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Join Date: Apr 2011
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Cold start problems

Hi everyone!

I'm a lurker on this board but definitely not new to the Boxster online community. I have a 1998 2.5 with some cold start issues. When I let the car sit for more than 24 hours, I have issues starting up the car. Upon starting the car, the RPM slow drops and can not be maintined above 800 and will slowly drop until the car turns off if I do not restart. The car the lights on the dashboard (odometer) and anything electrical will also start fluctuating going from full brightness to a dimmer brightness. If I give the car a bit of gas, it exaberbates the problem and the car will turn off if the RPM gets too low. It takes around 2-3 starts to have a stable start up without any problems.

The problem only occurs on cold starts when the car has sat for more than a day and will not happen if the car start ups were less than 12 hours apart. No CEL, no hestiations or blips after the car has slightly warmed up. THere is a noticeable, automated rise in rpm to around 1600 within 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds of starting the car, and the rpm will stabalize and everything is back to normal. Usually the car doesn't get there and I have to restart.

Is this fuel pump problem, battery problem, or starter?

Last edited by Rui725; 04-19-2011 at 09:08 PM..
Old 04-19-2011, 08:51 PM
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Try cleaning your MAF sensor..
Old 04-20-2011, 12:22 AM
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Rockster

Really, that's it? The indy shop suspected it was the fuel pump, but fuel pump failures seem to occur after filling up on gas.

To be honest, a lot of times the shop never recommends cleaning of anything and just straight out says I need to replace things. If I have an opinion the boss get's annoyed...

This is the only indy shop within a 200 km radius and this car has been maintained there for quite some time...

I'll give the MAF sensor a clean this weekend and see.
Old 04-20-2011, 01:29 AM
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Odd symptoms. The first thing I would suspect would be the battery. Throw a charger onto the battery after letting it sit for 24 hours, and then try starting it again with the charger still attached and set at 10 amps. Let us know if that changes anything...

-Wayne
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:37 AM
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I found, by google, another boxster with the exact same problems as mine. (another forum). But the thead had only one reply and nothing came out of it ultimately. His explanation is much better than mine so I thought I would borrow his words, as mine were probably overly dragged out.

1999 2.5 Owner from 2006:
"I have been having an issue with cold starts. The problem only seems to manifest itself if the car has been garaged overnight. It does not happen if the car is left in the hot sun during the day. The first time I attempt to start the car in the morning, it will cough and sputter and then stall out. Usually (but not always) the second time I turn the key, it will start normally. However, on some morning it will take me using the gas peddle to get it started, which usually causes the car to backfire and make rather nasty noises."

Underlined: I have yet to try leaving it under the hot sun, it's garaged usually and still not warm enough. But I have roughly timed, anything less than 12 hours of inactivity will not cause this start up issue.
Underlined: I have tried by catching the gas pedal on start to accelerate the warm up process, and have it the rpm at around 1100~1200 RPM. 9 times out of 10 the rpms will wobble and stall out (sputtering), if I press the gas right after turning the key. The lighting in the car will also flicker tremendously. These days, it takes about 2-3 fire ups before the car starts and idles nicely. The car would sound rough until some form of ECU adjustment kicks in (~1 min) and raises the RPM to 1,600, then back down to idle RPM. After that, the cars good to go and the problem will not surface again until it's been left over night.

I apologize for the posting the same problem twice, just the original post and terminology was so poor and ambiguous I decided to find a better explanation from someone slightly more mechanically inclined.
Old 04-20-2011, 10:02 AM
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I've left my car over night at the local Porsche Indy and the symptoms were not reproduced. Is it just my luck or is this car really playing a trick on me. This start up problem is driving me insane and worst thing is that it's not being reproduced, under the exact, cold engine situation. Is this some kind of sick joke or am I going insane from all the fixes and problems I've encountered with this car. I asked the mechanic to leave the car without starting it for 2 days, so hopefully by the weekend they problem can be reproduced.

This problem has be ongoing for 8 months, on and off now, and finally when it's at the shop it can't be reproduced. What a nightmare....fml

This car drives like a champ when warm but cold starts up is like an old man getting out of bed after a game of street basketball. Sputters and dies, car shakes, dashboard lights flicker.

I'm starting to wonder if the mechanic is really telling the truth, maybe the symptoms and problems are there but he's just waiting for the car to completely not start and then charge me more for replacing the broken part, because this start up problem happens 9 times out 10 when I leave it over night when parked in my garage. What are the chances it doesn't happen at the mechanics shop?
Old 04-26-2011, 11:15 PM
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Problem fixed:

MAF sensor needed either a clean/replacement. I opted to just have it replaced. I was skeptical about it being the MAF because I haven't read anywhere on how it disrupts cold starts. I always thought sluggish, rough drives when engine at operating temperature were possibly symptoms of a faulty MAF (fault codes of course too, but I had no pending or present codes).

It has certainly been a journey, since this problem has persisted for past 6 months and finally, I can say, this car running optimally. Though, 2.5L, is seriously underpowered. Sigh...just took out for a drive. It sounds good but feels slow. I think it's because I just watched this video:

YouTube - Porsche Boxster S PDK vs Porsche 911 Carrera 2S Convertible (997 Mk I) 6-speed x 2 + stabilized

Gosh the new Boxster models are fast, but I feel lucky just driving a Porsche!
Old 05-02-2011, 06:02 AM
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Problem actually NOT fixed by new MAF(Update):

I left my car sitting for 2 days and it started up with the old, nagging sputtering problem. The indy Porsche mechanic already told me he isolated and fixed the problem, I'm not sure how I should approach him now. I have pending codes for aging O2 sensors, but they are still functional. Could this be the culprit to my start up woes? Did he cheat me? I'm in a lose lose situation as this is the only indy porsche mechanic and I've been going to him for 2 years now.

All my recommendations about the battery and such and from other bits and pieces of information I got off the forums were all disregarded by the mechanic. He gave me the, "are you going trust me or the internet" look and tone. I simply asked him to do a simple battery test and he said there was no need to do it. I don't have the necessary equipment at home to do any of the recommended tests either. Any advice is appreciated, I'm not sure if I can trust this shop anymore.

Last edited by Rui725; 05-12-2011 at 10:22 PM..
Old 05-12-2011, 10:19 PM
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Just a thought; If the lights are flickering in sync with the low rpm and stumbling then that could make sense. But, if they are dimming while the rpm is up or not related to rpm then I would guess electrical problem like Wayne said. It's not hard to imagine a problem where a bad batt. connection gets hot from starting, causes a low voltage and then is ok after it cools off just a bit and the car runs fine.

No personal experience yet, but it sounds like flaky ignition switches can cause some bizarre behavior in these cars as well.
Old 05-13-2011, 05:29 AM
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The lights flickering only occur during the sputter. Once the car is started up the 2nd time (especially during the summer) the starts perfectly with no sputter or strange vibration. I'm hoping to make a video and bring it in the indy shop as the owner seems to have trouble recreating the symptoms.
Old 05-13-2011, 08:16 AM
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Sounds like it might be wise to get a second opinion. You can remove the battery and take it to your local auto parts store for testing too, if you don't have test equipment at home...

-Wayne
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Old 05-14-2011, 11:35 PM
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My 99 has very much the same problem, though it usually does not die. What happens is it sputters and runs rough when started after overnight. It's a bit worse if the car is not run for a couple of days. What I have noticed is that for about 1.5 min. after starting the car cold, a high-pitched whining sound comes from the engine compartment behind the passenger seat. Sound like a small fan. (my hearing is not great, so I hope the description is accurate) Once this shuts off (on its own), the car will idle a bit high for a few seconds, and then level off to normal idle. It's generally good to go after this routine, with an occasional stall during driving when I depress the clutch before the engine gets all the way to normal operating temp. The rest of the day, the problem does not exist. I cleaned the MAF, no difference. Have not yet cleaned the throttle body. Curious about the whining fan sound. Wish I knew the name of the part that makes it, and what it is supposed to do. Any thoughts?
Old 07-13-2011, 08:12 AM
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High pitched whine at first start is the secondary air pump. It pumps air into the exhaust manifold at the same time the engine runs rich- this excess fuel and o2 burn in the cat greatly decreasing the time it takes for the cats to start functioning. This is normal- however, if the air pump hose disconnects, your engine will seam to run like crap upon startup. To the OP: longshot, but check your ground strap? Goes to the airpump bracket on top of the engine right side. Otherwise, try cleaning your throttlebody. Possible intake leak? Should be throwing o2 sensing codes if bad enough to cause these issues though- at least with OBD2 cars
Old 07-13-2011, 09:26 AM
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An update to my issue above. Weather is cooling off here, and it seems to affect how the car runs even more. It's in the 50's or so. Code p0455 is the only recurring code. Per Wayne's suggestion (in some thread or his book) I disconnected the MAF sensor, and it smoothed everything out. Reconnect MAF, and rough running returns with eventual stall. Once everything warms up a bit, it runs fine with MAF connected, but with the occasional stall at a stoplight, etc. Cleaned the MAF again. No difference. Thinking about replacing MAF due to the car running better without it. I know the p0455 code is not connected to the MAF as it has to do with the evap canister and vents to the fuel tank, but would this cause some of the issues? Sorry for the rambling post. Thanks!
Old 10-02-2011, 09:04 AM
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Went ahead and ordered a new MAF from Pelican. After reading other posts regarding MAF's without the Bosch printing on them, it occurred to me that the one installed in my car was blank. New Bosch MAF arrived today, and the car started right up after two days sitting. Never done that since I've owned it. Runs like a champ. Hope that's that!
Old 10-05-2011, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squireiii View Post
Went ahead and ordered a new MAF from Pelican. After reading other posts regarding MAF's without the Bosch printing on them, it occurred to me that the one installed in my car was blank. New Bosch MAF arrived today, and the car started right up after two days sitting. Never done that since I've owned it. Runs like a champ. Hope that's that!
Nice, sounds like a good move. I hope it works out for you.

Rod
Old 10-05-2011, 03:05 PM
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I didn't have cold start problems but a new MAF made a huge improvement in how my car runs. Once you fix all the vacuum leaks and get a good MAF the Boxster runs almost as perfectly as my pickup truck. Hope it stays this way for a while.
Old 10-06-2011, 06:53 AM
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:53 AM
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