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Hi all

I always thought a fair bit about cars mechanically, but having always owned petrol cars, i know very very little about diesels, except that they don’t use spark plugs.

But I couldn’t understand why my GT was struggling to start since the weather hadn’t gotten colder but had been fine in the summer. I thought maybe it was battery thing!

After some initial research on the net last night on this forum and rest of the internet, i finally became "glow plug aware!" and the need for them to be warm before starting. And also how diesel engines use compression rather than ignition in petrol engines.Im ashamed to admit I still haven’t read the cars user manual since buying in the summer! :/ A brief look this morning however didn’t really say much about waiting for the glow plugs to warm up.

Anyway.... this morning i put the ignition on (without starting the engine obviously), for 30 seconds, heard that quiet whirring type "noise" which i assume now is the glow plugs? (could never work it out before) and then did it again for another 30 seconds (i read this off another thread, apparently you should do this when it’s really cold???)

Then i finally tried turning the engine but it still struggled - taking about 5-6 seconds to finally fire up. Basically the same amount of time it was taking before anyway - before i became glow plug aware!

I noticed smokey exhaust plume when it started, but guess that would happen if its flooded the engine? And a few minutes later when i pulled away from traffic lights (after 5min driving, engine still cold)

Btw everything is fine once the car has started however.

So my questions are –
1) is the normal procedure to always turn ignition on (without starting engine), wait for the glow light symbol on the dash to go off and then do a full turn of the key and start the engine?
2) Why is it still struggling to start even though im doing the above?? Am I doing something wrong still?
3) Is it another issue? Glow plus need replacing?
4) Have I done any damage by trying to start it in the cold without waiting? :/
Thanks
 
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you shouldn't have done any damage...

Yeah (esp when cold) wait for yellow lamp to go off.. If there is a glow plug issue the glowplug lamp will usually flash for 10 seconds or so after initially lighting (is yours?) If not then maybe something else making it a little sluggish to start :)
 

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I'd be more worried that it takes you 30 seconds for the glow plug light to go off! In my GT 1.9jtdm it takes 3-4 seconds maximum for the light to go off when you turn on the ignition (but not start the engine). In a warm weather it's probably more like 2 seconds.
 

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(after 5min driving, engine still cold)

So my questions are –
1) is the normal procedure to always turn ignition on (without starting engine), wait for the glow light symbol on the dash to go off and then do a full turn of the key and start the engine?
2) Why is it still struggling to start even though im doing the above?? Am I doing something wrong still?
3) Is it another issue? Glow plus need replacing?
4) Have I done any damage by trying to start it in the cold without waiting? :/
Thanks
it'll take more than 5 mins to warm up unless you are straight onto a motorway.
1) Yes ...if very cold and not been run for a few days, do it twice
2) could be another issue?
3) I think to difficult for anyone to diagnose based upon your info
4) Unlikely
 

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I leave mine on mar till the light goes off even after she's been sat in my garage overnight, and she starts fine, she even starts fine at the end of the day when she has been parked up outside at work all day, albeit I do get the glow plug error symbol :lol:
 
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Really cold days, try three times 30 seconds glow plug warm ups.. ignition on, wait 30 then off, then on right away 30s then off, then on right away 30s and start up....

Take no notice of the dash warning light for the glow plug, its not related to when it turns off the charge... Glow plugs have a designated charge time via ECU and relay even if your car has started up before they have finished pre-heat, they will still be heating until the timer has cut the current:rolleyes:

You should hear a click from the engine bay when the relay has switch the heating proceedure off thus (30 seconds)

Don't use Ether or easystart, your engine will start to depend on it.

If you still have an issue:

Check the glow plugs by using a multimeter to see if they are getting the correct current and voltage, one usually fails first, very rare they all fail together.
If in doubt take them out but keep them connected and see if they all glow red at the same time period, one slow at heating up will cause a problem:thumbs:

Black smoke is normal, it's unburnt fuel that hasn't reached compression burn temperature just yet, pistons and rings need heat to seal up properly so compression is initially down a little until heat builds up... That's normal... Time to be concerned is when its doing it when hot and usually down to a blocked EGR or MAP sensor:thumbs:

Its not rocket science but some people try and make it sound like it:D
You'll be fine mate:thumbs:
 

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Common-rail diesels hardly use the glowplugs for starting until the weather is sufficiently cold, like -10degs or thereabouts. Even then, a 5 or 10 second heat should be more than enough.

You try starting an old Transit Di or Pug XUD/TUD without a good bit of heat in that weather.. and you really will have a flat battery :)
 

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well my car is psrked in the shade and we live in the shadow of the hills so we almost get no sun for 3 months of the year and this is the first cold spell with my Alfa and i have had problems starting it...... I thought when the light goes out that was the end of the heating!! the light stays on for about 3 seconds the first time then less than a second the second time to mar....... maybe i should wait a little longer lol
 

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handy thread as I am thinking of a GT or 159 and cant afford the petrol models!
I have no clue of diesels yet...
 

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Takes me ages to start her up on cold mornings aswell. Ive got to the conclusion for 1 cycle of plugs -1 and above, 2 cycles -2 to -4 and 3 cycles for anything below. Seems to help with starting :rolleyes:
 

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I have to say i have the 1.9JTD and i have just left it on my driveway for the last 8 days in snow and ice and around -5 ,came home ,just waited for the glow plug lamp to extinguish and she fired up almost straight away to my surprise , fantastic car i love it and the heated seats are a must especially when pulling up at traffic lights looking over to see the person with a puffer jacket,hat,scarf and gloves on and im sitting in my nice heated seat in shorts and fliop flops lol.
 

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starts up straight away at the turn off the key but makes one hell of racket for a few minutes... Tried Grahameo's method but 10secs not 30 and its its much better. Millers ecomax really helps aswell with the smoothness of the engine in winter i have noticed.
 

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After my glow plug light has gone out it takes approx 6 seconds on cranking for it to start. The battery condition light is black and not that healthy green. May well need a new battery this may wel help with the extra umph to start it below 6 secs.
I had a old van that kept the glow plugs on beyond the dash light I must check out the theory that the same is happening to my Alfa :)
 

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I have to say i have the 1.9JTD and i have just left it on my driveway for the last 8 days in snow and ice and around -5 ,came home ,just waited for the glow plug lamp to extinguish and she fired up almost straight away to my surprise , fantastic car i love it and the heated seats are a must especially when pulling up at traffic lights looking over to see the person with a puffer jacket,hat,scarf and gloves on and im sitting in my nice heated seat in shorts and fliop flops lol.
Mine too.

Really cold days, try three times 30 seconds glow plug warm ups.. ignition on, wait 30 then off, then on right away 30s then off, then on right away 30s and start up....

Take no notice of the dash warning light for the glow plug, its not related to when it turns off the charge... Glow plugs have a designated charge time via ECU and relay even if your car has started up before they have finished pre-heat, they will still be heating until the timer has cut the current:rolleyes:

You should hear a click from the engine bay when the relay has switch the heating proceedure off thus (30 seconds)

Don't use Ether or easystart, your engine will start to depend on it.
Great info that Graham and I was lead to believe that you should start the engine as soon as the yellow glow plug light extinguishes signifying the glow plugs had shut off. I had noticed on really cold mornings it took a few more turns to start. I shall now just hold and wait for a bit longer :)
 
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