1995 Dodge Neon problems starting, PLEASE HELP WITH SOME ADVICE!

Okay, not sure why my neon won't start, could be a number of things. I live in Canada (where it was -50 with the windchill last week in
Calgary for 3 days), and I do not have a block heater, therefore my car would not start all week. Now that it has warmed up (-5) I cannot seem to get it going. It sounds like it wants to start, but just won't catch, SO CLOSE! I've tried boosting it to no avail. Does anyone know what I should do. I will admit I am mechanically challenged, but before I take it in to a shop I'd like to know what I'm working with, if it's even worth it to keep. Thanks in advance for the suggestions and help.
~Rob
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rob snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Okay Rob. First you have to understand that "cold -- won't start" is one of the commonest and vaguest possible complaints. The chance of me or anyone else making the right guess from 1000 miles away is slim. Worse, I don't know what kind of carb is on a Neon so my advice will be generic. Now that we have that understanding, it's good that you added that it cranked over and sounds close to starting.
Any retries would best be done on a warmer day.
1. Flooded. Happens with both fuel ignition and carb engines, and cold makes it worse. Pull the cover off the air cleaner or throttle intake, hold the choke or throttle plate wide open, and have a helper crank for 10-20 seconds. Keep face away in case of backfire. If the engine starts then you have a winner; let go of the throttle before it revs too fast.
If you can actually see fuel pooled down in the throttle body or base of the carb when you pull the cover, then this supports a flooding diagnosis. If EFI, then increase your chance of starting by unplugging the power connector for the fuel injector before cranking the engine.
2. Ice blocking the fuel line. Diagnose by looking or smelling for evidence of gasoline in the throttle or carb after cranking. No gas no start. Tow into heated garage or wait for a day above freezing (ha).
They sell bottles of gas line de-icer, but I have not used it and don't know how well it works. I think you need to have it in the tank *before* your gas line freezes.
3. Just a diagnosis, but check for good spark on several of the spark plug wires. Also inspect inside of distributor cap for evidence of condensation or other problems. If you find consendation, polish it very dry with paper towels before trying to start.
4. Starter fluid. A brute force method. As in (1), open up the carb or throttle cover, and hold open the choke or throttle. Spray this stuff in for a few seconds, then have your helper crank it. This stuff can really back flash, so keep your face away. "Follow directions on can," I suppose.
5. Crap, I almost forgot this. Make sure you are not out of gas! Don't laugh, this gets overlooked more often than you would believe.
A lot more can be tried or examined for "no start", but the above are some of my likely suspects or snake oil for cold weather problems.
If you are out of patience, maybe you could call a roadside assist service and pay them to help. I am sure they have their own bag of tricks including the above. Their chance of getting your "so close" to start without a tow will be better than my ramblings! Good luck.
--Dave
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rob snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

How much exposed flesh is on your Neon? Wind chill is a measure of the effects of the weather on exposed flesh.
--
God help us all,
The next President of the United States will be a liberal.
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On Feb 2, 5:00 pm, rob snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Did you recharge the battery when it would not start the first time? If you did not, it may merely be that you used enough battery charge that there is not enough left to start it.
Cars with computerized fuel and spark management need enough voltage to run the computer, which is generally higher than that needed for the starter to turn the engine.
So batteries need to have a higher state of charge in days of carburetor and Kettering ignition.
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