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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, since it's been about 5 degrees, and often even colder than that at night, now my GT won't start.

I drove her around a bit on Friday night, while it was about 20 out, and she ran fine. Then it dropped to negative numbers that night, overnight, and come Saturday morning, she wouldn't turn over.

It seemed like a dead battery (or at least an extremely weak one), so I had my roommate jump the battery for me. Once we did that, yes, it turned a little bit quicker, but still not nearly quick enough to get going. It almost sounds like the oil or something is too cold, therefore, too viscous, to allow the engine to move. But I am running a 5W-30 synthetic blend, so I don't believe that would be a problem.

Any ideas what this could be? I've spoken with my father (This was his car for 3 years, before I got it), and he suggested getting a trickle charger for the battery, and perhaps spraying some starting fluid into the Carb. Anything else, aside from waiting for warmer weather, which may help? I'm afraid the starter is just gone, and it'll be a pain to replace with the car sitting on the side of the road. Thanks.
 

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Not sure about synthetic's, but when was the last time you changed the oil? Regular motor oil gets thicker the older it gets. And thick oil does not like cold mornings. I'm sure our Canadian contingent can add to this and will comment on our definition of extreme cold. ;)

Get ready, It's going to be extremely, bitterly colder tomorrow!
 

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Detritus Maximus
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Try checking the fuel system for a frozen line. No fuel, no start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just changed the oil about a week ago, so that's still good.

Yeah, I was thinking it may be a frozen fuel line...but I wouldn't know how to go about remedying that...
 

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Did your jumper cables have a good connection? With a boost the starter should have been cranking that baby pretty good. Should be pretty easy to check for fuel by just looking in the carb bowl while someone is turning the car over and pumping the pedal. If there is fuel next I would check for spark? Another important element in the combustion loop right? Worst case scenario: You have both the previous items and you really think it is your starter, there is always the old stand by of hooking onto a rope from another vehicle (assuming you have a standard transmission)and conduct the old reliable "jumpstart". If it does't start at least you can carry on back home in tow (do it safely!). One more requirement, ensure it is dark so that no one will see an Opel being towed. Just kidding and best of luck.
 

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Canadians to the Rescue!

John is on the right track, me thinks. I would look for a connection problem. When an engine is nice and warm, it takes very few "cranking amps" to spin it over fast. Especially a little engine like the 1.9. But cool it down, even with lightweight synthetic oil, and the power required to rotate it goes up considerably. That is why you find out your battery, that worked great the day before at 40 F, now won't cut it at 5 F. That and the fact the battery itself only delivers half as much cranking amp-minutes at the lower temperature. But the key is here is "amps". More current draw, and the "resistive" things start to rear their head. Especially such much-overlooked items as a good ground between the engine block and the chassis.

Remember, current has to "flow" in a loop. Both sides of the circuit has to perform. So even if you put 14 volts right to the starter, if the ground strap (near the front of the engine, passenger side, just above the oil pan) has a poor connection to either the block or the chassis, the resistance induced by the higher current will cut that to 8 "effective" volts (potential from the starter to the actual ground) in a jiffy. Especially when you have poor battery post connections. And even a poor booster clamp connection, if made right to the block and +'ve side of the battery, will underperform. Also check the battery ground strap bolt, which connects to the chassis in front of the battery.

My advice? Start by boosting it again, this time with the +'ve jumper to the corresponding Opel battery post, and the -'ve side directly to the Opel engine block. If you have a voltmeter, hook it to the starter post and to a good ground on the chassis, and watch the voltage. It should be 13.5 to 14.4 volts when you first make the connection, and should not fall below 10 volts when cranking. If the voltage falls below that, make sure the "donor" car's engine is revving at +2000 rpm, and it's battery voltage isn't less than 11 volts when the Opel is cranking over. If there is more than 2 or 3 volts difference between the donor car and the Opel, the booster cables themselves may be in poor codition, or may simply be too small a guage of wire. Good cables are 2 or 4 guage, acceptable ones are 6 guage, but cheap ones are often only 8 guage, which is often too thin for boosting.

Or, it may be a bad starter. But that doesn't typically manifest itself at low temperatures.

HTH, and good luck
 

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Extreme Cold?

And 5 degress F? You call that COLD? When I was a young whipper snapper, I had to walk 5 miles uphill to school, both ways, through three foot snow drifts, in a Canadian cold front and 50 mile per hour snow squalls; man, we knew COLD. There's a reason they call it "Winterpeg" (Winnipeg).

Well, I now live in temperate Calgary, which this winter has seen very few truly cold days. But we have a cold front coming in, from Alaska, no less. Tonight's low is forecast to be minus 23 Celcius. Lets see, -23, times 9, divide by 5, add 32, gives minus 9.4 degrees Farenheit. And tommorow's low is forecast to be -26 C, or -14.8 F. A mere plus 5 F (subtract 32, times by 5, divide by 9, gives -15 C)? We call that SUMMER!

Hmmm. I am in the natural gas exploration and production business. My living DEPENDS on it being cold. Turn up your thermostats, it's good for gas prices!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
well, the night before, it wasn't 40, it was 20. Started up OK.

It went to negative that night (F), and then wouldn't start.

I'm beginning to think that it's a frozen fuel line. When it does turn over, granted a little slowly, it doesn't even attempt to fire at all. Never, nothing. Normally I get a little bit of something, even when it's really cold out.

Anyway, thanks for the help. I think I may have the car towed to my parent's house, then leave the car in the garage with a space heater for a couple of hours. That should help matters, I think.

If I can't do that, I think the only thing I could do right now would be wait for the warm-up...which doesn't look like that'll be any time soon.
 

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If it still wont start with a verified good "donor" car battery - to check the fuel just unplug the fuel hose going into the carb then crank it over. If fuel comes out you got a different problem. If nothing comes out start looking at the fuel system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
well, I'm going to try to find some starting fluid. That way, if it starts then stalls right away, I know what the problem is. Thanks again for all the tips!
 

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That's Cold?

Other folks get more snow. Still others get raw temperature colder than us. But, Nobody holds a candle to us when it comes to wind chill. We usually thank our Northen neighbors for the "Alberta Clippers" or "Chinook Winds". As we say, 80 below keeps the rifraff out! O.k. enough already.

I can attest to the jumper cables probably not getting a good conection somewhere. I can't tell you how important it is to have a low gauge set and find a good ground--usually somewhere that isn't painted.

Also, did you fill gas at your regular station? Could be bad gas but I doubt it. We had a run of that up here I think three years ago. Came from Amoco. The Silver grade. Stuff wouldn't even BURN!! A lot of people ended up putting in new fuel pumps because some idiot (or unethical) mechanics told us our pumps were out. Be aware of convenience stations that sell gas. They buy gas from whomever. A gas inspector for our state told me that these stations always have the worst quality gas.

You could try building a fire underneath it. I've heard of VW Beetle owners up in the Great White North who've done this to start their "bugs". Really! I'm not kidding!:D
 

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Frozen GT

I realize this message is four days after the fact, but what happens if your anti-freeze isn't up to par? I know if the water ratio is too high, the mixture will turn to gel in extreme cold but won't necessarily crack the block. Is the engine able to fire up in this situation?

Dan Papp
Windsor, Canada
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
well, this Sunday (yesterday) it thawed out a bit, up to a toasty 33 degrees. With the help of another car with a new battery, she started up fairly easily.

So, I do know that my battery was much of the problem. Otherwise, the fuel line could have been frozen. It's another cold day today, though, so I'll try to start it tonight just to see what happens.

I think a new battery and frequent use of "Dry Gas" is in use for the rest of the winter :)
 

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Detritus Maximus
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Re: Extreme Cold?

kwilford said:
And 5 degress F? You call that COLD? When I was a young whipper snapper, I had to walk 5 miles uphill to school, both ways, through three foot snow drifts, in a Canadian cold front and 50 mile per hour snow squalls; man, we knew COLD. There's a reason they call it "Winterpeg" (Winnipeg).

Well, I now live in temperate Calgary, which this winter has seen very few truly cold days. But we have a cold front coming in, from Alaska, no less. Tonight's low is forecast to be minus 23 Celcius. Lets see, -23, times 9, divide by 5, add 32, gives minus 9.4 degrees Farenheit. And tommorow's low is forecast to be -26 C, or -14.8 F. A mere plus 5 F (subtract 32, times by 5, divide by 9, gives -15 C)? We call that SUMMER!

Hmmm. I am in the natural gas exploration and production business. My living DEPENDS on it being cold. Turn up your thermostats, it's good for gas prices!
I was in Winnipeg a few years back with some friends (I won't say why we were there, people look at you differently!). Anyway, I was walking down the street with one of my friends when he made a comment about all the 'electric cars'. So I started looking around and didn't see any. I asked him where they were and said everywhere, then pointed at a car sitting at a meter. He said, "See, they're all electric."
when I realised what he was referring to, I had to tell him they weren't 'electric cars'. The plugs sticking out of the grills were for block heaters.
Nice city, though. VERY clean. Even if Canadians don't like it.
 

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At the risk of going "of-topic"...

On the contrary, most folks LOVE Winnipeg.

In the summer. Except for the mosquitos the size of dragonflys.

And the spring. Except for the floods.

And the fall. Except for the leaf raking (BILLIONS of oak trees).

And the winter. Except for the winter.

But seriously, it IS a beautiful city, with a hearty Prairie spirit, and lots of multi-ethnic culture, with thousands of idylic lakes within a reasonable drive. I love it so much, I let my Mom live there. Not that I could ever convince her otherwise. And I go back at least twice a year. At least to the cottage, at one of those idylic lakes.

And what took YOU there?
 

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Detritus Maximus
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I was impressed with Winnipeg, but I have been told by a couple Canadians that it was the 'armpit of Canada'. Mind you, this was coming from two guys who were changing into swim trunks and getting ready to go swimming in the Pacific just north of Monterey, CA in mid February. I guess they caught me looking at them when they started taking their pants off in a restroom on the beach. ( I was bundled up and the wind chill was about 27 F.) They just looked at me and said, "It's ok. We're Canadian." Somehow it made perfect sense.

I guess I could tell you why I was in Winnipeg. We did a little caravan (5 vehicles, 20+ people) to attend the 'World Science Fiction Convention' back in 94. About 5-6000 people descended upon Winnipeg for a week. Previous 'World-Cons' in Orlando and Chicago have been known to draw 10,000 plus. So, attendance was a little off.
High points of the trip: the air museum, fetish night at 'the Crypt' (can't get in unless you are dressed for it. No 'tourists'), all the beautiful girls!

There. I said it. Let the side long glances begin!:p
 

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Detritus Maximus
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Quick thought (then back to the topic at hand): Maybe we need a 'travelogue' forum?:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, I just got a new battery today (after my roommate jumped my current one so I could get to the store). Wow! What a difference! I put the battery in and started her up, and right away, nice and strong (much stronger than before), she went. 700cca should be enough. They had a battery rated at 800cca, but it was over $100, so I couldn't justify that.

Anyway, with this, and the use of dry gas now, I should be good for the rest of this cold season. Thanks for the help!
 
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