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Q: My 2001 Nissan Maxima won't idle? on 2001 Nissan Maxima

I have a 01 maxima who had the service engine soon light come on about a year ago, I had it checked out and it was my cat converter. I bought the converter and have not been able to install it due to no money. In the last couple years, I've replaced 3 of the 4 O2 sensors, gave it a tune up, kept the oil changed every 3,000 and put in some fuel treatment every 3 or 4 tanks of gas on top of always using Supreme gas. Well, everything is just fine and dandy with the car except I'm kinda broke, so last week I put in 40 bucks of Mid-Grade fuel for the first time in forever. It runs fine. I don't drive the car for 2 days and then today I have a lot of errands to run. 3/4 of the way through my day, I'm sitting in park and it's idleing really high 1,200 or so and then it starts to rev all by itself, jumping up about 400 to 600 RPM each time and then comeing back down to about 1,200 RPM. I don't know what the hell is going on. I think, Oh shit, its that shitty gas thats not going over so well, so I pull into a gas station and put in 2 gallons of supreme thinking that getting some better gas will help. Well, when I go to start it after I put in the gas, she fires up and then dies off, fires up and then dies off, and finally doesn't even fire up. She will start if I give her some gas before I turn her over and then start her. I have to keep the pedal pressed down and the RPM's up or she will die on me. I towed it to autozone and they did a diagnostic on it, the only error code that came up was the catalytic converter, which I've known about for a year now. So, I'm thinking its some bad gas I got and I went ahead and put some lucas fuel cleaner in the tank(which was about half full) When I got home I reved the engine to about 2,000 rpms for about 30 minutes trying to work some of that gas out of the car and the lucas in. Still no luck, like I said, She will start if I gun her when I turn her over and she will stay going as long as I keep my foot on the pedal. I can get the RPM's to as low as 500 or 700 and idle her just as long as my foot is still on the pedal she will stay just fine, any lower than that and she just kinda dies out. Any ideas, I'm flat broke. Will running that gas ( if it is bad gas) through my system cause me any other problems? Do you think I had a good idea on just reving up to 2,500 rpms and trying to work that lucas into the system?? Could I be causeing and harm to my car doing that?? Thanks a lot ya'll!
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I think you're mistaken about the fuel unless you got water in the tank. If you really want to find out, you'll have to remove the rear seat cushion and uncover the fuel pump inspection hole in the floor to get to the fuel pump module. If you remove that, you can see into the tank with a flashlight.
Extreme care is necessary here, there's a major fire hazard in an open fuel tank s be extremely careful about any source of ignition, like a power drill (with your screwdriver bit in it) or a light other than a flashlight. If you see water, you'll have to decide how to remove it. I don't know for sure that there's a drain in the bottom of the tank, but I think there is. Instead of removing the fuel pump to look in the tank, you could LOOSEN the drain bolt in the tank and see of there's any contamination in the fuel that drips out. Don't remove the plug because you'll get a torrent of fuel and that would be bad. You only want a drip. Use great care here. If there's contamination, you may want to replace the filter that's in the fuel tank module so you may end up removing it anyway. Good luck.
The next most likely thing is there's an air leak in the intake system somewhere, like a loose clamp or torn rubber intake duct. I don't think fuel additives will help, you will need to find a tangible reason for the idle problem, I'm assuming that's the only complaint.
Yep thats the only problem that I've had with this car. I've taken good care of her and this is the first issue. I appreciate the advice. I'm not real sure which direction to go at this point. I might go looking for a loose clamp or torn rubber intake duct. I don't know about looking in the gas tank, sounds like I might need more experience than I have to do all that. Is it that hard, can a novice read about it and do it successfully you think?
MAF sensor I bet is the problem. Mine gave a code for a long time that the cat convertor was the problem. Eventually another problem (the car would feel like an anchor was thrown out of the car at around 4000rpm even all 6 cylinders were firing and acceleration was almost non-existant) caused me to change the MAF sensor and the cat convertor code cleared on its own. A bad MAF sensor can cause varied problems. It measures the density of the air by maintaining a constant temperature on a wire located in the intake. When more air flows through the intake it cools the wire and requires more electrical current to maintain the temperature. Depending on how much electrical current is flowing, the computer can use that to determine how much air is flowing through the intake and adjust the fuel flow to obtain the optimum mixture (along with O2 sensor info). If the wire is covered with debris it will act as an insulator and will prevent an increased airflow from cooling the wire off causing the electrical current running to not be as high as it would for that airflow if the wire were clean. The computer will interpret that as less airflow and will not deliver enough fuel for proper combustion. That could lead to other sensors detecting a problem (cat convertor running below efficiency)from too lean a mixture. I know it's been 2 years since your problem, but any word on what it took to fix it?
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