Challenge Questions Blog

Challenge Questions

Stop in and exercise your brain. Talk about this month's Challenge from Specs & Techs or similar puzzles.

So do you have a Challenge Question that could stump the community? Then submit the question with the "correct" answer and we'll post it. If it's really good, we may even roll it up to Specs & Techs. You'll be famous!

Answers to Challenge Questions appear by the last Tuesday of the month.

Previous in Blog: Shocking Cars: Newsletter Challenge (04/17/07)   Next in Blog: Game Show Probability: Newsletter Challenge (05/01/07)
Close
Close
Close
Page 2 of 2: « First < Prev 1 2 Last »

Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

Posted April 22, 2007 5:01 PM
Pathfinder Tags: challenge questions

The question as it appears in the 04/24 edition of Specs & Techs from GlobalSpec:

You've just moved to a large city in California, with a view of the Pacific Ocean from your apartment. You park your car (an old AMC Gremlin) nightly in a street-level, open air garage. You're perplexed because on some mornings the car won't start, yet other times it will. After some analysis, you discover the car starts only if facing a particular direction. Which direction is it, and what process is taking place? (Bonus points for identifying how to fix the problem, besides parking elsewhere.)

Thanks to jmueller who submitted the original question (which we revised a bit)

(Update: April 30, 10:30 PM) And the Answer is...

The prevailing air flow is off the ocean, and brings in salt-laden air. The garage area is open. When facing East, which is away from the ocean, the body of the car shields the engine compartment. When facing any other direction, the overnight condensation, with its salt content gets under the hood and shorts out the ignition.

The fix was an add-on rubber boot over the coil, and careful cleaning and sealing of the distributor and spark plug wires.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 3531
Good Answers: 59
#110
In reply to #105
Find in discussion

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 4:34 AM

It's obviously I that am confused - as I don't even know what you are writing about here.

Are you perhaps referring to my reference to avoiding unfortunate colour mixes?

Fyz

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Etherville
Posts: 12334
Good Answers: 115
#112
In reply to #110

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 5:09 AM

Hellebore : any plant of buttercup family or Christmas Rose ,also white hellebore (known as Indian poke or Itch weed). I know snooker evolved in days of the British raj and we also nicked lots of words like bungalow but Chambers dictionary enlightened me to this . It sounds like some kind of game* to me .

* I mean card game of course.

__________________
For sale - Signature space. Apply on self addressed postcard..
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 3531
Good Answers: 59
#116
In reply to #112

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 9:01 AM

Thanks for the enlightenment. As you clearly deduced, the intended reference was to the various green subspecies of the Christmas and Lenten roses. This was purely on the basis that Rosa viridiflora (the only green rose that I know of) would not do well in Lincolnshire.

Fyz

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Edinburgh, Bonnie Scotland
Posts: 1286
Good Answers: 22
#68
In reply to #66
Find in discussion

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 6:20 AM
__________________
Madness is all in the mind
Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Hearts of Oak Popular Science - Paleontology - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2005
Location: In the Garden
Posts: 3389
Good Answers: 75
#70
In reply to #68

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 6:28 AM

<Bows> Thank you.

__________________
Chaos always wins because it's better organised.
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Etherville
Posts: 12334
Good Answers: 115
#82
In reply to #66
Find in discussion

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 9:14 AM

....the formation of a toffee like matrix with nutty inclusions (currently known in the UK as a Topic bar ) seems to have been an inspired choice for my current digres ... hang on a while , I need caffeine before I loose concentr....

__________________
For sale - Signature space. Apply on self addressed postcard..
Reply
Power-User
Canada - Member -

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 435
Good Answers: 4
#83
In reply to #82

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 9:32 AM

Kris,

Just wanted to congratulate you on making it to GURU...

__________________
Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away. - unknown.
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Etherville
Posts: 12334
Good Answers: 115
#84
In reply to #83

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 9:42 AM

Hey , I only just noticed ! I must have been too busy typing .. They can't shut me up with that gong .

__________________
For sale - Signature space. Apply on self addressed postcard..
Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Hearts of Oak Popular Science - Paleontology - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2005
Location: In the Garden
Posts: 3389
Good Answers: 75
#109
In reply to #82

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 4:02 AM

so is the Topic superior to the erstwhile Marathon (now Snickers)? I'm not huge fan ofr toffee/nougat based peanut confections. Why put a member of the pea family in chocolate?

__________________
Chaos always wins because it's better organised.
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Etherville
Posts: 12334
Good Answers: 115
#111
In reply to #109

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 4:59 AM

Quite right ! It was my feeble gesture toward remaining 'on-topic'. Who , in the name of all thats holy ,thought up 'Snickers' ? A 'Marathon' was ucki enough , and then it gets a name to remind people of sweaty training shoes.What the ^%$%(&%(_(&_ happened to Smarties. Roger the Cab'n boy ?-yer'l 'ang fer this Seaman Staines !

__________________
For sale - Signature space. Apply on self addressed postcard..
Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Hearts of Oak Popular Science - Paleontology - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2005
Location: In the Garden
Posts: 3389
Good Answers: 75
#113
In reply to #111

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 5:23 AM

<cringe> I didn't spot that one! Something to do with words creating pictures in my head, rather than sounds.

I have to point out that neither of these characters appeared in the show:

The

Captain Pugwash cartoon, which originally ran on the BBC between 1958 and 1967, is widely believed to have featured characters with risqué maritime names such as Master Bates, Seaman Staines, and Roger the Cabin Boy. In fact, the crew of the famous Black Pig ship included sailors with no such names: present on board were Master Mate, Tom the Cabin Boy, and Pirates Barnabas and Willy. (No character with the designation of 'Seaman' appeared in the show.)

from website

So there was no reason for my mum to ban us watching it!

__________________
Chaos always wins because it's better organised.
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Etherville
Posts: 12334
Good Answers: 115
#114
In reply to #113

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 5:37 AM

Yes , Cap'n Pugwashes crew were much maligned in urban myth. My tag about JFK is debatable (hence it is given with 'attrib' to cover me - only one person has questioned it so far.

If a parent says you can't do/see/have something it's a green light for must have /I want it etc - mine often double bluffed me with it ( and sometimes triple bluffed). This may account for my twisted thinking (!).

The Clangers were pretty cool , so was Noggin the Nog. My mother crotched an alien like toy for a younger brother . It was lost (probably to a boot sale ) and several years (well quite a lot actually ) later Tellytubbies appeared . The one with a spike in it's head was a dead ringer. If only she'd got a lawyer to advise.

__________________
For sale - Signature space. Apply on self addressed postcard..
Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Indeterminate Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: In the bothy, 7 chains down the line from Dodman's Lane level crossing, in the nation formerly known as Great Britain. Kettle's on.
Posts: 30583
Good Answers: 822
#120
In reply to #66
Find in discussion

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 11:36 AM

That brings a lump to the throat. No, wait, it's conked out again.

__________________
"Did you get my e-mail?" - "The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" - George Bernard Shaw, 1856
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#75

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 7:14 AM

The car is pointing up on a hill and the lack of enough fuel in the tank is not reaching the fuel pump, based on the fact that the person owns a gremlin he probably can't afford enough gas to keep the pump primed. It is probably is San Francisco due to the steep hills. Solution, buy more gas.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#76

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 7:21 AM

cracked distributor cap. park with the rear end facing the ocean.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#77

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 7:47 AM

Perhaps I am cheating because I used to earn my living fixing cars with this very symtom. This era car would typically have a light under the hood, in the glovebox door or in trunk lid that used a mercury switch to activate. As the switch reached a certain angle the light it controlled will turn on. Occasionally, if the switch was not adjusted properly, simply parking on a slight slope would be enough angle to cause the unseen light to come on and eventually run the battery down. For example facing uphill is likely to turn on the under-hood light as that would be the angle that increases as the hood opens and turns on that light. I doubt the Gremlin's hatchback would have had a trunk light. Can't remember which direction it's glovebox door opens. My vote is for adjusting the under-hood mercury switch.

Roy Harrison

Reply
Guru
Hobbies - HAM Radio - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United States - Member - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri USA
Posts: 1929
Good Answers: 9
#81
In reply to #77

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 9:12 AM

An interesting and (so far) unique answer, but what has it got to do with living in California and being near the Pacific Ocean? Also, parking is not on a sloping street, but in a "street-level, open air garage". Most single level garages I have ever seen are designed to provide a level parking surface. Usually only multi-level garages have sloping surfaces so cars can ramp up to upper levels.

I believe we will find the answer to be related to the salt-spray and/or dew coming from the ocean to the West and infiltrating the engine compartment via the grill at the front of the car when facing in that direction. Either salt-free moisture from dew or the salty sea spray carried on the wind could cause the kind of electrical problems described above. There were many excellent suggestions for solving the problem, but I like the "Mop and Glo" solution (no pun intended) the best! I am assuming this works by providing a thin coat of wax on the electrical contacts, wax being both an excellent sealer to prevent moisture penetration as well as a very good electrical insulator.

__________________
"What, me worry?" Alfred E. Neuman
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#78

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 8:48 AM

Your car is facing East, with the gas tank towards the ocean. The gas tank is not full, so at low tide, the gas is pulled towards the rear of the tank and away from the fuel line. The car will start facing North or South. The fix. Fill the gas tank.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#86
In reply to #78

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 9:55 AM

Ha ha

Reply
Member

Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 7
#79

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 9:00 AM

probably, the wet coductive content( sea moisture ) accumulate to the extent on spark plug terminal, that a path is created between car chasiss\engine( negative ) and spark plug terminal ( positive) not allowing enough current to create a spark.

Reply
Active Contributor

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Chattanooga, TN, USA
Posts: 20
#85

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 9:54 AM

The Gremlin starts when parked facing East. The problem is condensation inside the distributor cap that grounds the spark before it can get to the spark plugs. With the car facing east the engine compartment is sheltered from the moisture laden prevailing wind off of the ocean and the morning sun warms the engine compartment evaporating the condensation.

__________________
Curtis F. Metz, III PE
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#87

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 9:58 AM

The Gremlin has a mechanical fuel pump. If you are on an incline (depending on how much fuel is in the tank),the fuel pump cannot pump fuel since the inlet is not in the fuel and you are sucking air.

Kelly

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#88

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 10:10 AM

Keep in mind that the Pacific ocean coast along California's coast is not due west. If the answer has to do with the position of the car in relation to the ocean, then the answer should be either pointing away from the ocean or pointing toward the ocean (Not East, West, ect.)

I live one half mile from the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach. Water condensation is present on my car on most mornings. The heavy marine cloud layer prevents the sun from coming out on most mornings. The water condensation seems to be evenly deposited over the entire car. I must clean all windows before leaving. The difference is between my car and the Gremlin is that I park outside and not an open air garage.

You can not count on the direction of the wind since it can either blow on-shore or off-shore. (The surfers prefer the off-shore wind direction)

I would suspect that the answer is to point the car away from the ocean (Northeast in my case). I suspect that the problem has to do with water condensation. The ultimate solution is to either buy a car with electronic ignition or park the car in a garage.

JN

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#89

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 10:51 AM

Greetings,

Having been the owner of a Gremlin (which was as much fun as my Ford Focus is) I recall the inline 6 (not a slant) 258ci 3 speed manual and there was also a 230ci, distributor on the right I think.

During the winter 2 guys could shove it (in park-reverse) across the ice on Lake Winnebago. The rear hatch may have had a microswitch (not a mercury switch).

My bet is on the starter motor for some reason (having had one fail on a Ford Taurus at the base of a dam site in Nebraska) which could be very similar to a salt fog.

Ka-ching, ya got my 2 cents worth

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#90
In reply to #89

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 11:08 AM

So now we know that the owner when parking in one direction left the gear shift in reverse (the parking position, which enables the ignition circuit) and when parking in the other direction left the gear shift in first gear and was unable to start the car.

Ka-ching

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#91

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 11:34 AM

Because the Gremlin is an older car, it would have been equipped with mechanical ignition points and a rotor-type contact beneath the distributor cap. Since the car is parked near the coast, moisture content in the air is high, and the cool nighttime temperatures cause that moisture to condense inside the distributor, effectively shorting the electrical pathway. When the car is parked facing to the east, the morning sun shining on the hood generates enough heat to cause the under-cap moisture to evaporate.

The easiest solution to the condensation problem would be the installation of a gasket, or some other sort of moisture-resistant seal, between the distributor cap and the body of the distributor. Although there are generally not supposed to be other "ventilation" holes in the distributor body, any other such openings should - if doing so would not impair the distributor's function - be sealed as well.

Brice Wilborn

Houston, Texas

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#93

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 12:21 PM

The car only starts when facing East. While facing west the moist salt air is bolwing into the engine compartment and causing oxidation in the electrical system. Solution: clean and lightly coat the oxidized parts with WD-40. WD-40 was invented for the Military for this very thing. WD stands for water displacement, 40 because it was the 40th formula tested.

John Adams

Reply
Guru
Hobbies - HAM Radio - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United States - Member - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri USA
Posts: 1929
Good Answers: 9
#96
In reply to #93

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 3:52 PM

WD-40 is excellent for mechanical lubrication and, of course, water displacement. However, the solvent and other petroleum distillates used in WD-40 can soften or even dissolve some plastics and rubber materials, so be careful in using it on electrical connections which use these materials. You may cause more problems than you solve!

__________________
"What, me worry?" Alfred E. Neuman
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 501
Good Answers: 8
#97
In reply to #96

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 6:01 PM

Most automobile components are made to be in some contact with petroleum products. However, I do agree that any prolonged exposure will likely cause deterioration, and thats why I recommended the hundred watt bulb.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#98

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 6:43 PM

What is the similarity between a car on the pacific foreshore and a smelter at the southern tip in NZ?

Both have sea breezes, Both have salt in the air, Both have a temperature variation from day to night - in the case of the car exacerbated by the added engine heating.

The volume of air drawn into the critical voltage regulating space in the engine is proportional to the temperature change from day to night. This volume is not insignificant. If the vehicle is exposed - equivalent to the south side of the smelter - salt laden moisture gets drawn in, on the north side moisture gets drawn in past the connectors but no salt. Does the same apply here

Reply
Active Contributor

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Washington State
Posts: 19
Good Answers: 2
#99

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 7:48 PM

The first item of interest is that there is entirely insuffuicient information to troubleshoot the malfuction. Does not start???? Am I to assume that there is no key on power, or that there is key on power and the engine rotates, but does not start? I am a new member but I have been following the discussion for several years;but this is my first venture into the sometimes intellectual diatribe , and I have to admit that I liked the old format a bit more, althought the discourse on each "Challenge" is certainly a source of entertainment and always tittilating, I do not like waiting for the proffered correct answer to the puzzle.

Keep 'er simple boys and I will try to tag along. Fast

P.S. DO NOT DISCOUNT GREMLINS AS THE POSSIBLE CAUSE!!!!

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#101

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 11:46 PM

Oh I got it... It doesn't have a battery! It has to roll downhill to pop the clutch and start. It won't start if pointed east, uphill and away from the ocean. Get a battery.


(Nothing to do with fuel tanks etc.)

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#102
In reply to #101

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/25/2007 11:51 PM

I should say the battery is dead.

Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Hearts of Oak Popular Science - Paleontology - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2005
Location: In the Garden
Posts: 3389
Good Answers: 75
#106
In reply to #101

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 3:40 AM

It's a gasoline engined car - if there's no battery, then it still won't run as there's not a complete circuit for the alternator to power the spark plugs.

__________________
Chaos always wins because it's better organised.
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Etherville
Posts: 12334
Good Answers: 115
#107
In reply to #106

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 3:53 AM

Is that you Mary ? you're too pixelated . When this thread has gone to seed you may enjoy the 'how to talk like a pirate' link somewhere on cr4. Argh , that be right.

__________________
For sale - Signature space. Apply on self addressed postcard..
Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Hearts of Oak Popular Science - Paleontology - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2005
Location: In the Garden
Posts: 3389
Good Answers: 75
#108
In reply to #107

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 3:58 AM

I'm impressed, m'hearty. <slaps thighs and laughs diabolically with her cutlass between her teeth>

and what do you mean "when"?

__________________
Chaos always wins because it's better organised.
Reply
Power-User
Canada - Member -

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 435
Good Answers: 4
#115
In reply to #101

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 6:58 AM

Nowhere in there does it talk about a hill and since I've never seen a "street-level, open air garage" built on a slope (where the cars parked are not levelled), I doubt very much that you'd be right.....

I think the answer lies in the humidity vs the electrical system as discussed many many times in the answers above. I've had this problem with old(er) cars....

__________________
Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away. - unknown.
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#118
In reply to #115

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 11:29 AM

Humidity versus the direction of the car is less feasable then having to back into a car port to face downhill. Humidity is not directional, even a strong salty sea breeze wouldn't make it to the electrical system and even if it did, the problem would not change when the car was turned around later.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#121
In reply to #118

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 11:51 AM

Stated with such certainty. But is still sounds like untested theory. Plus it is at odds with my practical experience - though this was not in California.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#131
In reply to #101

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/27/2007 1:32 PM

It has to roll downhill to pop the clutch and start. It won't start if pointed east, uphill and away from the ocean.

Did you know that "Popping a Clutch" actually works better when the car is pushed backwards and the clutch is "Popped" in reverse..?

It's true ..... and alot easier than "Popping the Clutch" going forward .... you don't need to push the car backwards very far or very fast and the engine starts very easily....

Best regards,

Dwight

Reply
Power-User
Canada - Member -

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 435
Good Answers: 4
#132
In reply to #131

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/27/2007 1:57 PM

I believe it all has to do with gear ratio. You can achieve the same results if you push the car forward but in 3rd gear (for example).

__________________
Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away. - unknown.
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#137
In reply to #132

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/28/2007 5:05 PM

Reverse gear is usually below first in magnitude. Third needs more speed, not less than first

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Edinburgh, Bonnie Scotland
Posts: 1286
Good Answers: 22
#139
In reply to #137

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/28/2007 5:29 PM

Any car I've had has reverse slightly higher than first, so the ratio is between 1 & 2.

I was taught to push start a car in 2nd, as this gives less jolt to the pushers when the clutch is lifted, in case the car does not start immediately, but this gives a slower rotation of the engine.

Having said that, small engines often start better in first, probably due to the higher natural idle speed.

__________________
Madness is all in the mind
Reply
Active Contributor

Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 14
#103

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 12:22 AM

The problem appears to be electrical and is possibly due to a damp distributor cap which remains damp if the car's bonnet remains in the shade in the morning. If the car & the bonnet faces another direction and is exposed to the morning sun's rays, the distributor cap becomes dry and the car starts.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#104

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 1:11 AM

The car needsto be parked with the tail facing the sea .

The sea breeze is evaporating the gas from the carburator .

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#117

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 10:48 AM

Sounds very thermal.

The first thing I would look at is the ignition coil. If the insulation on it is worn and if this is a gremlin it probably is. Water is condensing inside and shorting it out. The morning sun is warming things under the hood in generall and drying out the coil. That is if it pointed in the correct direction.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#122

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 12:05 PM

Face the car to the South . The answer lies in the Make and model. Inhernet charachteristics. Nobody.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#123

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 2:17 PM

Assuming the sun always rises and illuminates the car before you try and start it (California = sunny and somewhat humid.) I'm voting for condensation of the morning dew onto the spark plug wires except when the hood is facing the sun which drives off the moisture.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#126

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/26/2007 11:06 PM

No guesses to my BONUS QUESTION? What causes the engine to crank without even getting into the car??? The 1974 Gremlin was equipped with Seat Belt Interlocks. You had to fasten the seatbelt in order for the starter to engage. These were typically bypassed by the dealer after endless complaints. Anyway, corrosion would build up in the relay that the interlock switch controlled. Moisture could get into the relay and cause it to close, completing the circuit to the starter. My Gremlin had this happen while driving down the street at 40 MPH. I got out, turned the key off, and the engine kept running with the starter engaged.

Reply
Commentator

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Wales UK. Tel. +44(0)1446 741180
Posts: 72
#130

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/27/2007 8:03 AM

If you park it uphill a smalll air leak into fuel pipe (Carb end) will allow all fuel in the supply pipe to drain back to the tank hence no fuel on starting. best to always park it on the level as parking it downhill risks fuel pickup in tank to suck air due to fuel being one end of the tank but you could still bump start it.

__________________
INDI-LINK makes 'Light' of 'Current' events, a veritable window into wiring.
Reply
Power-User
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 261
#133

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/27/2007 2:51 PM

The direction is down hill. An old Gremmy probably doesn't have that

great a fuel pump, so if pointed up hill the fuel will creap back out of the

line and cause a long cranking period before you get a start the next morning.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Eastern Kansas USA
Posts: 1444
Good Answers: 122
#140

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/28/2007 6:36 PM

As the originator of this challenge, I have been following the comments with interest. I am pleased at the variety of serious answers which have been submitted. As engineers of all sorts, we frequently face problems with les' tha' al' th' fac''. Beyond complaining (which I believe all of us do from time to time), the real challenge is to weigh the possible answers and come up with the one(s) that best fit the given situation. Congratulations to all for this.

I have also enjoyed the not-so-serious postings as well as the digressions. Allow me to add a small one of my own:

The flower / was in power / near this bower.

jmm

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Etherville
Posts: 12334
Good Answers: 115
#141
In reply to #140

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/29/2007 12:55 AM

You were so out of your face all the time you had been getting in the car and sitting facing the wrong way. It was Ok though because 'The Doors' had a lot to do with it all ! Hang on , If you can remember it , you weren't.....

Gravy Booby , Srik

__________________
For sale - Signature space. Apply on self addressed postcard..
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#142

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

04/29/2007 10:33 PM

It has points & condenser under distr. cap.Moisture is going in through a cracked cap.Get new one with points and condenser,ready to roll!

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#152

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

05/02/2007 2:57 AM

Its interesting that there is not enough info. But first assume the street level means it is level to the height of the street. Also says a view of the ocean, you might have to look out the side window to see the ocean and could be blocks away, might be higher the ocean level that the high concentration of moister is not as great. It also did not say the car was facing the ocean. What if the car was sitting perpendicular to the ocean and the garage wall was blocking the ocean brease. I live by the Atlantic ocean with similar problems. It is not a vapor locking or icing problem.

However its probably a environmental problem. But start with the basics, does the battery have charge and a good connection at the posts. I would agree it sounds like a electrical problem. But it could go deeper by a worn neutral safety switch or a weak ballast resistor.

Also it did not state automatic transmission or standard. It also did not state how they started the car. Just maybe its a standard and on level ground, if you push start the car by yourself forwards in third or fourth gear, as apposed to pushing in reverse may not be fast enough to start it. Always put it in the highest gear to push start, the transmission is replacing the starter.

Anyhow I believe in the KISS principal.

Reply
Participant

Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 3
#153

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

05/02/2007 1:23 PM

As usual the magnetics are being ignored. The starter's solenoid is bucking the earth's magnetic field when facing west and boosting when facing the east. If you where facing north-south the problem would be neutralized. A faraday shield could be constructed to prevent this sensitivity to direction!

If it was a ignition problem with moisture, the engine would run very poorly when wet and a smack-to-the-head to the driver who dosen't recognise poor running and poor starting as the same issue.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#154
In reply to #153

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

05/02/2007 4:37 PM

Superconducting? Or did you mean mu-metal

Reply
Participant

Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 3
#155
In reply to #154

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

05/02/2007 9:34 PM

Per MIL STD 285: Mu-Copper foil 0.12 mm thick fully soldered

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage

MEE-U

Reply
Associate

Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Wheaton IL, 30 mi W of Chicago
Posts: 49
#159
In reply to #155

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

05/03/2007 3:21 PM

Having done some magnetic engineering in a previous life, a Faraday cage will do little to cancel a magnetic field. The Mu metal used to cancel earth's magnetic field vector is composed of Copper ~5%, Iron ~15%, Nickel ~80%. Higher field intensities are shunted with shields made of pure soft annealed iron. A magnetic shield is a good Faraday cage, but a Faraday cage (copper foil or copper mesh) is no good as a magnetic shield.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#160
In reply to #159

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

05/03/2007 4:48 PM

Thanks, exactly my point - you saved me the trouble

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#158

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

05/03/2007 8:50 AM

Cousin had a Gremlin. We live in Indiana. Sometimes it did not want to start. Could not see the Pacific ocean. Gremlins are the problem. Solution: sell Gremlin, buy another car.

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#161

Re: Why Won't The Car Start?: Newsletter Challenge (04/24/07)

05/06/2007 1:25 PM

My Gosh - Brings back (anal clamp) memories from the Prince of Darkness - Lucas electrical. Austin Healey, would not start on any form of damp day. Fix was clean all cables, coil and distributor cap with carbon tetrachloride and reassemble with household rubber glove over distributor cap; holes cut out of fingers for cables.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry Page 2 of 2: « First < Prev 1 2 Last »
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Andy Germany (1); Anonymous Poster (59); athmio (1); babiyaar (1); Blink (3); Bob B. (5); CrossFire (2); daveando (1); DaveMeador (2); Davo (1); dincon (7); docrobgar (1); double_j_b (1); Dragonfly (1); English Rose (9); GM1964 (7); halcyon_m (1); Hendrik (1); hhall (1); hilltopper (1); jmart23 (3); jmueller (2); JoeStrauss (1); johnnybravo (1); Kris (20); masu (5); metzc3 (1); MitchelinGuy (2); modest (1); Physicist? (6); pmshah (1); Pragmatist (1); PWSlack (2); Rick@cae (3); SKULLCRUSHER (1); steve45 (1); STL Engineer (2); timetraveler (1); Uncle Red (2)

Previous in Blog: Shocking Cars: Newsletter Challenge (04/17/07)   Next in Blog: Game Show Probability: Newsletter Challenge (05/01/07)

Advertisement