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Old 12-09-2010, 09:24 PM   #1
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Default Ignition - forced to wait when cold weather

Heya

I've got an oddball problem with my 2000 Bonn.

The colder the weather gets the longer it takes before I'm "allowed" to turn the ignition over. I can set the key to "On" but I can't crank the engine until I see the "Service Engine Soon" light. If I try any sooner everything goes completely dead. No clicking, no sounds period.

With ignition key in the "On" position everything lights up and behaves like usual. Battery voltage somewhere near 13V, interior lights are usual brightness and so forth. When I turn the key to crank the engine, everything goes dead and stays dead until I return the key to "On". At that point everything on the dash resets itself like I just turned on the ignition.

The problem started 2 winters ago. Back then I'd wait 10-15 seconds. Now I'm waiting up to 5 minutes. This happens anywhere between 35F - 75F temp.

When the problem first started, I'd hear the fuel pump just before the "Service Engine Soon" light came on. Now however, I wait 1+ minute for the fuel pump to kick in, then another minute or more before I can start. The last thing I hear is what sounds like fuel moving through the pipes to the engine.

The battery is 1 year old and seems to charge ok. The battery voltage doesn't drain while I'm waiting (dashboard gauge). I don't think its a cold cranking amp issue. The car runs fine once I'm going and starts back up without a problem...unless I wait a few hours. Then I wait. Not as long, but I have to wait to start.

Any ideas?

Thanks
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:10 PM   #2
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I would think it is a battery cable/corrosion issue. The SES light should come on right as the key is turned. It may also be an ignition switch issue as well, but I would think that to be around more often.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:38 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rjolly87 View Post
I would think it is a battery cable/corrosion issue. The SES light should come on right as the key is turned. It may also be an ignition switch issue as well, but I would think that to be around more often.

Thanks to you sir! That may have done the trick. The cables were fine and terminals were clean, but I decided to re-grease the connections and the battery ground anyway. Turned on the ignition and I had instant start. Tomorrow morning will be the real test after a night sitting in the cold. Woo!

Thanks again
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:55 PM   #4
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Battery cables are a very common problem. I clean mine 2 times a year, spring and fall.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:58 PM   #5
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Battery cables are a very common problem. I clean mine 2 times a year, spring and fall.
I will probably have to do the same. I cleaned it all up only a few months ago when I tore the insides out. Thanks!
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:52 PM   #6
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Unfortunately the fix was short lived. It was faster to start this morning, but after work today I was back to waiting for the SES light.

The battery cables under the seat look brand new. I can see clean copper at the ends. I'll get the battery tested tomorrow. In the mean time, any other ideas?
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:54 PM   #7
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Did you also check the other end of the cables, where it connects to the starter and ground on the block?
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:14 PM   #8
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Ignion switch,,,, behind key switch under $100
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:10 PM   #9
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Did you also check the other end of the cables, where it connects to the starter and ground on the block?
Yep. The ground/alternator/started terminals were all clean.

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Ignion switch,,,, behind key switch under $100
Interesting. I think it may have something to do with the ignition. The other night when I first disco'd the battery ground etc. and 'solved' this, I'd also pulled the Ignition Relay (3 and put it back. I couldn't see how that had anything to do with the solution and never mentioned it.

Today, after checking all the engine cables and still having the problem, I pulled the same Ignition Relay for giggles and the problem went away.

How can I diagnose a 4 pin relay ? Failing that...ignition switch ?

Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:37 PM   #10
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I have a write up in techinfo/testing on testing a relay. Easy to do. But, even if it tests good, it can still be faulty. A new relay is cheap.
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