Colds weather won't start


#1

I’ve got a '93 Dakota that wouldn’t start this morning after a cold snap, it used to fit just fine in any temp. It’s cranking strong, can smell gas, and it’s getting spark(used an inline tester). Battery had a full charge. Lay night the windchill got down to -40 Fahrenheit. Any help is appreciated.


#2

Make sure it has a full tank. Add some Heet if it doesn’t.


#3

Strong cranking and good spark and still doesn’t start? It may be getting gas, but maybe not enough. Fuel pressure may be a tad low, or injectors are no spraying their full output. An engine needs a pretty good dose of gas at that temp. Could be an electrical problem too. Anything is possible at that temp I guess. Maybe ask your mechanic to use some starter spray (a brand compatible with your engine, some brands may damage expensive sensors) and spray it into the intake manifold, see if that helps. Besides the good advice above, could provide a clue anyway.


#4

In Minnesota, that would indicate time for a general tune up. Plugs, air filter, maybe plug wires, etc. Cars don’t care about windchill, just temp but a -40 windchill would indicate either a 30 mph wind or 10 to 20 below. At that temp, you need everything going for it. Also it fit has one, you want to make sure the engine temperature sensor is good as well as the air sensor and MAF. Hooking the computer diagnostics on it would tell if those things are ok or not.


#5

All useful advice above. Get a can of starting fluid and next time blow some into the intake and see what happens. If that gets it going then focus on a fuel delivery problem.

I will say that if I hear confirmed spark (if it’s nice, strong, bright blue spark) and the smell of fuel also leads me to wonder about the other two things you need for the engine to run - air and compression. I would pull and clean the idle air control valve and check its wiring. And I would think about checking compression. One of the things about cold is that all of the metal shrinks - compression is always lowest when the engine is cold (regardless of air temp). You might have relatively low but passable compression on a normal basis that gets too low with extremely low temps.