Nissan Maxima 1993-1998 Repair Guide

Diagnosis and Testing



See Figure 1

Always turn the key OFF and isolate both ends of a circuit whenever testing for a short or continuity.
Always disconnect solenoids and switches from the harness before measuring for continuity, resistance or energizing with a 12 volt source.
Be careful with connectors; Before attaching them, inspect the terminals for corrosion and bending. Check that the terminals are not pushed out from the back of the connector.

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Fig. Fig. 1: When working with connectors, be sure to inspect the terminals. Check for proper seating within the connector


See Figure 2

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Fig. Fig. 2: An example of an air gap type spark tester

This procedure is performed best with a spark tester. Two types of spark testers are commonly available; both available from most auto parts stores. The neon bulb type is connected to the spark plug wire and flashes with each ignition pulse. The air gap type must be adjusted to match the spark plug gap required for the engine. This type will allow you to see the condition of the spark as well as checking for spark itself. If the spark is orange/yellow, this indicates a weak spark; blue would be a strong spark.

  1. Disconnect a spark plug wire, and install the spark tester.
  3. Ground the tester at a good location on the engine.
  5. Crank the engine and check for spark at the tester.
  7. If spark occurs at the tester, the ignition system is functioning properly.
  9. If there is no spark at the tester, remove the distributor cap and verify the rotor is turning when the engine is cranked.
  11. If the rotor is turning, check for spark at the ignition coil by installing the tester in the coil wire.
  13. If no spark exists, test the ignition coil, power transistor and related wiring.