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Old 01-22-2013, 08:42 AM
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Starting in cold weather

Well, it's a balmy 2F here in Michigan this morning!

With that, my 99 Grand Cherokee has been having some issues starting in this cold weather. I just installed a new battery about 2 weeks ago and made sure I had enough cold cranking amps for just weather just like this.

I got a Duralast Gold battery with 850 cold cranking amps.

When I try to start my jeep it takes forever, probably 15 seconds of holding the key for the engine to turn over. If I stop for a short while, ie going into a restaurant, get gas, etc. it fires right back up which makes me think it is not the starter.

Is it just so cold that even the extra cold cranking amps aren't helping or could it be another issue like a bad battery? Any ideas to help it start easier in this cold weather? (no access to an outlet for block heater due to living in an apartment)

Thanks for any help!
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:01 AM
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Re: Starting in cold weather

I have bought the duralast gold and I am not impressed . I had 2 of them good bad as on the first cold spell of the year .
We finally ( after some argument with the manager at autozone) went with a yellow top and never had a issue after that.

You could always place a old blanket or sleeping bag over the engine that should hold some of the heat in . Its not as good as a engine heater but may help a bit
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:20 AM
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Re: Starting in cold weather

When you say it takes forever do you mean it turns over ok but doesnt fire up? Or is it very weak trying to turn over? If its the latter the battery could be the culprit.

Does it sound like its starving for fuel? Could be the regulator not holding enough pressure in the rail for startup.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:31 AM
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Re: Starting in cold weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder873 View Post
I have bought had the duralast gold and I am not impressed . I had 2 of them good bad as on the first cold spell of the year .
We finally ( after some argument with the manager at autozone) went with a yellow top and never had a issue after that.
I am not sure why I keep getting Autozone parts... Just had an issue with the oil sending unit too. I guess since I thought it was their premium battery I wouldn't have an issue. Guess I was wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01grand View Post
When you say it takes forever do you mean it turns over ok but doesnt fire up? Or is it very weak trying to turn over? If its the latter the battery could be the culprit.

Does it sound like its starving for fuel? Could be the regulator not holding enough pressure in the rail for startup.
Pretty sure it is the battery, turns over fine, just takes a bunch or effort to actually fire up.

Thanks for the input guys, I will probably be calling AutoZone this afternoon.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:38 AM
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If it cranks over normal speed its not the battery. I would look at fuel filter / fuel pressure regulator first and if that fails to fix it, fuel pump.

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Old 01-22-2013, 10:09 AM
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Re: Starting in cold weather

Over the years I frequently park my Grand Cherokee outside overnight during the winter months in Calgary Canada. Currently the temperature is -12 C (10.4 F) and my Jeep has been sitting outside all night. I have never used plugin block heaters in all my years in Calgary. I have always used Mobile 1 100% Synthetic Oil in my vehicles. The oil you use is one of the factors you should consider If you have problems starting in cold weather. Last week I had no problems starting when the overnight temperature was -28 C.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:32 AM
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Re: Starting in cold weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
If it cranks over normal speed its not the battery. I would look at fuel filter / fuel pressure regulator first and if that fails to fix it, fuel pump.

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I agree with Hacksaw. If the engine cranks over normally, the battery and the starter are ok. If the problem is fuel pressure related, then at first start just put the ignition switch in run for 5 secs, back to off and this 2 or 3 times. The fuel pump will run for 3 secs each time and build up pressure in the fuel rail. If it starts ok then, change the fuel filter/pressure regulator.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:43 AM
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Re: Starting in cold weather

Quote:
I agree with Hacksaw. If the engine cranks over normally, the battery and the starter are ok. If the problem is fuel pressure related, then at first start just put the ignition switch in run for 5 secs, back to off and this 2 or 3 times. The fuel pump will run for 3 secs each time and build up pressure in the fuel rail. If it starts ok then, change the fuel filter/pressure regulator.
I will try this after work today. Thanks for the tip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbraun View Post
Over the years I frequently park my Grand Cherokee outside overnight during the winter months in Calgary Canada. Currently the temperature is -12 C (10.4 F) and my Jeep has been sitting outside all night. I have never used plugin block heaters in all my years in Calgary. I have always used Mobile 1 100% Synthetic Oil in my vehicles. The oil you use is one of the factors you should consider If you have problems starting in cold weather. Last week I had no problems starting when the overnight temperature was -28 C.
I just put a little bit thicker oil then recommended because out how many miles my jeep is getting up to. Instead of 15w30 I used 15w40. Don't think that should be affecting it that much though.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:56 AM
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Re: Starting in cold weather

The second number in the code 15W30 is the viscosity of the oil at operating temperature (at least it means that the viscosity of the oil at operating temperature is the same as of a straight 30 oil). The first number is representing the viscosity of the oil when cold (or at least the same as of a straight 15 oil). So in your case, the 15W30 and 15W40 have the same viscosity in cold state. Only at operating temperature, the 30 will be a bit thinner then the 40.
If your jeep has the 4.7 engine, you better use 5W30 or even 0W30. Only if the engine is worn a lot, a thicker oil could increase the oil pressure and would be better.
But especially during start, you want to have an oil with a low viscosity, because that means less resistance for the engine to turn over, and also the oil will flow quicker to all parts and keeps the startup wear to a minimum. Most engine wear will happen during engine start and not during normal operation.
The colder it gets, the "ticker" the oil will become. Have a look once at the oil on the dipstick with the engine cold and at low temperatures. You will see that the oil will hardly flow. When you do the same with the engine at operating temperature, you will see the oil flowing to the lowest point rapidly.
But still, when you say that the engine turns over normally, the problem should not be that much the oil.
How is the maintenance, are plugs and air filter ok?
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:12 AM
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Re: Starting in cold weather

Yes, just recently this summer had a lot of work done. New coil rail, spark plugs, fuel system cleaned out, and new computer installed. So I feel like if something else was wrong someone would have caught it along the way. As far as fuel filer and all that goes.

Still kind of leaning toward the battery, is there any way to test the battery to see if that is the issue? For example with a battery tester what should it read when it's cold?
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:18 AM
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Re: Starting in cold weather

To test a battery, it should be loaded. You can better take it to some garage where they have the proper test equipment.
But if you say that the engine turns over normally (so not slowly), the battery is ok.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:09 PM
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Re: Starting in cold weather

A trick I picked up when I was running a Pajero (Which I wish I still owned) with what was called a "Winter Pack", i.e. 2 chunky batteries in parallel, was to turn on the ignition and when the heater coil light goes out turn the ignition immediately off and then on again, maybe repeating if necessary.

Your very low temperatures, and the correspondingly cold engine block and head, will reduce the heaters' temperatures pretty quickly. The repeat action tends to compensate for this.

Might work.

Tony N
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