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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone.
I am about to describe a problem with my '03 307 hatchback equipped with 1.6l gasoline engine. One day when my car had been standing for a few days the car wouldn't start, it would just crank. I had been driving my car on fumes for a few weeks now, occasionaly giving her about 5 liters of gas, hence I thought she was just out of fuel.

So I hiked to the gas station and filled up my 12 liter gas can. Poured it right into the tank, using a cut up plastic bottle as a makeshift funnel, turned the ignition swith on and off to let the fuel pump run a couple of times to suck up fuel, and turned the key. But still the engine only cranked.

Then I started diagnosing the vehicle. I checked the fuses, checked the spark plugs, they were giving yellowish spark, fuel pump was working, it made some noise for a sec or two when I turned on the ignition.

Now to the part of how I got her running again. As I read the fuel section of the Haynes manual, I read about the pressure relieve valve. So I had this thought that the fuel in the fuel lines might be contaminated with water, so if I would depressurise and repressurise the fuel system a couple of times, the car would start. And it did. I let the car run for 5 minutes and the shut her off again.

Then, 30 min later I wanted to go for a drive, but the car wouldn't start, just as earlier. So I let out the pressure from the fuel line and then toggled the key a few times to pump up fuel, and the car started. Then I shut off the car and tried restarting it. It started fine.

So at the moment the car won't start when it has stood for a while, say 10 minutes, but starts fine when the engine was just running and you stopped it for a minute or two.

Just some more facts:
I had to grind down the head of one of the screws that was holding down the ignition coil, because it was stuck and I managed to strip the screw head without moving it at all.

The Crankcase breathing hose (made of plastic) broke from two places, so I welded and ducttaped it to one piece again

The odometer shows about 250k kilometers

Car has been standing outside and the temperature has been as low as -5 degrees Celsius

Could any of you give some advice on what is causing this mysterious issue and how to fix it?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Obviously your battery took some punishment so first off I would give it a full charge as these cars are temperamental to low voltage situations and you do not want to compound a already difficult problem. You could try a couple of squirts of oil to the fuel to try and enrich it.
 

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I am mainly diesel so not sure if this is the same for Petrol my former 307 suffered something similar it turned out one of my injectors had passed its service life. As you have been running on very low fuel could you have picked up some water in the tank

Sorry can’t be more helpful :thumb:
 

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The pressure relief valve is there to release the pressure for when the rail or fuel components need disconnecting so that would have no effect on enabling the car to start as as soon as you turn the ignition key the rail will be pressurised again! Letting the tank get empty is a bad thing as dirt and water will be picked up and pumped to the injectors.
 

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Obviously your battery took some punishment so first off I would give it a full charge as these cars are temperamental to low voltage situations and you do not want to compound a already difficult problem. You could try a couple of squirts of oil to the fuel to try and enrich it.
The pressure relief valve is there to release the pressure for when the rail or fuel components need disconnecting so that would have no effect on enabling the car to start as as soon as you turn the ignition key the rail will be pressurised again! Letting the tank get empty is a bad thing as dirt and water will be picked up and pumped to the injectors.
How would adding oil to the fuel enrich anything?.

It seems releasing the fuel pressure did help in starting the car. Why it should I have no idea.

But certainly it is a bad idea to let the tank run low, although the filter should prevent any dirt getting through.

Roger.
 

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In the old days, 50-60's, when the petrol was not as good as today people used to put a shot of oil in each gallon to "enrich" the petrol. If he has been getting dodgy petrol it just might help. Dodgy as in water and whatever sometimes added by the unscrupulous garages!
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
A little update

Hello again.

First I would like to thank everyone who has responded to this thread. Secondly I would give updates on the status of my car.

Last night, I tried to start the car (it had run about 6 hours ago), and it started without hesitation. I just turned the key, didn't do any special procesures. But then the check engine light turned on. The lcd display showed a message: "antipollution system fault", and when scanning with my cheap 5€ obd2 tool from ebay, I found out that it's a code P0444. Because it was late, I didn't have time to look for info about that code, so I went to sleep instead, being happy that the car works.

But next morning when I wanted to go to school, my car wouldn't start. I tried relieving the fuel pressure, pulling the pump fuse and dry cranking, and then trying to start with the fuse reattached, but the car simply refused to start. So I took the bus instead.

When I got home, I gave her one more try, and the engine started perfectly. I didn't do any of the procedures I had tried before. Just cranked and it started to live. Then I let the engine idle for 20+ minutes, to recharge the battery. But the P0444 code was still there. I cleared the code, restarted the engine, and the code didn't come back. Has anyone experienced this code or has any idea what could be causing it. Could it be related to the crankcase ventilstion hose which I diy repaired?

With my obd2 scanner I monitored the vacuum pressure, which was about 16 in/hg when idling, slightly lower when the ac was on. From some page I read that the pressure should be at least 17-18 when idling. I don't know if I should be worried about that. Please give me all you got.

One of you recommended adding oil to the fuel tank, to combat potentional water in the tank. I have read that adding oil to the tank would be a bad idea as it would clog up the engine, filter and whatever more. Could anyone confirm that adding oil to the tank is a good idea, and if so then how much oil should I be adding per liter?

Now let's suppose that my problems are caused by water in the gas tank. Could I add a product called tecnical spirits (which is basically very high percentage ethanol >95% content) to the gas tank, say, about 0.5 liters to approx. 10 liters of gas that's left in the tank, to get rid of the water in the gas tank?
 

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If you are in a cold climate it is best to keep your fuel tank full as condensation can indeed build up in tank every time you open the cap potentially some gets in a full tank leaves less room for this to happen doubt water in tank is real issue though as you would be getting missfiring too.

Dont put oil in wont help

Your repair to breather would not stop it starting either nor would your fault code this relates to the purge system and this may well be because you have been having trouble starting/idling a lot probably not really an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Water is heavier than petrol, and will pool at the bottom of the tank. Adding ethanol will not remove it!

The only way is to have it pumped out.
I would like to correct myself. Of course, water cannot just dissapear from the tank, but adding denaturised spirits to the tank should make the water soluble with gasoline. That way, I would have high percentage ethanol with some water in it (which would burn fine) mixed with gasoline. This mix should burn fine. That is also the way water removing fuel additives work - they mostly contain almost entirely ethanol/methanol/isopropanol (rubbing alcohol).
 

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As i said if water was the issue the engine would still start just run rough and missfire but as you rightly say it would burn off.

For the water to be an issue it would need to have a high proportion of water in the tank and unless you know a reason to have lots of water in the tank it seems unlikely.
 

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The contents of the tank will be constantly circulated when the fuel pump is running. This will deal with a small quantity of water.
Keeping the tank full is the best way of preventing condensation, is fuel theft a problem in Estonia?.

Roger.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Many of you have doubted contaminated fuel as the root of the problem. Should I bother adding water treating additive to the tank?

But what could cause a sometimes starting fine/mostly not starting but cranking conditon?
Could a weak fuel pump cause this?

Could it be that the battery has enough power to turn the starter, but not enough to generate spark?

When I tried to start the car today the engine would crank fast, the headlights were bright - no sign of a weak battery. I read the voltage from the battery with a multimeter - it read 11.25 volts, which is basically empty. Temperature at the time of the measurement was around 0°C.

What steps can I take to find out what is causing the problem? Any help would be appreciated.
 

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If the battery can only manage 11.25 on no load, it is either defective (e.g. a sick cell) or is badly in need of a charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If the battery can only manage 11.25 on no load, it is either defective (e.g. a sick cell) or is badly in need of a charge.
Could you explain a little bit more about the relationship between battery load and the voltage? When testing the battery, I did have the headlights turned on.
 

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The greater the current drawn from the battery, the lower the terminal volts. This is due to the internal resistance of the battery. A good battery will give at least 12.4V when delivering no current, so measure with everything switched off and all the doors shut. Open the bonnet and wait say 3 minutes for the BSI to shut down before taking a reading.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The greater the current drawn from the battery, the lower the terminal volts. This is due to the internal resistance of the battery. A good battery will give at least 12.4V when delivering no current, so measure with everything switched off and all the doors shut. Open the bonnet and wait say 3 minutes for the BSI to shut down before taking a reading.
The battery read even lower, 10.9 volts, right after checking volts, when I tried to start the car, it started. When the engine was running, I got around 13 volts.
 

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The battery read even lower, 10.9 volts, right after checking volts, when I tried to start the car, it started. When the engine was running, I got around 13 volts.
That is very odd. You should get 14 and a bit with the engine running. I wonder if your voltmeter has an error. Perhaps you get get hold of another as a check?
 
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