P0300 - Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire - 2003 C5
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  1. #1
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    Default P0300 - Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire - 2003 C5

    Hi, I had this code come up this morning on the way to work. The car started running very rough and had not much power when I accelerated. I cleared the code and started again and drove for about 10 mins in traffic and the code didn't come up again.

    I've noticed lately that its been getting hard to start in the morning. After it does eventually start in the morning (only takes 2 times max), it chugs and shakes for the first few seconds but after one rev its smooth again. But only on the first start for the day, the rest of the starts during the day are easy. But it will be hard to start again the next morning. This doesn't happen every morning, but most. By hard to start, I mean I'll turn the key, hear the starter but it won't start, turn the key off again, wait a second or 2 and try again and it starts fine.

    I bought the car at 100,000kms, and can't say much for the service history. So I'll be changing the spark plugs this week just to be safe. Anything else I can check while I'm under there? I am a complete amateur so might things explained a bit more than the average, but I have a Haynes book so can look it up as well

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    Another thing, I changed the timing belt and water pump myself (thank Haynes and pictures). But that was over 6 months, 7000kms ago (including a round trip Gold Coast to Newcastle), so if that was done incorrectly, it wouldn't wait till now to tell me?

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    Hi Gareth,

    More details on car please. Engine petrol or diesel, four cylinder or 6. Is it using any coolant? Last change of spark plugs?

    Cheers,

    Ken W

  3. #3
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    It's the 4 cylinder petrol. Not sure about last change of spark plugs which is why I'm going to change them anyway. Just wondering if there's anything else I should check while doing the plugs. I'll check coolant level and get back in a sec.

    Also, any recommendations on what plugs to buy? I'm actually going to change them tonight hopefully!
    Last edited by garethb; 13th May 2014 at 01:03 PM.

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts cav91's Avatar
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    Sounds like a dieing coil pack to me. If you drive it longer distance than 10 minutes will it's start playing up again?

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  5. #5
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    Just drove to the dealer to get some spark plugs, around 25mins there and back and no issue, although a bit rough for the first few seconds after starting like its starving?

    Is it possible that this is a phantom error?

    No coolant loss either.

  6. #6
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    Hi Gareth,

    It sounds like the problem I had with mine - same car. It was diagnosed as lazy hydraulic lifters. I was skeptical at first and had the coil replaced. But it didn't help and it got worse and worse until in cold weather it would only limp. My stop gap fix was to start it up drive a hundred metres (on three cylinders) or so stop for 30 secs then start and go again with car behaving normal. But after a year or two of this it would not get running properly even after a couple of stops and starts. So I finally bit the bullet and paid a fair bit of money to have the hydraulic lifters replaced. Since then it has been perfect. This was done at about 90,000 kms. You can read a previous post of mine about it here.
    C5 engine missing - hydraulic lifters?

    cheers Tony

  7. #7
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    HHmmmm, it does sound similar with the cold starts in the morning. If I turn the car on without actually starting and waiting for the lifters to stop making noises then start, its starts fine. But even after reading your posts, I still can't see how this would be a problem for misfires? Did your mechanic explain why he thought that was the problem? The lifters drawing too much power and not leaving enough for the rest of the car to start properly?

  8. #8
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    Default Missing in action !

    Quote Originally Posted by garethb View Post
    HHmmmm, it does sound similar with the cold starts in the morning. If I turn the car on without actually starting and waiting for the lifters to stop making noises then start, its starts fine. But even after reading your posts, I still can't see how this would be a problem for misfires? Did your mechanic explain why he thought that was the problem? The lifters drawing too much power and not leaving enough for the rest of the car to start properly?
    Hi garethb,
    Now your statement above is not correct, you have mistaken the symptoms. The lifters do not make any noise until the engine starts. The only things running when you turn on the ignition without starting should be the fuel pump for 5 seconds or so and perhaps the suspension pump is still going for a while. These should give only a slight whirr or whine not any rattling or other noise.

    If it starts better after the fuel pump has a chance to 'fill' the system, then the fuel regulator may be leaking back to the tank overnight. Try a bottle of fuel system cleaner in the tank and also fill with 98. See if that gets rid of the dirt or crap in the system. Not much lost if it dosen't Change the fuel filter soon after to get rid of that crap. Otherwise have a mechanic test the fuel rail pressure for leakage after turning the engine off. There is a test point on the fuel rail for that.

    Good luck jaahn

  9. #9
    sans witticism SLC206's Avatar
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    How old is the battery?
    Regards,

    Simon

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  10. #10
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    jaahn, the suspension lifts the car when I unlock the doors, I guess to make it easier to get into, then when I put the key in the ignition, it lowers again slightly. This is the noise I'm talking about (like a transformer ). I just assumed they all did this? I've also used almost a full bottle of fuel cleaner, this last fill up should finish the bottle off. I'll change the fuel filter as soon as the cleaner is finished.

    Simon, not sure on age of battery but the 'colour' test on the battery sticker tells me that the battery is still good (colour is green through the view hole).

    Misfire code hasn't come up again, but its still struggling to start on the first go

  11. #11
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    Certainly sounding like initial low fuel pressure. If fuel cleaner hasn't helped, you may need to replace the fuel pressure regulator (or get used to turning the key on and waiting 5 seconds for the fuel pump to get the pressure up before hitting start ).

    Cheers

    Alec

  12. #12
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    Can I get the right fuel filter from supercheap? can someone link it?

  13. #13
    Fellow Frogger! deesse's Avatar
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    another thought.
    My car takes longer to start when it is low on petrol. Normally starts after one or two revolutions but when low on fuel 5-6.
    cheers Tony

  14. #14
    sans witticism SLC206's Avatar
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    My original point with the battery relates to it having enough power to pressurise the fuel rail prior to starting.

    If this is a problem that occurs after leaving the car for a while (overnight, etc.) then it could merely be a battery issue.

    Perhaps turning the key to on (and not starting it) and waiting there for a 20-30 secs while the fuel pump runs and then starting it will prevent the rough running on first start.
    Regards,

    Simon

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  15. #15
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    Full tank, new fuel filter, charged battery and seems to be starting better. Thanks for the advice. Not so worried about it now :-)

  16. #16
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    New fuel filter ... where is it ... I thought I didn't have one.
    2003 C5 2.0i AL4 205,000 km 76372389

  17. #17
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    It's under the body, you need to release a bunch of quarter turn fasteners on one of the protector trays and let the tray hang from one edge while changing the filter. Lovely way to get a petrol bath.

  18. #18
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    Thanks Adam,

    I thought that only the V6 had a fuel filter.
    Another job that I can’t do because I can’t risk crawling under the car.

    I’m moving at the speed of geology and still haven’t replaced the transmission oil; but it’s coming … say … soon.
    2003 C5 2.0i AL4 205,000 km 76372389

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