Won't fire after sitting in the cold - Chevy HHR Network


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Old 02-11-2008, 10:40 AM   #1
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Won't fire after sitting in the cold

Hey y'all,

I know I've mentioned before that my HHR is pretty spoiled and has never really spent too much time sitting outside exposed to weather. My HHR has always been garaged and/or in a parkade. This weekend it spent three nights outside. I had left it at the gym overnight and then it was parked outside my girlfriends house. All three nights the temperature went down to about -15 to -20C (around or just under zero F) and it would not fire the next morning.

On all occassions it would crank and try to come alive, a couple times it actually did but died after about two or three seconds. It would run really rough when trying to crank and fire. The first day I decided that I would try to crank it and give it some gas to see if that would help dispite being worried about flooding the engine and causing an even worse condition. I did this and it actually fired and stayed alive. This had to be done the next two mornings as well.

I'm wanting to take it into the shop to see if I can get the igintion system or fuel delivery system checked and tested. The engine block heater was not plugged in on any night. I'm slightly concerned about this. As a side note, non of my friends how have older cars than mine had any problems starting their cars and they had been sitting without being plugged in as well.

Anyone have any input on this?
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:54 AM   #2
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only input I have is that mine has started in -10F temperatures with no trouble, if I am using the key. In the cold the remote start doesn't work well though.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:10 AM   #3
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Sounds like possible frozen gas line. If you can get it started, try loading it up with Dry Gas. I had that exact same problem on a Datsun pickup back in the '80s. Only fix is to warm it up then the dry gas. Possibly a little water in the gas. I haven't had this problem with mine. 9F this morning and started right up (even with the remote). Thank you GM for the remote.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:26 AM   #4
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Yep im thinking it could be water in the fuel or a fuel filter that needs changing.
Do you run with a full tank most of the time? You should in winter. If you leave less than half the tank full, water can condense and enter the fuel system.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:31 AM   #5
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I've had similar problems. where i live here in colorado its been as cold as -35F. It starts, then dies a second or two later. it does this one or two times then i guess the comp adjust to the conditions and stays on. but i have to HOLD the key in the start position to crank it rather than just give it the good old "flick" and let the ignition crank it to start.
Thats the only main thing thats wrong. but i've learned the way to "baby" it and just learned to deal with it. Runs great after a good five minute warm up.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:44 AM   #6
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Pull out your dip stick and smell it for gas to make sure your oil is not getting thined out.If you smell gas change your oil and don`t press the pedal when starting it.Doesn`t sound like it`s your gas line thats the problem.Could be a sensor or the throttle body thats acting up in the cold.

We just had are coldest night here last night and the wife`s 2001 Sunfire started right up.It still has the factory AC Delco battery in it 130,000 KM and spent it`s life outside.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:44 AM   #7
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Hey guys, I do typically run pretty full on fuel. This weekend when I was having problems it had a nearly full tank of gas which had been filled on Monday or maybe Tuesday (yes, a tank of gas usually lasts me a long time, nearly a month.)

Don Juan, you described my situation perfectly. I experienced that exact scenerio, I would hold the key for a couple of seconds while it cranked and tried to fire. I didn't want to hold the key for too long for fears of damaging the starter. I tried about half a dozen times and the computer didn't seem to adjust at all. I'm just glad that when I finally cranked it over and applied some gas it fired up, I was really worried about flooding. I don't want to have to do this too often.

Hopefully, I can take my car in at some point soon and find out if they have any recommendations on this situation.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calgaryhhr View Post
Hey guys, I do typically run pretty full on fuel. This weekend when I was having problems it had a nearly full tank of gas which had been filled on Monday or maybe Tuesday (yes, a tank of gas usually lasts me a long time, nearly a month.)

Don Juan, you described my situation perfectly. I experienced that exact scenerio, I would hold the key for a couple of seconds while it cranked and tried to fire. I didn't want to hold the key for too long for fears of damaging the starter. I tried about half a dozen times and the computer didn't seem to adjust at all. I'm just glad that when I finally cranked it over and applied some gas it fired up, I was really worried about flooding. I don't want to have to do this too often.

Hopefully, I can take my car in at some point soon and find out if they have any recommendations on this situation.
sounds like your car is worse that mine. Usually it fires after holding in start for a maximum of 2-3 seconds. I know how bad the weather affects the starts, but i know that it comes with the weather and is expected, i don't really worry to much bout it and don't see and problems occuring from it. Just a extra hassle that takes an extra 30 seconds.
I don't thing that flooding is and issue with efi, all that stopped with carberation. The computer should only receive a signal when it is started to send fuel. The extra gas that gets sent in the few seconds that it takes to start would be sufficient enough, but not over doing it. In Colder conditions a little more fuel would help due to the cold spark. just don't go over board and rev it all crazy. just enough to get it to start and idle..

I don't see it being a big problem, but if you can always take it in to be sure.
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:15 PM   #9
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http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/0...rss_topstories
Should be glad it wasn't this cold where you are. MINUS 40 F. that is cold.
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:26 PM   #10
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I guess a couple of us are lucky to live where we do. I walked around outside today, without a shirt, absorbing the cancer causing rays of el Sol.

But, it won't last. Cooler later this week. And of course, July, August temperatures where everyone hides from the sun.
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