Diesel engine won't start in freezing temperatures
Normally excellent starter but when cold(freezing point)will not start.Have switched on and off glow plug three times before going to the final position on the switch. The car is a Mercedes C class and is 7 years old. Can you help please?
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You don't say whether it is petrol or diesel engined or whether the engine is cranking fine but won't fire.
Certainly an engine must crank quick enough but even then if it is the best diesel engine ever made it is unlikely to start below freezing without an artificial starting aid. Such an aid is already installed but must be in good condition. Heater plugs do fail sometimes or get tired and lazy so they need checking and sometimes the timer relay fails to switch them on. Good injector spray patterns are also needed for good starting.
Petrol engines need enrichment of the fuel/air mixture for cold starting and a very good spark at the plugs. Worn spark plugs is the most common cause of poor starting and if the ECU isn't getting the right information about temperature it will be unable to make the correct fuel adjustments.
A good injector spray pattern is also important.
Most often diesel car battery fails earlier than the petrol version mainly because of the necessity of cranking more for compression ignition. I would suggest that if you can be patient and cautious when starting from cold condition, the battery will not be fatigued. AS YOU SWITCH ON WAIT FOR THE HEATER LIGHT AND THE RELAY TO CUT OFF BEFORE YOU CRANK. DEPENDING ON THE COLD CONDITION CRANK ONLY AFTER YOU SWITCH ON HEATER MAYBE A COUPLE TO SEVERAL TIMES. slowly you will come to understand your engine and after the heater relay has cut offf there is ample battery amperage on the battery to turn the starter with ease and maybe a single revolution start.Once you engage the heater and do this process do not switch off the engine unless it is warm and running to the desired temperature. Doing such a practice will make the battery regain lost power without a drain in the morning and possible early deterioration.
Glow plugs are heating devices to aid starting diesel vehicles. Purpose:Diesel engines, unlike petrol engines, do not use spark plugs to induce combustion. Instead, they rely solely on compression to raise the temperature of the air to a point where the diesel will combust spontaneously when introduced to the hot high pressure air. The high pressure and spray pattern of the diesel ensures a controlled, complete burn. The piston rises, compressing the air in the cylinder; this causes the air's temperature to rise. By the time the piston reaches the top of its travel path, the temperature in the cylinder is very high. The fuel mist is then sprayed into the cylinder; it instantly combusts, forcing the piston downwards, thus generating power. The pressure required to heat the air to that temperature, however, necessitates the use of a large and very strong engine block. The problem posed is that in cold weather, if the engine has not been running (as is the case when the car is left to sit overnight), that the large engine block becomes very cold; when one then attempts to start the engine, the cold engine block acts as a heat sink, quickly dissipating the heat generated by the pistons compressing air. The engine is then unable to start, because it cannot generate and maintain enough heat for the fuel to ignite. For that reason indirect injected diesel engines are manufactured with glow-plugs in each prechamber, and direct injected diesel engines are manufactured with glow-plugs in each combustion chamber. Wikipedia
to be honest i would need to have my head under the bonnet to sort this one out ,the problem has nothing to do with timing belt or antifreeze ,i think you will need to ask a local mechanic to have a look for you because iam wondering if the cold has caused a fuel leak by cracking a pipe but it would have to be cold for that in excess of -20 i would imagine ,this is a petrol engine i presume and not a diesel as a diesel would wax the fuel at these temperatures throwing the lights on ,silly question i suppose an american with a diesel ,well i have one of these cars a 1.8 diesel turbo ,great shopping basket but with petrol at around 12 dollars a gallon here and 14 dollars in the UK ?? need i say more .Now you car --- thinking-- Sorry nothing comes to mind other than the cold has caused a pipe to split ,
You will probably need some Ether based starting fluid. You may have to remove air filter to shoot a 2 second blast into the intake - but first try shooting the air intake with the 2 second blast and start vehicle. Diesel fuel tends to thicken in cold weather and a fuel additive like Lowes diesel fuel treatment may help keep your fuel fluid in colder weather. In cold weather, like on a night of clear skies causing low temperatures, a block engine heater will help to keep your fuel fluid - along with the diesel treatment. Block heaters are not too difficult to install depending on your vehicles configuration and how much room you have at a freeze plug, and are well worth the cost. Hope this helps and please rate my solution!!
YOU CAN HOOK A 12 VOLT TEST LIGHT BETWEEN THE POWER RELAY OUTPUT TO GLOW PLUGS AND GROUND.WITH ENGINE COLD IGNITION SWITCH ON ENGINE NOT STARTED.THE TEST LAMP WILL LIGHT WHEN IGNITION IS TURNED ON.LAMP WILL BE LIT FOR FOUR TO TEN SECONDS DEPENDING UPON ENGINE COOLANT TEMPERATURE.TEST LAMP WILL THEN REPEAT ON OFF CYCLE.AFTER ENGINE IS STARTED.THE TEST LAMP CONTINUES TO REPEAT ON OFF CYCLE FOR 20 TO 90 SECONDS.LAMP WILL CYCLE FOR A MAXIMUM OF 90 SECONDS AFTER ENGINE IS STARTED.ENGINE STOPPED THEN RESTARTED.TEST LAMP WILL LIGHT IF COOLANT TEMPERATURE AT THE ENGINE TEMPERATURE SWITCH HAS FALLEN BELOW 165 DEGREE.BETWEEN STARTS THE SYSTEM WILL OPERATE FOR A SHORTER PERIOD OF TIME THAN WITH A COMPLETELY COLD ENGINE.TEST LAMP WILL REMAIN OFF. IF COOLANT AT THE CONTROL SWITCH PROBE IS AT 165 DEGREE OR HIGHER.
Yes continious cranking of an engine puts a big strain on a starter in any weather, but almost certainly in cold, it takes a lot of amps to turn an engine, It maybe the fuel is starting to freeze?, Maybe it's an electrical issue such as points, plugs timing, distributor cap, rotor arm inside the cap, maybe it's just settings
try using the Toyota Factory Pink Fluid (part number 08889-80071)
the bottle says: "Genuine TOYOTA Pre-mixed Anti-rust Anti-freeze / Super Long Life Coolant is a new generation ethylene glycol-based premium engine coolant, offering excellent corrosion formulated specifically for all TOYOTA warranty requirements. For vehicles fitted with Super Long Life Coolant at the plant, it is highly recommended that Super Long Life Coolant be used for maintenance."