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Slow Start: What Could This Be?

 
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Old 15 Aug 2011, 09:38 am
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Default Slow Start: What Could This Be?

My 2006 Cruiser is acting up again. When turning the key, the car normally starts up immediately. In the last week, it's been taking longer to start. You turn the key and have to hold it there for a few seconds before it 'catches'. You can hear the engine trying to get going, and then, luckily, it does. It doesn't do this every time you get in the car. For example, this morning my husband said it started up fine going to work, but when he started it up again after stopping for gas, it took extra time to start.

We have an appt with the dealer in a couple days, and I was wondering if anyone has any ideas what could cause the car to not want to start like that? I know very little about cars, so I try and get some ideas of what a problem can be before I talk to the mechanic so I don't look like a dope, lol.

We took the car in for a full tune up in June, and now that I am thinking about it, I didn't even think to tell them to put in better spark plugs/wires (we had done that before), and I'm sure they put in the basic stuff. Would that cause a sluggish start up? If it was the battery, wouldn't it be most likely to not start after sitting for a length of time?
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Old 15 Aug 2011, 09:45 am
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Default Re: Slow Start: What Could This Be?

What is the speed of the cranking? Nice and fast? If so, battery is okay. If not, many places will test battery for free (I believe Sears and Walmart among others).
COULD be wires - the stock ones break down pretty quickly.
turn key to "on" and wait a second before going to "start" - gives the fuel pump a chance to pressurize the fuel rail - may not be your problem, but can't hurt, either.
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Old 15 Aug 2011, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: Slow Start: What Could This Be?

Yeah, I'm unclear - is it cranking slowly, or taking a lot of cranks to start? This statement:

Quote:
You turn the key and have to hold it there for a few seconds before it 'catches'. You can hear the engine trying to get going
is a little confusing.

Slow cranking is likely a bad starter, bad battery, or possibly/unlikely bad wiring between the two

Extended cranking is likely a bad battery, bad fuel pump, or weak ignition system.

Is it always slow to start, or only sometimes (like, in the morning after it's been sitting)?
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Old 15 Aug 2011, 03:12 pm
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Default Re: Slow Start: What Could This Be?

I'm not sure what you mean by cranking. Is that how many times you have to turn the key before it starts (example: turn the key, car makes noise but engine doesn't turn over, so you repeat the process)?

The car always turns on with the first turn of the key, it's just been taking a couple seconds longer for the engine to engage. It's never not started up on the first try. It just seems like it's making that 'car starting up noise' a couple seconds longer than it should, enough so that you notice it.

It's been happening at any time of the day, not just in the morning after it's been sitting. Like, it was fine starting up first thing this morning, but a half hour later it took those extra seconds to start after stopping for gas.

I think I may try taking it to one of those places to check the battery. It's got to be the original battery in there (83K miles on it)...
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Old 15 Aug 2011, 10:44 pm
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Default Re: Slow Start: What Could This Be?

I am talking about the "rhythm" of the sound the starter makes. Is it fast or slow? From your post, it sounds like you are turning the key, the starter spins at a normal speed, but takes more cranking from the engine to start than it used to - does that sound right? If so, try this: Turn the key to run, but don't start the car. You will hear the fuel pump buzz from the back of the car. Turn it off. Repeat this process three or four times, and on the last time go ahead and start the car. Does that change the nature of these poor starts?
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Old 17 Aug 2011, 12:22 am
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Default Re: Slow Start: What Could This Be?

I have the same problem, but it's usually the first start of the day in warm weather. Sometime it just takes 3-4 seconds of cranking to start and some times it just needs a second turn of the key. The starter sounds normal, it just doesn't run on it's own. Every other start of the day is normal, even if it sits for several hours. I wrote into a local newspaper column and they wrote back to try the MAP sensor. I changed it with no help. This doesn't happen in the cooler months, only in the summer. I have an 05 w/ original battery, but it's cranking fine. Keeping the key in the on position allowing fuel pressure to build does not help. I mentioned it to the dealer a while back, but they didn't really attempt a repair. This has been going on for a couple of years. Any fixes would be helpful.

Last edited by compdr59; 17 Aug 2011 at 12:27 am.
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Old 17 Aug 2011, 01:34 am
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Default Re: Slow Start: What Could This Be?

That sounds like a weak coolant temp sensor or a weak idle control valve. When the weather is warm and the car is warm, it requires a leaner mixture to start than when everything is cooler. Could be the temp sensor not accurate reporting the relative warmth of the engine, or the idle valve not opening up quickly enough to compensate. Could be a host of other minor details too, but those are likely culprits. If a slight amount of throttle causes it to start more quickly, it's probably a lazy idle valve.
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Old 17 Aug 2011, 08:24 pm
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Default Re: Slow Start: What Could This Be?

I will try with the gas pedal slightly depressed for the next few days and get back with the results. I can change the coolant sensor when I change the timing belt. That one is inexpensive. Thanks.....
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Old 20 Aug 2011, 08:04 pm
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Default Re: Slow Start: What Could This Be?

Luckily, it was just a toasted battery. Replaced it, and it's starting fine now. I like it when it's a simple fix!
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Old 27 Aug 2011, 03:28 pm
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Default Re: Slow Start: What Could This Be?

Holding the gas pedal 1/4 down just prevent the engine from stalling when it's trying to start. I should be doing the timing belt soon, and I will replace the temperature sensor while the cooling system is drained.
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