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1987-1991 Parley with regards to your 1987 to 1991 Bonneville, Olds 88 or Buick Le Sabre Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 02-05-2007, 06:51 PM   #1
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well, this morning i woke up and was unable to get my car started so i had to get a ride from my mom to school. anyways, when i turn the key it cranks a few times slowly and pretty much stops. i tried to jumpstart it but to no avail. so i was just wondering if you all had any tips to get it started. i have it on a battery charger right now so ill see how that turns out
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Old 02-05-2007, 07:34 PM   #2
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Yeah, that'll do it. The charger will heat the battery and that will increase its output more than anything else. What to do?

1. Install a 500w block heater.
2. Install a 500w lower radiator hose heater.
3. Bring the battery inside the night before.
4. Try to start the car an hour early, and bring the battery inside if it won't go.
5. Hang or fix up for the winter a 100W light bulb underneath or beside the battery. An insulating cover over the battery top will help to hold the heat in.
6. Start and bring the car up to temperature right before you go to bed, then cover the engine and battery with an old sleeping bag or some bats of insulation, anything to help keep the heat in.
7. Park the car with the front end as much out of the wind as possible.

[edit: These are listed in decreasing order of effectiveness and pretty much in decreasing order of cost. (Funny how that works out, huh?)
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Old 02-05-2007, 07:56 PM   #3
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thanks, i finally got it running after i let it charge for a while
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Old 02-05-2007, 08:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill buttermore
6. Park the car with the front end as much out of the wind as possible.
Evaporative cooling eh?
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Old 02-05-2007, 08:04 PM   #5
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All good suggestions there.
I have an inline heater hose type auxiliary heater that works pretty well in my old Lemans. There probably isn't enough room to use one of those in this era of Bonneville, unless you get creative with extra plumbing. There are magnetic ones with a strong enough magnet that you can leave it on while you are driving. Be careful to route your wiring away from any moving parts or anything that gets hot enough to damage it.
I would suggest that at the minimum you would want to use an electric heater of some sort and a float charger on the battery. You should easily be able to get both these parts for under $100, including a good extension cord if you need one. At least around here you can, they might charge more for this stuff someplace they are really in high demand.
My old Lemans is pretty high compression and I run 20W50 in it year-round. I have never had a problem starting it in subzero weather when I have the heater plugged in. If it isn't plugged in, you can forget it.
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:38 PM   #6
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Well, I live in Edmonton, Alberta... we regularaly get -20C to -30C overnight, and I start my car at 6:30am every day, 10 mins before I leave work.. my only secret, along with 95% of us Canadians is just plug in your block heater... the ol' Bonnie doesn't enjoy starting at those temperatures without being plugged in... but she does... to me it sounds like you have a battery drain issue if she only cranked a few times... maybe the headlights on, or the door didn't close all the way?

As for Bill'* suggestions... those would only be at the extreme extent of the scale... I've had -40C mornings trying to get an ol '79 F150 with a high compression 302 engine to start that had a blown block heater, so I took a halogen light, shon it on the oil pan, rad hose, and block for an hour with a big blanket covering the front end to insulate it, it took a good 2hrs for it to finally start, but she did...
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:44 PM   #7
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battery is most important when it comes to super cold winter starts. IIRC at 0*F a standard battery has 25% of its rated power, and the ignition system is requesting 150% more power. So it really is EXTREMELY important to heat your battery. There are relatively cheap plug in battery warmers on the internet. I almost needed one this morning. It was -14*F and she cranked for about 5 seconds, maybe the longest ever, but then turned right over as usual. But boy does that cold take a toll.
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Old 02-06-2007, 01:15 AM   #8
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yeah, i just couldnt believe it when it didnt start, first time it didnt :(

but it was definitely the battery being cold so i need to work on keeping that warm, i will try some of your suggestions if it gets this cold again but its supposed to warm up

and cyric, sadly my bonnie doesnt have a block heater so i am unable to do that but i wish i was

thanks all
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Old 02-06-2007, 02:26 AM   #9
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Well, then look at getting an inline/circulating block heater... the only people I have ever seen needing a battery blanket (or that need to keep their battery that warm) are people who live alot further north that either you or I do... the biggest thing you need to do is keep the oil and coolant warm, so that it turns over easy... the battery does have enough power to start the car if it has enough to turn over an engine... assuming the engine is warm enough to turn freely...
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:45 AM   #10
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If possible, keep it in the garage when it gets real cold.
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