Q: Car starts, idles rough, stalls when accelerating past 2000 rpm.

asked by on

I have a 2001 Nissan Frontier, 2.4 L, 4 CYL engine. Driving through the mountains the car began to jerk when accelerating hard, so I went easy on the way home. On the flat highway, I began to accelerate after a red light, and the engine died, had to get towed because car would not turn over, and battery would get drained. Changed out the spark plugs, spark plug wires, and the distributor to find that the car started up to a rough idle and the engine would stall when accelerated past 1800 rpm. The MAF sensor popped up as a code and when swapped, car would get up to 2100 rpm then stall. Checked the fuel pressure to find it was running under the normal psi. Changed the fuel pump and filter and now car has correct fuel pressure but has the same problem. In addition, the smell of gas has been apparent throughout the problems (why I checked the fuel pump) out of the exhaust. Very near to throwing in the towel but I am desperate to keep it going.

My car has 260000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

The odor of gas is due to misfiring. Check engine compression and check for any exhaust restriction preferably by measuring exhaust back pressure but you can also infer exhaust back pressure by testing engine vacuum. If compression is good and there is no back pressure, the other usual suspects are clogged fuel injectors (remove from fuel rail and send out for cleaning; cleaning injectors on a car is a waste of time because each injector has an internal replaceable filter basket that MUST be replaced), the throttle position sensor, the throttle body, EGR and vacuum leaks, and so forth. It would probably save you time and perhaps needless expense in parts replacement if you request a rough running diagnostic. if you were to request such a diagnostic from YourMechanic, the protocol is pretty standard: a certified mechanic will test for ignition, fuel system, air induction and/or engine sensor problems and these possibilities are tested, in a sequence, using a diagnostic "decision tree". Often, the problem is limited and straightforward, that is easily repairable. There is a good chance of that so I recommend that you request a rough running diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will travel right to your location and get this diagnosed and resolved for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Car starts, idles rough, stalls when accelerating past 2000 rpm.

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: How do I turn on Sport mode?

Sport mode controls the speed of the engine and the shifts of the transmission such that your car has a sportier feel, and more closely resembles a track car. To turn on Sport mode, Press the Sport Mode switch. An...

Q: Vehicle needs tune-up

Some signs that a tune up is needed include, rough engine idle, hesitation during acceleration, and poor fuel economy. A tune up on your particular vehicle would include spark plugs and an induction service. The induction service would remove the carbon...

Q: My SUV is running hard and has the Diagnostic Trouble Code P0016

Hi and thanks for contacting Your Mechanic. The code P0016 is for the crankshaft position sensor. Check the wiring harness to the sensor that is located on the bottom of the engine by the crankshaft pulley. Check for voltage and...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...