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Old 01-21-2003, 02:47 PM   #1
Hagbard
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Default Couple of maintenance questions.

1. I seem to get a large amount of exhaust in the cold weather.
It dissipates quickly, so I'm guessing it's water. I generally
drive 5 miles to work, so about 10 miles total per day. I looke
at the exhaust this morning after I got to work, and it wasn't
bad, but when I started her this morning holy cow.
I've heard that if you do short drives, you could build up
condensation in the exhaust. I added some drygas yesterday
when I filled up, hopefully it will clear up. Any suggestions?
A friend says to check for water on the dipstick and if there is any
to get rid of the car. *whatevah*

2. The car is kinda hard to start in the cold, my brother's
Forester starts much easier. You know that sick, dying mule
sound where it's like rwoooor, rwooor, and is slow then finally
catches? In fact my brother came in Sunday and says "man your
car is hard to start! we have to do something..." And he starts
talking battery, plugs etc. He says that since I'm running Mobil-1
it shouldn't start too hard, even in the extreme cold.

Think this is the battery telling me it's time to die?
What else can I do/check to make her fire up like she should?
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Old 01-21-2003, 03:29 PM   #2
cnk
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Default

Short trips are harder on the engine than long trips. The best advice I can give you is to warm up the car first before driving the 5 miles. This will give the car time to get up to operating temps and get the moisture out of the system. If you just start the car and then drive it for 5 miles and stop, there will be a lot of moisture collecting everywhere. This is probably what's making it difficult to start the car in the morning.

I had this problem with my old Nissan Sentra. I would drive it a few miles to school and back. The moisture ended up collecting at a joint in the catalytic convertor and rusted through from the inside out. When we replaced it, the mechanic told us it was due to the short distance driving I was doing.

Calvin
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Old 01-21-2003, 03:40 PM   #3
Hagbard
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Default

Yeah, I warmed her up this morning for about 15 minutes before
taking off, and like I said, the exhaust was normal when I got
to work.
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Old 01-21-2003, 04:13 PM   #4
Zola
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Default Re: Couple of maintenance questions.

Quote:
Originally posted by Hagbard

2. The car is kinda hard to start in the cold, my brother's
Forester starts much easier. You know that sick, dying mule
sound where it's like rwoooor, rwooor, and is slow then finally
catches?

Think this is the battery telling me it's time to die?
What else can I do/check to make her fire up like she should?
Here in Minnesota where we are going through a cold snap (overnight and morning temps below zero), I have been unimpressed by the cold cranking ability of the stock battery. This is on my 8 month old car.

I usually turn the key to the ON position and let it sit there for a few seconds before I start the car. This seems to make it easier to start compared to just going to ignition right away. Once I have it started, I usually let it idle for at least 4 or 5 minutes before I get moving.
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Old 01-21-2003, 04:18 PM   #5
tdxflex
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Default Re: Couple of maintenance questions.

Quote:
Originally posted by Hagbard
2. The car is kinda hard to start in the cold, my brother's
Forester starts much easier. You know that sick, dying mule
sound where it's like rwoooor, rwooor, and is slow then finally
catches? In fact my brother came in Sunday and says "man your
car is hard to start! we have to do something..." And he starts
talking battery, plugs etc. He says that since I'm running Mobil-1
it shouldn't start too hard, even in the extreme cold.

Think this is the battery telling me it's time to die?
What else can I do/check to make her fire up like she should?
One thing you should check is the battery terminals for acid buildup. Mine have been building up some acid for the last few months, and it reduces the surface area of contact. I forgot what our batteries cold-cranking amps are rated at, but it's been a problem for a handful of people.
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Old 01-21-2003, 04:18 PM   #6
VSG
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Default

My car isn't too old and it doesn't like to start in the cold. I'm sure a better battery would solve this problem
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Old 01-21-2003, 05:28 PM   #7
dsc
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Default

Quote:
Originally posted by Hagbard
Yeah, I warmed her up this morning for about 15 minutes before
taking off, and like I said, the exhaust was normal when I got
to work.
Idling your engine for 15 minutes is a bad idea for the following reasons: (1) the engine is at its most inefficient at idle, so it produces more contaminents that degrade the oil; (2) I would think that a motor that idles a lot is more likely to suffer from an accumulation of carbon and other contaminants; (3) on some motors, the oil pressure at idle is insufficient to lubricate the motor, so you get a lot of wear at idle; (4) having a warmed-up motor is nice, but the other components (transmission, differentials, etc.) don't get a chance to warm up before you drive off with that nice warmed up motor; (5) a long warm up wastes fuel; and (6) a long warm up pollutes the air.

Unless the air temperature is well below zero, a properly maintained motor should not need a warm up of more than a few seconds. Once the motor is running, the car should be driven gently until it reaches normal operating temperatures. That way, the whole car gets warmed up together. I live in Virginia, so I don't know whether this procedure works in the extreme cold (below, say -10 degrees F).
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Old 01-21-2003, 07:59 PM   #8
Hagbard
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Default

I know it's bad to let her sit and idle, and I admit, It's totally
for Pilot comfort. I'm a big wussy when it comes to the cold.
Plus theres that problem of seeing out of the window when
it's that cold. I could solve it all by moving back to Florida,
anyone got a job for me there?
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Old 01-21-2003, 08:09 PM   #9
Karl
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Default

Both the exhaust and battery problems can be attributed to your short trips. Your pipes will not be totally warm up, and their lives will be cut short significantly. I have a friend who had a Saab 900, and his commute is less than 5 miles a day, and he replaced the exhaust on that thing every other year.
If I were you, I would take the long way to work. Drive longer to get a coffee, take the scenic route and just drive a little more than just 5 miles. I am sure you are not that anxious to get to work everyday, are you??
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Old 01-21-2003, 10:08 PM   #10
Robin2
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To warm your car, all you need is about 3 minutes max.... even in the cold weather.... True your car won't be pumping crazy heat but it won't take long....

For short trips, increase your frequency in service intervals! Short trips are very very hard on the car's engine and exhaust system. The exhaust will rust out from the inside out....

Increase your frequency in oil changes, changing plugs, etc....

Robin
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Old 01-22-2003, 12:13 PM   #11
schnell
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Karl and dsc have the right idea. Idling is bad. Short trips are bad. Easiest solution that I can see is to take a longer drive. Works for me since I love driving my car.

Whatever works for you though. My friend insists on warming up his SUV for 5 minutes every time he gets in the car. Then he wonders why he pays so much for gas, burns oil and needs tune ups all the time.

schnell.
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Old 01-22-2003, 05:53 PM   #12
alfaguy
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Default

Another thing a car tuned for high-rpm power like the WRX will *NEED* is periodic WOT operation. You really can't get the oil warm enough for WOT runs with a 5 minute commute, it's typically 10 minutes or so before my oil temp gauge shows proper temperature.
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Old 01-22-2003, 08:42 PM   #13
Karl
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Default

Quote:
Originally posted by alfaguy
Another thing a car tuned for high-rpm power like the WRX will *NEED* is periodic WOT operation. You really can't get the oil warm enough for WOT runs with a 5 minute commute, it's typically 10 minutes or so before my oil temp gauge shows proper temperature.
*pointing at Alfaguy*
Isn't that called an "Italian tune up"??
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Old 01-22-2003, 11:04 PM   #14
Myrddyn
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Keep in mind this as well, with short trips the battery may not be fully charged. You use up some juice starting, and then only charge so much back in while you drive. So your battery may not be fully charged, and by doing so, it may be degrading faster. Check the levels, and plan on replacing it or putting it on a trickle charger, or going for longer drives.

Myrddyn
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Old 01-23-2003, 02:11 AM   #15
alfaguy
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Yes, the "Italian Tune Up" has been scientifically proven to be absolutely necessary on all Italian cars - or so I tell my wife when she complains about it

She didn't buy the bit about "WOT in top gear for at least 5 minutes", though.
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Old 01-23-2003, 10:32 AM   #16
Julian
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Stock Subaru batteries are known for their suxorness. An Optima will clear up any and all cold-start difficulties. Cleaning all your battery terminals/connections is not a bad idea either.

As to the exhaust - water is a by-product of combustion, so it is natural. You're seeing it more in cold weather because the vapor condenses.
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Old 01-23-2003, 10:02 PM   #17
Mike Wevrick
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Default Re: Couple of maintenance questions.

Quote:
Originally posted by Hagbard
1. I seem to get a large amount of exhaust in the cold weather.
It dissipates quickly, so I'm guessing it's water.
Yes, it's water.
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