Intermittent start problem-seems heat/sun related - Kia Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 04-09-2009, 10:52 AM
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Default Intermittent start problem-seems heat/sun related

I have a 2000 Kia Sephia 5-speed manual transmission. About 81000 miles. Bought it new. About 3-4 years ago, it started having what I refer to as a "hot start problem." If I drive for a few hours on a trip and then need to stop for gas or use the restroom, it will not start back up. Cranks and engine tries to turn over, but it will not start. I let the car sit for about 5-10 minutes and then it will start; it is a hard start where it doesn't seem like the engine will actually turn all the way over, but if I give it a little gas, it will catch and start up. The other scenario where it will not start is if I run a lot of quick errands. For instance: drive 5 minutes to fast food establishment, run in and get something to go; then drive 5 minutes to ATM (idling); then drive 10 minutes to pharmacy-spend about 5 minutes in there; come out to car-won't start. After about 5-10 minutes of trying car finally starts.

No dealer or mechanic could ever duplicate the problem. They said they would let the car run for 20-30 minutes then shut it off and it would start right up for them.

An annoying problem, but one I could work around since no one could come up with a solution or even a diagnosis for that matter.

In the past week or so, I noticed that when I left work, the car was hard to start. It is parked in the sun all day with the windows up. I would turn the key and nothing happened. Dash lights came on and stayed on, seatbelt warning alarm would sound but the engine would not even try to crank or turn over. I would release the key and try again and the car would start. Then one afternoon I left work (5pm) and the car would not start at all. Dash lights on, etc but no clicking, no sound of the engine even trying to crank or turn over. I kept trying to start it every 5 minutes or so. My husband came to pick me up and later that evening (around 9pm) we drove back to my office and the car started right up.

Here is where I stand now: The car starts fine in the morning. It takes me 15 minutes to get to work (surface streets-no heavy, stop-and-go traffic). Monday the car was parked in the shade all day, windows down. It was a little difficult to start, but the engine was cranking and it caught. On Tuesday, I did not leave the office until 5pm. The car was parked in the shade with windows cracked. It started right up. The next day I parked in the shade, windows down. Left work around noon to go through a drive thru for lunch. It tried to turn over, didn't catch, tried again and it finally caught and started. Probably drove the car for about 20 minutes. Returned to work and was forced to park in the sun. Left windows down. High temp that day was around 70 degrees. Left work at 5pm. Tried to start car. Dash lights, warning beeps all came on. No clicks, no sounds, engine did not crank or try to turn over. Turned key back to accessories position, then On position and left it there for about 10 seconds. Turned key to start car and it started right up.

In the past year, the car has had a new starter installed, a new battery with an insulator pad cover and a new stronger alternator (from 80amp to 110amp). This was due to a technical service bulletin I found that said Kia Sephia owners had complained that the battery drained in high ambient temperatures. However, this does not seem to have had an effect. It's never had overheating issues or anything like that. I think an 02 sensor was replaced in 2002 or 2003. It's had new CV axles; a new water pump. I get the oil changed regularly and get its recommended services at 30k, 60k etc.

I am beginning (after culling what seems like thousands of automotive message boards) to think it's something to do with either the ignition switch or the fuel pump/fuel pressure regulator. Or maybe even the clutch interlock switch?
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#2 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 12:37 AM
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to me it sounds like a ignition switch problem or the silonode on the starter is weak. I know you said you replaced it, but mine had a crack in the plastic and it wouldn't start. It only happened when the car got hot. I would not turn over at all. Or it would turn over but not fast enough to get it started. I would also check the battery posts and make sure there is not white crud on the posts. If so clean them. Also check the ground cables and clean them. When was the last time you replaced the fuel filter??
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#3 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 03:21 PM
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Not since 30,000 mile service. Now the car is starting fine in the morning, ok at mid-day and not at all when I leave work at 5pm. I have to practically hold it in the start position and finally it starts. Still absolutely no noise from the engine, no clicks, no hum, nothing until it actually starts and then runs fine. Also, if I try to start it at 8pm, after it's sat in the driveway for a couple hours, it will not start. Hitting the gas while holding the key in the start position helped one time. But last night, I tried and tried and it just stayed dead. Right now it's back at the mechanics for one last go, before I call it quits and push it off a cliff. I told them to wait to try to start it until late today and hopefully it will act up for them.
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#4 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 03:38 PM
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did you ever try to swap PCM? It sound like you do not get either or both - current for ignition and/or power to crank the engine.

I had similar problem with heat syndrome. When summer came or after long time driving on winter - all gauges stop working. Like I turned off ignition switch, but car was running fine. It turned out to be a dry joint some where on the dashboard. I had to find it by myself.

So, having this problem, I would suspect the same with your car. Try to find PCM module and swap them for a few days. See what happens.

Ignition switch could be also a problem. Replace it too.

But whatever you do, do only one thing at a time.


EDIT
I just though about other solution.
On the day, when you are SURE it will not start, remove the PCM (ECM, or whatever it is called) and take it with you. Place in a cold place and when about to leave, take it with you, put back and try to start the car.
Of course it is impossible with ignition switch

To narrow down the problem - when the car cranking, but not willing to start, remove a spark plug. See if you can smell gas. In the meantime, check for spark on other cylinder.
This way, we will know if we are talking about fuel or/and spark deficiency.



And one more thing.
Does EVERYTHING else work when the engine does not crank? I mean, wipers, washer, lights, horn, blower, turn signals and so on... including gauges on the dash.

www.kiatechinfo.com USA - free service, manuals www.kia.ca/kia-owners-manuals Canada www.kia-hotline.com Europe (paid service!) www.kia.ca/pages/owner/OwnersManual.aspx?lang=en manuals - must pick model, Canadian version - for free
PRINT IT and put on your car Do you talk/text and drive? Watch it: http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Watch...bsession-Video

Last edited by PLP; 04-23-2009 at 03:49 PM. Reason: other thougths
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#5 (permalink) Old 04-24-2009, 01:27 PM
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Vapor lock, maybe? It sounds like Raven and PLP have a lot more know-how on this than I'm going to (which isn't saying much), but a warm engine being the issue, I'm wondering if it wouldn't help to look at vapor lock or vacuum/vapor recovery issues.
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#6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2009, 01:24 PM
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The mechanics were able to get the car to not start for them. They said it was the ignition switch, which they replaced. I've had the car back for about a week now. It has started fine every time.

And now that the ignition switch is fixed, and I've realized that it was a different issue from the hot start problem, I've had a chance to see if the alternator/battery fix did anything. I ran a lot of quick errands on Friday in high 80s-low 90s temps. Each time, it started right up. Before, it would have either hesitated to start or not at all, requiring multiple cranks. So, if you're having a hot start problem with one of these Sephias, and it's definitely not fuel-related, I highly recommend the stronger alternator and battery insulator cover. Who knows, it may not last, but right now it seems to be solved.

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#7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 01:49 PM
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I have a similar problem in that my 2000 KIA Sephia cranks extra long when the engine is cold. After it's warmed up it is AOK and starts like it always did, almost immediately. Also, I wanted to change the plugs in this thing but when I took the cover off I was stunned to see some wierd robotic looking wires and I was afraid to pull them off of the plugs. Can anyone tell me if the starting problem is the ignition switch and can you give me advice about changing the plugs? I hate the thought of having to pay someone to change plugs. Thanks
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