Guide Created By - Ken
Repair Guide Updated On 3-26-2016
When you get into your vehicle and turn the ignition key you expect to hear
the engine run in about 2 to 3 seconds for before it starts. The
in your vehicle is designed to deliver what your engine needs to run instantly
system with an electrical charge to the spark plugs. No need to step on the
throttle a little like older vehicles because the computer will crack the
throttle for you from its completely closed position. Today's engine
is lean and efficient with very little waste in the way of fuel and energy. If
the engine takes more than 4 seconds to start there is a problem in the way of a
leak, low pressure or reference to the computer problems. It sounds complicated,
but it really isn't, today's vehicles are easier than ever to repair thanks to
the vehicle’s computer control system and basic troubleshooting methods which we
will help you with in this article.
Some repair shops want you to think the repairs to your vehicle are difficult
so they can charge you more money, but we are going to put a stop to all of that
and put the power back into your hands so you can have a better idea of what is
wrong and can you fix it yourself, or have a repair shop make the repair for
you. Let’s get started by going over the repair guide below; I will list the
most popular reasons to the most obscure.
Before the troubleshooting begins, we must know if there is a check engine or
service engine soon light "ON" if so, we must start here to help pinpoint the
problem. Please Watch:
Check engine light code scan
If no warning lights are "ON" please proceed, park the vehicle on level
ground, with the emergency brake set. You will need a basic mechanics tool set,
safety goggles and a pair of gloves. Some of the supplies you will need are a
can of carburetor cleaner spray and shop towels. Are you ready to save some
money while learning a little more about cars? Let’s get started shall we?
One of the most popular causes for extended crank is a "slow to come to
pressure" fuel pump in other words the fuel pump works, but its weak and it
takes time to bring the
up to the correct pressure for the system to work properly. Think about how much
fuel is burned inside the engine when it is running, even at full throttle, the
amount is very little because its mostly air that is entering and exiting the
engine, 14 parts air to 1 part fuel to be exact, and this one part fuel is an
atomized version which is even less. So the companies that manufacture vehicles
have figured out that they can make a cheaper pump that can deliver the pressure
without the volume of yesterday’s pumps, the down side is these pump are made in
mass quantities for cheap and weak pumps are common.
Here is how you can tell if this maybe your problem. Next time you get into
your vehicle to take off somewhere turn the ignition key to the "ON" position
without cranking the engine over. You should hear the pump start in the fuel
tank for a brief period and then stop, cycle the key "OFF" then "ON" again
without cranking the engine over while listening to the fuel pump, and do the
cycle one more time to make three subsequent cycles. You are listening for a
change in the tone of the pump with each attempt; it should sound like it is
laboring a little more each time the test is run. On the third time crank the
engine over, if the car starts right up you have found the problem, a weak fuel
Though some of you may not want to change a fuel pump because in
particular cases you need to remove the fuel tank, have no fear many of today's
vehicles have trap doors either under the rear seat or in the trunk which makes
the job much easier even though I don't mind taking a tank down from a vehicle,
it’s a fun day project that family and friends can help with. The trick is to
wait until the tank is empty before you begin. Watch the video below so you can
get an idea of what's in store for you when doing this job. The first video will
be the trap door style; the next video will be the "drop the tank" repair.
Remember when working with gas, no smoking just like in the filling stations.
And the non-trap door models.
Both of these examples give you an idea how the job is done. If the engine
still starts hard with the three key cycle test, move onto the next problem.
Another common reason for extended crank time for engines is a vacuum leak.
Engine vacuum must be a sealed system which the mass air flow and map sensors
depend on to send feedback information to the main computer which in turn sets
the stage for the engine starting sequence. This information is then offset by a
leak the computer is not ready for. The readings it then receives and gives
commands to won’t fit the engine at startup mode. By a visual inspection of all
vacuum lines present in the engine bay you can discover a broken, torn or
dilapidated hose that needs replacing. These hoses connect to the power brake
booster and other vacuum related items such as the climate and cruise controls
on older Mercedes Benz, BMW, Ford, Volkswagen and Chevy's. Check out the video
below to see how to check for vacuum leaks and how to repair them.
One more important part of the vacuum system is the air intake tube and boot.
These parts are connected to the air filter and feature the mass air flow
sensor. The MAF sensor is responsible for metering the air entering the engine
and sending this information to the main PCM computer. If this tube or boot is
broken or torn it will alter its reading therefore feeding the computer false
information causing an extended crank time for the engine. To check for this
problem remove the air intake tube and inspect it, replace the worn, torn or
broken parts as needed. Check out the video below to see how the job is done on
a Ford Focus.
And this is how it is done on a Toyota, you can see in the video how someone
tried to glue the tear which works for a little while, but the tear will almost
always come back unless replaced because the rubber it is made of gets dried out
The next item on the list is the throttle actuator (throttle bore on older
vehicle) this electronic throttle control will get a condition we call "coking"
which in short is a kind of heavy tar like goo on the butterfly and its inner
body. This substance is due to the impurities in the air the engine consumes in
mass quantities over the years of being operated. A throttle actuator service is
part of today's tune up along with the spark plugs. The good part about this
service is you will need no parts to do the repair, just a shop towel and a can
of carburetor cleaner which you can get at Amazon or any auto parts store. See
how it is done on a Chevy Truck in the video below.
On vehicles equipped with an idle air control motor IAC (pre 2008 mostly)
which is designed to control the amount of air entering the engine there is a
simple test you can do to see if this part has failed or needs service much like
the throttle actuator or bore. The next time you get in your vehicle before you
turn the key "ON" rest your foot on the gas pedal slightly to open the
butterfly. This will bypass the idle air control valve and allow the engine to
start. If the engine starts by resting your foot on the gas pedal remove the IAC
and clean it, again no parts involved just a shop towel and carburetor cleaner.
Check out the video below to watch how it is done. Fun right? I'm having a good
Spark plugs are a normal maintenance item and if you have not replacement
them and your car's odometer says over 50,000 miles, its time. On most cars this
job is simple and can be done within an hour or so, the only parts you need is
the spark plugs which play a roll on how the engine starts and runs. You can get
spark plugs from
Amazon or an auto parts store. Proper maintenance is essential and must be
done to keep your investment running correctly. Lets see how its done:
Next on the list, the
crankshaft angle sensor or CKS. A crankshaft angle sensor is used to monitor
the rotation of the crankshaft of the engine and signal the computer the
rotation speed of the crankshaft. This is done using a magnetic sensor on a reluctor
wheel on the front or rear of the engine, and on newer engine's both front and
rear. As the crankshaft spins it creates alternating current much like an ABS
wheel speed sensor. This sensor can also have a problem and not give you a check
engine light or trouble code of any kind because the computer thinks the engine
just stalled for some outside reason, could have run out of gas, or stalled
using the clutch etc.
When this sensor becomes weak and starter motor is turning
the crankshaft slowly and while cranking the voltage is weak, little to no
signal is generated and the computer thinks the engine is not turning over hence the hard
starting. On some car's like the Chevy Colorado eventual the computer will see
the camshaft is turning without the crankshaft and force the engine to delay