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Old 02-09-2008, 07:05 PM   #1
HDR
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1998 SL1
Default 1998 SL1 won't start cold

My wife's 1998 SL1 wouldn't start a few days ago. No spark. Trouble Code P0336 (CPSA circuit range performance). When removed and tested, the CPS showed an open circuit. After I installed a new CPS (measured resistance 748ohms), the car started right away, so I ran it 15 minutes and turned it off. Next morning it cranked fine but fired only occassionally, finally catching and limping up to full run. After warmup, I went for a 10-minute test drive. It ran great--smooth and peppy. I cleared the code and test drove again for 10 minutes. No new codes. Next morning it cranked fine again, firing intermittently, but wouldn't start. (It's cold here--about -25C; the car's in an unheated garage.) The fuel pump whirs when ignition is switched on, and it sounds like it's pressuring up. I'd like to recheck CPS resistance from the engine compartment, but my Haynes manual shows purple and yellow wires from CPS at ignition block connector. Colors are different on this car. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Old 02-09-2008, 07:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1998 SL1 won't start cold

You did a great job troubleshooting the cps as the cause of a no-start problem but may not have followed up further on some other parts that may have fouled. The spark plugs. Remove them for inspection. And did you check to see if you're another victim of the infamous engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS) failure, making for too rich a fuel mixture? Look in the How-to-Tips first two posts covering the sensor and two-wire connector, pictures and procedures included.

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Old 02-09-2008, 08:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1998 SL1 won't start cold

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Reminder; '01's have the new brass coolant sensors
Actually, my '01 SL1 had the resin tipped one. I believe mine was an early one, though. I didn't buy it new, so I suppose it's possible that it originally had a brass sensor that was pulled and replaced with a resin tipped sensor, but I highly doubt it.


To the OP, I don't know if it'll help, but I always start mine by doing the following procedure, otherwise, it has difficulty starting.

Turn key to "on" - listen for fuel pump
wait until fuel pump stops, then turn key to "start"
I usually wait a split second after the pump stops before turning to start
maybe a quick light pump on the gas, as it turns over

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Old 02-10-2008, 03:53 PM   #4
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1998 SL1
Default Re: 1998 SL1 won't start cold

Thanks for your quick response. I will check the plugs and recheck for spark before trying anything else. The temperature gauge seemed to be working correctly on my test drives the other day, so I think that would suggest proper functioning of the ECTS, but I can check it as well if the other approach is unsuccessful. I'll let you know the results. HDR

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Old 02-10-2008, 07:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1998 SL1 won't start cold

Replace the ECTS. The top one in the pic below came out of a '98. If it hasn't happened to yours yet, it will.


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Old 02-13-2008, 05:15 PM   #6
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1998 SL1
Default Re: 1998 SL1 won't start cold

Update: I checked and cleaned the plugs as suggested (they were a little dirty but not bad). The engine cranked a long time but finally started. I then put a battery charger on overnight, and the car started immediately the next day. Aha, I thought--the battery was just low. The following morning, it was very hard to start again. It finally caught when I stepped hard on the gas. To me this suggested a mixture problem--possibly stemming back to a faulty ECTS. But the Check Engine light came on. New Code PO336 (CPS A Circuit Range/Performance). I just replaced the CPS three days ago. I'm mystified here. Any more suggestions? -- HDR

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Old 02-13-2008, 05:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1998 SL1 won't start cold

You must replace the coolant sensor as suggested despite the readings on the gauge. The faulty sensor is incorrectly sending the wrong signal level that's intepreted as richening the fuel mixture excessively as you countered by flooring the gas pedal and allowing more air to dilute the flooded engine enabling a start. The engine in the cold with the original coolant sensor floods the engine shorting the high voltage spark. Replace it immediately unless you feel like wasting more fuel in cold weather starts. The short term cure, until you replace the sensor with the brass one, is to floor the gas pedal completely (that shuts down the injectors) during cold starts, known as "clear flood mode", to enable a reasonable start-up with a flooded engine. A normal start-up in any weather with EFI systems does not require any gas pedal application at all. I did this back in my '77 280-Z and still do this in my '03 L300 today. For you to floor the gas pedal is an indication of something very wrong - the coolant sensor failed.

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Old 02-14-2008, 11:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1998 SL1 won't start cold

That ects is sooooo easy to do, sounds like you know what you're doing;
$10 and 20 minutes any you'll be done!
Just for good measure I'd run a can of seafoam through a full tank of gas if you haven't done anything recently to clean the injectors and combustion chamber.
Tip: a very small screwdriver wiggled around down there will pry that darn two wire connector off. I lost about a cup of coolant on each engine I did last week.

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Old 02-14-2008, 12:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1998 SL1 won't start cold

No tools needed ,to remove the C T S plug .....Just squeeze the bell, pull !
My Haynes manual says the same thing, about the prying off (wrong).
All you need is a 13mm deep well socket wrench,relieve any pressure at radiator cap,then install back tight ,then squeeze the bell of the two wire plug,pull off ,then remove the old sender ,then install the new one ,you want to keep the socket straight on ,as you snug the sensor down,replace wire..

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