Argh! Why won't she start...

Morning all,

Keen to head out for a drive this morning. Battery fully charged, tank full of Optimax…and she just won’t start. The engine is priming, and the starter motor is turning the engine over fast, giving the odd cough, can smell fuel, but its a no go. I’ve checked the leads at both ends…all fine.

Have I flooded the car? What do I do? Help?!


Immobiliser…maybe… Thats why mine wouldn’t start… only �350 quid to fix it…

Soggster - My immobiliser / alarm light next to the gear stick is clicking off as per usual when I hit the button on my key. Was yours doing the same when your immob was giving you hassles.

BTW …I have an S1.

Check the fuses in the compartment between the seats.

Checked the fuses. All fine. Tried to start again. The car is almost getting there…but not.

Strange thing is… She started on first turn of the key last night and she hasn’t been driven for 3 weeks. I only had the engine running for about 45 seconds as I was shifting the car in the garage. Could the short run of the engine last night have anything to do with this? The car is on trickle charger so the battery is full.

Take the plugs out - stick 'em in the oven for half an hour (or until evenly browned! ) then refit and try again.

Coughing indicates all might be well except the plugs are either damp or soaked with fuel…

Otherwise, coil is known to be fairly flaky item.

Yep, it all clickety clicked when the immob went wrong. Its easy to bypass. If you have a workshop manual, its only 2 wires to splice, although getting at them is a different matter.

If it’s coughing and spluttering it’s not immob as I think that cuts the ignition circuit dead.
Mine wouldn’t start yesterday either…flat battery

throttle position sensor or temp sensors ? remove the connectors give em a clean up and put them back on… maybe… ? its worked for me in the past. maybe push the throttle pedal down a few times as well…

might not help but its easy stuff to try. Also make sure your spark plugs are in good nick.

I wouldn’t think it was the immobiliser - doesn’t it stop the fuel pump working ?

This has happened to mine a couple of times after a weeks none use - started on key in garage no probs - reverse onto drive, run for 30ish secs, leave. Come to restart, a few misfires, puffs of smoke, and then nothing - engine flooded. Take out plugs, warm 'em up, leave for an hour, re-install - hey presto

Worked on getting my car started today…and disappointment still.

Took the plugs out, warmed then on the radiator for 30 mins, took OOO soft steel wool and buffed the spark points.

Before re-installing, buried the throttle (Eeeek!! ) and turned the engine over to clean the liners. Then reinstalled and hit “go”. The engine felt so close, but didn’t get there. Feels like two cylinders are firing as she is puffing smoke and a thrum beat is coming through - but just not able to catch as the other cyclinders are not playing ball.

Most disappointed… Any more recommendations?

If two cylinders are firing, then I would suspect one of the coil packs has failed.


Agreed. If you’ve warmed dried and cleaned the plugs, coil pack is next.
Believe there is a Vauxhall equivalent part - a quick search of the archive should reveal it’s identity!

When re-installing did you give all the boots a good squirt of WD40 - both at the plug and coil ends. If not might be an option before diagnosing a dead coil.

Are you getting a firm “click” contact when replacing the leads. Are the threaded connectors tight on the plugs?

Also, if it does not fire it could be the battery is just (and I mean only just) not giving enough juice. Can you either try a push or tow start. Using either of these two methods, and preferably the tow start, should eliminate issues relating to battery, cranking & starter motor.

In the good old days a dead coil was always an early diagnosis and in several cases was later found not to be the true cause. There should be several “spare” coils out there…

Be careful if you push or tow start the car, I seem to remember reading years ago that this could cause the cat to overheat (if you’ve got one fitted) but I could quite easily be wrong about this. You could try pulling each plug in turn, with the HT lead connected, hold the plug close to the engine block and get some one to turn the engine over, if all is well you should be able to see the spark arcing to the block, if one of the coil pack’s is knackered you wont get a spark on two of the plugs, this alas may not be totally foolproof as sometimes you can get a weak spark, but if you give it ago it might show if the coil is knackered. If it is, I know Rox had to replace a coil recently, so hopefully he’ll be along shortly to share his knowledge on where to get a replacement, I’m not certain but the Lotus part may have been cheaper than elsewhere.

Forgot to mention hold the plug by the top of the HT lead cap, or use insulated pliers or wear a rubber glove, I speak from a painful experience with an HT lead that had broken down.

As said check all plugs are firing,also maybe worth a try,disconnect the battery for half an hour then re-connect so the ECU resets,this has worked for me but that was with a Landrover!

If two cylinders are firing, then I would suspect one of the coil packs has failed.


But there is only one coil

I have a good spare coil(my misfire turned out to be the leads - new coil was �95 ) - if you want loan of it to find out if its faulty PM me


But there is only one coil

Simon, I’ve got to be trueful I couldn’t be bothered to remove my motorsport engine cover to check this before I posted, as it’s a PITA, but as far as I can remember aren’t there two coils in the pack, each doing two cylinders. Of course I could be talking total bo??ocks but I’m blaming that on the two bottles of vino I’ve had.

Been thinking about this, and I’ve come to the conclusion I’m talking bo??ocks

  • then again it’s prob me talking bollocks - just nipping into garage to check out…

    the vino stash…

my problem is to much vino makes me see double, so if I went out to check on my car I would no doubt see two coils but also eight cylinders

Thanks all for the assistance.

I will need to check this in 06 now as I am off abroad for 3 weeks hols.

You’ll hear from me in the 1st week of the New Year.

Happy Christmas all!