Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby Detroit_Dave [OP] » January 6th 2019, 5:49pm

Ohhh-kayyyy..... so I have this 2002 Astro window van with a measly 99k miles on it (59k when I bought it in Dec 2011 - it was owned by The Red Cross, so it didn't get a lot of miles racked up but it was obviously NOT being babied!)... the Check Engine light comes on from time to time (for about a couple of years, now) and it always gives me the P0446 code. I have removed, examined and replaced the gas cap, crawled underneath and installed a new vent valve - and the light continues to come on every so often. Didn't much care about that, since the motor started & ran fine, regardless - and when I erase the code to kill the warning light, it will often stay off for weeks at a time. At some point, though, that V6 began refusing to simply fire up and run like it always did (meaning, just flick the key and VROOM!)... about two years ago I supposed it was about time to replace the cap, rotor, wires and plugs, so I did that... but am really not sure if it helped with the hard-starting or not. Mainly because it seems to only occur on DAMP mornings, which we have plenty of around here in The Deep South, sixty miles from The Gulf - and I did that swap in dry weather.

On days when it's acting up, if it doesn't start instantly, the engine is guaranteed to spin and spin, with an occasional burp or a cough and/or a feeble attempt at running for a second or two (sometimes attempting to run backwards for a few licks!), then nothing. And the exhaust smells of raw gas, like a flooded engine. If I am patient enough to leave it alone and try again later, it will often (eventually) run - and after it has warmed up, it will start immediately every time I get behind the wheel for the rest of the day. I sometimes wonder if it has the "typical" injector problems I've read about in here, but if that was the case, wouldn't it be an all-day, every day hassle - not just when the engine is cold? To me, it acts as if it "thinks" we are having a chilly day, when it is sometimes more like 80 or 85 degrees out - and is overreacting by dumping too much fuel into the motor. If so, where do I look to solve the problem? I have already changed the coolant temperature sensor, two times in the past few years (genuine Chinese Delphi) - the latest was less than a month ago... I would replace the distributor cap and wires again, if you think they might have "gone bad" in such a short time - but they seem to perform perfectly well as long as the engine is warm... and I am really not a big fan of fixing things that aren't broken. On that subject, I had the engine cover off a few months ago, mostly looking for signs of rodents chewing on wiring or vacuum lines (we live out in the country so that is a regular occurrence around here), didn't find anything of that nature, but since I was in there, I ran the engine in total darkness and saw no hint of sparks being lost in the ignition system. I hosed down the distributor cap and plug wires with silicon spray anyway... can't say if it made any difference because we had warm, dry weather for months and it barely gave me any trouble. A few times this past (WET) week, though, it has been VERY hard to start - and I am wondering if there is any correlation between that P0446 code and the hard-starting hassles... or if they are two separate issues.

(Just to throw another wrench into the works: when I went out to start it this morning, the entire vehicle was dripping with condensation - and I expected the usual grief when I turned the key. But it fired right up!!!)

I am a mechanic by trade - building multitudes of engines and transmissions in the past forty-odd years, as well as overhauling, refurbishing and/or restoring countless machines of many kinds - so I am not totally clueless when it comes to pointing a screwdriver at something. The main problem is that my hands and arms and lower back aren't what they used to be these days, and I am hoping somebody in here is more familiar with what is under this hood than I am, and can give me some better direction than "maybe it's this, maybe it's that" - before I tear the top of the motor all to bits and strand myself on these premises all day when I discover that NOTHING is amiss in there.

Thanks!
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby MechBob » January 6th 2019, 6:09pm

Sounds like cracked ignition coil,try spraying it down.While engine cover is off,check wiring harness for a wire being rubbed through,at back of engine.
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby Leeann_93 » January 6th 2019, 6:15pm

Definitely sounds like a spark problem, not a fuel problem.


Oh, the P0446 could be the purge solenoid, which is between the coil and the distributor, mounted to the intake. That's what fixed the code on my '02, although I also replaced the vent valve.
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby Detroit_Dave [OP] » January 6th 2019, 7:16pm

Thanks for giving me something else to look for -

we are supposed to have a few nice days this week, if I can tear myself away from basking in the sun (while doing endless Home-Moaner upkeep & repairs) I will get back under there and take a peek! :bow:
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby sixsix » January 7th 2019, 1:31am

Detroit_Dave wrote:Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

I thought that was the "Astro Safari Way "

All but ours - it starts before you get the key turned fully - half a turn seems at times.

Never had any car or truck start so fast. And it did not matter the weather ( still doesn't ) - half a crank - every time.



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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby MechBob » January 7th 2019, 2:05am

sixsix wrote:
Detroit_Dave wrote:Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

I thought that was the "Astro Safari Way "

All but ours - it starts before you get the key turned fully - half a turn seems at times.

Never had any car or truck start so fast. And it did not matter the weather ( still doesn't ) - half a crank - every time.



Mike

LOL,over the summer replaced fuel pump,battery(it barely made it through last winter) and starter in my gen 1,starts almost instantly,faster than my gen 2,lol
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby Detroit_Dave [OP] » January 29th 2019, 6:21pm

UNDERWHELMING UPDATE
(in case anybody needs a good groan today)

WELL... this engine has been starting right up and running quite nicely ever since I came in here to whine about the subject... I bought & replaced the purge solenoid, just for snicks... looked around, still no sign of chewed wiring or hoses or "fried" anything under there... was out driving around in the sunshine yesterday, looked down and saw SERVICE ENGINE SOON glowing at me. Again. Got home, asked it what the problem was... "P0446"


ASK ME IF I CARE!!!!!
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby sixsix » January 30th 2019, 9:05pm

Nice Post, I feel 'ya there right about now...

Excellent use of Multiple Font Sizes and Colors.

Oh, yeah , great Caps, Punctuation ( need more ... ellipsis ) and what ever else you could use.
Stay Warm.

:banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:

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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby chevymaherchevymaher is online! » January 30th 2019, 9:09pm

Hey Dave How Do You Feel About That Code?. :eek: :eek:
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby AstroWill » February 1st 2019, 6:19am

Detroit_Dave wrote:ASK ME IF I CARE!!!!!

Do you care?

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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby Detroit_Dave [OP] » March 10th 2019, 11:35pm

Image


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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby Leeann_93 » March 10th 2019, 11:58pm

Detroit_Dave wrote:Image



Generally speaking, the one on the right probably won’t transfer spark very well... :shock:
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby Detroit_Dave [OP] » March 11th 2019, 1:19am

Yep, that is a pretty good theory you've got there.... but it has apparently been working quite well, just like that, for several months at least!

(I couldn't even find a hint of the missing piece inside....!)
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby Sailing_Faith » March 11th 2019, 1:34am

Epic! Man, these things are BEASTS at running with problems huh?!?! Imagine how far that spark was jumping!
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby Leeann_93 » March 11th 2019, 2:25am

Sailing_Faith wrote:Epic! Man, these things are BEASTS at running with problems huh?!?! Imagine how far that spark was jumping!


I just replaced my cap and rotor yesterday, so I still had the old parts to put together and make a guess.


Let's just say, a pretty good distance...guess your coil is good :lol:
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Re: Cold engine refuses to start - "sometimes"!

Postby AstroWill » March 11th 2019, 2:42am

One of these things is not like the other

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