Cold Starts / Really Cold

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I'm Awesome
Jul 2, 2021
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About 20 years ago, I was visiting some friends in Stony Plain, AB. While we were inside having a good ol' time, the outside temperature dropped from -15C to -35C. (+5F to -31F). I could not start my 95 GMC. Tried several times. Ended up plugging the truck in over night. I stayed the night and the next morning it still wouldn't start. My buddy gets in and says "I'm gonna give it a pump" (Me: but...but..the manual says don't ever pump the gas cuz it will fl.......) He pumps the gas pedal and it fires right up. :33:

Bit-chin' cold makes stuff act up.


I'm Awesome
Nov 11, 2020
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i had a late 80s Caprice cop car when I lived in Edmonton (2009ish) i had bought a block heater but never installed it. it didn't like starting in -35*c but it did it day after day. the starter finally gave up that spring, talk about dodging a bullet!

Also, when I got the car in 2007 i put a brand new ac Delco battery in, that battery lasted 10 years and was in 3 different vehicles. you're lucky if you get 4 years out of a battery now....


I'm Awesome
Jul 6, 2019
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He also said he boosted it several times before it started.
Did it slow crank the first time?
Weak or frozen battery. Bad connections etc.
Did you crank it over and over again and it got slower and slower?
Hot starter.
Dont keep cranking on the starter when it turns slow thinking that it is the battery though it does drain the battery pretty quick.
The starter is a high reduction motor and they get really hot really fast.
That is why you can crank an engine and it gets weaker and weaker untill it wont crank at all.
Then if you wait a few minutes it will kinda crank again.
That is not the battery rebounding though it kinda does.
That is the starter cooling off enough that resistance in the windings drops.
Probably coincidental, probably accumilated heat from cranking.
But cold wire energizing is a really big part of aviation starts.
You often key on a circuit to warm it and to test it.
When you power a wire its resistance changes with heat.
And the feedback from that sensor changes.
These trucks are obviously not built to aviation standards.
But they are from that same generation of systems development but have a much looser and cheaper "out of bounds" set of parameters.
Plus, if you have a sketchy connection someplace.
Key on and off and a jump box might just warm that up enough to make it work again.
It has nothing to do with letting it "think about it"
Thats just a term he used to describe what his results were after the whole episode.
Im cold as hell reading this and its 18 degrees above zero here.
I think it is also worth noting that most German cars even those for the US market came with a battery blanket.
They are often missing but they actually keep the battery from freezing.
The Michigan folks used to wrap them in insulation on the theory that that the start resistance through the wires when cranking would warm the battery.
They also put a hibachi barbeque under the oil pan and grilled polish sausages while it warmed the oil.
No ketchup, only mustard.
And 30 dribbling goo.


Sooper Pooper
Sep 5, 2010
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The 26th State
I think it is also worth noting that most German cars even those for the US market came with a battery blanket.

My truck had a foam sleeve on the battery when it was new. At some point I took it off. I think it was starting to come apart. I wouldn't mind putting one back on it.

They also put a hibachi barbeque under the oil pan and grilled polish sausages while it warmed the oil.

I've seen that done (on TV) up in Canada/Alaska.... well similar. It was a fire anyway, and no cooking.


2022 Truck of the Year
Supporting Member
Jan 3, 2019
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Tonopah, AZ
Back in the 70s, up in Eagle AK, there was a guy (nickname P o l a c k Joe, no kidding) who parked his snow machine (that's what they called them up there) on the Yukon River, after it froze up. Whenever he wanted to go somewhere, he poured a ring of gasoline around it, threw a match to it, waited a few minutes for it to warm up, jumped over the ring of fire, pulled the cord, and drove off! He was eventually killed over a gold mine claim. There's a billboard monument honoring him there on the beach across from downtown Eagle (not Eagle River).