If Hubby as one of those cheap multi meters you could check the glow plugs and if in fact it is anything to do with the alternator you would be able to check the battery volts, see if the volts are low just after starting and if when they rise that is when the car starts to answer the pedal, if he as not got one a early
when you start it does the power steering light go out before the engine speed rises or after?
Hi Ralph .. Thanks for your reply
Yes my better half has a multi metre, a bigger one than in the link you provided - he uses it in his job. I think he is intending to just replace the glow plugs... after all the car is now 'an old girl' of 8 yrs nearly and as far as I know from the FSH they've never been changed.
All the lights are fine on the dash at pre heat ... all on as they should be - - - usually the power steering light is the last in sequence to go off... always has... but goes off just before or as the engine fires (I may have to check though to be certain)
This morning the temp was 2*c - with frost all over the car - I decided to give her 2 pre-heats before trying to start. I didn't get the bumbling at low revs from the engine for the usual 1 minute+ - but they did dip almost immediately from 1,000 - 500! I thought it was going to stall, but they went straight back up to 900 and all ran fine thereafter.
There's always a good response from the battery, (if slower the colder it is) and the engine does fire within 2-3 seconds. But as with the glow plugs, it's the same battery from when we bought her (3 yrs ago)... possibly needs changing too.
Giving her the 2 pre-heats before start ... is this a safe thing to do?
It did provide a 'better' start (as in better than with 1 pre-heat) but not as smooth as in warmer weather of 9*c and up... or as the coldest start of -6*c last December (in all that snow) was.
Thanks again Ralph
... any ideas are greatly appreciated