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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2007
    Posts
    3,258

    Default Grrrr, Anyone know anything about cars??

    My car has been having starting issues for months now. The engine will act like it turns over but the RPM will be on zero and the engine is silent. All my lights and radio works and I turn the key again and again at it just gives me this chugging noise like it's wanting to start but won't. I realized that it doesn't have a problem starting from a complete cold start when it has been sitting for hours or when I drive for a long time, and the engine has had time to fully warm up, I can turn it off after a long drive and it will start right back up, no problem. The issue is when I drive it for a short distance, turn it off for short amount of time and the engine isn't fully warm.

    I took it to a mechanic, who tested the battery and it was bad, so we replaced it, then I went back after it did it again and he cleaned up the wiring and connections to the battery, then it did it again, so we replaced the starter, which tested bad as well, and it still kept doing it.

    Well, I took it home for Christmas break, it had an inspection at the dealer and he found nothing wrong and even said that it was "very sturdy for it's age," well the car did the no start thing again, so my dad took it in for a tune up, that didn't help either.

    Well my dad and I were leaving to drive me back to school, and we left the house, but realized one of the turn signals was out and turned around, fixed the light and when my dad went to start it, it did it again. After about an hour it started again and we took it to the dealer again. The car was starting fine and everything at the dealer, since the engine was quite warm from the drive over.

    The dealer hooked it up to the computer and it wasn't showing anything wrong, he tested the fuel pump and it was putting out the right amount of pressure, and the mechanics could not figure out what it was. Also, they tested the alternator and it was fine.

    I have a feeling that it's something either really small that can be replaced and it will fix it, but finding out what is seems to be the problem. Anyone have any idea what it could be? I just can't keep having it be so unreliable!

    It's a 2001 Pontiac Aztek is that helps.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 24, 2005
    Posts
    2,322

    Default

    I'm not clear on the symptoms of your car - whether it turns over or whether it doesn't. But, anyway, this is what I want to say. Look up your car and symptoms on the internet. You will probably find your answer. At aother board, a poster said that her early 90's American car did not start, didn't turn over. If she came back later, it would start - 10 or 15 minutes. I told her to look it ub, but did a very quick search and found out that many of the American sedans of that age do the same thing and that it is a design flaw. My close friend has a Pontiac of that age and it does it also. But, their engines do not turn over. It has to do with a mal-design of the security system.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2007
    Posts
    3,258

    Default

    It turns over but doesn't start, if that makes sense. I've looked it up online and it gives me very vague answers so I decided to ask about it myself and see if I can get an answer. I was told that it could be an ignition switch issue as well, but I thought that it would of shown up on the computer at the dealer, if it was bad. If it's the security system, is that an issue that can be fixed?



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2003
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    1,863

    Default

    I can't be of any help, but I'll have my hubby take a look at your post when he gets home... he may be able to offer some suggestions.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2007
    Posts
    3,258

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CarolinaGirl View Post
    I can't be of any help, but I'll have my hubby take a look at your post when he gets home... he may be able to offer some suggestions.
    Thanks! I really appreciate it!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2003
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    1,863

    Default

    Hubby says coolant temperature sensor. It tells the ECU how warm or cold the coolant is and adjusts the fuel map accordingly. If you play with the throttle while cranking the car when it is showing its symptoms see if that can make it start or at least try to fire. This will confirm hubby's idea.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2006
    Location
    the land of sky-blue waters
    Posts
    622

    Default

    IIRC, CarTalk had a caller within the last couple of months who had a nearly identical problem-- it might be worth taking a look through their archives at cartalk.com



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2007
    Posts
    3,258

    Default

    CarolinaGirl, where would the throttle be located? I'm really car illiterate lol



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2003
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    1,863

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmedHope View Post
    CarolinaGirl, where would the throttle be located? I'm really car illiterate lol
    Throttle = acclerator pedal. So essentially when the issue comes up you're gonna push the pedal a few times while trying to start the car.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2007
    Posts
    3,258

    Default

    Ahh okay, well I've done that several times when I had the issue and it didn't help. I've pumped the gas but, no dice. If it helps, I have no issues with it when it's in drive. Just with the start up.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2004
    Location
    Carolinas
    Posts
    5,037

    Default

    This will require planning on your part:
    Ttake the car to the dealership and leave it overnight. Have the tech attempt to start the car in the morning, when the car is "cold". Many issues are 'hidden' when the car is "warm."
    Hopefully the dearlership will be able to provide a loaner or your family can provide a ride home.

    Since you are not car savy I suggest having your Dad or another car savy male when you discuss their findings. Sadly many shops will tell females all of the many problems with your vehicle that must be resolved immediately. While most are real - some can be ignored. Instead of spending major bucks to repair everything, repair what is necessary to be safe and legal. Then put the other bucks into a fund for a future replacement vehicle.

    Good Luck!
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2000
    Location
    El Paso, TX
    Posts
    13,294

    Default

    RepairPal Expert Overview:

    Contamination of the ignition relay contacts may cause high resistance inside the relay. This can affect signals to the powertrain control module resulting in intermittent vehicle stalling. The vehicle may not restart immediately, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the ignition relay to correct this concern. This recall is scheduled to begin during May 2005. The General Motors recall number is 05014


    Could that have anything to do with it?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2003
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    1,863

    Default

    He still thinks it's the coolant temperature sensor... says it should usually throw a code when hooked up to the computer, but is still sticking with the sesnor being the problem. He said you wouldn't have issues in drive.

    From me, someone who was/is not a car person: Does the car have any other symptoms? Are you going through more gas? Does it ever seem to idle high/rough? That kind of stuff?
    I don't know that I would have noticed high/rough idle in my cars before meeting hubby, unless it was really bad, but I totally would have noticed decreased gas mileage lol.

    I may be biased since he's my hubby lol, but he does all his own car work (as he trusts NO ONE with his 300ZX)... has done a complete engine swap (regular engine to a twin turbo engine) on said car and pretty much lives cars when he's not at work (military). He's the go to guy for lots of his friends and the other guys in his z car club. He doesn't think it's an electrical/voltage issue like all the shops seem to think. And me personally I'm not sure why if your car will start fine cold and hot why they would think it was a bad battery. If you had a bad battery it wouldn't have cranked cold, hot, or warm. And if you're engine spins (aka runs)... then it wouldn't have been the starter either according to hubby.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    7,174

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Coyoteco View Post
    I'm not clear on the symptoms of your car - whether it turns over or whether it doesn't. But, anyway, this is what I want to say. Look up your car and symptoms on the internet. You will probably find your answer. At aother board, a poster said that her early 90's American car did not start, didn't turn over. If she came back later, it would start - 10 or 15 minutes. I told her to look it ub, but did a very quick search and found out that many of the American sedans of that age do the same thing and that it is a design flaw. My close friend has a Pontiac of that age and it does it also. But, their engines do not turn over. It has to do with a mal-design of the security system.
    I can almost guarantee that this is the issue. Friend has a Pontiac of the same vintage, EXACT same symptoms. Dealer only discovered the issue the fourth time she had it towed there, saying "I'm not picking it up until it's fixed."

    It's a flaw of the security system, it basically thinks you're trying to steal it so it shuts itself down for 15 minutes. The fix, from what my friend remembers, was right up around $1000. New computer, or something. She just ended up dealing with it; leaving the car running most of the time. It was also fussy about how you got into the car (preferred key fob over actually using the key) and how you turned the key. She had to keep it cranking for 20 seconds or so and it would usually start up.

    It's a pain in the butt. No wonder they went outta business.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2007
    Posts
    3,258

    Default

    YIKES! $1000?? For a FACTORY FLAW? NO THANK YOU! I'll deal with it if that's the case! The thing is, I went to the barn today, the engine didn't fully warm up, I went back to start my car about an hour and a half later and it didn't go. I went home (I can walk to the barn, just to lazy ) and went back, did my night chores, and it started right up. I also think that if it was the computer it would of stalled out on my dad and I when we were driving cross country and stopping for quick pit stops.

    It's defiantly something to keep in mind though, I'll check the coolant sensor like Carolina Girl said, and if that's not it then I'll go to the dealer and mention the recall as well as the faulty security system.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2000
    Location
    El Paso, TX
    Posts
    13,294

    Default

    If it's the security sys, try turning the key without pausing it at all. That is, don't go to the accessory position, then try to go all the way...just turn it all at once, smoothly. If it doesn't start go all the way back to off, and then try again.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2007
    Posts
    3,258

    Default

    Will keep that in mind! I did some research on the PassLock system just now and they said to keep the key on the fist turn for ten minutes, and it will reset the computer. Hopefully it's not the case but something to keep in mind. I don't have the other symptoms like the security light on my dash flashing.

    Maybe there is a way to disable the entire system, instead of fixing it, should I eliminate everything else and still have the issue. I'm not to concerned about anyone stealing the POS.



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