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Why Am I Hard Starting?

Discussion in 'General Tech and Maintenance' started by JohnnyWadd, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. JohnnyWadd

    JohnnyWadd Junior Member

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    Hey, guys. I've been having a bit of a hard-starting issue that has developed over the past few weeks, and I was wondering if I could get a little bit of input. I'm thinking it's a fuel delivery or fuel pressure problem. I'll try to explain what's happening as best I can, but in the next few days, I'm going to try hard to post a video of what's going on. In the mean time, could you give this a read and let me know what you think?

    Okay, The car was performing beautifully once I got the cooling issues worked out of it. I'd done a pretty thorough tune-up on her. New plugs, new cap & rotor, new air filter, and I ran some Sea Foam through the fuel system. Then, a few weeks ago, I started getting a little bit of hard-start out of her. At first, it was intermittent, and seemed to only happen when the weather was hot and the car had just been run (i.e. restarting after only giving her a short break). But, she'd spit out whatever was ailing her and then she'd run fine. Over time, the problem's gotten consistently worse.

    What she's doing right now is a little bit more acute version of what happened before. The hard-starts have gotten MUCH harder, and now it's happening even in the mornings after not having been run since the day before. The hard-starts in the morning seem to be a little bit less severe than those when she's just been run. Sometimes, in those hot-start situations, I'll even get a little bit of a backfire of sorts. It's sorta like the car coughs, or something.

    The thing is, it's the same as before, though: once she spits out whatever's ailing her, she runs beautifully. No adverse affects at all. Only on start-up.

    So, what do you guys think? If you have any suggestions, I welcome them. Like I said before, I'll try to post a video, and maybe that'll help. In the mean time, I thank you in advance for your input.

    Thanks for reading.
    Jon
     
  2. reikoshea

    reikoshea HS Troll...And Mod Moderator VIP

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    sounds like your car is just dumping fuel in whenever you start it. try pulling the main relay and looking at the solder points, if it looks like you broken points (even if it looks like those points are still good and only slightly cracked, it can cause a problem). Usually this problem runs rampant all summer, thats the only reason why i suggest it. Usually the main relay will keep your pump from working all together, but it never hurts to check.

    also, is this car swapped?

    if so, you might wanna check what injectors youre using and what ecu you are using. Thats really all i got.
     
  3. VTECin5th

    VTECin5th Administrator

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    He has good suggestions^
    but also check your spark plug gap/fitment.
    Occasionally when doing a tune-up people forget to tighten their plugs (not too tight) and it causes an arc and hard starts.
    Something similar happend to me in my single cam, and the problem got worse and worse.
    When I checked the plugs, one had almost rattled itself all the way out of the threads. After I started it ran fine though. Tightened them up and it was fine.
     
  4. JohnnyWadd

    JohnnyWadd Junior Member

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    Okay, first off, I forgot to tell you what I've got. I'm driving a 1994 Accord with a 2.2L VTEC and an automatic tranny. Sorry about forgetting that!!

    Oh, and I may not have been specific enough as to what I meant by a "hard-start". I'm getting an extended crank. It turns over and turns over, and when it finally fires, it runs crappy for a few seconds, but eventually works everything out and runs fine. The problem is most severe when the car's been off for a little while. If I restart right away, it usually pops right off. Also, in the morning, it starts much easier as well.

    Anyway, the overwhelming suggestion so far has been the MFR. I'll look into that, but I wanted to drop a quick post and tell you guys what another guy I know suggested and ask for some feedback.

    First off, I'm convinced that it's a fuel problem. I smell fuel when I start up... well, when the starts are especially hard, that is. I thought maybe that it was running rich, since I can smell fuel. Also, a friend told me that it was puffing out smoke when it hard starts. I haven't seen that yet. I pulled the vacuum line off of the fuel pressure regulator, but no gas came out. So, I don't think the diaphragm is leaking there.

    So, what this friend of mine suggested was a leaky fuel injector. He theorizes that when I shut off the engine, one of the injectors continues to leak. That would explain why the hard starts are hardest when it's been sitting a while. When I start it right back up, it hasn't leaked a bunch of fuel into the cylinder. When I wait until the next morning, it's dissipated and evaporated. Essentially, if there's a leaky fuel injector, I'm starting a car with one flooded cylinder. It runs like crap until that cylinder empties out, then smooths out and runs fine.

    That's the scenario he presented. Let me know what you guys think. Oh, also, I'm still trying to score a digital video camera to post a video of what's going on. I'll let you know if I figure that out.

    Thanks for the input.
    Jon
     
  5. reikoshea

    reikoshea HS Troll...And Mod Moderator VIP

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    its not that its running rich, its that your are pouring fuel the entire time you are trying to start the engine. only the vapor will ignite with a spark. thats why it smells like gas. your probably running so lean (maybe you dont have enough fuel pressure) that it takes a while before there is enough vapor to properly ignite.

    thats my guess. again, if its worse when its hot outside, its probably the main relay. the fuel pump isnt getting enough power and you eventually flood your engine.
     
  6. VTECin5th

    VTECin5th Administrator

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    Poor spark would still cause what your describe.
    If you've already double checked those, try a new MR.
    Even what Reiko just said would make sense, along with a spark problem, too lean and insufficient spark would only make things worse.
    After running for awhile the heat might expand the metal enough to close the gap in the threads of the plugs and leave more 'full combustion' conditions.
     
  7. Speedracer228

    Speedracer228 ......

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    how old is your batter/alternator... It could be something as stupid as that combined with some other smaller problems (along with what they have been suggesting ^) giving you hard start issues

    are you throwing any codes?
     
  8. JohnnyWadd

    JohnnyWadd Junior Member

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    Okay, I've got a video camera. Does anyone know how to post a video on here?
     
  9. JohnnyWadd

    JohnnyWadd Junior Member

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    Okay, first off, even though it was a major pain in the ass, I finally got the video taken care of and uploaded to a server. Here's the link:

    jhieb2 - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    I need to give a little FYI about the video, though. First off, the amount of hard-starting that you're hearing is relatively minor. At times, it's been much harder than that. Sometimes I have to flutter the gas pedal to get it to fire. But, it doesn't ever NOT fire. It'll always start, just gotta be more persistant at some times than others. Also, the temperature that day was very mild. I've got a SLIGHT reason to believe that the problem is worsened when it's really hot outside. Can't really confirm this, yet. Just keep in mind that usually, the starts are a little harder. Especially the ones at 30 and 60 minutes. They weren't near as hard on the film as they usually are.

    I had someone ask me about the Sea Foam. I tried the Sea Foam when the problem started showing up. I'd been planning on doing it anyway, but when it began the hard-start problem, I figured that then was as good a time as any. The Sea Foam/fuel mixture has all run out, though. I've only put another half-tank in since then, though. Oh, and another guy asked if the check engine light is on. That's a no.

    Let me know what you guys think. I hope the video helps. At least it kinda shows how hard the starts are. It does show how it runs terribly bad for a while only to smooth out and run like a champ.

    If you've got any ideas for me, I welcome them.

    Thanks again.
    Jon
     
  10. JohnnyWadd

    JohnnyWadd Junior Member

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    Hey, reikoshea, can you elaborat on this a bit?

     
  11. reikoshea

    reikoshea HS Troll...And Mod Moderator VIP

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    basically what im saying is that your injectors are working but they are either not atomizing the fuel or there is just not enough getting into the combustion chamber. Once there is an excessive ammount of fuel in the chamber, eventually some of it will turn to vapor allowing your car to start.

    The root causes are usually clogged injectors or a fuel pump that is not flowing enough fuel. Somethings that will fix that are injector cleaners and the replacement of a failing main relay (which povides power to the fuel pump).
     
  12. JohnnyWadd

    JohnnyWadd Junior Member

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    Okay, it was suggested to me that I try starting the car with the throttle wide open to see if that minimized the problem. So, I decided to try it on for size. For the last 24 hours or so, everytime I've started the car, I've turned the key on, pumped the accelerator once, then pressed it to the floor. At that point, I start the car. It DEFINITELY starts quicker like that. It doesn't necessarily pop right off immediately every time (though often times it does just that), but it does start within a couple of seconds instead of the ten or fifteen that it takes sometimes without messing with the throttle. Also, when I start it like that, it still runs rough after starting. However, since I've got the throttle pegged, it revs high immediately after starting and seems to smooth out much quicker than when I start it without using the throttle. What do you guys make of that?

    Also, I'm replacing the fuel filter today. I'll let you know if that helps matters any. Oh... FYI: I'm not just throwing parts at the car trying to solve the problem. The only things that I'm doing to the car right now are routine maintenance things that I'd planned on doing over the next few weeks anyway. I WILL NOT buy new fuel injectors/pressure regulator/whatever else until I know what the problem is. Playing the guessing game and throwing parts at a car problem can get real expensive real fast.

    Oh, and one more thing: the fuel pressure test might take a while. I don't have access to a guage. Can't do the test until I find one. If you know anyone in Lincoln, NE that has a fuel pressure tester, feel free to send 'em my way!!!

    Let me know what you think on that 'open throttle' thing.

    Thanks for reading.
    Jon
     
  13. reikoshea

    reikoshea HS Troll...And Mod Moderator VIP

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    the open throttle thing will help the problem by adding fuel once the ignition is turned to on. thats why it starts quicker, but its just a temp fix for a car that should be working right in the first place.

    you know the problem is with the fuel and until you find a shop, youre kinda SOL. There is probably a shop in Omaha cause the 1320 guys have to get their cars tuned somewhere.
     
  14. ChrisChhorn

    ChrisChhorn New Member

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    im havin the same issues with my 93 ls integra but im pretty sure mine is the fuel system also, im replacin my injectors and pump and ill tell you how it goes......im upgrading either way cuz the nitrous needs it HA!
     
  15. JohnnyWadd

    JohnnyWadd Junior Member

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    Uh-oh... my cooling problem is back. Well, maybe not back. Maybe just another cooling problem. I'm going to post it in here, because I'm wondering if my two problems are related. I'm hoping to get a little feedback as to whether anybody thinks that there is anything that could cause both of these problems.

    Let me give a little bit of background for those of you not in the know. I spent about three weeks diagnosing a cooling system problem. I was losing coolant, and I couldn't figure out where. The problem wouldn't really show itself when I drove around town. The problem ended up being a hole in the radiator. I replaced that, and for about two months, all was well. Hell, I even drove the car from San Diego to Lincoln, NE and never had a single problem.

    So, I thought I had the problem whipped and I put that topic to bed. Then, the other day, I was cruising down the freeway, and it started to run hot. Couldn't figure that out. Pulled over and had to fill it up with coolant. I was in the midst of a 200 mile trip, and over the course of that time, I had to fill it up three more times. This was in mid-afternoon. Then, in the evening, I had to make the trip back, and I didn't have to stop and fill up at all. It was low when I got back, but it didn't overheat. Couldn't figure that one out.

    Now I'm back in Lincoln, and whenever I drive around, I lose some fluid. Problem is, I can't find the leak. I've even put a pressure tester on the car and it'll hold pressure (well, for a little while at least - it slowly drops after you pressurize it). Can't or see a leak when it's pressurized. Thought maybe the cap was shot, so I replaced that. It didn't fix the problem. Not sure what's causing this.

    I'm concerned that the two problems might be related. I've got my theory, but I don't want to post that yet. I want people to give me their opinions instead of just agreeing with mine. If you can give me some feedback as to what kind of problem might result in BOTH a hard-start and a loss of coolant, let me know.

    Oh, by the way, still not seeing any smoke (or steam) out of the tailpipe. Doesn't mean it's not there, though, right?

    Thanks
    Jon

    P.S. Replacing the fuel filter didn't accomplish a thing.
     
  16. HatchSpeeD

    HatchSpeeD ...Hi...

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    I couldn't read through the entire post, so forgive me if i'm being redundent.

    The hard start you described, sounds like a weak spark. Could be a faulty dizzy, cap..whatever. Also, i'd pull out those plugs again & inspect them.
    The coolant leaking & "puff's of smoke" coming out the the exhaust, combined with prior overheating issues + hard starting & running like crap sounds to me your loosing compression from a leaky headgasket. You might want to do a compression test on your motor. Check the easiest stuff first but if you have a compression tester, do it while you take out the plugs for inspection.
     
  17. Taco15

    Taco15 I wear stretchy pants VIP

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    i'm saying ECT sensor if you have one. I had somewhat similar issues with my lsvtec. the smoking,the cooling and the smelling of fuel. I might be wrong but its something that hasnt been mentioned:)
     
  18. VTECin5th

    VTECin5th Administrator

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    Headgasket is a good place to start.
    ^^like that dude said, do a compression test.
    It's hard to start water, would explain a lot.
     
  19. hybrid_b18

    hybrid_b18 crew chief

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    Jon. check your fuel delivery. its obvious where your problem started and it was after your 'tune-up' if you have access to a fuel pressure tester you can attach that to your fuel system and check psi. I think hondas are around 37-38psi. (anyone jump in if im wrong) if it only has been happening after you drive it awhile then replace your fuel filter and or strainer.

    Remember, go back to when the car ran nice and check ehat you did in between. you added seafoam, it obviously broke up some loose deposits and those deposits are cloged somewhere :fuel filter::strainer:: pump:


    good luck
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2006
  20. hybrid_b18

    hybrid_b18 crew chief

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    Didint notice the new problem. usally when a car is loosing coolant and you cant tell where its leaking from its a good chance its being burned off in the combustion chamber.
     
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