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Old 09-11-2010   #1
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Cold start stumbles

Hi everyone,

Now that the weather is starting to get colder again, we're beginning to see the same issue from last winter whereby the first cold start after being left out is very stumbly (if the temp outside is less than 8deg or so). It almost sounds like the engine is flooding but of course it isn't as the accelerator isn't being pressed.

The thing is that it will always start first time anyway and the stumbling is consistent, so to be honest I've just got used to it and accepted it as a strange quirk for a modern car. In addition, it isn't necessary related to the overnight temperature - if for example it's above 11 or 12 deg when you go to start it, it's fine!

But is this normal for all 1.2 drivers? Or do you find it starts the same whatever the weather?

It's something the dealer will have a look at when it goes it for its service, I know from other threads there's a potential software update, but I'd be interested to hear what you have to say. Ta!
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Old 09-11-2010   #2
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Re: Cold start stumbles

I've not noticed this (yet).
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Old 09-11-2010   #3
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Re: Cold start stumbles

This issue played a small part in my decision to sell my 1.2 500. I did all the usual waiting for the lights to go out stuff, but it never inspired confidence. Dealer of course said all was normal. I think the ecu over fuels in cold weather as eventual start up was often accompanied by blue smoke, suggesting the bores were getting a dose of fuel. Show my Panda 100hp the key and it would fire up without waiting for warning lights to go out.
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Old 09-11-2010   #4
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Re: Cold start stumbles

I didn't have this on my current 500 last year, the previous one did. However, this morning, and yesterday, the old girl was reluctant to start, took three attempts.
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Old 09-11-2010   #5
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Re: Cold start stumbles

Thanks for all of your replies - it certainly is a weird one. I'm not one to go crying to the dealer about every little issue but it does leave you with a nagging doubt that one day it isn't going to go.

Robin - fingers crossed it stays that way!

Murano - I know exactly what you mean, I always wait for the lights to go out and then start but as you say it makes little difference. Luckily though we haven't suffered from blue smoke as yet, I have kept an eye on it.

Mark - that's never a good thing having to try three times on a new car! Hopefully it won't happen too often (or again for that matter).
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Old 09-11-2010   #6
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Re: Cold start stumbles

Quick question on the issue of waiting for the lights to go out - is this best practice with a petrol engine? I thought (no idea why, apart from doing so with Massey Fergusons many years ago) that this was something one only has to do with diesels.

Would love to know why if you are meant to.
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Old 09-11-2010   #7
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Re: Cold start stumbles

think the advice about waiting for lights to go out helps avoid the flashing mileage (or CANBUS?) error.

My car has been a little hesitant of late too, infact Sunday night it failed to start 1st time and I had to start it with a bit of throttle, not something the fiat normally requires
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Old 09-11-2010   #8
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Re: Cold start stumbles

Quote Originally Posted by RobinPJ View Post
Quick question on the issue of waiting for the lights to go out - is this best practice with a petrol engine? I thought (no idea why, apart from doing so with Massey Fergusons many years ago) that this was something one only has to do with diesels.

Would love to know why if you are meant to.
Funnily enough, if you actually read the manual it doesn't say you need to bother doing it!

I think it's more a case of doing it out of good practice. If you switch the ignition on, you'll hear the fuel pump priming, and by the time it's done that (only takes about 2-3secs) the various warning lights have gone out. At that point I'll start the engine.

I wouldn't worry too much about not doing it, personally I think it's better in the long term to let the car do its thang before starting, but at the same time I don't think you're going to kill it by not waiting.
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Old 09-11-2010   #9
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Re: Cold start stumbles

Quote Originally Posted by Super Uwe View Post
Mark - that's never a good thing having to try three times on a new car! Hopefully it won't happen too often (or again for that matter).
I'm sure it'll carry oin as it is. Not to worry as it'll be moving on sometime soon.
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Old 09-11-2010   #10
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Re: Cold start stumbles

I had the ecu update done to my car last winter and it did help but to my recollection didnt remove the problem completely. Tho the problem only appeared at -18c or below but that might be because I have a block heater I use before starting. This year we´ve had temperatures around +1c and the car has started perfectly everytime even without the block heater so maybe the ecu update is working.
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Old 15-11-2010   #11
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Re: Cold start stumbles

Quote Originally Posted by VilleV View Post
I had the ecu update done to my car last winter and it did help but to my recollection didnt remove the problem completely. Tho the problem only appeared at -18c or below but that might be because I have a block heater I use before starting. This year we´ve had temperatures around +1c and the car has started perfectly everytime even without the block heater so maybe the ecu update is working.
Glad to hear all is working OK now! -18 degrees - yeah, that's COLD.

It's a very strange thing - today we had frost and I guess the temperature was about 1deg, it started a bit better than the days when it's been around 7 or 8deg.

Whatever!
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Old 15-11-2010   #12
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Re: Cold start stumbles

With a common rail engine, the fuel pump supplies the injection pressure. If you do not let the fuel pump finish priming before trying to crank the first few cycles of injection will be done at a reduced pressure.

The "lights out" trick lets all the onboard computers etc finish initialising, and by extension lets the fuel pump reach full pressure.
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Old 16-11-2010   #13
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Re: Cold start stumbles

I always let our 1.2 turn out all the lights when starting and it always starts, but it's character certainly changes in the winter. It generally coughs and splutters to life once it gets cold - from my casual observations, 5C and lower (according to the 500).

It's never failed to start apart from when a friend wanted to move the car and was scared by the spluttering and didn't let the starter motor run for very long.

The oddness when starting in the cold can be concerning, but as it always starts, and once running is perfectly fine - I don't really worry about it. Haven't mentioned it to our dealer, but then again, I try to avoid contact with the dealer as much as possible (not very nice people!)

Charlie -
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