Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

Starting Problem

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Posted by Al Falfa on January 4, 2010, 1:05 am

I started my 2010 at -24F last night.  It shook violently with the engine
making a chug-chug sound, sort of like an old John Deere one-lung tractor.
I'm thinking it was running on two cylinders.  After about 30 seconds the
shaking and chug-chug sound diminished somewhat.  I'm thinking a third
cylinder started firing.  The headlights were blinking at the chug-chug
rate.  A couple of the minutes later the shaking and chug-chug sound
disappeared and the engine ran normally.  No warning beeps or lights.

Prior to starting, the car had sat for about 4 hours immediately following
an uneventful 75 mile drive.  Earlier in the day I'd driven 150 miles
at -18F.

Once the engine was running smoothly, I drove 125 uneventful miles.  The car
has 4000 miles on it.  Anyone have an idea what caused this?  My confidence
is shaken.  My 2005 groaned a bit at -35F but never behaved this badly.

Posted by Al Falfa on January 7, 2010, 10:03 pm

I started it again this morning, for the first time since the episode below.
It was -5F.  This time I think it fired on 3 cylinders.  Shook the whole car
for about 45 seconds before smoothing out.  I once broke a valve in a VW.
The valve head took out a piston and connecting rod.  If you've experienced
a massive cylinder failure you know what my Prius sounds like during this
period.  Again, no alarms whatever.  Dealer says bring it in and he'll look
at it.   I think he'll need to leave it overnight in sub-zero temps to
experience this.

Any ideas out there?

Posted by Leo on January 8, 2010, 12:45 pm

First make sure you are not low on oil or having any other major
engine problems. Then next time its really cold start it and when it's
about to self destruct push it as hard as you can and let the warranty
deal with the pieces.

 - Leo

Posted by Al Falfa on January 8, 2010, 4:00 pm

Right.  I checked the oil and it's about 1/8 inch below full.  Dealer is
going to keep it overnight during the next cold spell and connect their scan
gauge before starting it up.  I understand it's tough to troubleshoot when
it's warm since it runs smoothly once the clanking and vibration ceases.

Posted by David T. Johnson on January 18, 2010, 6:04 am

Al Falfa wrote:

Water/ice in the fuel.

You should get an engine block heater if you're going to operate in that
temperature range.

Posted with OS/2 Warp 4.52
and Sea Monkey 1.5a

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