sluggish starting!

Discussion in 'Engineers' Talk' started by markysparky, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. markysparky

    markysparky New Member

    My car recently has been starting to struggle to fire up on ignition from cold or hot. (cold is worse)

    It starts off very feeble, there is a brief silence and then it fires up.

    Is it the starter motor or battery or something else??
    The car is a 51 reg 1.6 Honda Civic <u>petrol.</u>]

    Pleeeeeeeease tell me it's the battery!! :(
  2. Hitch.

    Hitch. New Member

    Check your battery marky, check the electrolyte level. top up if necessary, if any of them are almost or completly dry, you could have a collapsed plate in there somewhere.
  3. TicklyT

    TicklyT New Member

    Check the alternator drive belt too... If it's slipping the alternator won't charge the battery. Just been caught by that one myself :(
  4. rcplumber

    rcplumber New Member

    scrap it then get a bike :)
  5. Fabulous Freda

    Fabulous Freda New Member

    Try it with a battery that you know is healthy, make sure the connections are good, if it's still sluggish then its probably the starter.
  6. Hitch.

    Hitch. New Member

    Also, a short in the starting circuit will cause the same, get a continuity tester (you have one...right...:) ) put one end on the ground, the other on the starter main terminal, if its a multiplug, the heaviest wire. If you get a suspect reading, trace it back, hey presto.
    On a fairly new Honda, id expect just the battery!
  7. markysparky

    markysparky New Member

    Thanks for the replies, Had another look at the battery and it has a dot indication thingy on it which is

    Green: OK
    White: Needs deionised water
    Black: Needs charging

    It's on black and the water level looks okay so I suspect I will need a new battery, Or does it just need charging??
  8. PowerTool

    PowerTool New Member

    Try charging it first and see waht it's like - but as previously mentioned,could be the alternator not charging properly.
    Unless you've just been doing a lot of short trips with lights/heater etc. on.
  9. markysparky

    markysparky New Member

    Hi Powertool

    I would hope it ain't the alternator as it just recently had a full dealer service.

    And yes it mainly does short journeys! (the mrs going to Tesco's and visiting her mum) ;)

    And the cold as well could have drained the charge level down. Dunno much about car batteries or how much cruising is required for the alternator to charge the battery fully??
  10. limestone cowboy

    limestone cowboy New Member

    Is the battery made by 'Fulmen'?
  11. markysparky

    markysparky New Member

    No it's a *** one! YUASA or something like.
  12. johnhififan

    johnhififan New Member

    Check all the interior lights and/or similar devices are off, check the current drain on the battery with engine off.
    Yuasa is well known japanese battery firm , nothing wrong with them.
  13. wizard

    wizard Guest

    Markysparky. Is it that the engine is turning over, but just not starting?
    If you&#146;ve got underlying problems, you&#146;ve probably drained the battery with all the extra effort trying to start it each time.
    You say that it&#146;s worse trying to start it from cold. If you&#146;ve already checked the plugs, leads etc and it&#146;s made no difference, it might be worth changing the COOLANT TEMPERATURE SENSOR. These sensors are the cause of a lot of bad starting problems and at around £10 each it&#146;s worth eliminating.

  14. markysparky

    markysparky New Member

    Hello Wizard,

    The car is turning over but very feebley.

    The Mrs couldn't start it at all the other day and called the AA out. All she did was flood the engine, also the AA man checked plugs and leads and couldn't see anything wrong.

    Like I said, it's already had a full dealer service so I'm not expecting anything like plugs etc.

    I am starting to think it must be the battery
  15. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    Well, marky, you being an electrician, I would have thought you'd have sussed it out by now. :)

    Anyway, for what it's worth, I guess you have a multimeter or something that measures volts(only 0-20 though).

    A couple of tests. First test the voltage in the battery.
    Should be(good battery) 12v cold. With your meter still attached, turn the key to activate the starter. Voltage should not drop to less then 9v(you need 9v under load to be any good).
    To test the alternator, with your meter still attached to the battery, start the car and rev it up a bit. The voltage should rise to 14-16v. That means your alt is ok.

    If your battery has acid/water to the correct levels, take the battery off and give it an OVERNIGHT slow charge(as opposed to a quick high charge). If it needs topping up, top up with distilled water(or boiled water if you ain't got none).

    Put it back on and whooomph.

    Apparently, manual charging every six months is good for the battery(something to do with different electricity).

    If your alt checked out as before, you should now be ok.

    Sorry if you already knew a lot of this, but in case you didn't............

    Mr. Handyandy - really
  16. wizard

    wizard Guest

    Markysparky. The reason I said check out the sensor is that I thought you might have just knackered the battery trying to start it. Your best bet is do as Handy says, get the battery charged then see if it fires up. If it does, great. If it&#146;s still hard to start and your plugs and leads are ok, you need to be looking at the sensors that tell your ECU what ratio of petrol to air it should be providing. Like I said before the CTS is a good place to start. If you&#146;ve got a Haynes manual it&#146;ll tell you how many ohms it should be hot and cold. The problem is though, that even if the readings are ok at both ends of the scale, it can still be dodgy. I&#146;ve recently replaced CTS&#146;s on a Clio and a BMW both of which gave readings within the parameters in the book. Both times it cured the bad starting.
  17. johnhififan

    johnhififan New Member

    Well let us know what happened!, this is better then eastenders.
  18. Hombre

    Hombre New Member

    Isn't anything better than Eastenders ? ;)
  19. Jimbo

    Jimbo Screwfix Select

    Why not just change the battery for the sake of £30?

    They don't last more than 3yrs anyway (cue someone with an anicdote about a battery in an austin maxi lasting 12 years) because the acid is breaking down the electrolite from the moment it is made.

    Re voltage readings. If its less than 12.6v (no load) then its dead. The fact the green light is not on suggests this is the case, plus the symptons you mention.

    Batteries always perform less well in cold conditions, hence why the problem manifests itself now.
  20. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot New Member

    if you go to any of the fast fit places they will do a free check for you, also might be worth fitting a heavy duty battery, I always do.
    you can get the battery from a motor factors easy enough, make sure you have any radio codes etc before disconnecting

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