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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello guys!

I realize this posts is getting pretty long so if you have some time on your hands please check this out, maybe you have an idea that could help. Thanks in advance!

I just got my second car. Being on a really tight budget I saw a lot of Cavaliers of Craigslist that had numerous problems so after all I got an Alero 2001 with a V6 GM3400 SFI and 180k so I'm kind of on a cheap car challenge right now.

This car has one problem that drives me crazy and I'm looking for somebody to point me in the right direction.

When I start it first time in the morning takes a few seconds ( around 5-6 ) to start and then everything is fine. I'm afraid that when the cold weather hits I'm gonna be in big troubles trying to start the engine.

Now after gets warm will start right away. Even if it's just hot outside will be enough to make it start without problems.. I don't know were to look at anymore.

I did some work to this car so far in the 2 weeks that I had it, just note that the engine had the same problem before I did all this work on it so I didn't cause it in the process .

High mileage oil change
Coolant flush
Replaced brake fluids / throw a Lucas bottle in the transmission and in the fuel tank .
Fuel pressure regulator ( was leaking gas into the vacuum lines )
PCV Valve ( was leaking engine oil into the vacuum lines )
Replaced some gaskets and vacuum lines that were old / dry and made sure that are no vacuum leaks .
Cleaned throttle body, MAF and IAC sensors from the intake because of all the leaks in the vacuum lines .
Replaced starter ( died on me )
Checked battery and charging system and those are ok.
Replaced spark plugs with original AcDelco pre gaped and cleaned / put some dielectric grease on the wires - wires and coils looks good I may be doing more checks on that though .
I cleaned all the fuses and relays related to the fuel / ignition system from the engine fuse box and sprayed some penetrating oil on all the ground points that I saw around the engine bay.

What should I check or try next?

I tried to pump the throttle before start, and cycling the key on and off to try to build some fuel pressure because I was suspecting low fuel pressure with no luck.

Now the car does has some codes for P0440 - EVAP system malfunction and I replaced the fuel cap but didn't fix it. I believe is the fuel neck being rusted but I want to fix this starting problem before I throw any more money in this car.

The car runs great, clean idle, builds speed fast is responsive, no problems or leaks just that annoying hard start in the morning .

If you have any thought in the manner just post it, I'm gonna check everything I can . Thank's for reading this and sorry for the long post. :D

Have a great weekend!
 

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When my grand prix with the 3800 did this it was a crank sensor going bad. Never threw a code. Only reason I found out was because the new owner changed it and it started everytime after that.
 

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Have you tried holding the pedal to the floor? Sounds like the plenum is full of fumes, maybe the purge valve is stuck open.

DTC P0440
Description
The EVAP large leak test applies vacuum to the evaporative emission (EVAP) system and monitors vacuum decay. The powertrain control module (PCM) monitors the fuel tank pressure (FTP) sensor signal to determine the vacuum decay rate. At an appropriate time, the PCM turns the EVAP canister purge valve ON (open) and the EVAP vent valve ON (closed). This allows the engine to draw a vacuum on the EVAP system. At a calibrated time, or vacuum level, the PCM turns the purge valve OFF (closed), sealing the system, and monitors the FTP sensor input in order to determine EVAP system vacuum. If the system is unable to achieve the calibrated vacuum level, or the vacuum level decreases too rapidly, DTC P0440 will set.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Money-man I read that the crank sensor failure manifest just when the engine is hot, that's why I count it out, now is back on the list! :D

Coby, when you say floor it, you mean to keep the acceleration pedal all the way down when I crank the engine, or when the engine is warm to just go to 4k rpm for a few seconds? I imagine cranking it with full throttle will make that engine scream .
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I tried the all the way to the floor throttle and cranking, after this the car started right away so we may be on something. I'm gonna try to start the engine again in the evening when it get's a bit colder ( now is 90* F outside temperature )

I hooked up the car on a fancier scanner tool and I got more codes:

The same P0440 x2 times
P0442- Evaporative semission control system, small leak detected x 2 times

and then I looked into the ABS DTC's and i got one there to:

C1245 - Right front ABS channel does not move .
 

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P0442 is probably a rusty filler neck. But P0440 I would look at you purge valve.
 

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Have you tried holding the pedal to the floor? Sounds like the plenum is full of fumes, maybe the purge valve is stuck open.

DTC P0440
Description
The EVAP large leak test applies vacuum to the evaporative emission (EVAP) system and monitors vacuum decay. The powertrain control module (PCM) monitors the fuel tank pressure (FTP) sensor signal to determine the vacuum decay rate. At an appropriate time, the PCM turns the EVAP canister purge valve ON (open) and the EVAP vent valve ON (closed). This allows the engine to draw a vacuum on the EVAP system. At a calibrated time, or vacuum level, the PCM turns the purge valve OFF (closed), sealing the system, and monitors the FTP sensor input in order to determine EVAP system vacuum. If the system is unable to achieve the calibrated vacuum level, or the vacuum level decreases too rapidly, DTC P0440 will set.
I used to floor my grand prix and it would start right up. That's why I never figured out what it was.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Quick update here. I did some research - if watching Youtube videos on the subject counts - on the EVAP system and I located the purge valve under the hood. Not having a wobbling extension for my socket ratchet at home, and with the labor day weekend going on - btw I hope everybody had a great and safe weekend - I wasn't able to do to much...

What I did though was to clean the connections and to check the harness that looks fair. I was able to get with ignition on a 11.45 voltage but NO ground on harness at the purge valve though ( I had to use the negative terminal from the battery in order to get a reading ) . I would assume that the system uses the ground to turn it on / off or will come alive when the engine is on - not sure how that works...

I guess I will see tomorrow when I'm gonna take the valve of the engine and somehow test it with some alligator wires - I know I'm not gonna spend $80 for the power probe right now - it would be nice to have though ...
 

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When you pull the purge valve out you should not be able to blow through it with no voltage applied. If you can the solenoid is probably stuck open.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
OK, so something strange happened. The last three times that I started the car in the evening and morning without hot weather the engine started right away without any problems whatsoever.

I know that I should not get to happy about it so I went ahead and took the purge valve out and tried to blow air through it but there was nothing going trough in any direction. I just clean it with a rug and triple checked the lines without finding anything else.

Because I was already in that area of the engine I pulled the EGR valve out to clean it - I had to use some MAF cleaning spray from the lack of any other cleaning fluid so I hope that worked good. There were not to many deposits but one of the bolts was looking hand tight only so at least everything is clean and tight now.

Remains for tomorrow to clean the codes and see how it goes - I got a new fuel neck to so I will have to find some time for that .

Got some pics with the beast: :D







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After I replaced the fuel neck both of the codes went away, took the car for a road trip and the emission status is on green with no pending codes.

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Update!!!

In my quest to finding the hard starting problem I manage the screw up big time. I got to replace the coolant temperature sensor, went to hard on it with the ratchet and the lower intake manifold cracked in three places. I tried some poxy glue to help sealing but no luck. Just got one of ebay for $60 but the amount of work to disassemble everything and then coolant flush again and oil change makes it a really good lesson.

1. If it works, don't fix it!
2. Use a torque ratchet when working on engine.

Now I'm 40% in disassembling, I have to take out the injector rail , and then the lower manifold and start putting everything back together.

Fingers crossed that i'm not breaking anything else in the process!

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Just to put an end to this. I did replaced the LIM, gaskets, bolts, coolant flush / oil change last Saturday and from then to now I did over 130 miles without any leaks / problems so I believe it's safe to say that was a success ! I followed the 1aauto video that's on youtube and that was real help.

It starts a lot better now to! What I think it was at fault after all was a gasket from a vacuum line that was right under the coil pack going into the valve cover. Was in a though shape so I replace it.

Other good news; I had an oil leak, most likely main seal but after 2 oil changes with Castrol High Mileage syn blend looks like it's not leaking anymore... :D
 
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