A sense of a false start

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy - Paulo, email

In the past cou­ple of weeks my 2009 VE Com­modore sedan has at times been hard to start. The starter mo­tor turns over, but it takes sev­eral sec­onds for the mo­tor to fire. Some­times it times out with­out start­ing and I then have to turn the key again. It is fit­ted with fac­tory dual-fuel, but it hap­pens with the fuel switch turned to LPG or petrol, and can hap­pen with the engine cold or hot. At the dealer’s sug­ges­tion, I left it with him for a cou­ple of days and though it did hap­pen to him a cou­ple of times, it was too in­ter­mit­tent for him to make any sense of it. Can you of­fer any sug­ges­tions about its cause and what I can do about it? (I pre­sented the car to the dealer be­fore the war­ranty ex­pired, but would it be cov­ered if the prob­lem gets worse now the war­ranty has run out?)

Vic­tor, email It’s not re­lated to the fuel sys­tem as the Im­pco sys­tem starts on petrol ev­ery time, whether you’ve got the sys­tem switched to petrol or LPG. It’s more likely to be an engine sen­sor, such as the crank an­gle sen­sor, which is play­ing up in­ter­mit­tently. Check the con­nec­tions and the sen­sor it­self. As for the war­ranty, you did the right thing in re­port­ing while the war­ranty was in ef­fect, so you could have a claim against Holden once the cause of the prob­lem is de­ter­mined. SHOT OR NOT? A friend has a 1996 Ford XR6 she bought new. It has done al­most 200,000km and has been reg­u­larly ser­viced and runs beau­ti­fully, but she has been told the rings will be ‘‘shot’’ at this point and the car will need a new engine. What would you ad­vise?

KenWood­burn, email The ad­vice she has re­ceived is clearly rub­bish. If, as you say, the car is run­ning well, with no sug­ges­tion of a prob­lem, she should keep ser­vic­ing it as she has, and keep on driv­ing it. SMOKE INMYEYES My 2010 Nis­san Navara D22 has blown black smoke since it was new, but all Nis­san will tell me is that it is nor­mal. They clean the EGR valve and re­set the fuel pump, which fixes it for a bit, but it then comes back. What do you reckon?

Steve Pa­ton, email If it were nor­mal why would they clean the EGR valve and re­set the fuel pump? Clearly there is a prob­lem, ei­ther with the pump or the in­jec­tors, as it seems to be get­ting too much fuel. Take it back and de­mand a real fix. ELEC­TRIC SHOCK The body elec­tric man­age­ment sys­tem on my 2003 BA Ford Fair­mont V8 has failed three times in 12 months, re­sult­ing in me not be­ing able to lock the car or turn off the in­te­rior lights. The re­place­ment cost is $300-plus each time. What are your thoughts?

Adrian, email Those old Fords are renowned for fail­ing body ECUs, but there would have to be an un­der­ly­ing prob­lem to cause three fail­ures in quick suc­ces­sion, so I’d call in an auto elec­tri­cian to sort it out. CLUTCH BAG My D40 Nis­san Navara is at the deal­er­ship to have the clutch re­placed for the sec­ond time in 50,000km; the first was at 10,000km. Nis­san paid for the first one but re­fuses to pay this time. The dealer sug­gested in­stalling a cheaper and more re­li­able fixed fly­wheel third­party clutch, but I am afraid that if I do this I won’t be able to claim against Nis­san Aus­tralia again in the fu­ture. I don’t re­ally want to go down the le­gal path if it can be avoided. Any ad­vice would be help­ful.

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