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Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 22 Aug 2016, 05:20 pm
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Default Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

Need help! I've been researching this issue for a few days now. I have a 2006 Pt Cruiser non-turbo with 108K miles on it and it has started to have intermittent starting issues, worse when hot. Sometimes it starts absoutely fine. Other times, it will take two or three times to start it, during which it sounds like it's missing / misfiring. Then, other times there is a hesitation before it cranks when I turn the key.

When this first started about two weeks go, I got a new battery because I was due. But the problem was not solved.

I've read a lot of posts about this where people have changed the starter and this did not fix the problem. A mechanic friend of mine witnessed the problem and agrees it is probably not the starter, since it works just fine WHEN it works. He admits it my be the solenoid, which is not sold seperately for this model, but he is not sure.

What I have tried: a new "starter" relay, although I am not sure it is a starter relay since AutoZone online shows a rectangular one, but the one mounted on the firewall nearest the driver side is square -- people are also calling this the PCM relay, so I have yet to find where the rectangular AutoZone starter relay goes. ...Anyone know where the rectangular one goes?

Ran a 4 gauge wire from battery to starter since I have read in a few places this might be the solution due to high resistance in the stock wire, but it did not help.

Put in fuel cleaner since some people are saying this may be caused by clogged fuel filter OR leaky fuel injectors. I have also read that the fuel pump may act up when hot.

There are a ship-load of theories, but does anyone actually know a solution to this? Like, have experienced it before and definitely solved it. If not, am accepting theories, but don't really want to start changing stuff around that will not fix it, as I have seen a lot of posts to this effect (people going through several batteries & starters with no luck).

Thanks!
I don't know how to embed video, but here is the link to it to hear the problem for yourself...
https://youtu.be/59N2EN8_yqI

Alex

Last edited by alexptla; 22 Aug 2016 at 06:09 pm. Reason: added link to video
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Old 22 Aug 2016, 09:14 pm
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Default Re: Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

Does it always crank but not start sometimes?

Does everything else works? Power windows, fan blower, etc.?

On your brand new battery how many amps does it say it holds?

Does your dashboard gauges sometimes drop to zero and come back to normal?

Does your engine light come on? If so what are the engine trouble codes?
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 22 Aug 2016 at 09:24 pm.
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Old 23 Aug 2016, 06:38 am
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Default Re: Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

When's the last time you did a tune up and a good throttle body cleaning on it? Sounds to me like it cranks just fine, it's just not catching to start quickly every time. I don't think it's a battery or starter issue, but as I've stated before, I'm NOT a mechanic.
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Old 23 Aug 2016, 09:29 am
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Default Re: Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

Also do a battery load test. This will tell us if your battery and charging system is okay.
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Old 24 Aug 2016, 08:46 pm
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Default Re: Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

Does it always crank but not start sometimes?
No, sometimes it seems to do nothing for a little while when the key is turned to START -- this is when very hot. I usually turn the key back within a second. Then I turn it back and it hesitates, then starts to crank, usually doing that misfire sounding thing in the video -- making a sound like the key was turned to START while the car was already on.

Does everything else works? Power windows, fan blower, etc.?
Yes everything else works.

On your brand new battery how many amps does it say it holds?Here is the link to it...in this description it says 600 cold crank amps
https://www.pepboys.com/product/deta...02.4L%2520DOHC

Does your dashboard gauges sometimes drop to zero and come back to normal?
Wow! What made you ask THAT!? YES IT DOES. Sometimes, all the warning lights come on, the guages drop, and then it returns to normal! What is this?? Is it related to the starting probs?

Does your engine light come on? If so what are the engine trouble codes?

No. Engine light does not come on. In spite of this, I code scanned it and there are no codes being reported.

Thanks for your help & interest...
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Old 24 Aug 2016, 10:09 pm
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Default Re: Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

Your 2006 PT Cruiser was the first year they switched over to the BUS electrical system and some are having problems with it when it gets warm.

2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Various Electrical Issues In Warm Temperature: 4 Complaints

You might have two separate problems.

The TIPM is common for being faulty. The TIPM is sensitive to voltage drops so i would suggest doing a battery load test before checking out the TIPM. On my 2007 PT Cruiser I get the dancing gauges also. I always check the battery and the battery charging system to make sure its charging at 14 to 14.5 volts when the engine is running.

You need to do some diagnosis before replacing anything. What bothers me now is that you are not getting any engine trouble codes. On my 2007 PT Cruiser I get at least six different codes when I get an occasional dancing gauges including loss of communication code. I am leaning towards the TIPM as being the problem but have not replaced it yet.

I would suggest removing one of the sensor wire connectors to see if your PCM is communicating and triggering engine trouble codes. If your PCM does not trigger any codes then check the grounds and the four plugs on the PCM for bad contacts.

Check on the drivers side fender for bad contacts. There should be approx. 7 wires going to the inside of the drivers fender attached to the fender. Take these wires apart and make sure they are all making good contacts.

Check the PCM ground wires and make sure they are making good contact. You need to get the PCM to recognize and trigger engine trouble codes. This should be the first step you make.

Make sure your OBDII Scan Tool is working properly.
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 24 Aug 2016 at 10:13 pm.
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Old 26 Aug 2016, 10:36 pm
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Default Re: Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

Just updating for all interested ...

Temperature has dropped to 70s and 80s. Problem was occurring when temps were 90s and 100s.

I found a temporary solution in that if I turn the key to ON (not START) and wait a second (usually till the dash lights up and warning bell dings), it starts okay. I have searched the web for this problem+solution IN GENERAL (not just PT Cruisers), and it seems to be a phenomenon in some vehicles, but no one is sure exactly why.

I'd love to change the fuel pump relay but it is soldered to the back of the TIPM. I HAVE, however, unplugged the TIPM and pushed the connectors in and out a few times to try for a better connection. It's actually pretty easy to remove (and is part of the fuse panel). Still saw the problem after this.

Changed the spark plugs to Champion 443, since the under-hood sticker has a little note that says "RE16MC," which turns out to be this plug. I have been running autolites for 2 years, so maybe they are worn. Also, the car is so electrically sensitive, it's probably best to stick with the under-hood recommendation. Still saw the problem once after this.

Many people have said it is NOT the starter, so I haven't decided to change that out yet, although it would be pretty dumb if I went through all of this and it just needs a new starter.

My strategy is going to be to wait till the problem happens consistently, since I can't get it to recur on-demand, so it is extremely difficult to diagnose.

Keep in mind there is a youtube vid capturing the intermittent problem if you want to check it out: https://youtu.be/59N2EN8_yqI
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Old 26 Aug 2016, 11:49 pm
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Default Re: Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexptla View Post
Just updating for all interested ...

Temperature has dropped to 70s and 80s. Problem was occurring when temps were 90s and 100s.

I found a temporary solution in that if I turn the key to ON (not START) and wait a second (usually till the dash lights up and warning bell dings), it starts okay. I have searched the web for this problem+solution IN GENERAL (not just PT Cruisers), and it seems to be a phenomenon in some vehicles, but no one is sure exactly why.

I'd love to change the fuel pump relay but it is soldered to the back of the TIPM. I HAVE, however, unplugged the TIPM and pushed the connectors in and out a few times to try for a better connection. It's actually pretty easy to remove (and is part of the fuse panel). Still saw the problem after this.

Changed the spark plugs to Champion 443, since the under-hood sticker has a little note that says "RE16MC," which turns out to be this plug. I have been running autolites for 2 years, so maybe they are worn. Also, the car is so electrically sensitive, it's probably best to stick with the under-hood recommendation. Still saw the problem once after this.

Many people have said it is NOT the starter, so I haven't decided to change that out yet, although it would be pretty dumb if I went through all of this and it just needs a new starter.

My strategy is going to be to wait till the problem happens consistently, since I can't get it to recur on-demand, so it is extremely difficult to diagnose.

Keep in mind there is a youtube vid capturing the intermittent problem if you want to check it out: https://youtu.be/59N2EN8_yqI
Good clue! By turning the ignition on for a few seconds you could be giving the TIPM power feed to compensate for a bad connection before starting the engine.

Did you disconnect the camshaft sensor to see if it triggers a dtc? Your PCM should be triggering a code when the camshaft sensor is disconnected.
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 27 Aug 2016 at 12:10 am.
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Old 27 Aug 2016, 12:15 am
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Default Re: Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptcruisersteve View Post
Did you disconnect the camshaft sensor to see if it triggers a dtc? Your PCM should be triggering a code when the camshaft sensor is disconnected.
I replaced the camshaft position sensor for the 2nd time about a month ago. At that time, I got an engine code for it. Based on that, I am assuming I will get engine codes if necessary but I'll try that.

Also wondering if a bad intake air temperature sensor could cause this?

I've asked this question on reddit and someone is certain it is the fuel pump relay failing, but, like I had mentioned, this is not a replaceable part as it is part of the TIPM.
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Old 27 Aug 2016, 12:30 am
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Default Re: Intermittent Hard Start when Hot + Hesitation Before Crank

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexptla View Post
I replaced the camshaft position sensor for the 2nd time about a month ago. At that time, I got an engine code for it. Based on that, I am assuming I will get engine codes if necessary but I'll try that.

Also wondering if a bad intake air temperature sensor could cause this?

I've asked this question on reddit and someone is certain it is the fuel pump relay failing, but, like I had mentioned, this is not a replaceable part as it is part of the TIPM.
Good to see you did get a code.

Maybe your dancing gauges are so quick the PCM doesn't pick up on it. On my 2007 PT Cruiser the gauges drop up to 5 minutes and then they come back up. It doesn't happen often but when it does it is pretty obvious. Does your battery light come on when this happens?
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