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Thread: The Plague of Cold Weather - car won't start

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Grand Blanc Michigan
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    Default The Plague of Cold Weather - car won't start

    My 2001 PT Crusier won't start. I left it sit longer than 12 hrs outdoors. Though it cranks merrily, it won't fire, even with ether. This happened once last year in the cold, but since then I've gone to thinner oil in the winter, a new battery and new plugs and wires. Once running, it runs well. Google searches have proven inconclusive. Any ideas or experience?
    Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
    ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    cracked or loose distributor cap.

  3. #3

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    I dont think those cars have a distributor, its all done electronically . Try changing the plugs if its a high miler... DONT gap platinum tipped plugs. Turn the key on run before you start it few a few seconds to let the fuel pump build pressure....
    Feel free to put me on ignore....

  4. #4
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    With a good shot of starting fluid into the air intake as the engine is cranking you should hear the engine at least trying to start.
    Can you hear the fuel pump for a few seconds when you first turn on the ignition switch before cranking?
    Is the car equipped with a block heater that you could plug in?
    Have you checked to see if a spark is present?

    Three things an engine needs is compression, spark, and fuel.
    Of course a starter and battery to spin it at a healthy rate are also a big help.
    Try to isolate which one of those three is missing.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willy
    With a good shot of starting fluid into the air intake as the engine is cranking you should hear the engine at least trying to start.
    Can you hear the fuel pump for a few seconds when you first turn on the ignition switch before cranking?
    Is the car equipped with a block heater that you could plug in?
    Have you checked to see if a spark is present?

    Three things an engine needs is compression, spark, and fuel.
    Of course a starter and battery to spin it at a healthy rate are also a big help.
    Try to isolate which one of those three is missing.
    You forgot air - you can give it all the fuel in the world but without adequate air it won't run

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    Oct 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by isaac338
    You forgot air - you can give it all the fuel in the world but without adequate air it won't run
    Is was going to say...don't be ridiculous, that's a natural, air is always there for the taking!
    But then I remembered a friend trying to start to start his diesel pickup after an oil change. All he got was black smoke, and it ran so good before he worked on it.
    In a hunch I removed the cover for the air cleaner and found the rag he had been using earlier, firmly lodged in the air cleaner enclosure.

    Yup, don't take anything for granted.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2004
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    SE, Michigan
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    Got a timing light? Throw it on one of the plugs to see if you've got fire. If you've got fire, check fuel pressure.

  9. #9
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    We have a 2001 PT. The fuel pump relay is a high failure rate item. It's in the fuse block. Switch it with another but not the AC relay. It fails too. The fuel pump has a service bulletin on it as well. If the car rolls over it will leak fuel so if it hasn't been changed and it is dying you might get one free.
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  10. #10
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    Jan 2004
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    Missouri
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    Not a PT, but the Volvo 240 has a a pump relay (actually two).

    Common failure we have seen on several is cracked solder on the little PC board the relay is on.

    VERY common for cracked solder intermittents to be temperature sensitive and never "make" contact when either cold, or sometimes when hot.

    But, even if it had NO fuel, ether should make it pop. if you don't get a pop on ether, and it doesn't stink of fuel, you must have no spark, cuz I assume it has air and compression...

    Just for grins, pull a plug and see if it's wet. if lots of fuel on it, the thing is flooded for some other reason

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