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Old 11-13-2017, 02:25 PM   #1
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Random no start

Picked up a pizza yesterday (about a 10 min drive at highway speeds), came back to the car and tried to start it.

First attempt: Sad sort of dying cranking sound that slowly died out to nothing.
Second attempt: Same thing.

Looked at my friend and told him we might be having pizza and beer in the parking lot.

Third attempt: vroom! Car fired right up. No engine codes generated. Drove home and ate pizza / drank beer.

The car's been behaving all day today, been running quite nicely since I pulled the engine.

Fuel + Spark + Air... I need to get my OBD II bluetooth scanner working.

Just replaced rear injectors, one coil, clutch, knock sensor. Many other parts have been replaced in the past 20k miles (crankshaft position sensor - not sure if both were done or only one). Put a new battery in the first week in September and have driven it almost daily.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by Shrout1; 11-13-2017 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:40 PM   #2
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my car has done that a few times. Almost as if, it has misfired in some odd way, and caused the engine to get tight from compression randomly. Check your battery and ground connections, esp after major work that was recently done. Ide also check the starter for anything out of place. Ie, cracked, or loose connection there..Ide say though, this may be phantom issue, border line normal..How many Miles..?
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:05 AM   #3
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The engine is electrically grounded through the transmission by being in contact with it. General advice on this forum is to sand the mating surfaces of both the engine and transmission.

DId you sand these? Otherwise you might need to install a jumper ground cable between the engine andthe frsme. Also, check out the condition of the ground cable between the battery and the frame.
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:14 AM   #4
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The engine is electrically grounded through the transmission by being in contact with it. General advice on this forum is to sand the mating surfaces of both the engine and transmission.

DId you sand these? Otherwise you might need to install a jumper ground cable between the engine andthe frsme. Also, check out the condition of the ground cable between the battery and the frame.
Ground cable between the battery and frame looked real good when we pulled the engine. I don't think we sanded the mating surfaces between the transmission and engine.

It definitely seemed like an electrical issue; it was as though the battery just wasn't producing enough power despite being only two months old and the outside temps being around 50 degrees.

The car's been behaving great the past two days though! I keep filming ignition on my phone hoping I'll catch it again and, of course, it doesn't happen.

What's the best way to go about installing / fixing a grounding issue without pulling the transmission again (eek!)

Last edited by Shrout1; 11-14-2017 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:21 AM   #5
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my car has done that a few times. Almost as if, it has misfired in some odd way, and caused the engine to get tight from compression randomly. Check your battery and ground connections, esp after major work that was recently done. Ide also check the starter for anything out of place. Ie, cracked, or loose connection there..Ide say though, this may be phantom issue, border line normal..How many Miles..?
Car just hit 183k yesterday.

It was intermittently starting rough earlier this year, like once every 40 starts maybe.

We pulled the starter out when we pulled the engine and it seemed fine. I didn't inspect it all that closely but connections *seemed* solid. Wasn't overly concerned about it though, so it's possible I overlooked something.

It's amazing how robustly it starts when it decides to behave. It starts up better than my 04 Vibe / Matrix which still has all its OEM parts at 210k. Just quirky that it would start so well under most circumstances and occasionally decide to misbehave. Phantom issue seems right...

We have a 700 mile drive coming up (I'm moving to Huntsville, AL in January) and I don't want to end up abandoning the car somewhere in Tennessee lol.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:43 AM   #6
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try eating the beer and drinking the pizza and see if any codes come LOL
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:51 AM   #7
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What's the best way to go about installing / fixing a grounding issue without pulling the transmission again (eek!)
Sanding the mating surfaces is mandatory with these cars. Run a ground/wire from one side of the transmission (unbolt one bolt and wrap wire around bolt, re-tighten) and run it to the negative on the battery. Do the same on the other side of the transmission.

To just test this, take a pair of jumper cables and connect the black wire to the battery negative (-) and connect the other end of the black wire to one of the clutch housing mounting bolts (preferably closer to the starter). Don't use the red wires at all and make sure the wires will not get in the way of anything or short the battery out once you try to start the car. Try starting the car and see what happens. If it works then maybe you want to make a permanent jumper with wire (12 or 14 gauge wire should suffice) to go between the battery and the clutch housing. If it doesn't do anything for you it cost you nothing.
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:21 AM   #8
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To just test this, take a pair of jumper cables and connect the black wire to the battery negative (-) and connect the other end of the black wire to one of the clutch housing mounting bolts (preferably closer to the starter).
Thanks! If this issue rears its ugly head again then I'll give it a go.
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:08 PM   #9
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First thing, as mentioned above, is to make sure the battery cables and grounds are clean and tight, especially the one under the battery tray. And check up inside the battery cable housing for hidden corrosion.
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:28 PM   #10
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I could be way off point here, and I totally agree with the grounding issue between tranny and engine. I also saw very similar symptoms before when a MAF sensor was starting to go out on my buddies car. I happened to have an old used one we put on it and it solved the issue....just throwing that out there. It was a very intermittent no start that starting getting worse and worse. But never had the issue after the MAF swap.
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Old 11-14-2017, 02:49 PM   #11
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I could be way off point here, and I totally agree with the grounding issue between tranny and engine. I also saw very similar symptoms before when a MAF sensor was starting to go out on my buddies car. I happened to have an old used one we put on it and it solved the issue....just throwing that out there. It was a very intermittent no start that starting getting worse and worse. But never had the issue after the MAF swap.
Anything is possible, but there have been multiple instances over the years which have the same scenarios, due to cause and effect.

One of the common scenarios is that someone unbolts a transmission, then reinstalls the same transmission or another one. They don't remember to sand the mating surfaces for electrical contact. Because they did not think of it. Then they have a no-start situation as soon as the weather gets colder. The battery will be less efficient, and the oil is thicker.

Almost every single time, a ground jumper wire will solve the problem.
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