- 1994 Nissan Sentra
- GA16DE engine
- 4-speed automatic transmission
- 298,400 km
Recent Work (3 months ago):
- spark plugs
- spark plug cables
- distributor rotor
- distributor cap
- cleaned K&N reusable air filter
- cleaned MAF sensor
- taped up superficial cracks in the air intake tube (with electrical tape)
Car's been running great ("better than ever") for the past 3 months. Saturday night while I was returning home, the car started sputtering when I stopped at a traffic light and has been down a lot of power (I'd say 50%) throughout the RPM range. The car shakes at idle, and it's worse when in gear at parking lot speeds, the transmission still upshifts and downshifts when you would expect it to and there are no unusual engine sounds. It feels like a persistent misfire.
I was running low on fuel when this started, and I was on my way to a fuel station (I thought I may have pushed the fuel too far and suffering fuel starvation). Filling up didn't fix the issue, but it did reveal I had 1.3L left in the tank (there's usually 3-5L left when I fill up).
- battery reads fine (12.6V with car off)
- alternator seems fine (14.0V at battery terminals with car on)
- nothing obvious is disconnected
- air filter looks fine
I suspect I may have aspirated gunk from the bottom of the tank which may have obstructed the fuel filter. I picked one up and will install it after a quick lunch. My question is: what else could it be? Specifically, ever since those new parts went on 3 months ago, I've been hearing a whine at high rpms. I didn't think anything of it, could it be the air intake gasket leaking?
Update #1: Changed fuel filter, read spark plugs and performed compression test. Spark plugs read fine (to me), compression test was even (130-140 psi) across all 4 cylinders, test drive showed slight improvement, but still down a bunch of power and shakes at parking lot speeds.
Update #2: Performed the water sizzle test and found a dead cylinder (#1), then confirmed it with a surface thermometer. In the amount of time the other three cylinders were getting up to 140C, #1 was still sitting at 40C. Timing light confirmed all 4 cylinders are getting strong regular spark, so it's most likely a fuel thing. Bad injector or bad electrical connection to the injector?
Update #3: Removed upper plenum, air intake hose and throttle body in order to access and detach the fuel rail. Disconnected all 4 injectors and performed resistance test: #1 reads open, #2 and #3 are reading higher than spec, #4 is reading way higher than spec. I'll be replacing the entire set. Question: the friggin little plastic clips that hold the electrical connectors onto the injectors snapped. Just the clip part, not the overmold part. Any suggestions besides zipties?