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It May or May not Start

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We have an older car that used to be my daily driver. We recently got a new car and have kept this old one as a third vehicle. It obviously doesn't get driven (or started) as much as it used to. When it was my daily driver, no problems. Since becoming the third vehicle, it may or may not start.

Here's what I mean:

3 weeks ago I wanted to drive it to town. It started as usual and I did my errands.

The next weekend, it would not start. It turned over fine, but did not start. It acted just as it would if it were out of gas, but I know that it wasn't.

The next weekend it started right up.

This past Saturday it did not start, same thing as before. I tried again on Sunday and it started right up. I let it warm up, moved it around in the driveway and turned it off. I immediately tried to start it again and it wouldn't(?)

I'm thinking that it's a fuel pump or injector issue. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance for any insight.

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What year, Make and Model?

Next time it happens, cycle the key from on to off about 3-4 times (giving a pause in the run position before you turn off). Do not crank over, just on and off. This can prime up a weak fuel pump some time. The other thing to try when it does not start would be to bang on the gas tank with a rubber mallet. This and get a weak pump going also.

I would say fuel pump though

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Yup I just replaced one last week. Typically they will not start after sitting out in the sun with the windows up. The interior of the car gets to the right temp which causes the already cracked solder joints to lose continuity. As soon as the interior cools off the vehicle will start, typically.

If you wanted to check you'll find it located up under the dash above your left foot. It will have two sets of yellow wires coming out of it. One set leads to ignition, the other to the fuel system. Backprobe these wires and see if there is power coming out with the key on/cranking.

Also pay attention to the dash lights. If they do not operate normally you could have a bad ignition switch. Typically you will see that the warning lights do not turn off in the crank position or maybe the check engine light does not come on unless the key if in between the start and run positions.

There are also a ground by the T-stat housing that should be checked. I have seen more than one of those go bad causing no spark!!

That should get you started.

By the way those PGMFI relays are available at NAPA!

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Well, I tried it again this past weekend. Got in and it wouldn't start. I took the advice and cycled through the stop and start key positions about 4 times. It started! I let it warm up and then shut it down. Started again and it worked. Came back an hour later and nothing. I tried cycling the key again, but nothing this time. I did look under the steering column and couldn't tell what was what. I think I'll bring it in and have them check the fuel pump/injector first.

In this circumstance, with this type of car, would you drop in a new part, or see if one could be picked up at a junk yard?

Thanks again for all your insight!

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I think I would put a new relay in it, before bringing it in. They arent that much, and if it isnt it, your only out about $30. And sice it is a comon concern, you may just prevent your next no start now!

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Just wanted to dredge this up again to give an update.

I finally got around to looking into this problem. After researching it a lot, and looking over your posts, I really thought it would be the Main Relay. I changed it out and it works great!! Thank you to all who helped me with this. I'm pretty happy that I was able to diagnose the problem, do some research and ultimately fix the problem myself.

Only one problem. I was cleaning it up and discovered that mice had gotten into the air filter and trunk frown

Spent a bit of time cleaning that up and I'll have to put some coffee grounds or something back there for the smell. It'll be stored in the garage from here on out, but I think I'll be putting some drier sheets or something in there to deter the little monsters anyway.

Thanks again everyone!

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