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Weather got cold. Now we are experiencing starting issues.

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  • 1 Post By Imakenocents
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07 Jan 2018, 07:25 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Muncie, IN
Posts: 3
Default Weather got cold. Now we are experiencing starting issues.

Hello 🙋

I am new here. I did post an introduction on the new user forum.

When the weather got cold we had an array of issues leading to my car not wanting to start. Before the cold weather really hit I had 2 front tires that went glad due to corrosive buildup not allowing the tire to Seal to the rim. Once we got that resolved it was already cold and the car had very little gas in it. (Was waiting for payday, I know you aren't supposed to let the car sit with almost no gas). We put gas in it, but I think that the water/gas in tank froze in the gas lines. My brother in law and my fiance removed the battery and we had it tested at Advance. They told us it wasn't bad. They simply said it needed charged. (Mind you, this was after a day and a half of intermittently attempting to start my poor car.) We have charged the battery on a trickle charge and my brother in law towed it to a pole barn where we attempted to warm the car (because gas lines). Car is turning over, but not actually firing or starting up. Battery seems to be draining rapidly. Fuel pump is running, so it's not bad. Any thoughts?
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Old 07 Jan 2018, 08:55 pm
Cool Cruiser
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Amboy, Indiana
Posts: 226
Default Re: Weather got cold. Now we are experiencing starting issues.

I would like to welcome you to the forum from a resident Hoosier myself. You are located close to my pride and joy around the New Castle area and my home as a teenager until joining the Air Force after high school. I actually lived in Greensboro but not many know of that little place but I attended School at Knightstown. Nice to find another on here from the promised land where the milk and honey flow................... and the snow, ice, and salt to name a few. Anyway back to the topic at hand. I would suggest you try to read any fault codes stored that may be present at your OBD 2 connector. If you or your fiance do not have a code reader you might be able to get a free loan a tool from your local parts store or know someone that has one you can borrow. You can also cycle the key from off to run, not start position, 3 times and the instrument display will flash any stored codes. Not the preferred method, as the code reader would be, but will maybe get you in the ball park of a problem area to start from. Once you have done that please post your findings to this forum and there are many willing folks including my self who are willing to assist you. There are other tests that can be performed but I think we should start there. Again, nice to have you on the forum and let's get that little PT on the road again.
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Last edited by Imakenocents; 07 Jan 2018 at 09:18 pm.
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Old 07 Jan 2018, 09:48 pm
Obsessed Cruiser
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,468
Default Re: Weather got cold. Now we are experiencing starting issues.

How many miles do you have on your 2003 Pt Cruiser?

Sounds like you might not be getting spark. I would have someone remove the camshaft senor, crank over the engine, and have someone else see if the camshaft is turning. It is very simple to do and when you reinstall the camshaft sensor be careful not to over tighten it.

If the camshaft is turning then you will need to post the engine trouble codes as Imakenocents suggested if the engine light is on. Let us know if you have trouble getting the codes with the key dance.
If at First You Don't Succeed - Try, Try Again

Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 07 Jan 2018 at 10:08 pm.
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Old 08 Jan 2018, 09:17 am
Veteran Cruiser
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 4,953
Default Re: Weather got cold. Now we are experiencing starting issues.

Try a shot of starting fluid in the intake hose. If it starts, you'll know it's fuel related. Plugs and wires are also suspect on a vehicle that age, if they weren't replaced at regular intervals.
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Old 08 Jan 2018, 09:29 am
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Dedicated Cruiser
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Ormond Beach, Fl. 32174
Posts: 2,493
Default Re: Weather got cold. Now we are experiencing starting issues.

Was your PT running OK before the cold snap or had it been sitting for a period of time? Just a few things to consider. You mention a corrosive build up on the wheel rims causing the front tires to go flat because of a bad seal between tire and rim.

Is there any additional evidence of advanced corrosion under the hood? Wires, cables, fuel line, ground connections, any deteriorated component relative to preventing either properly distributed, timed electric power flow or, good fuel, from reaching the combustion chamber?

As Advanced deemed the battery OK, that battery drain is probably due to the high amp drainage as you're trying unsuccessfully to start your PT. Secondly, there could be a hidden parasitic draw pulling that battery down.

Although it just might be no spark as mentioned, it could be the fuel supply or quality of that fuel. Have you actually established that your getting fuel flow to the throttle body? If so has the water and old fuel been purged out of the fuel line? A blocked fuel line or fuel filter could be the culprit. Even though the interior of that pole barn might be warm enough to melt ice there still possibly water in the fuel.

Many of the old cars I've restored have had fuel tanks full of old fuel, (I loved that odor) no fuel, low fuel with water and in one case, mice. Many of them had badly corroded or damaged electrical systems. In one instance, again an other family of mice had chewed through wires.

If it is indeed fuel supply, as an alternative, I'd suggest a strong dedicated deicer additive added to the new fuel you put in the tank. I'm sure Advanced can recommend a product that might address any water in the fuel line degrading the fuel. I got some bad fuel in SOOO BIG one time and a dose of cleaner in the fuel tank cleaned out the blockage. Good luck. Happy PTin', ptprice
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Last edited by ptprice; 08 Jan 2018 at 11:41 am.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 13 Jan 2018, 07:24 pm
Regular Cruiser
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Tampa
Posts: 111
Default Re: Weather got cold. Now we are experiencing starting issues.

Or, after cranking and not getting a start, pull a spark plug and see if it is wet with fuel. If dry then a fuel issue, if wet, a spark issue.
2003 GT
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