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Old 01-07-2015   #1
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Cool starting issues after sitting long period of time

i use a power cut-off switch to keep a charged battery, but after more than 30 days away, the car will not start unless i push-start it..it turns over but sounds like it has no compression...after 4 or 5 attempts at cranking, it still just makes the same sound...i revert to push starting and have been able to start it that way....Detroit customer service has no answers for me and my dealership told me i should buy a different car..they said this car wasn't designed for my driving needs.(sitting at the airport for than a month at at time) imagine that!!! this has been going on since i purchased the car new in 2012..500 POP standard trans. any help?
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Old 01-07-2015   #2
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

Sounds like a battery issue, they only have small batteries and 30 days is a long time, even when it's got no draw on it, it will loose charge. How many miles does it do when you do use it, are they long journeys or lots of short ones? I would say after 3 years of being left for a month at a time the battery is toast now anyway. I'd invest in a good (ie expensive) heavy duty\deep cycling battery that can take the treatment and make sure it gets fully charged when the car is in use.
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Old 01-07-2015   #3
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

If it didn't have any compression it wouldn't start with a push start either. I guess someone is pointing at a lack of oil to operate the valves? I don't see that though.

Do you think the starter motor is actually engaging and spinning the engine over? Does it spin over "energetically" or is it slow?

How long do you try it on the starter? After 30days it could take maybe 20 or 30 seconds of cranking to get the right mix of fuel into the engine. Try counting the seconds, it will feel way longer and it will feel uncomfortable.
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Old 01-07-2015   #4
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

Just a guess ............

Sounds like your battery needs changing.

Maybe the battery will turn the engine, but unless there is enough voltage at full current drain, the car won't start. Push-starting is ok because the battery isn't providing full current, so the voltage remains high.

Batteries have an internal resistance plus connection resistances. The more current you take, the more the resistance drops the effective voltage. Basic Ohms Law I'm afraid.

Good luck,
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Old 01-07-2015   #5
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

thanks guys.....my issue is not with the battery...after thinking the same thing, i put a master cut-off switch in the car....and an optima battery as you all have thought of...i recorded the starting sound and gave that to the dealership..they said it sounded like an oil pressure problem and the cams need that for timing..but then the problem of fuel flooding if i crank the engine too long...so if i crank too long , i might overheat the starter, or i might flood the engine...( it has no "clear choke mode" as do some other manufactures)..thanks for your input...we all thinking the same here..but it's not the answer...this has been an issue for the 3 years i've owned it ....the dealership suggested i carry spare spark plugs with me...jsut what i want to be doing after a 20 hour flight in my business suit at the parking lot in Phoenix in 110 degreee heat.....
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Old 01-07-2015   #6
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

I have been trying to engage the starter for about 4 seconds at a time ..maybe about 4 tries using this technique...then i resort to push starting...if i can find a parking attendant that is willing to help me...after 2 or 3 tries of popping the clutch, it has fired up...however the power steering is inop until i reboot the power again.....i think that is from the cutoff switch ...
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Old 01-07-2015   #7
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

How long are you cranking it for?

I don't get why it will start when pushed but won't fire up on the starter.

I recently left my Accord Type R for maybe 6 weeks and although the battery was good it took for ever to start, I'm pretty sure it as down to lack of fuel getting into the cylinders. I literally churned it on the starter for multiple 20 + seconds at a time.

There's maybe a clue in the 110F heat you mention. Fuel may have evaporated and its taking time to pump fresh fuel in to injectors/cylinders.

I don't think you will flood it by churning it on the starter. If that we the case by the time you have given up trying to start it on the starter it wouldn't push start.
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Old 01-07-2015   #8
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

yeah, Russ, i was thinking the same thing about if I had tried cranking it a few more times b4 resorting to push starting, that it would have fired up ....but i was worried about flooding ...then it would be a long wait period b4 restarting....or change the flooded plugs...i just dont understand the engine peramitters and the design concept ...even Fiat can't give me an answer ...that's what is soooooo frustrating ...i appreciate your time....thanks
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Old 02-07-2015   #9
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

Quote Originally Posted by 2hnds View Post
I have been trying to engage the starter for about 4 seconds at a time ..maybe about 4 tries using this technique...then i resort to push starting...if i can find a parking attendant that is willing to help me...after 2 or 3 tries of popping the clutch, it has fired up...however the power steering is inop until i reboot the power again.....i think that is from the cutoff switch ...
On the UK/rest of world models, power steering issues are a real red flag for a battery that is on its way out- they are equipped with an electric power steering system (basically a motor clamped around the steering column). Often it is the very first thing that flags up, even before any starting problems come up.

Now, I don't know whether US models have electric or hydraulic power steering, but if it's electric it's definitely worth investigating.

As stupid as this is going to sound, have you tried a different Optima battery? It isn't beyond the realms of possibility that you've had bad luck and got one that's not quite right (has an unusually high self discharge rate).

FWIW (I had a 1.2 which is a totally different engine), I left mine stood for weeks at a time when I was at Uni without the battery disconnected and I <never> had a problem starting it. Bit tappety for a few seconds sometimes and didn't do the battery any long term good but at the time it was fine.
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Old 02-07-2015   #10
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

If it's an optima Gell battery I doubt if the alternator on a humble 500 will ever manage to fully change it.

These are popular with overland 4x4 people and to get the best out of them you need a high output alternator and a voltage regulator adjusted to provide higher volts.
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Last edited by RussH; 02-07-2015 at 09:59.
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Old 02-07-2015   #11
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

yes, I fully charge my battery the night b4 I go to the airport...the battery is not the issue in this case,especially since I installed the power cut-off switch..
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Old 02-07-2015   #12
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

Well, if it's not the battery, it must be something else then.

Strange that it will push start without a problem, but not start on the battery.

Have you tried NOT trying to start on the battery and going straight to the push start?

If it fails to push start as easily as before, it must be a fuel issue, and the attempted battery starts are enough to get the fuel flowing ready for a push start.

If this is true, it must mean that if your battery is good AND you keep trying, it will start eventually.

If not, it MUST be the battery.

Regards, and good luck,
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Old 02-07-2015   #13
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

Quote Originally Posted by 2hnds View Post
the car will not start unless i push-start it.
Slightly off-topic, but are you allowed to do that with an American 500? The handbook of the European 500 says:

Quote Quote:
Never bump start the engine by pushing, towing or coasting downhill.

This could cause fuel to flow into the catalytic converter and damage it beyond repair.
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Old 02-07-2015   #14
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

Just a wild guess, but maybe the fuel system "drains" itself in a month. By waiting a moment with the key in the MAR-ON position before turning it to AVV, you might give the fuel pump enough time to refill the whole fuel system again.
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Old 03-07-2015   #15
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Re: starting issues after sitting long period of time

thanks foir your thoughts....that is my next attempt....turning the key on and off before attempting to start it..get the fuel up to the engine first
maybe thats been the issure...along with the oil pressure...
thanks again
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