Car randomly stalling

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Jeffrey Voight Jeffrey Voight 2 years, 1 month ago.

  • Creator
  • #959057

    Hi all,

    I have an issue with a 2003 Nissan Pulsar (Auto), where lately, the power would randomly cut out. This also happened a few months ago, but then went away.

    – Backstory –

    In January this started happening. Driving along the car would randomly jerk, almost like tapping the brake pedal (or running low on fuel). I thought perhaps the fuel was dirty or contaminated with water, so didn’t think much of it. Later on the car would stall at the lights and wouldn’t start (eventually it did). Then not long after, I was driving and the car was pulling up, like pressing the brake pedal harder a few times, before driving normally again. I also noticed the RPM needle would bounce (from higher revs down to zero, then back up, then down), which led me to think the engine was attempting to seize, though the engine temperature wasn’t ‘Hot’. Eventually at the lights again, it would stall, but managed to start up and get home, but this time it gave me an engine warning light.

    Once home, I opened the hood and noticed engine cooling empty. There appears to be a leak coming from the top plastic radiator tank, though it looks like it’s coming from perhaps the seal between the tank and the radiator body (perhaps the seal has deteriorated?). A quick inspection I couldn’t see any cracks/holes/damage to the tank itself, and can’t see additional radiator leaks. I’ve noticed coolant getting lower over a period of time but never got around to fixing it, always just topped up.
    Reading online I read that overheating engine can cause the car to shut off, though the temp gauge didn’t go any higher than normal. I topped up the coolant, and ran the car. In the meantime, I had to manually check the engine light code and it was telling me a Crank sensor. I was planning on replacing it, but since topping up the radiator fluid, the fault hasn’t been back and eventually the light went out.

    – 5 months later –

    Now 5months later, and the issue has come back. Looking at the radiator coolant (still leaks), it wasn’t empty this time (though I topped it up anyway). I also opened the heater-core by putting on the heater and blowing the hot air while I ran the car, thinking it might displace a possible air bubble. I inspected the coolant level during this period and didn’t notice a decrease. This time it also gave an error code again, which read 0335, which seems to be the Crankshaft sensor again.
    The car will shut off even during night driving (winter) and after 5minutes driving. I drove to work one night (5min drive) and as I pulled into the car park, the car cut out. I had to steer it into a car spot, which was much harder than non-power steering. I also noticed applying the foot brake was near impossible, it was pretty hard.

    Before going out and buying a new Crankshaft sensor, is there anything else you suggest I look at? Perhaps it’s another fault that isn’t related to the Crankshaft sensor, yet is causing the Crankshaft sensor error to display ??

    Have you guys experienced an issue like this before?


    1. Besides the obvious, being a possible Crankshaft sensor issue (as per the error light), is there something else that could cause it to throw that error?

    2. The first time, I topped up the coolant and worked fine after that. Is there a possible connection there? If not, why would the car run OK afterwards, or was that likely just a coincidence >?

    3. Why was the steering and brake pretty hard to operate after the car cut out ?

    4. Is there anything I can put into the cooling system to help plug any leaks? (besides buying a new radiator).

    Thanks in advance,

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #959106
    Dave Tidman
    Dave Tidman

    What was the actual code you got for the crank sensor (P0XXX code)? Just because the code says crank sensor in the description does not mean you definitely have a bad crank sensor. Codes give you direction, not answers.

    Given you ran out of coolant, I would do a block test to make sure the head gasket is OK. You may have had enough coolant to cover the coolant temp sensor, but not enough to pump through the system.

    For question 4, do not ever put a stop leak product into the cooling system. Sure it will plug leaks, but it may also plug small passages in the cooling system.


    Thanks for the reply Dave, 🙂

    The code I got (and I believe it was the same code I got a few months back too) was P0335. I was reading a little and apparently it was common for the crank/cam sensors to fail in the Pulsar, but as you said, codes give you direction, not answers.

    Regarding the block test, how would you do that? Is it just a matter of getting one those those ‘reaction’ testers where you push it into the radiator fill hole and it reacts to gases ?
    I originally thought it might be head gasket a few months back, but I just inspected the coolant (no bubbling or discoloration), and inspected the oil (did oil change), no milky substance.

    Regarding leaking radiator, good tip, thanks :), didn’t think about the smaller passages, I’ll have to keep that in mind. If the leak is coming from the seal between the radiator top-tank and the radiator core, is it possible to bend back the clamping pins holding the tank on, change the seal, then re-attach the top-tank ?

    Thanks again 🙂

    Jeffrey Voight
    Jeffrey Voight

    Crank sensors are cheap and easy. Just replace it. A leaking cooling system is lethal to the engine. It should be fixed properly. If the radiator leaks, it needs replaced. Radiator stop leaks are not proper repairs.

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