“Three seconds and a half… a second and half more than normal!” Wing Commander M A, recently promoted, is spitting fire.

The technician was desperately trying to bring his attention to the owners manual.

“Switch the ignition to START and hold (upto 10 seconds at a time) until the engine starts” … that is what the owners manual says… three and a half seconds cranking is nothing abnormal!

But, I know M A for a long time, since the days he was a Flight Lieutenant, and realized it is not going to stop here.

“Why only when parked for more than three hours? Why only the first time?? There is a PROBLEM! I checked fifteen other cars in my squadrons!”

Great news! 

When did they replace the F16s with our MXXXXs!?

“Suju, I will take it if you say it is normal! But, then, you have to forget that promise ”

He was refering to an old bet between us.

I did not say anything.

He left the car in the workshop.

Fuel pressure is fine… fuel pressure drop test result is fine… Powertrain Control Module [PCM] already replaced… the technician has already done everything…

Was there really a problem?

Luckily we had a couple of new vehicles…

M A was right! There was a small delay when started after long parking… 

Noticeable when parked more than three hours…

These beauties had been around for almost one year, but, we, at the technical support centre, hadn’t got a chance to lay our hands on one so far. No complaints so far that required our support!

Drop in fuel pressure?

But fuel pressure gauge reading does not indicate any problems.

Something that delays the starting… just the first time after a long parking… everything back to normal after the first start…

No difference in cranking speeds…

New Ignition coils, sparkplugs, PCM…

Wrong air fuel ratio?

But, why just once?

May be a minute fuel leak at the injectors? So minute that it does not show up during the fuel pressure drop test?

A few drops in three hours?

A little fuel accumulation at the manifold, enough to upset the air fuel ratio and delay starting after a long parking?

I could not think of anything else.

We removed the injectors and connected them to the rail outside so that we can view the tips.

Ignition was switched on, fuel pump worked for 1 second and stopped.

Normal fuel pressure in the rail, ignition turned off.

I was the least surprised to see a tiny wet spot appearing at the number 1 injector tip in 20 minutes.

First drop of fuel fell in 40 minutes…

5 drops in 3 hours…

One injector later…

“What about joining me on a desert safari this weekend?”

 M A becomes very generous when he is happy.


I don’t know why…

These machines remind me of my first days at college… and those angels who were to rule many hearts in the months that followed…