Can extreme cold cause timing problems?

So I was away for the weekend at a friends my car sat at home in the driveway not being started since Thursday. This morning i went to start it and it cranks and the motor jumps around like it wants to start but dont. Its been 17 below and im wondering if the timing belt may have jumped when i tried to cold start it. The sound of the cranking is kinda strange like its got a high pitched tone at the end of the crank. Pew pew noise, any way its not the battery brand new, and the actual pistons are cranking, but maybe not in the right order lol. If the belt was broken it would not crank at all correct? But if it slipped or jumped time it would still crank the engine just not turn over?

The car hates frigid weather.

Which engine? Year? Are you sure it has a timing belt?

Highly unlikely. Timing belts usually break…chains will jump. And if cold could cause this…cars would be stranded all over in places like Northern New England and New York…and especially places like Minnesota or North Dakota.

Um…No. The pistons would still go up and down in the order they are suppose to. The valves wouldn’t move though.

Incorrect. Engine would still turn over…but because the valves aren’t moving then the cylinders would never build compression to start.

Again No.

You need to determine if this is a spark issue or a fuel issue. A very common cause for cold weather (especially when the vehicle has been sitting a while) is a frozen gas line.

If it slipped or broke, the engine would turn over (pistons going up and down) but the valves would not be opening or closing at all if broken, or in time if slipped.

You might need to put a charger on the battery if repeated starting attempts wear it down.

But first make sure you have enough fuel and fuel pressure at the engine: turn the key to Run (not all the way to Start.) The fuel pump will run for a few seconds. You might hear it. Turn Off, then Run, then Off. Repeat this key dance a couple or few times, then turn the key all the way to Start. Good luck!

Okay sorry i didnt post the motor its a 2.3 4 cylinder 1993. I filled it up with gas before i parked it this weekend it was running fine. I know its not the battery the engine is spinning cranking fast. Just wont turn over. And oh wow i had no idea it would still move the motor if the belt broke. Im not a mechanic i know basics probably more than most females but not like someone that actually works on cars. I can repair some things but pulling heads and dropping trannys are beyond my abilities lol. Well i mean give me a heated garage with the right tools and i can do it but not in sub zero temps in my driveway lol.

I can learn just about anything once im told or shown how it works. So the way to check for fire is pull a plug wire get a screwdriver and lay the screwdriver almost touching the wire to see if spark is going through when cranked?

And if the fuel line is frozen do i pull an injector to see if fuel is going through?

Try the key dance before anything else.

When engines get old, they can lose compression. Engines that sit for five or six days in frigid weather need a good battery, properly metered fuel, and good compression to start. And batteries don’t hold their charge forever. They slowly lose it, and the effect can be pronounced in frigid weather.

My recommendation is to call an auto service, have it jump started, let it warm up, and see how it runs. Post the results.

NOTE: it’s been extended zero and subzero weather where I live too, and my car sits for days at a time. It starts okay, but not with the same enthusiasm it does in good weather. It takes a moment.

Those two sentences are mutually exclusive.

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Dinna is using “turn over” to mean “start and run.” It’s a very common misuse.

“Turn over” means the crankshaft is rotating, pistons going up and down, etc.

Dinna means the car does not start or run, despite the battery and starter motor making the engine turn over, “spinning cranking fast” in her descriptive and accurate statement.

Yeah i dont know the lingo but what its doing is motor is cranking and the parts are moving but its not starting. It will be a few days till its warm enough to get out there and mess with it. Its bitterly cold we made it to 10, but the wind chills are ferocious. Just trying to get a head start on what to check once the weather breaks. Check for spark first, and then fuel. If those are fine then back to the drawing board :open_mouth:

Might you have access to a space heater like the ones used by builders to warm the engine up?

No no space heater. But im an idiot, i used to have an escort and it had a timing belt, i assumed this car did too. But apparently it has a chain, does that change anything? I mean like could it have jumped time when i tried to start it, it kicked pretty hard when i first cranked it.

I’d say that’s unlikely. How many miles on this beast?

107,000 Miles, its been passed around in the family for 7 years. My cousin had it last then i took over in October. I dont know what happened between the time i parked it Thursday and this morning but there it sits. Only thing i did was put gas in and park it. Now last week when it was bitterly cold the tranny slipped some till it warmed up, i was in a hurry and didnt let the car warm up at all. Hasnt done it since though.

Also the gas here is E10 so its not a lot of ethanol.

I think it may be valve timing or head gasket. I found a site that says if the car is cranking but wont turn over to check the timing and head gasket.

An engine with LOW COMPRESSION will spin over really fast compared to an engine with good compression. As you try to start it the engine will sound differently: higher pitched, spinning a lot faster than normal.

Thats what its doing making that whir spin noise really fast. So he said to check the chain open the oil filler and if you can see the cam have someone crank the engine see if it moves. I will do that this week, but yeah sounds like low compression. Well that sucks, and i even did a block test on it a month ago and it was fine. But the temp gauge was going up and down so i thought to check for a head gasket. It passed the block test /cry

If you see movement through the oil filler hole while the engine turning over, that means the timing belt or chain is intact. If it had slipped or jumped a tooth or a few, though, engine compression would not be high enough, because the timing of the opening and closing of the valves would be out of synch with the rising and falling pistons.

Still, try the key dance before anything else.

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What is the key dance lol im not sure what to do

See the post I made just before your “Okay sorry I didn’t post the motor…” post, earlier in this conversation. And good luck!

Ok seems simple enough

Might be the starter clutch slipping. If so you’ll see that the engine pullies aren’t even rotating while cranking.