Lately my 2005 Nissan Altima (3.5L) has been reluctant to start, having a 3-5 second delay from the time I turn the key and the starter begins working to the time the engine starts.

Earlier today the car would not start at all. Again, crank sounded fine, but no start. I do not believe the battery or the starter to be a problem at all since it the crank sounds entirely normal and responds quickly to the key being turned (they are both fairly new).

All lights, including the check engine light, light up if the key is turned short of cranking (power-on) and all electronics work fine as well.

The RPM gauge did not register anything during cranking earlier; however, on a subsequent attempt to crank the car this evening the car started and RPMs began to register as normal. Before this attempt I turned the key to Power without attempting the crank for a few seconds.

The car started without trouble for multiple attempts following the successful start.

My research seems to suggest that the fuel pump is beginning for go; however, I never have any issues with performance while driving (both interstate and city)--no sluggishness or bogging down, no rough idle.

Lastly, about 2 months ago I had a P0420 code show up. I made the decision to reset the code and see if it would come back before taking the car in. I regret this decision as I am pretty sure it is related (have mercy on me). The P0420 code seems to indicate a few different possible points of failure including faulty fuel injectors, I'm just unsure what my best mode of attack would be (short of taking it in to a mechanic--unless this is necessary).

Does anyone have an idea of what overall issue I may be looking at here?

  • It is not likely that the catalyst failure code is related to the crank no run symptom. But it does mean that the catalyst is suspect. – Fred Wilson Nov 21 '16 at 7:26
  • Two of your symptoms point to possible crank sensor failure. The no tach coupled with the long crank time would be enough to get me to test it. It needs to be tested with an oscilloscope as the signal is very fast and moderately complex. There is no industry wide standard so the signal needs to be compared to know good. – Fred Wilson Nov 21 '16 at 7:32
  • Fred, I think you're right. At the time I first read your comment I was a little skeptical after looking up common symptoms of crankshaft sensor failure; however, drove it to the shop today and the RPMs fell to 0 at stop lights and I had to manually shift down in order to get the car to go. I plan to get an estimate on this as well as a few other things--hopefully this poor teacher can afford it. I'll follow up with the official diagnosis just for info sake. – JG7 Nov 22 '16 at 1:07
  • Crankshaft sensor. It's fixed and running like a champion. Well done sir. It is surprising time that it failed over time and not all at once. – JG7 Nov 24 '16 at 3:50
  • They fail over time because the magnets slowly loose strength due to heating. – Fred Wilson Nov 24 '16 at 4:05

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