Allpar Forums banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The latest in a long line of starting problems on my 84 LeBaron 2.2 T: Car won't start after driving more than about ten minutes.

What happens is that it acts like the battery is dead, with very slow cranking and no turnover.

It will start if I wait fifteen minutes. It will start pretty well any time, EXCEPT when it's been driving.

Battery is new.

Any ideas?

Interestingly enough, the exact thing is also happening with another old car I have (Chevy, though).

Battery cable?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
31,981 Posts
Carefully monitor coolant and oil levels. It's possible that the head gasket is starting to fail, and you are getting some hydrostatic lock of the cylinders from coolant in there. After a waiting period, the coolant may be steaming out and/or draining into the crankcase.

Is there any white smoke from the tailpipe at any time? Are the fluid levels constant?

Have someone check the battery voltage at idle, with engine off, during cranking on a cold start, and during cranking on a hot start, and please post here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I can do the battery check thing and post.

To answer other questions: Yes, there is white smoke on start but it goes away. And, no, I haven't seen any loss of coolant (I checked it two days ago because of the white smoke) or oil.

There was one odd mixture I noticed, which seemed to be oil and gas. I had a small gas leak when I last filled up but couldn't figure out where it was coming from (I had had it up on a lift a month or so ago and we couldn't find any problem). This time, when I put my finger in the gas on the ground, it was more oil than gas-- black oil. I can't figure out what that is, since the engine oil is new and clean. Best I could guess was the gas taking grime off of something as it fell to the ground, but it seemed like it was leaking very oily gas from the tank or near the tank on the driver side. Weird.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,828 Posts
I would be interested to see what your alternator ouptut is as well (amps and volts). Take a look at the plugs too. Some white smoke (water vapor) is normal on first start, especially on humid days or cold days, but if it's still steaming after more than a couple minutes, there could be something wrong. As for the black oil, gasoline is an extremely effective solvent, so you may just be seeing dissolved road grime.
One more question. When the car dies, is it like someone switched the ignition off, or is it more of a "struggling to stay running and then finally quit" thing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I just replaced the plugs two weeks (or less than 100 miles) ago, and the old ones were actually not bad at all. I used the ones y'all always recommend (Champion?).

Battery and voltage regulator are about a month old and alternator tested fine two weeks ago (when I went to AZ to check that new battery and voltage reg had solved my starting problem).

To clarify, the car is not dying at all. It starts, and drives fine except for the occasional pinging/straining when accelerating up hills that I used to associate with bad gas or, well, all the cars I drove in the 70s and 80s :).

What happens is if I turn it off after driving a bit and try to start it soon after stopping it (most recently it was after filling up with gas), it acts like the battery is dead. Meaning it has almost no power on crank, the dash lights dim, and it doesn't turn over. Wait fifteen minutes and it starts right up.

My other car that has suddenly developed this same exact problem is a 1970 Chevy El Camino I just got back from months at a shop (old guy working very slowly on old cars). I drove it home 70 miles with no problem, but now it IS having a hard time idling now and does die. If it dies when cold, no problem, it will start right up. If it dies hot, I have to wait in the same way I wait for the Le Baron.

Both cars did this last night, since I specifically tested them both by driving them and then trying to start them up again when I got safely home. Same acting like the battery is dead on crank. Same starting right up when I tried an hour later. Since they are very different cars (El Camino has practically nothing electronic), I can eliminate a lot of things and thus assumed it might be a common problem I'm not thinking of. Or, of course, it's just a coincidence.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
36,916 Posts
On the Chevy, I'd suspect heat soak on the starter. My Dad's old Impala did that somewhat regularly as the starter got older.
I've never heard of that with the 2.2 engine though.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
31,981 Posts
Could be that the starter is failing, and when it gets hot, something expands to jam it mechanically, or cause higher electrical resistance. So the voltage during a hot crank is of interest here.

The gas leak is probably dissolving grime and/or undercoating. It's important to find and fix that, of course. I had a pinhole leak once at the weld seam of my tank.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,351 Posts
Excessive distributor spark advance can make the starter labor on a hot start and make it ping hot. The turbos have an anti-knock sensor and should not ping at all.
Raised compression from combustion chamber carbon build up can also labor the starter when hot and cause ping. Pre-ignition or detonation can ruin a turbo engine.
Rule out starter circuit first. Is the starter heat shield intact? It is near the hot turbo and is necessary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Have you looked at the hoses coming out of the valve cover? I was having a hot-restart problem, and couldn't find the problem until I noticed a bit of oil on the underside of my air box. It turned out the hose from the valve cover to the PCV valve was kinked. I replaced that, cleaned the air box, and my problems went away. Be sure to check the hose running to the other side of the air box too: if that hose gets kinked or clogged, you may also experience problems.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
31,981 Posts
But I don't think that will affect cranking speed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for all these replies.

I probably won't be able to get to it until this weekend, but I will post my battery test results and check the other things and report on them.

The starter is new (or at least less than a year or a thousand miles old). The guy I bought it from told me that and it does, in fact, look brand new. With all the starting problems I've had, though, it could certainly be more worn out than it should be. I didn't think about the heat shield, but didn't even know there was one. I'll look at/for that, too. (The starter on this car is in an impossible place, btw, and can really only be accessed from underneath with a bunch of removing of parts and contortions.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
OK, as per Bob's request, here are the battery check numbers:

Cold: 12.5 v

Start: 13.75

Idle: 14.10

Hot idle (after ten minutes driving in hot weather): 13.72

Hot restart (did not start): 10.4 and 11.8
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,074 Posts
I would suggest looking at the battery cables and ground straps, including dirty battery posts, you are losing a ground once she warms up.

Charcoal canister may have been overloated with fuel, but doesn't explain the not starting, just the fuel smell, probably not related.

I would say replace the knock sensor, it may be causing some of the problem, if nothing else to stop the knocking.

Are there any codes being thrown by the computer?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,828 Posts
Battery overheating? I can't remember if they don't like cold or hot, but I think one can cause low voltage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Well, the battery cables DO seem hot sometimes, but then I don't go around feeling battery cables and that might be normal.

How and why does a battery overheat? In this case, it's a new battery-- less than two months old-- and has not needed to be recharged or anything. I did take the car to AZ and the entire charging system checked out fine.

The battery posts are great, since the battery is new and I put dielectric grease on them. I cleaned the grounds I could find a month or so ago. My first thought was that the cables were bad, but I don't know how that would have anything to do with being hot. Seems like if cables were bad they'd be bad all the time.

Edit: Oh, and I checked for a heat shield and don't know what it is. I don't see anything that might be one and looked in the DSM and saw no references to it at all. So I don't really know what I'm looking for. I can see the end of the starter quite clearly from the driver's side, so if it's supposed to be between the turbo and the starter, there's not anything there, except perhaps beneath somehow.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,074 Posts
The shield would be aluminum and go between the engine and starter or turbo and starter, something like that. It's just a metal cover to help reflect the heat.

If battery cables are corroded internally, the rust (green for copper), once it is warm or heated, reduces the continuity, which will drop the voltage as you are seeing. I don't know if there is any location on the ends of the positive wire to see if it is copper colored or green, or if there is any sign of damage to the cable itself, like cracks, bubbles, or bulges from rust/corrosion expansion. You can increase this check to the power wire from the alternator for its condition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,828 Posts
I was thinking that the battery's output might drop because of underhood temperature. The alternator is running at idle, so that voltage should be where it is, but when the car is attempting to start, there's a huge draw on the battery and if it's too hot or is no good internally (probably a combination of the two), that COULD explain the reading. Batteries can be real hit or miss. I had one fail in just about 18 months from Wal-Mart, but I've heard of people going well beyond the "expected" lifespan on Wal-Mart batteries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
As it happens, it is a WalMart battery... The one that came with the car was only a few months old, ended up being bad, and they replaced it free. I have had this one tested a month or so ago, but will have it checked again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Update on this:

As far as I can see in the little visible space behind the engine when looking with the hood up, the starter does NOT have a heat shield, so that may be the problem.

I was on vacation and haven't driven the car much since I returned, but I'll try to check it out this weekend. I got a new starter cheap from RockAuto (and it DOES have a shield) and will have to find the time to change it (looks like it will be a real pain doing that on this car on jackstands in the driveway, given where the starter is-- I may break down and have it done on a lift).

I'm getting code 23 also, which has to do with charge temperature being improbable or "changing too fast to be real," so that completely fits the situation if "charge temperature" is what it sounds like. Problem is I have no idea what the "charge temperature circuit" is and how to do anything about it. I even did a search on this forum with the words "charge temperature" and found nothing. And, of course, the dealer service manuals don't have indexes.

Any further comments from you all would be welcome.

(BTW, I think the problem on the contemporaneous Chevy hot start i mentioned above is in fact a bad battery. The battery tests fine if it's cold and then tests bad when hot (at least with my little home tester). And it doesn't seem to lose too much charge, as I was on vacation for two weeks, came back, reattached the neg cable (a new one I just put on, btw), and it started right up. Still, the fact that it seems to react badly to a running engine makes me suspect it's a bad battery-- esp since the alternator checks out on my little tester, too.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,828 Posts
Sounds like the intake air temperature sensor, or IAT, and related wiring. For more information, minimopar has a good write-up on most of the earlier engine control systems http://minimopar.net/ecu/index.html
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top