Gen1 1981 Car randomly doesn't seem to get enough fuel.

General information about the first-generation Nissan Maxima in the US. What was the Datsun 810 became the luxury leader Maxima in the US in 1981.

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thane
Posts: 4
Joined: 8 years ago

Gen1 1981 Car randomly doesn't seem to get enough fuel.

#1

Post by thane » 8 years ago

Car will randomly die while driving. Often at full speed but occasionally around town at low speeds. If you keep the gas pedal floored it will usually keep moving but only at a very slow rate. (won't even go up a slight incline if you don't already have momentum) As soon as you let off the gas pedal it dies completely.

Usually the car will start back up again if you keep the gas pedal floored and the starter cranked for a long time. It sort of starts slowly and then if you keep the gas pedal floored it will eventually get enough fuel.

Occasionally, it will start back up but still not get enough fuel to actually accelerate.

I can't figure out what is causing this and my mechanic doesn't know either.

Anyone have any idea what could be going on?
thane

Carimbo
Posts: 459
Joined: 14 years ago

#2

Post by Carimbo » 8 years ago

Fuel filter? If that's it, be careful-- running it too long with it clogged to that point can damage the IP internal vane pump.

Try draining the fuel filter to get an idea of what's in there. You will probably have to purge the air from the fuel system after that. Might as well change the fuel filter. How long has it been?

charmalu
Posts: 166
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Soquel, Calif

#3

Post by charmalu » 8 years ago

If your mechanic can`t figure it out. better dump him. need a mechanic that understands Diesel engines.

A Diesel engine needs 3 things.
1) Compression

2) Air

3) Fuel

Take one of them out of the loop, and it won`t start.
The following 2 are also helpful.

4) Working Glow Plugs

5) A fully charged battery to spin it fast enough to start.

Most problems with Diesels is usually a fuel problem. no fuel, plugged filters, sucking air through a fuel hose or fitting.

Replace the fuel filters, and should be good to go. fill the filter first before screwing it on. this will lessen the air to purge.

Do not use the fuel from the old filter to fill the new one. I have heard of this being done. Use Lubro Molly Diesel Purge, ATF or clean Diesel fuel to
fill the filter.

Charlie
82 Datsun KC 483K lost #2 cyl blowing blue smoke :cry:
83 Nissan LB 134K SD-25 as of 10-21-13
78 240D Mercedes $300 Parts?
80 240D 360K
80 240D Parts? $750
82 240D Parts? $440
84 300SD 270K
85 300D 363K
86 Ford F250 6.9 Diesel 221K

thane
Posts: 4
Joined: 8 years ago

#4

Post by thane » 8 years ago

No, it's not the fuel filter. That is one of the first things we replaced. We even added another fuel-pump thinking that the original one might not always be pushing enough fuel.

I should also note that this has been happening for at least the 5 years I've owned the car and possibly the life of the car.

It usually happens when the car is low on fuel. At about a 1/4 tank or less.
thane

diesel-man
Posts: 150
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: Elkton, MD

#5

Post by diesel-man » 8 years ago

It is certainly sucking air into the the fuel line before or after the fuel filter. Does bleeding the air out help it for a few days? Check fuel tank guage for rusted hose connection pipes. Tighten all hose connections, then replace filter head (leaking air from diaphragm).

thane
Posts: 4
Joined: 8 years ago

#6

Post by thane » 8 years ago

It doesn't ever do it multiple times in a row. If it happens letting it sit overnight always fixes the problem. Or if it starts back up then it doesn't happen again. It can be days, weeks months in between having a problem.

Thank you so much for the information. I will give some of your suggestions a try.
thane

charmalu
Posts: 166
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Soquel, Calif

#7

Post by charmalu » 8 years ago

Iam wondering if there is something in the tank floating around, and when the fuel level gets low, the pick up tube sucks it up. then when you turn the engine off, it floats off.

I was also thinking maybe the vent line from the tank could be plugged causing a vacuum in the tank. that would be an all the time thing, not random. HMMMM, I don`t know.

Charlie
82 Datsun KC 483K lost #2 cyl blowing blue smoke :cry:
83 Nissan LB 134K SD-25 as of 10-21-13
78 240D Mercedes $300 Parts?
80 240D 360K
80 240D Parts? $750
82 240D Parts? $440
84 300SD 270K
85 300D 363K
86 Ford F250 6.9 Diesel 221K

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asavage
Site Admin
Posts: 5329
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Duvall, Wash.
Contact:

#8

Post by asavage » 8 years ago

charmalu wrote:Iam wondering if there is something in the tank floating around, and when the fuel level gets low, the pick up tube sucks it up. then when you turn the engine off, it floats off.

I was also thinking maybe the vent line from the tank could be plugged causing a vacuum in the tank. that would be an all the time thing, not random. HMMMM, I don`t know.
HAH!
Please read stories #3 and #2 (in that order) in this post!

Probably not thane's answer, but an odd coincidence that you mentioned those.

-----------

thane, you might try installing a length of clear vinyl tubing between the filter and the IP, and looking for entrained air. Don't leave the tubing there for weeks and weeks, but for a few days diagnostic you should be OK. The stuff is not heat resistant.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

thane
Posts: 4
Joined: 8 years ago

#9

Post by thane » 8 years ago

Yeah, it usually happens below a 1/4 tank, but it has happened at 3/4 and 1/2 a couple of times which makes me think it's not something in the tank but...

Thanks again for all the great information. I'm far from a mechanic but am going to pass all this information to mine soon.
thane

User avatar
asavage
Site Admin
Posts: 5329
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Duvall, Wash.
Contact:

#10

Post by asavage » 8 years ago

I worked on a Toyota diesel PU a couple years ago that would only run if fuel was pushed to it by an external electric pump, and it had no power.

I determined that the IP's internal lift pump had failed. I had the IP rebuilt, and all problems went away.

If you want to read the story, and see the pics of the damaged internal lift pump, look here.

Image
Last edited by asavage 8 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

charmalu
Posts: 166
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Soquel, Calif

#11

Post by charmalu » 8 years ago

Interesting stories. we keep adding these stories and situations to our mental book, every once in a while I flip to the right page :D

I remember hearing back in my High School days, of guys putting in pieces of seran wrap in the tanks for a prank.

It`s good the vent line on these 720`s in on the firewall. can`t imagine it being behind the front bumper. I know on the mercedes W123 & maybe a few other models. the vent is just to the inside of the R/R wheel.

Charlie
82 Datsun KC 483K lost #2 cyl blowing blue smoke :cry:
83 Nissan LB 134K SD-25 as of 10-21-13
78 240D Mercedes $300 Parts?
80 240D 360K
80 240D Parts? $750
82 240D Parts? $440
84 300SD 270K
85 300D 363K
86 Ford F250 6.9 Diesel 221K

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