamoC
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


It could be as simple as a clogged fuel filter not allowing enough fuel through to the carb bowl. Once it's started and warmed up, there will always be gas in the carb line, so it will keep the bowl fed, and the car will always have gas to run. It takes a while for the engine, carb, etc. to cool down, so letting it sit for short periods of time won't affect it, but longer periods, like the 5+ hours you mentioned will allow it to cool enough that you will need to start all over again.

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