Oh. I would start by looking at the crankshaft position sensor on the passenger side of the transmission bell housing right behind the cylinder head. It is not unheard of it developing "spurious" signals that mimic the pulses it produces when the engine is turning. The Engine Computer will interpret those pulses as the engine is rotating so it will turn on the automatic shutdown (ASD) relay, and the separate fuel pump relay on vehicles that use them. When those pulses are erratic, the operation of those relays will be too. At the same time, the sensor could fail to provide the normal pulses it is supposed to during engine cranking. That can result in a no-start condition.
The camshaft position sensor can cause this too. It's inside the distributor. One thing to try is to unplug one of those sensors, then turn on the ignition switch to see if you still hear that rattling sound. That will set a diagnostic fault code in the Engine Computer and turn on the Check Engine light, but it will erase automatically after 50 engine starts, (about two weeks), after the problem doesn't come back.
Note that if you remove the crankshaft position sensor and reinstall it, the air gap is critical for proper operation. New ones from the dealer will use a thick paper spacer stuck to the end. It slides off when the engine is started and is done doing its thing. When reinstalling an old sensor, get a new paper spacer from the dealer's parts department. Many aftermarket replacement sensors have a thin plastic rib molded onto the end to set the gap. It partially wears away during engine operation. To reuse those, you are supposed to cut off the remaining rib, then use the paper spacer.
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 AT 4:06 PM