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Thread: Bad fuel - car wouldn't start

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    Bad fuel - car wouldn't start

    A month ago, my 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage decided to not start in the morning. It cranked and sputtered a little but wouldn't start. I had just moved to and was about to start a new job so I had no time to tinker around so I pushed the car down the block to a mechanic. He said that the cause was bad fuel, and had me smell a sample of the fuel that he pumped out of the tank, asking "does this smell like gas to you?" I'm no connoisseur of gasoline so I actually had no idea but he seemed to know what he was doing so I trusted his opinion that it the fuel was bad. I had filled up at a regular gas station in Middlebury VT the day before and I know I didn't accidently put diesel in the tank because the nozzle wouldn't fit in the gasoline car so it must have just been bad luck with the some layer of contamination fuel at the gas station that ended up in my car.

    650 dollars later, the mirage was back in action, with a cleaned-out fuel tank and new spark plugs (the old plugs were original and the car had 100k km on it (60k miles) so it was due for a replacement anyway. If I wasn't stressed with moving and having to start a new job, I would probably have probably paid the diagnostic fee and then siphoned the tank and changed the spark plugs myself. My guess is that doing so and adding a bottle of fuel stabilizer would have been enough to burn through the residual bad fuel, although it might have come at a risk of ruining the emissions control systems if it didn't burn clean.

    I hope nobody else encounters this problem but if you do, maybe this info will help troubleshoot.



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    Just before you cranked it and it sputtered but didn't run, had you cranked it up and moved it just a short distance, like a few feet? And this was another crank soon after that short move?

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2020 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 42.6 mpg (US) ... 18.1 km/L ... 5.5 L/100 km ... 51.1 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by 7milesout View Post
    Just before you cranked it and it sputtered but didn't run, had you cranked it up and moved it just a short distance, like a few feet? And this was another crank soon after that short move?
    I put it in reverse one second after it seemed to have originally started in the morning and was able to move it three feet before it died, but it was probably never fully started and was sputtering already- I just didn't take the time to listen. Do you have a theory?

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    Probably flooded. It can happen if you start it and don't let it run very long then shut it off. Sometimes the next time you go to start it it'll be flooded. I've had it happen dozens of times to the Mirages at work. I drive them into the shop in the am to change oil then sometimes they're flooded when I go to pull them outside. If they're bad enough I've had to pull the spark plugs to clear all the fuel from the cylinders cause they're fouled and won't spark.

    There's a chance that was your only problem and your fuel was fine. Having fresh spark plugs and a good battery will lessen the chances of that happening again. It seems to happen more often in the cold but I've got a car in the shop that hasn't moved in weeks that was flooded when I went to start it the other day. Plugs were worn so bad that the tip of the plug looked like a knife edge.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage SE wussie cvt edition. 1.2 automatic: 37.7 mpg (US) ... 16.0 km/L ... 6.2 L/100 km ... 45.3 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Fummins View Post
    Probably flooded. It can happen if you start it and don't let it run very long then shut it off. Sometimes the next time you go to start it it'll be flooded. I've had it happen dozens of times to the Mirages at work. I drive them into the shop in the am to change oil then sometimes they're flooded when I go to pull them outside. If they're bad enough I've had to pull the spark plugs to clear all the fuel from the cylinders cause they're fouled and won't spark.

    There's a chance that was your only problem and your fuel was fine. Having fresh spark plugs and a good battery will lessen the chances of that happening again. It seems to happen more often in the cold but I've got a car in the shop that hasn't moved in weeks that was flooded when I went to start it the other day. Plugs were worn so bad that the tip of the plug looked like a knife edge.
    shucks. I think you're probably right! The exact sequence of events that morning was I turned the ignition briefly and without pausing to hear if the engine actually started, I put it into gear and moved a few feet before it crapped out. And then when I started it again, it struggled and turned a few times slowly but it wasn't enough to be sustainable.


    I suppose this would be more common among inexperienced manual drivers who might stall the car in a parking lot than impatient cvt drivers like me.

    Hopefully other people don't go through expensive roundabout fix by a mediocre mechanic like me then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tunagate111 View Post
    shucks. I think you're probably right! The exact sequence of events that morning was I turned the ignition briefly and without pausing to hear if the engine actually started, I put it into gear and moved a few feet before it crapped out. And then when I started it again, it struggled and turned a few times slowly but it wasn't enough to be sustainable.


    I suppose this would be more common among inexperienced manual drivers who might stall the car in a parking lot than impatient cvt drivers like me.

    Hopefully other people don't go through expensive roundabout fix by a mediocre mechanic like me then.
    Your mediocre mechanic may have yanked your chain ($650 fix) some.

    As far as Iridium spark plugs go (quote) -

    "Generally, an iridium spark plug can last for 3000-4000 hours of engine runtime or up to 100,000 miles or more. While an iridium spark plug is made to last longer than platinum or copper core spark plugs, the iridium plug isn't made equal." Mar 23, 2022

    I expect to get 100,000+ miles out of Iridium spark plugs.

    I wonder if he threw out your bad gas or just put it in his vehicle instead?

    It's easy to second guess stuff. Hopefully, he did what was needed. If you have new plugs now, you should be good for the next 100,000 miles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tunagate111 View Post
    Do you have a theory?
    Flooding, yes, that was my theory.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2020 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 42.6 mpg (US) ... 18.1 km/L ... 5.5 L/100 km ... 51.1 mpg (Imp)


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    The OEM iridium plugs are supposed to be replaced after 60 000miles/100 000km, but they most probably can last at least 50% longer.

    I also think it was just flooded.


    Some years ago, I had valves stuck halfway open and the car wouldn't start. It was full of gooey gunk, probably from very bad fuel. After cleaning it up with the head dismantled, it has stayed clean as a whistle every since.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7milesout View Post
    Flooding, yes, that was my theory.
    That's my theory also. I had this happen a few years ago. It was flooded and I simply held my foot to the floor and cranked it and it fired up. The owners manual describes this.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 automatic: 40.4 mpg (US) ... 17.2 km/L ... 5.8 L/100 km ... 48.5 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by foama View Post
    The OEM iridium plugs are supposed to be replaced after 60 000miles/100 000km, but they most probably can last at least 50% longer.
    Both schedule 1 & 2 recommend replacing irdium spark plugs @ 105,000 miles (168,000 km) or 84 months (7 years) in my 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage Warranty & Maintenance Manual.

    Quoting an outside source - "Most spark plugs have a factory service interval of 100,000 miles, though some may be as much as 120,000 miles. Long-life platinum and iridium spark plugs will typically last up to 100,000 miles or longer provided the engine isn't using oil or doesn't spend a lot of time idling."

    There's no harm in doing anything early, but iridium spark plugs are known for much longer life.



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