Factory Five Racing Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,158 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
All you motor experts, I could use some help. My wife's car did not want to start this morning. Here's what happened.

The car is a 2001 Acura 3.2TL, only 17,000 miles. It was quite cold this morning, mid-20's, but has been this weather for a few weeks now. My wife called me this morning on my way to work to say the car wouldn't start. Go running home and give her my company car. Sure enough, the Acura won't start. It is turning over quickly, and after about 15 seconds of cranking, sounds like it is just about to start. Sputter, cough, hiccup...nothing. Do this several times, same thing each time. Nearly starts, but no dice. Oh, f*%k it, let's just call Acura. Takes tow truck almost 2 hours to show. Once it does, sure enough, the car sputters, coughs, then starts up. After 10 seconds, it runs just fine. It ran fine all day and seems OK now. No check engine light, nothing.

The first Acura dealer I called said that this is normal. He said the car has an adaptive computer, which "learns". He said that the car had to re-program itself to run properly in cold weather (change fuel/air mixture, valve timing, etc...), and learn how to do it properly. He said he's had about 10 calls for the same thing recently. What?? :confused: :confused: We had the car last winter, nothing like this happened. Nothing the past 10 freezing mornings. And why would the computer not know how to run in cold weather. I thought he was nuts and called another dealer.

The second dealer asked when I had last driven car. I said 3 days prior, when I started it up, backed it up about 2 feet in my driveway to make more room for Thanksgiving guests, then shut it off. He said the engine flooded itself out. He said when I started it 3 days ago, the injectors gave the engine tons of fuel because it was cold, and I didn't allow it to burn itself out. So the spark plugs were soaked and the car didn't want to start. This seems odd to me too. A very high tech motor like the VTEC dumps too much fuel and floods the motor out because I shut it off too quickly? Huh?? :confused: :confused:

Now admittedly, I'm not a mechanic, but I'm not stupid. I understand engines for the most part and how they work. The car had to learn?? I think the dealers just don't want to deal with the car. But the problem is the check engine light didn't come on, so the OBDII probably will not tell us anything. Any ideas why the car didn't want to start? Ignition? Thanks for your help.

Steve

[ December 02, 2002, 09:00 PM: Message edited by: Klayfish ]
 

·
FFCobra Craftsman
Joined
·
1,261 Posts
I had the same prob with a Buick. The temperature dropped to zero one night and the fuel froze in the injectors, due to sorry fuel I guess. The dealer towed it in , let it warm up and it ran fine. He sold me a new set of plugs, said the old ones were fowled out? Car had only 15K miles. I drove it till 125K with no engine probs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
As soon as the ignition switch is turned an elec. fuel pump starts pumping and then continues until the switch is turned off. A mech. pump only pumps while the engine is running. since you only moved the car a couple feet the engine probably did not get hot enough to evaporate the extra fuel
then when you cranked it a few days later you added more fuel to the old fuel that was still in the combustion chambers which threw off the computer with more fuel in the chambers than normal, it tried to compensateby cutting the fuel on and off. After a few 15 second tries at cranking, the computer had finally gotten the mixture right again.
The joys :confused: of EFI
 

·
Senior Charter Member
Joined
·
688 Posts
I agree with you that the dealer is full of it. I also think he is way off with the flooding thing. These are the hardest things to diagnose, and are the only type of problems that I take my car to a mechanic for. Unfortunately, so far even with the diagnostic machines at the shops, if I can't figure it out on my own, niether can they, they just charge me for it.

A guess may be that, as you know, the system will run very rich when cold. If there was unburnt fuel in the system that made it through the combustion chanbers into the exhaust, the oxygen sensors may have thought it was already running very rich and may not have added the extra fuel that it needed for the temperature it was seeing.

It may also have to do with the winter fuel blends that are required by law in some areas. If you had just gotten a new tank of that it can effec how is would run, particularly on startup.

I don't buy the "10 calls with the same problem" thing, but if a dealer told me that I would ask him why he was selling such inferior machinery. There may be a glitch in the system that gets confused by cold weather, but if there is you can bet that the deficient software has been fixed in production by now......

Just some thoughts

Tim
 

·
FFCobra Craftsman
Joined
·
750 Posts
Steve,

What a bunch of "el toro poo poo" the dealers try to feed people.

I think the guys may be on to something about the gas. Do you fill up at the same gas station all the time? Some have been known to offer more than just gas if you catch my drift.

I don't buy the flooding deal either, did you smell any strong fuel odor at the time?

My guess is that your fuel is intermittently reaching your injectors hence the sputter, coughs, etc. Possibly due to a clogged up fuel filter. I don't think this condition would throw any codes. It would be a cheap fix to try before handing over your bank account number to the scavengers. :mad:

Good luck and take care,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,158 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the help guys. To answer some of the questions...yes, I actually did smell fuel when the car first started, but the tow truck was sitting right next to the Acura, so I don't know if the smell was from the truck, the Acura, or the driver :eek:
. I don't know where my wife fills it up, but I think there are 2 or 3 places she goes, depending on when it needs gas. I would hope it's not an injector or other parts problem, as the car is only 1 1/2 years old with 17,000 miles. Acuras just generally don't break (I know, there are exceptions). The car started right up this morning with no problems. I'll probably put some dry gas in it, then the next tank some injector cleaner just to be sure. Do you think I should change the plugs?

Steve
 

·
Charter Member
Joined
·
3,466 Posts
My maximun doesn't like short start and stop cycles either but has never failed me. I buy the anwser that the car may have been a little flooded. My advise is just run it and it may never happen again. You may want to ask your wife or go for a ride with her to see if she pushes on the gas pedel when trying to start it.
Shouldn't have to.
Rob Baker
 

·
Senior Charter Member
Joined
·
1,244 Posts
Steve,

I've had this same thing happen numerous times on different (newer) BMW's. What the tech told you is correct. Crank the car up for less than one minute (during cold weather) and even on a new Bimmers, it will be hard to re-crank. I got to where if I moved the car (BMW) out of the garage to wash it, I'd try to let it run a couple of minutes (and no problem). What he told you about the computer, I think is Bull.

Change the plugs? I wouldn't, they should be OK.

Yes, I realize no Ford I ever owned did this but...

Mike
FFR 2335 & 3917 SB
 

·
Senior Charter Member
Joined
·
688 Posts
I'm sorry, I did not intend to imply that the car was in fact inferior. It isn't in any way. I would still tell that to the dealer though, because some of them have come to have the attitude that the Japanese have somehow transcended physics and can do things with their cars that the mere mortals on the rest of the planet cannot achieve. I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to prove that false.

Looks like Mike's advice is the way to go. It sounds to me like the oxygen sensor gets confused and the cold start cycle does not kick in correctly. As soon as the thing starts, you will probably never see the problem again, unless you repeat what you did to make it act up in the first place.

Tim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,158 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Tjo,
No offense taken, belive me. Besides, compared to my Cobra it IS inferior. :D It's my wife's car. She absolutely loves it. I like the car, it's just a little "soft" for my tastes, I'd have gone with the TL Type S.

Steve
 

·
FFCobra Craftsman
Joined
·
784 Posts
Second dealer is prolly correct..

THe Acura's (same as our Fords) and most companys clear flood mode is to put the foot to the floor (WOT) and crank. This will shut the fuel off duing crank.Based on your description and how it started it sounds like it was flooded.

If it happens again, just remember, foot to the floor to shut the fuel off when cranking, when it fires release foot..hehe

Phil
 

·
FFCobra Fanatic
Joined
·
1,808 Posts
I lived in the very cold weather growing up. My car had to sit outside and I always had some problem starting, until? I put in an electric dip stick heater. After than I never had a problem as warm oil kept the whole engine warm. Don't know if they still sell these but it worked for me.

San Rafael Mike
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top