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Starting When Its Cold

This morning we have The Colonel enjoying a cappuccino with us, we will get his thoughts on cold starts in winter. Since there are a myriad of opinions and beliefs about starting a vehicle in winter, and letting it warm up. Lets see what The Colonel has to say...

Q: Colonel Good Morning, you look refreshed.

A: Thank You guys, its winter, its fresh...

Q: Tell us about starting the 63 Chevy from a few decades ago.

A: Lets set the stage here, 327, huge 4 barrel, no choke, no heat passages in the intake manifold, and old school motor oil, and an 8 liter oil pan.

Q: Did that car actually start in winter?

A: It sure did, but it was a process a)pump the gas a few times b) engine starts c) keep the engine running with the gas pedal d) until it could sort of idle by itself e) then start cleaning the snow or scrape the windows.

Q: That was quite the process...starting the motor and letting it idle by itself on the fast idle of the choke was out of the question?

A: Totally, it was a step by step process until you could drive the car, and lucky it had a manual transmission, to keep the engine alive until it really warmed up to oerating temperature.

Q: Would you do that today?

A: No, burt when one is young, at a time of chokes, carburetors, fast idle, ignition points, distrubutor caps. Adding a few steps to the process back then it was fun.

Q: Must have used a ton of gas in winter, no heat in the intake manifold.

A: Don't even ask...and a 5 blade fan to really suck more cold air through the radiator.

Q: If the car had an automatic transmission?

A: Forget would have been totally undriveable cold.

Q: Today with fuel injection, ignition coils, crankshaft firing, its a quantum leap ahead.

A: Absolutely...all cars start very easily, and are driveable even with an automatic transmission instantly.

Q: But some things probably don't change.

A: When its brutally cold like minus 25-30C there is still a fight going on between cold parts, cold oil (even if synthetic flows better), getting the water temperature gauge to at least move takes a while.

Q: At those temperatures when the thermostat opens the water temperature actually drops.

A: Precisely, and if its that cold and you are driving on the highway the temperature will stay lower too.

Q: We could have a lenthy discussion about warming up a car, or just driving away in winter.

A: Yes...we can have a long discussion about it. You could almost drive away instantly, and drive gingerly until the temperature starts getting sort of up there...on residential streets its feasable, once you get on a main road not as easy to drive gingerly.

Q: Very often you still have to scrape the windows, or clear snow from the vehicle, might as well let it idle (warm up) while you are doing that...

A: Precisely...that's when you notice all the odors coming from the exhaust system as everything warms up. Sort of like the odors from the 63 Chevy...