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crank but no start when it's hot outside

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09 Jun 2016, 06:11 pm
Young Cruiser
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 97
Question crank but no start when it's hot outside

OK, y'all, this is a weird one.

Background:
- 2006 PT turbo, 106k miles
- no trouble lights or codes
- water pump, timing belt, and alternator less than 2 years old
- battery and main/accessory belts less than 1 year old
- spark plugs changed 36,000 miles ago
- all fluids up to date except ATF & brake

Symptoms:
When it's 89F outside, I can turn the key and start the engine.
When it's 92F outside, I can turn the key and it will crank but not start -- UNLESS it gets a jump.

So it looks like something badly magical is happening somewhere around 90F ambient temperature. I really don't like carrying around the extra battery to jump my car most of the time (it's already hot here in Louisiana), so I need to fix this so I can get on to my other problem, which is fixing the air conditioning!

I'm stumped.

Thoughts?

Thanks!
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1981 DeLorean DMC-12: 78,000 miles
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Old 09 Jun 2016, 10:57 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,298
Default Re: crank but no start when it's hot outside

First thing I would suggest is to have a battery load test done with the battery in the PT Cruiser. If you take it to a auto parts store make sure they put the right battery amps on the tester.
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Old 10 Jun 2016, 07:38 am
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 4,689
Default Re: crank but no start when it's hot outside

If it's not the battery, I'm thinking you're getting some type of thermal expansion in the ignition switch. Is the car parked out in an open driveway in direct sunlight or under a carport or in a garage? I had a two way radio that used to do that to me when I was a contractor. My solution was to simply put a piece of white paper over it to reflect the sunlight. That prevented it from heating up and breaking contact. I'm not saying that's what's wrong with yours, as I'm not a mechanic. It's just a suggestion. Don't go replacing the switch and getting pissed off at me because it didn't work. Try shading the steering column first, if you're parking in the direct sunlight. If not, then I don't have a clue.
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Old 10 Jun 2016, 09:38 am
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: SW PA
Posts: 1,336
Default Re: crank but no start when it's hot outside

Resistance goes up as temp goes up, I think. Make sure your cables are clean and tight. It sounds like a power/amp problem since it starts with a jump.
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Old 20 Jun 2016, 12:16 pm
Young Cruiser
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 97
Default Re: crank but no start when it's hot outside

Thanks for all of the suggestions! I checked a few things.

The battery, alternator, and starter motor connections are all clean, corrosion-free and tight.

The problem does occur when I have parked the car in direct sunlight. It starts when parked in a garage, even on a hot day.

The next time I park it in direct sunlight, I will put a towel over the steering column to shade the ignition components, and see if the problem recurs.

Thanks again!
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1981 DeLorean DMC-12: 78,000 miles
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Old 20 Jun 2016, 01:18 pm
Veteran Cruiser
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Lake Wales, FL
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Default Re: crank but no start when it's hot outside

If you're going to do that, make sure it's a white towel. That will reflect the best. OR, if you have a piece of white cardboard large enough to shade the wheel and column. Best yet, why not get one of the windshield sun shades and use that?
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Old 17 Aug 2016, 07:38 pm
Young Cruiser
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 97
Default Re: crank but no start when it's hot outside

Took it to the local dealer. They diagnosed the cause of the problem as a faulty ignition switch.

While there, I asked them to investigate my a/c leak. They replaced the evaporator, receiver/drier, and pressure switch, and in the process broke the display on my radio and the hot/cold air selector switch. I also had them change the ATF and now the trans is slipping. And it took them a month! Never going back there again!
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Old 17 Aug 2016, 08:21 pm
Obsessed Cruiser
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
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Default Re: crank but no start when it's hot outside

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farrar View Post
Took it to the local dealer. They diagnosed the cause of the problem as a faulty ignition switch.

While there, I asked them to investigate my a/c leak. They replaced the evaporator, receiver/drier, and pressure switch, and in the process broke the display on my radio and the hot/cold air selector switch. I also had them change the ATF and now the trans is slipping. And it took them a month! Never going back there again!
What part of the ignition switch did they replace? Actuator? or the pin between the actuator and the key cylinder?

When was the last time the transmission oil was changed?
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Old 17 Aug 2016, 08:24 pm
Young Cruiser
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
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Default Re: crank but no start when it's hot outside

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptcruisersteve View Post
What part of the ignition switch did they replace? Actuator? or the pin between the actuator and the key cylinder?
I don't know, but I can tell you that for two days after the repair I felt more resistance turning the key. Does that help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptcruisersteve View Post
When was the last time the transmission oil was changed?
I bought the car with 52,000 miles on it. The fluid has been changed (along with the filter) at 106,000 miles. I don't know if it was changed by the previous owner, but I doubt it.
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 08:57 am
Young Cruiser
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 97
Default Re: crank but no start when it's hot outside

Happily, I can report an update that the extra resistance that I felt right after the ignition switch was replaced has gone away. It feels normal now. And I haven't had the hot start problem since then.

(As for the trans, that's another story.)
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