Slow to start + No A/C...any ideas? (more info in thread:)

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May 27, 2013
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Ok, this has me kind of stumped.

97 FZJ with 306k. Just had the A/C completely overhauled (new compressor, dryer, charge, etc) at the local stealership because I'm just too busy with work to mess with it. Got it back 2 weeks ago and everything seemed fine.

The other day I go out to crank it up and it doesn't want to turn over. Battery is good (11mo old Optima Yellow Top) and I just replaced the starter 6 months ago.

I immediately think about the battery fusible link I've been meaning to get around to. I ordered one of those and swapped it out today.

It cranked...but kind of shuddered to life. As if it's not getting fuel. WTF. Never had that problem before.

Took it for a ride around the block and it tried to stall twice.

The real head-scratcher is that now my A/C doesn't blow cold anymore.

I'm not well-heeled in this truck enough to put together how a fuel problem (fuel pump filter? fuel pump?) could lead to the A/C suddenly not blowing cold so I was hoping someone here could possibly point me in the right direction.

Obviously I need to get this cranking/stuttering problem worked out in addition to the A/C problem that has to be somehow connected since they both popped up concurrently.

If it helps, I hooked up the OBD2 detector and zero codes detected.

Thanks in advance
 
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The other day I go out to crank it up and it doesn't want to turn over.
What do you mean? "Turn over" simply means that the crankshaft is rotating. It doesn't mean that the engine fires, starts, or runs. So are you saying that the engine cracked but wouldn't start, or are you saying that the engine wouldn't even crank?

It cranked...but kind of shuddered to life. As if it's not getting fuel. WTF. Never had that problem before.
Was your AC on when this happened?

My only thought is that your compressor is locked up due to debris in the lines and it's severely dragging the engine. That's the only thing I can come up with that would connect the two.
 
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So are you saying that the engine cracked but wouldn't start, or are you saying that the engine wouldn't even crank?

The engine won't start.

Was your AC on when this happened?

No, off.

My only thought is that your compressor is locked up due to debris in the lines and it's severely dragging the engine. That's the only thing I can come up with that would connect the two.

I had that thought too but seems far-fetched when I just had everything done at the dealership. The compressor turns freely with no noise, no belt noise, etc.
 
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After some thought and research I'm going to change out the fuel pump filter and maybe fuel filter and see what that does, but the connected A/C issue still doesn't sit well with me.

Still hoping for some experienced advice/thoughts/speculation.

Thanks in advance.
 
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I seriously doubt your fuel filter is the problem. I've pulled 25+ year old filters off of perfectly running engines that were full of dirt. Ditto the pump filter. I'm not saying these shouldn't be clean, only that the fuel system is amazing reliable. Besides, I'd rather have a root canal than replace a fuel filter. At least, one that's on an installed engine.

I'd look for something that was changed during the maintenance you described in your OP, that wasn't explicitly the A/C system maintenance. It doesn't make sense to me that anything you described as being done would affect your fuel system. Remember, you oftentimes have to move/disconnect unrelated items to service a particular component. First, check all of the engine harness connections to make certain that one wasn't unplugged or otherwise compromised during the service, especially those around the throttle body. Not a bad idea to unplug the ones you can easily reach (those would likely be the ones the tech fiddled with; no need to hunt to find the inaccessible ones), spray them, both sides, with CRC and reconnect. Not likely, but it's a nearly free piece of mind check. Same advice for vacuum lines.

The A/C compressor has an electric clutch. It will freewheel if the clutch isn't activated; that's by design. You can't test a failed clutch by turning the pulley. The test is to connect the clutch to 12V and see if it moves (see FSM). You can tell if the clutch is locked by trying to rotate the pulley by hand, but not if it's not locking when energized, and that's what needs to happen to turn the pump. Check that electrical connector, too, while you're at it. Disconnect, clean and reconnect.

I would think the A/C and starting problems are serendipitous. If you want to know for sure, just remove the A/C belt.
 
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Yeah- what @Malleus said. Only way to know for sure is remove the ac belt. I had a similar situation and it was a frozen ac idler pulley slowing the engine down. Not to the point that it wouldn’t start, but losing 3-500 RPMs.
 
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I'd look for something that was changed during the maintenance you described in your OP, that wasn't explicitly the A/C system maintenance. It doesn't make sense to me that anything you described as being done would affect your fuel system. Remember, you oftentimes have to move/disconnect unrelated items to service a particular component. First, check all of the engine harness connections to make certain that one wasn't unplugged or otherwise compromised during the service, especially those around the throttle body. Not a bad idea to unplug the ones you can easily reach (those would likely be the ones the tech fiddled with; no need to hunt to find the inaccessible ones), spray them, both sides, with CRC and reconnect. Not likely, but it's a nearly free piece of mind check. Same advice for vacuum lines.

The A/C compressor has an electric clutch. It will freewheel if the clutch isn't activated; that's by design. You can't test a failed clutch by turning the pulley. The test is to connect the clutch to 12V and see if it moves (see FSM). You can tell if the clutch is locked by trying to rotate the pulley by hand, but not if it's not locking when energized, and that's what needs to happen to turn the pump. Check that electrical connector, too, while you're at it. Disconnect, clean and reconnect.

Yeah- what @Malleus said. Only way to know for sure is remove the ac belt. I had a similar situation and it was a frozen ac idler pulley slowing the engine down. Not to the point that it wouldn’t start, but losing 3-500 RPMs.

Thank you both. Troubleshooting from easiest to hardest. The fuel hypothesis wasn't sitting well with me either. I'll check/clean connections and remove the AC belt this evening and report back.
 
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Removed the belt and I'm checking every connection that would be accessible for getting to the A/C components. No dice so far.

After I removed the belt, the stuttering crank persisted just like before. Half the time, it's where you can hear it turn over for a while before it finally cranks. The other half the time it won't crank at all.

I've put the A/C belt back on to eliminate building a mess of parts just sitting around as I go from one attempt to another. Still no dice with better cranking or A/C.

Really can't figure this one out and I can't believe I'm the only person who's run into this. Any help is greatly appreciated.
 
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Made a quick video of how it sounds trying to crank if it helps. Keep in mind I’ve never had a problem with it cranking everything in the 9 years I’ve had it. That’s why I’m so baffled this huge problem came out of nowhere.

Also, A/C compressor is definitely not kicking on.

Thanks for any advice

 
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the stuttering crank persisted just like before. Half the time, it's where you can hear it turn over for a while before it finally cranks. The other half the time it won't crank at all.
You need to be more careful with your word choice, because that doesn't make any sense.

Turn over == "crank"

I'm guessing you mean fire where you meant crank? And what is a "stuttering crank"? Do you mean that it's running, but is missing?
 
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You need to be more careful with your word choice, because that doesn't make any sense.

Turn over == "crank"

I'm guessing you mean fire where you meant crank? And what is a "stuttering crank"? Do you mean that it's running, but is missing?

I posted a video so you can hear what's going on. It's literally stuttering until it fires up.
 
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Things you should double check:

Battery connections. Some shops INSIST on disconnecting the battery when doing work. Not a bad practice, but if something did not get reconnected well enough, that could be it.

Ground cables. There are (3). One behind each headlight area to the fender (one you should already know about is between the battery and the fender), then there is one from the top of the engine to the firewall by the heater control valve.

Check the plug on the top of the distributor. If someone leaned on it and disturbed the wiring, it could affect the tight connection.

Air intake tube. They most likely pulled the entire intake filter housing to replace the compressor and they may have jacked the hose or maybe even the harness connection on the MAF. Pull the plug, clean and replug. Fortunately, yours is not a 93-94.

Check the cap and rotor, Make sure all the plug wires, coil wire, ignitor wires are all well connected.

My truck would regularly crank like that (when cold) and after I cleaned up one of the grounds on top of the engine, it cut the time in half and it started easier.

Look at EVERY possibility that the mechanic may have touched. Look for grease smudges on things or cleaned off parts that indicates they have futzered with something.
 
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
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Things you should double check:

Battery connections. Some shops INSIST on disconnecting the battery when doing work. Not a bad practice, but if something did not get reconnected well enough, that could be it.

Ground cables. There are (3). One behind each headlight area to the fender (one you should already know about is between the battery and the fender), then there is one from the top of the engine to the firewall by the heater control valve.

Check the plug on the top of the distributor. If someone leaned on it and disturbed the wiring, it could affect the tight connection.

Air intake tube. They most likely pulled the entire intake filter housing to replace the compressor and they may have jacked the hose or maybe even the harness connection on the MAF. Pull the plug, clean and replug. Fortunately, yours is not a 93-94.

Check the cap and rotor, Make sure all the plug wires, coil wire, ignitor wires are all well connected.

My truck would regularly crank like that (when cold) and after I cleaned up one of the grounds on top of the engine, it cut the time in half and it started easier.

Look at EVERY possibility that the mechanic may have touched. Look for grease smudges on things or cleaned off parts that indicates they have futzered with something.
Thank you for the ideas. I'll keep after it and report back. Appreciate it.
 
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Update:

I took a couple of hours to really dig around some more checking any and all electrical connections, grounds, triple checked the battery (I already replaced the battery fusible link).

All connections sprayed with CRC and triple checked to make sure they were solidly connected. All grounds looked untouched and perfect. Took every plug out of the distributor cap to check, spray with CRC and reconnect, including the center plug. Opened and inspected the air intake to check for obstructions, kinks, etc. Everything appears to be tip top.

Still no change. Starts half the time and the other half the time it just shudders and dies just like in the video above. Even when it starts, the A/C compressor still doesn't engage, which is such a weird connecting problem, as I can't figure out why one would have to do with the other.

I ran out of time today but Sunday I plan on removing the distributor cap to inspect to see if there's damage as well as make another pass over everything else I can find in the engine bay.

Appreciate all the educated guesses so far and any future feedback is appreciated.
 
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Honestly, at this point, I'd make it the mechanic's problem. The root cause is something that was altered during the last A/C service, if it ran well before, and hasn't run well since.
 
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If your not getting any check engine lights then my guess would be an issue related to the fuel system. Check the 15 amp efi fuse to make sure it’s not loose and doesn’t have a a lot of corrosion.

I would leave the ac belt disconnect until you pinpoint what’s going with it not starting and and dying while running.
 

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