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Old 01-07-2014, 12:53 AM   #1
Ox-y-GenIII
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Focus Cold Start and Idle Question. Video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wa0aQ...e_gdata_player

So any time its around 0* or colder when I start my Focus it idles at 1,500-1,600 rpms. It'll stay there even after coming to temp. I can idle at that rpm for 25 minutes if I want to. Normal rpms are ~850. And when starting the car under normal temperatures it will idle high for about 30-45 seconds and then go down to 850.

So my question is why does it idles so high for so long? It will only idle down to 850 in these subzero temps if I out the car in drive or tap the gas once and that's even after the car is showing its warm.

I hate the cold. Ugh. Need to move out of MN.


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Old 01-07-2014, 01:09 AM   #2
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Just seen the other winter thread, my car doesn't have any issues staying warm or blowing hot heat. I just wanted to know about the idle specifically.
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:18 AM   #3
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It might be some small programming issue with the computer, or it could be the ECM just making sure the car is properly warmed up before dropping revs. When it's REALLY cold my engine takes FOREVER to warm up...especially if the climate control is on. I mean, I can go drive around for a half hour and still be 10* under operating temp.

Also, the gauge evens out when the car hits about 40-50*C. Running temp is 90*C, so just because the gauge says it's warm doesn't mean it actually is.

ETA - also, if the AC compressor is on (defroster...) then that could also trigger the ECM to keep RPMs up until the engine reaches proper operating temp, in an effort to avoid putting undue stress on the cold engine.
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:30 AM   #4
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mine idles high and squeaks as well. -10 mornings will do that I suppose
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:18 AM   #5
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I just noticed this today when the temperature in Virginia dropped to 3 degrees.

My guess is that at those low ambient temperatures, an idling engine doesn't generate enough heat to get up to normal operating temperature.

I started my car about 5 minutes before I began my commute today. Revs, like you said, were pegged at about 1,500 rpms when I got back in my car to begin my drive. HVAC was still blowing cold air, too, which means the coolant wasn't hot enough for the thermostat to open.

After driving about a half mile, though, revs dropped to a normal level the first time I stopped at a traffic light.

Remember that the temperature gauge on the dash is more like an idiot light than a true gauge. You probably need to drive around a bit for the engine to fully warm up.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:47 AM   #6
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It's been cold as hell here in Misery (Missouri) lately. I've noticed that mine idles higher as well- all of my cars have, come to think of it. I'd think it's to meet emission standards- the catalytic converter really only works once it comes to its idea temperature (between 1,200 to 1,600*F). Any time before that, the car is pretty much spitting out emissions, and I would image there's guidelines set by the government on how long a cold vehicle can emit pollutants.

Idling the car at a higher RPM for an extended time in extremely cold weather would bring all the whirly bits up to temp faster, and warm the catalytic converter enough for it to start operating properly, making the car then meet the more stringent emission standards.

If it makes you feel any better, when I've started my car when it's this cold out, it has idled about that high for a while. I leave it be while I get ready for work, and by the time I get back in it to leave (about 10-15mins later), it's idling at normal speed and it's pretty toasty inside. It's operating normally, as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:47 AM   #7
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I'm a bit south of you, OP. I dont' remember seeing anything odd over the past few days, but I'll keep an eye out today. If I had to bet, I'd say mine idles down to ~800rpm after a couple of minutes, even at -20F.
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:54 PM   #8
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I feel like my car does this or something similar everytme I start it when its cold out
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:48 AM   #9
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The temps we've had have obviously been far below average and quite unusual for most places. My idle will stay high too until I start driving. I don't generally let my car sit an idle to warm up for more than a minute or so. I drive it nice and easy. It's more efficient. I've also had an awful whistling noise on start up a couple days over the past week. This morning while I was sitting in my car for a minute before driving my idle briefly surged about 500 rpms. I'm just writing this all off as the extreme weather being the cause. If it had had problems starting I'd be a little more concerned, but even with the negative temperatures we've had she's fired right up every time. Not even sluggish on the turnover.
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Old 01-10-2014, 07:00 AM   #10
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Its a cold start high idle. Perfectly normal nothing to be concerned about. Helps build heat in cold temperatures. I am impressed how quickly the car warms up in cold weather relative to other vehicles I have owned.
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