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Discussion Starter #1
Just had a cold snap here in the Prairies and my car wouldn't start one morning. It was -26C out. My battery was replaced last year and seemed to die within about 8-10 cranks so I left it. Later that evening I tried boosting it and got another good 10 cranks in and it fired for maybe 0.5 seconds then quit. Fired again for 0.5 seconds then quit, and then wouldn't fire again so I left it.

My best guess is my fuel gelled up which I've never had happen before, but I also used additive last winter and didn't this year. It's been a mild winter so it wouldn't surprise me if the station I went to was still on its summer blend or hadn't gone to a high mix of kerosene (#1). I don't think it gets a lot of traffic.

I replaced the battery as it's obviously a problem with a heavy duty and cycled the glow plugs 3-4 times and cranked fast and harder than it ever has, but still didn't fire. I'm 99% sure it's the fuel. It's parked on the street so I can't pull it into a heated garage or anything. It's supposed to warm back up to 1-2C by Monday so I think I'll try and start it then but I don't want to keep flooding the engine with fuel (if it's even flowing..). I added some additive/anti-gel but it's not going to help the plugged fuel lines/filter.

What do you guys think?
 

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Man I hate those really cold winters. Last winter I had to leave a car in the garage so at least one would start in the morning. I’d use the garage parked car and jump start the other 3 cars parked in the driveway and a bottle of heet in the gas tank.

I’m not sure if heet is compatible/safe with diesel tho. I’ve only ever used it on gas engines.
 

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Man I hate those really cold winters. Last winter I had to leave a car in the garage so at least one would start in the morning. I’d use the garage parked car and jump start the other 3 cars parked in the driveway and a bottle of heet in the gas tank.

I’m not sure if heet is compatible/safe with diesel tho. I’ve only ever used it on gas engines.
We have other diesel additives that lower the pour point of the fuel (and likely increase volatility as well). It works good so long as you have it fully circulated throughout the fuel system. After it's too late, it's too late...Nothing but warm weather will save me.

The genius' at GM in all their wisdom elected not to include a block heater but rather a 150W useless oil pan heater and sold it to Canadian markets....Sure it doesn't need one to start but one of the primary benefits of a block heater is faster to hit operating temperature which reduces wear. I'd really like to hear the case from GM as to why they thought this was unnecessary. From one mechanical engineer to another I'd promptly tell them to find a new career.
 

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I'd really like to hear the case from GM as to why they thought this was unnecessary. From one mechanical engineer to another I'd promptly tell them to find a new career.
In my experience as a supplier, engineering will make the right call, then someone else in the supply chain - ie, purchasing - will trump it and do something different :(

Doug

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In my experience as a supplier, engineering will make the right call, then someone else in the supply chain - ie, purchasing - will trump it and do something different :(

Doug
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That has also been my experience as an engineer as well but if it is a critical mistake then you have to stick your neck out to management and inform them they are making one. It's not like block heaters are standard equipment--they are extra, why isn't it an option at the very least.
 

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Warmed up to -6C by this morning and still would not fire. I can smell fuel but there is no white smoke. Battery and cranking speed are good I'm not sure what could be wrong.

Things to check this evening when I get home:
1. Trend fuel pressure, RPM, crank shaft position with the scan tool
2. Remove air filter piping to check for obstruction
3. Pop off timing belt top cover and check belt integrity.
4. Check to see if any codes are stored (glow plugs, CPS, etc.). No CEL is on however.

I think after this I'm taking it to Chevy. Only two things remaining is water in the fuel or low compression (worked great the day before so I don't see this being the problem. I have read in the past that plugged up EGR's have a similar symptom but my car is deleted and the EGR is 100% closed by the ECU at all times. I can't see this being the problem but I can't rule it out either.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Got home today and it had been +3C for half the day. Came prepared with my scan tool and a booster pack if needed. I also removed the intake piping from the air box to rule out a rodent nest or something. I trended fuel pressure, rpm, and ignition timing. I must have scared the crap out of the car because it fired up in one stroke (faster than it ever has).

I still don't know what happened but I suspect it was the fuel still (perhaps water?). Other likely cause is a throttle plate froze shut. I Drove it around for 20 minutes to get it to operating temperature and then went to co-op to get a clean tank of fuel.

Happy motoring. Thanks for the help everyone.
 
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