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Old 04-01-2013, 02:16 PM   #1
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Won't start, and dropping oil level

Background: 907xx miles, manual, no prior engine issues.

Went to head to campus a little while ago and the Box won't start, just cranks (no odd noises). Hmm, try again. And again. Then I noticed that the oil level gauge kept dropping each time I had tried to start (and thus stopped).

I checked the dipstick and it doesn't seem to be out the the ordinary, however there seems to be (per my uneducated observation) oil in the bottom of the coolant reservoir. It's not intermix, but definitely separated with the clean coolant on top.

I last had the car out on Saturday and it was driving beautifully. Not turning much up with the Bentley and I'm about to hook it up to the Durametric.

Could this be a bad oil cooler? The garage floor is dry, no drips of any sort.

Update: Replaced sending unit (w/ internal fuel filter) and fuel pump with used examples, drained the gas tank completely, and refilled with fresh 93 octane. Problem solved. Old fuel in the tank smelled old, not as pungent as fresh gas does - likely a contributor to the failure.
Related threads:
http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/44095-no-start-continuation.html
http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/44258-still-doesnt-run-help.html
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Last edited by Deserion; 04-27-2013 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:27 PM   #2
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If there is oil in the coolant it will rise to the top (oil floats) and look like brown goo. Probably not what you are seeing. Maybe just a failed ign switch allowing the starter to turn but no spark. Are you sure you have gas?

A failed crank position sensor will also cause this symptom.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:53 PM   #3
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Definitely have gas.

Mainly what's concerning is how the oil level drops. It has been sitting for a while and hasn't gone back up. Perhaps I'm just overreacting a bit. No fault codes present with the Durametric.

Ignition switch seems plausible, if the oil level is off due to cranking (not sure why as it doesn't do this after it's been driven).

Thinking it may be the crankshaft position sensor. (edit)
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Last edited by Deserion; 04-01-2013 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:59 PM   #4
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Definitely have gas.

Mainly what's concerning is how the oil level drops. It has been sitting for a while and hasn't gone back up. Perhaps I'm just overreacting a bit. No fault codes present with the Durametric.

Ignition switch seems plausible, if the oil level is off due to cranking (not sure why as it doesn't do this after it's been driven).

Thinking it may be the crankshaft position sensor. (edit)

I don't put a huge amount of faith in the oil level display, but if it showed low, then I would definitely check it manually. Keep in mind that every time you crank it you are pushing cold oil through the engine that will take quite a while to drain back into the sump, where it is measured. I'd bet it's an ignition related issue (could be a number of things including CPS). I'd also bet that if you let the car sit for a few hours without cranking, you'll see your oil level go back up...
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:35 PM   #5
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Ignore the electronic oil level indicator - on the early cars they are characteristically "variable". If the dipstick says that you have enough oil, then you have enough oil (and be glad that you have an early car that HAS a dipstick).

Otherwise, you have starting problem to diagnose.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:29 AM   #6
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With your Durametric, monitor engine rpm while cranking. It should read over 125 rpms while cranking. If it does, you need to verify coils are sparking, adequate fuel pressure, and pulse at the injectors if you get that far.

If you do not get rpm above zero, you need to inspect crank sensor and the unlikely reluctor tabs (there will be nothing wrong with these).

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Old 04-02-2013, 04:40 AM   #7
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Checked in on it before leaving for work this morning. Oil level gauge shows normal (was fine on the dipstick), coolant tank is okay (was my paranoia acting up ), still won't start. I'll check the RPMs with the Durametric this afternoon.

I'm going to swap out the DME relay for kicks tonight to see if that may be the issue (as I have an extra on hand). Hopefully this will be wrapped up shortly.

Thanks for the help guys!
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:26 AM   #8
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Could it be caused by the switch that let's the car know that you've depressed the clutch pedal?
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:08 PM   #9
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UPDATE: Swapped the DME relay, nothing. Durametric shows the car turning ~160RPMs during cranking.

Durametric does show the clutch pedal sensor engaging.

Will now be looking into other possibilities (spark, fuel pressure, etc.).
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:16 PM   #10
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Looks like a fuel issue. I pressed the Schrader valve on the right fuel rail, expecting to get gas... dry. Had the system pressurized and had nothing. Having the fuel pump checked out tomorrow, and will update on results.
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:51 PM   #11
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My 2004 S Model seems to be doing the same thing. it takes a few times of turning the key before i get any sound from the engine. just took it to autozone to test the battery and their computer said that the battery, alternator, and starter were all ok. did it end up being the fuel pump? its cold here this week. i was wondering if that had something to do with it? also the front trunk isnt opening properly. im not sure if its related?
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:59 PM   #12
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My 2004 S Model seems to be doing the same thing. it takes a few times of turning the key before i get any sound from the engine. just took it to autozone to test the battery and their computer said that the battery, alternator, and starter were all ok. did it end up being the fuel pump? its cold here this week. i was wondering if that had something to do with it? also the front trunk isnt opening properly. im not sure if its related?
Thanks for searching before posting. If you have to turn the key multiple times before the starter engages it's usually a sign your ignition switch is going bad. Common problem.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by tconnarn View Post
My 2004 S Model seems to be doing the same thing. it takes a few times of turning the key before i get any sound from the engine. just took it to autozone to test the battery and their computer said that the battery, alternator, and starter were all ok. did it end up being the fuel pump? its cold here this week. i was wondering if that had something to do with it? also the front trunk isnt opening properly. im not sure if its related?
In my case, yes, the fuel pump was faulty. The fuel filter (integrated into the sending unit) was clogged with some nasty black gunk and burned up the fuel pump due to heavy restriction. I ordered a replacement fuel pump and sending unit (both used) from DC Auto and the car has been running great since.

My car would crank but not start, yours sounds like it's not even doing that. I'd figure the ignition switch is going (common issue). It's a bit of a squeeze for, ahem, larger folks like me to get up in there but it's doable with a cut-down small screwdriver.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:24 AM   #14
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Thank you for the quick responses. I'm going to order the ignition switch today from p.p. and I'll try to find a way to fit my post-thanksgiving big body under there. I may end up removing the seat, and I will also grind down an old flathead to squeeze in there. Its about time for a service so hopefully that makes the oil level sensor happy again when I change it this weekend. Thanks again! I hope this fixes it

Is it possible to test the ignition switch with my durametric?
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:11 AM   #15
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Ok, so i replaced the ignition switch last night, and it started up after that. i restarted it 4-5x to test it, and it seemed to work well. then this morning, it did the same thing as before: dash lights came on, radio, air vents, etc, but only total silence when i turned the key to start the engine. i have a new starter, and am waiting only for the 2 new starter bolts to arrive before installing it. do you think it may be the starter instead? possibly something else? it was below freezing this morning when the car didnt start
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:23 AM   #16
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I'd be checking voltage drop across the battery cables, both to ground and to the starter. Corroded cables often show up in the cold.
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:13 PM   #17
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You could check the fuel pressure as well. To do so you need a common fuel pressure tester that attaches to a Schrader valve fitting- should read 45lbs or so while the engine is being turned over.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:35 PM   #18
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Thank you for the feedback, i may try to test the voltage on the wires next. i replaced the starter today and it started up, but only intermittently. On the diagnostic software, the Clutch Switch is not actuated when i press the pedal down, but the "Cruise Control Readiness" switch does respond on "On & Off" on the diagnostic software. What do you think? Im thinking about replacing that next and see what happens... Thanks for the help!

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Old 01-02-2014, 08:23 AM   #19
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Thank you for the feedback, i may try to test the voltage on the wires next. i replaced the starter today and it started up, but only intermittently. On the diagnostic software, the Clutch Switch is not actuated when i press the pedal down, but the "Cruise Control Readiness" switch does respond on "On & Off" on the diagnostic software. What do you think? Im thinking about replacing that next and see what happens... Thanks for the help!

Tex
Problem Solved - Replacing the 2 Clutch Switches took me about 15 minutes. She starts right up every time now. Thanks for the help. Now its on to the next project...
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