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Discussion Starter #1
In this thread: Accident, adrenaline & pushbutton starter vs. old school with a twist

I had a minor accident earlier today, and it got me wondering about how things might have been different in a car with a modern pushbutton start switch.

I was cruising along the highway in fairly dense fast-moving traffic. I shifted in my seat to reach for something just as the car hit a bump, and my right knee contacted my ignition key exactly the right way to bump it from "on" to "accessory." Again, this happened at 65mph on a freeway.

In the span of about 6 seconds, I realized what had happened, lit up the hazards, planned an escape route, shifted to neutral, cranked the starter and got the engine running, revved up to match, popped it into drive and canceled the hazard blinkers. That was the whole accident. Never needed to use the escape, just continued on in my lane and everything was fine after. I'm sure some of the other drivers near me never even looked up from their snapchats; it was that much of a non-event externally.

I was sort of trained for this. 20+ years ago I had a crummy old car that would stall out from time to time, so "underway restarts" were an occasional thing. But I haven't had to do that in a very long time, thankfully.

But then it made me wonder about the latest generation with the pushbutton starters. Would the button be easier to hit? Does it have any kind of escape logic to prevent inadvertent underway shutdowns? Would I have been required to hit the brake to get around the interlock to make it start in neutral?
 

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I remember the car talk guys talking about doing that on purpose in the old sections of tunnel by logan airport in the 70s,
returning newish rental cars to the airport as a silly college age spare time job. (too many rental cars would go from the airport to the burbs, and then they would get short at the airport).

the purpose of turning the key off on a moving already hot engine in the tunnel = to make the car backfire from extra gasoline getting pumped past the engine into the hot exhaust.

one car they blew some of the exhaust right off and they had to pay replace it.
(today I can't remember if it was a muffler or a cat converter).

glad such a thing did not happen with this 12 year old trouble free beauty.
 

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yep ^^^^

did that many times with a 51 (yes 1951) Chevy. Carbureted cars with mechanical fuel pumps still have fuel sucked through when moving with ignition off so, exhaust fills with air/fuel mix near stoichiometric ratios - turn ignition back on and BAM! - like a big shotgun went off!

I don't think FI cars can do it.
 

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I had a minor accident earlier today, and it got me wondering about how things might have been different in a car with a modern pushbutton start switch.

I was cruising along the highway in fairly dense fast-moving traffic. I shifted in my seat to reach for something just as the car hit a bump, and my right knee contacted my ignition key exactly the right way to bump it from "on" to "accessory." Again, this happened at 65mph on a freeway.

In the span of about 6 seconds, I realized what had happened, lit up the hazards, planned an escape route, shifted to neutral, cranked the starter and got the engine running, revved up to match, popped it into drive and canceled the hazard blinkers. That was the whole accident. Never needed to use the escape, just continued on in my lane and everything was fine after.

I was sort of trained for this. 20+ years ago I had a crummy old car that would stall out from time to time, so "underway restarts" were an occasional thing. But I haven't had to do that in a very long time, thankfully.

But then it made me wonder about the latest generation with the pushbutton starters. Would the button be easier to hit? Does it have any kind of escape logic to prevent inadvertent underway shutdowns? Would I have been required to hit the brake to get around the interlock to make it start in neutral?
It wasn't a Subaru, but I just happened to see a Youtube video of someone testing this in a Ford. Unsurprisingly, the car did not switch off. The push button is not a mechanical switch like the key-turned ignition switch is, and I'm sure it is fairly easy to program in to the computer that it will ignore the button in certain conditions. eg, going 65 mph!
 

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This surprises me every button start car Ive used you had to hold the button down for a few seconds when in any gear selection but park to shut down the engine.

As an interesting side note lots of studies have looked into the whole “Toyota throttle hysteria” all of them point to early social media generated hype and user error as the highest probable cause. Interesting to read up on the newer info.

Operator error is a large problem in modern cars. Its also why smart Auto Makers are building in data capture ability and smarter systems to prevent improper operation which in its self can damage costly components.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
yep ^^^^

did that many times with a 51 (yes 1951) Chevy. Carbureted cars with mechanical fuel pumps still have fuel sucked through when moving with ignition off so, exhaust fills with air/fuel mix near stoichiometric ratios - turn ignition back on and BAM! - like a big shotgun went off!

I don't think FI cars can do it.
Let's say it was muted, but enough raw fuel made it through for a little puff.

My 1970 VW put it to shame for laying down the decibels, though in that car the real issue was a pinhole in the muffler. I learned that I could goose the throttle to add fuel via the accelerator pump, then pop-close the throttle hard while in gear. The gas went straight through the engine with no air to burn it in until it drafted some oxygen in through the hole in the muffler. Then BANG! The timing was utterly predictable, which made it a [strike]super fun[/strike] useful traffic tool. Eventually I just put a machine screw in the muffler hole, but I'll admit every now and then I was tempted to back it out. :)
 

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I stopped doing it in the tunnel I regularly went through to/from night school when the noise made someone lose control - no wreck, but they may have needed a change of clothes!
 

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FI cars can cut fuel for a whole host of reasons so you cant damage them or have the fun of carbed car afterrun or backfires. The best noisemaker I had was my 79 RX-7. Carbed, thermal reactor instead of catalytic converter and non factory straight thru Thrush muffler. It was loud. On choke it would throw flames about 2 to 3 feet out the tail pipe. I could backfire that thing just by snapping the throttle. I would drive by the police station at night in our small town and snap that throttle 2 or 3 times.......BOOM,BOOM,BOOM, sounded like gunshots. Did it maybe once a year just for the **** of it. Nite time was also the time to yank the choke and shoot flames out the tailpipe. That was 35 years ago, such fun.
 

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Glad to hear there was no type of damage from the accident. That's interesting. Yes, from what I've heard, the push-start models have a lockout feature so you can't kill the engine while in anything except Park or Neutral, I believe. Even if you're at 0 mph in Drive, it won't let you kill it.
 

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I have a question. If you were still rolling down the hiway in gear and turned the ignition off.....shouldn't you have just been able to turn the ignition back on and it start running again? I haven't tried it in my outback...but have had other cars you could.
 

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I stopped doing it in the tunnel I regularly went through to/from night school when the noise made someone lose control - no wreck, but they may have needed a change of clothes!
and here described for history, how 1 Lucky Texan became a humanitarian . 0:)
 

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I have a question. If you were still rolling down the hiway in gear and turned the ignition off.....shouldn't you have just been able to turn the ignition back on and it start running again? I haven't tried it in my outback...but have had other cars you could.
That only works on cars with manual transmissions that keep the engine spinning after turning off the ignition. Newer cars, even with manual transmissions may have some additional ECM lockouts to prevent damage to the catalytic.
All the above stories about popping exhausts with raw fuel are done with manual transmissions as well. An engine in front of an automatic stops spinning when the spark goes away.
There are a handful of old automatic transmissions that were plumbed and set up where power input through the driveshaft could transmit torque all the way to the engine, but I am not aware of any modern automatic that can do that (DSG-type gearboxes excluded :wink2:).
 

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That only works on cars with manual transmissions that keep the engine spinning after turning off the ignition. Newer cars, even with manual transmissions may have some additional ECM lockouts to prevent damage to the catalytic.
All the above stories about popping exhausts with raw fuel are done with manual transmissions as well. An engine in front of an automatic stops spinning when the spark goes away.
There are a handful of old automatic transmissions that were plumbed and set up where power input through the driveshaft could transmit torque all the way to the engine, but I am not aware of any modern automatic that can do that (DSG-type gearboxes excluded :wink2:).
Skeptical, but willing to test. I see a science project in my future!

These cars appear to shut the fuel to the engine off when coasting, then automagically turn it back on, and the engine begins running with only the barest shudder when conditions change (too slow, apply throttle, shift to neutral, maybe others?) I didn't believe this, either, until experimenting, but it's apparently true.

Killing the ignition is not the same as coasting in drive, and the systems may well be smart enough to accomplish this, but I'm not believin' it until I test it myownself or am otherwise convinced.
 

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Well!!!! I have to Bust Your Bubble! I tried it with my Subbie today and as suspected it did start back up when I turned the ignition back on. I was going 45MPH and the transmission did continue to spin the engine. Hydraulics are hydraulics and as long as the momentum keeps the pump in the transmission spinning it will stay engaged. I don't recommend it as I certainly don't think my Subbie appreciated it! I have the 5EAT so I don't know how a CVT would act but I suspect it would be the same.

That only works on cars with manual transmissions that keep the engine spinning after turning off the ignition. Newer cars, even with manual transmissions may have some additional ECM lockouts to prevent damage to the catalytic.
All the above stories about popping exhausts with raw fuel are done with manual transmissions as well. An engine in front of an automatic stops spinning when the spark goes away.
There are a handful of old automatic transmissions that were plumbed and set up where power input through the driveshaft could transmit torque all the way to the engine, but I am not aware of any modern automatic that can do that (DSG-type gearboxes excluded :wink2:).
 
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