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Old 11-10-2017, 02:29 PM   #1
Brandonrr
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1997 SL1
Default 94 sc2 difficult to start in cold weather

I haven't poated here in a while, but have been lurking. Last september, i found my favorite s-series with crazy low miles and the right price. It had (verified with carfax) 33k miles. I have since sold my 97 sl1. I'm currently at 52k miles.

This issue started rearing its ugly head at the end of last winter. It would take 2 or 3 attemps of 4-5 second cranks for it to start. It would sputter a bit while trying to start. Once the weather warmed up, it went back to starting within half a second like normal. It has been fine unt it got cold again this year.

Now, it takes about 5 minutes of attempting to start it to get it to start. After it starts, it struggles to keep running until the rpms slowly drop to nothing and it stalls. After the 2nd or 3rd time, it stays running, but any throttle will bog it down. Once it has been running for a minute, it runs completely normal, with the exception of grey smoke when i jab the trottle in neutral when it is still somewhat cold. Any subsequent starts while the engine is still fairly warm are the normal half second start.

This morning after trying to start for about 4 minutes, i pulled a couple spark plugs and they were bone dry with a little white residue. After cycling the fuel pump about 10 times before cranking again, it relectantly started.

I HAVE replaced and updated the ECTS with the brass unit. It was the first thing i did when i got the car. I also replaced the thermostat, as it still stayed around 1/4 on the temp gauge. It has run a little over 3/8 since.

I just got back from the parts store with a new fuel filter. It's probably overdue anyway.

A search only showed ECTS being the issue for hard cold starts. Anybody know what else could cause my hard starting issues?

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Old 11-10-2017, 02:57 PM   #2
trottida
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1999 SL2
2001 SL1
Default Re: 94 sc2 difficult to start in cold weather

97 was the one year for wonky fuel pressure regulators but I don't think that is the problem. The symptom is for it not to start on the first try and/or excessive cranking. The work around solution is to put turn the key to run without engaging the starter, wait 3-5 seconds for the fuel pump to prime the system and then engage the starter.

Changing the fuel filter is probably a good idea although the miles are still rather low. I'd check the fuel pressures first to see what they are doing. Some fuel filter manufactures don't make a very good product for these cars; generally it is recommended to go with the Wix brand.

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Old 11-10-2017, 06:41 PM   #3
Brandonrr
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1997 SL1
Default Re: 94 sc2 difficult to start in cold weather

I am familiar with the issue with priming the fuel system on the 97s. I used to have a 97 sl1. My current vehicle that i am having trouble with is my 94 sc2. Even at its worst, the 97 didn't act like this. My 94 sc2 will still act like it's not getting enough fuel for the first minute after it finally starts. Then it will run like nothing is wrong. If it sits for 5 or 6 hours, it is a little hard to start. Overnight or longer, it takes 5 or more minutes.

It's been raining all day, so i haven't changed the fuel filter yet. I have been running errands all day and the car has been running just as good as it always has. There is no noticeable loss of power and it idles and runs smooth as glass. Tomorrow morning, it will likely take me about 5 minutes to get it started again.

Another theory is the lucas fuel treatment I've been using. I noticed/remembered today that the stuff is pretty thick when cold. When i filled up earlier, i added a can of b12 solvent based fuel system cleaner, instead of the lucas. I'm wondering if that stuff has accululated in the fuel filter and clears out after pushing enough gas through.

Edit: one of those errands was to rent a fuel pressure testing kit from autozone. I plan on testing it in the morning.

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Old 11-10-2017, 11:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: 94 sc2 difficult to start in cold weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandonrr View Post
......This morning after trying to start for about 4 minutes, i pulled a couple spark plugs and they were bone dry with a little white residue. After cycling the fuel pump about 10 times before cranking again, it relectantly started.....
The hint of finding bone dry plugs after several minutes of failed starting seems to point directly to fuel pump and/or fuel filter. Loss of fuel pressure whether its a strangled fuel filter or faulty/intermittent pump is found with extensive testing. The best thing to do is as you stated, checking fuel pressure in the same conditions as you experienced it. You may have test several times throughout the day under various conditions to see if pressures vary enough to show a pattern when pressures should remain steady under all conditions.

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Old 11-11-2017, 07:07 AM   #5
trottida
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2001 SL1
Default Re: 94 sc2 difficult to start in cold weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandonrr View Post
I am familiar with the issue with priming the fuel system on the 97s. I used to have a 97 sl1. My current vehicle that i am having trouble with is my 94 sc2.
Oh right. I looked in the sidebar of your post to determine the likely model year your driving. It shows a 97 however you did note 94 in the title. Sorry about that. You may want to update that in your profile.

...
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2001 SL1 MT (410,500 km @ 11/2017)
1999 SL2 MT (251,500 km @ 11/2017)
2011 Suburban LT (101,450 km @ 11/2017)

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