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Morning start problems

Sam

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Dec 12, 2011
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Hi folks - I hope you and your loved ones are all doing as well as possible right now :thumbup:

I find myself heading into winter, in obviously difficult times, with a morning start issue. An LC morning start issue to be clear :icon-wink:

Here's what I've got....

2003 LC4 with approx 128,000 reliable miles.
Full Toyota history up to around 100,000 then regular oil changes and tyre kicks etc by me from there.
Fuel filter has around 20k on it (last thing Toyota garage did).

Here's the story.....
With no noticable issue in the days previous, the ol' girl took a good 5-10 seconds to start early one morning. Never taken more than a turn before (other than when a battery died). It was cold but not below zero. I had a good healthy chugging like it was trying to go but no k'booms. Then on a second key turn and a few seconds of chug I got life.... and a yellow warning light.

Engine was running well and had a good idle. I let the engine warm up a little then turned it off and back on again. Light went away and it started on the first key turn without hesitation. Later that day (a good 10 hours later so cold again) and it started instantly on the key turn. No warning lights and all good.

Next morning same issue. Prolonged chugging and no k'boom. Eventually a k'boom and a warning light followed by instant starting and no light later in the day. Rinse and repeat for about 2 weeks. Only seems to be an issue on the first start and only first thing in the morning. Both in single and double temperature digits (deg Cs). Warning light mostly (but not always present) immediately after starting - but always clears on a restart.

And that's about where I'm at. There was a little bit of relunctance when trying to accelerate a short while after starting yesterday - felt like a fueling issue - but that cleared up after a quick restart and all was well for the rest of the day.
  • Voltmeter on the batteries (seperately and together) suggests they are fine.
  • Doesn't seem to help if I sit and listen to the fuel pump buzzing away for a while before trying for k'booms.
  • Buddy at a local garage plugged in a box of pixies which read a code 23 off the ECU ... which I "think" is fuelling related (?)
  • Curly glow plug light goes off almost straight away as normal.
I'm stumped. First morning start is difficult and getting worse - but seems ok once going.

I'm reluctant to risk being told I need a new fuel pump and injectors for the bargain price of an arm and 3 legs - at least not without checking in with you lot here first.

First time in 120,000 miles I've had real reason to doubt the LC. Don't like it. Feels like the universe is out of balance....

So, over to you lot. I humbly await any scrap of ideas you might have to offer.

Thank you - I appreciate your time.
 
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Juddian

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First thing i'd do is swap that fuel filter out, if the problem persists afterwards you could lift the bonnet and press the filter plunger to check there's a full head of fuel, you could obviously try priming before the new filter arrives.

I swap filters annually now regardless of mileage, get mine from GSF when they have the 60% sale on (Hengst).
 

karl2000

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Whats the yellow light that comes on - the check engine light or something else? Cant immediately find any info on Code 23 - rather helpfully, 23 seems to be the only code they dont list in the Haynes manual!!! Hows that for Sod's law...

Can you test the batteries other than voltage? ie a battery tester to check they still have something like their original CCA. As we all know the voltage can be OK but the amps might not be there!

Also worth a try - when you first start it in the morning, do the glow plug cycle a few times just to warm it up before actually trying to fire the engine - see if that helps.
 
D

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First thing you need to do is change the fuel filter , 20k miles is high time to change it anyway , its easy to pick up dirty fuel when a fuel station has just had a fuel delivery because filling the fuel station tanks stir up all the dirt/crap and any water in their tanks and customers filling up their cars at that time frame get some of that dirt in their cars tank , if I see a fuel tanker in or leaving a petrol station I avoid that station for a few hours at least ,
But your symptoms also seem similar to the beginning of failing due to worn out red and green scv (suction control valves ) .
 

tony rodaway

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May sound like a stupid question but when you tested your battery did you take the + & - terminals off. From previous battery testing you will get a true reading from the battery with out the terminals connected. Not sure it's your fuel filter as you would get nothing not even a crank. That's my experience from when my lexus fuel pump packed up and car was totally dead just dash lights come on. The fact that you say it's only morning time makes me think its a glow plug or something along those lines. Code 23 is that your maf sensor as don't like the cold.
Hope you fix it soon and merry Christmas. :clap:
 
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tony rodaway

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If you have the double battery system on your lc4 but don't think you do was going to suggest swooping battery's around.
Try Shayne, s idea first as he has a good point
 

GeekOKent

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Batteries are sided, you can't turn them around, the o.e leads don't go far enough on the driver side...

@Sam what oil are you using? Wondering if that has something to do with this.

Also, surprised by the 20k fuel filter replacement recommendation @TONYCY11 - I thought it was much longer here in the UK.
 
D

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I change my fuel filter once a year which is about 6k miles the fuel filter that I first changed when I first got the 120 had just under 18k miles in two years from the last owners service history on it when I changed it and it was as black as a old oil filter inside , so much so I cut the top off it with a angle grinder with a 1mm cutting blade and undid all the filterpaper and it was a shock to see it so black , , I got 12 amc fuel filters from roughtrax for just over £6 each so I dont hesitate to change it every year , its such a quick and easy job to do the way I do it , I disconnect the two electric connectors top and bottom and put and put a emty round plastic tub of Cadburys roses or hero's that fits nicely between the engine fuse box and the hoses cooling pipes , undo the two 12mm nuts that hold the filter to the innerwing and remove the filter and while holding the filter above the emty tub I leave the fuel lines attached and unscrew the filter by hand and let it drain into the tub , then leave the top lid/plunger of the filter with the fuel pipes connected balancing on top of the tub with the two pipes still connected it stays in place and less chance of air locks in the pipes , while I disconnect the metal bracket and water drainer tap and change it over to the new filter , wipe a bit of clean fuel on the both o rings and wipe the top lid where it fits on the filer and fit the new filter bolt it back on the innerwing and connect two connecters and prime the pump till hard and and start the engine . oh by the way I dont have a full plastic engine cover on my engine , I cut it to just cover the intercooler that still uses four bolts to hold the square mesh part of the plastic cover to protect the intercooler and that way it gives me good access while checking and servicing the engine and still leave tools etc on the intercooler while servicing the engine, if you have a full plastic engine cover you may have to remove it to fit the plastic choc tub in place .
 
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Juddian

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Another one here who replaces fuel filter annually.

Interesting a few weeks ago with the lorry i drive, whilst it gets full and proper servicing via the repair and maintenance lease contract the dealership didn't take into account the amount of fast idling the engine covers to run the blowing/hydraulic equipment, circa 2 to 4 hours every day 364 days a year depending on how many loads and shifts the vehicle is planned for.
Anyway a few weeks ago the vehicle showed no signs of any issues but a fuel system warning light suddenly illuminated, i stopped and checked diagnostics on the dash, didn't help though and decided to carry on as running well still and get it checked later, however within 5 miles the warning came up red (stop), with power reduced by probably 30%, limped it into the dealership thankfully only 10 miles away.
Diagnostics showed nothing so they decided to change both fuel filters one of which is huge, both were rammed solid with thick congealed crap, once done all was well again, they'll be altering the fuel filter regime from now on.

There's noticeably better running from the Toyota after changing the filter, despite the similar 6k or so miles between to Tony, and yes the filter is definately dirty looking though i've never cut it (or an oil filter come to that) open to inspect.
 

Tractionman

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If air can get in, fuel can get out. So even if standing overnight, I would expect a smell of diesel, or see evidence of leak. Diesels don't operate good on air as we know, whether starting or full time running.
As ex hgv1 driver, agree with Juddian that diesel engines 'sludge' with lots or excessive 'tickover' or low revs,
but have found that to be the case only operating hiabs, blowers etc, with a lot of daily use, as said.
 
D

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There maybe a possibility of air getting in if the diaphragm for the plunger above the fuel filter is torn or split .
 
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Sam

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Thanks for all your replies and suggestions fellas :thumbup:
  • The warning light was the yellow check engine warning light
  • I checked the batteries separately while cold (disconnected them) and then connected together both running and not - 12.5v and 14.8v respectively - I'll try and get my hands on a proper tester
  • Always used Toyota oil for changes - I assume Toyota used something like it
I'll check my hoses again, have a good sniff around for diesel and prime the plunger the next couple of times I start it to see if it makes a difference - keep you posted.

As for the "change your filter" suggestions - I'll have a read and re-read of @TONYCY11's post, scan some youtoobes and think about having a go.

Thanks again for your support fellas.

Merry Christmas / appropriate seasonal greeting to you all :thumbup:
 

Tractionman

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I see where you are coming from Tony, but if the diaphragm was split, when plunger is pumped, as well as maybe sucking in air, it would expel diesel or 'bubble around it, and There would be no pressure there either.
 

tony rodaway

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14.8 does sound high as normally on a ful voltage charge when running is usually around 14.2.
After reading the posts above regarding the split in the fuel filter with out reading everything again but I'm pretty sure Sam stated his car started in the night-time when it was cold.
Pretty sure if he had a fuel leak on his fuel filter, primer would he not have this problem all the time if left for a few hrs and tried to start again.
 
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