Not starting, prior would need many key turn cycles before start, now still needs cycles but then only cranks

Tiny
TINKERERKJ
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 PLYMOUTH VOYAGER
  • 103,000 MILES
1999 voyager 3.3L 103K. For a year have had the problem that when key turned only got clicks, keep cycling key turn and at one point it would crank and immediately start. Sometimes it would crank and start first time other times it might take 20-30 key turn cycles or just a couple. Now numerous key turn cycles necessary to get it to crank, but it will not start, just cranks. Any thoughts? Other than the annoying starting issue the vehicle has been operating fine. I have been trying to check all kinds of things - fuses seem OK, relays seem OK, battery is OK, starter is OK. Still working on checking the fuel pump, no pressure at port on fuel rail. But if is a fuel problem for non-start, what is the problem with the key turn cycles necessary sometimes before cranking?
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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 AT 7:45 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
If you are not getting fuel pressure at the fuel rail, that is the problem. Either you have a clogged fuel filter or a bad pump.
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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 AT 8:06 PM
Tiny
TINKERERKJ
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Thanks for the reply. Even if it is the fuel supply (filter or pump), this does not explain the need for numerous key turns prior to cranking. These could be two unrelated problems or they could be related. I will be checking the pump and filter this afternoon.
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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 AT 9:00 PM
Tiny
TINKERERKJ
  • MEMBER
I have disconnected the fuel line after the filter and placed it in a container. I then powered the fuel pump directly from the battery. It pumped into the container just fine. I then reconnected the fuel line and powered the pump for about 30 seconds. I then depressed the pressure valve on the fuel rail and did not get any fuel. Would it take longer than 30 seconds to move the fuel to the rail? Is there something else that would keep the fuel from the rail?
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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 AT 10:05 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
It should pressurize within 2 seconds. When it was connected, do you power it directly from the battery?

As far as the cranking, I thought the starter worked but the engine didn't start. That is a seperate problem. When this happens, have a helper turn the key to the start position while you check for voltage at the smaller wire on the starter. You should have 12 volts. If you do, the starter may be the problem. If there is no power, check the starter relay.

Let me know how you are powering the fuel pump since you connected it. If you are not running power direct from the battery, check the fuel pump relay for power. It could be bad. Also, it could be the switch itself causing both problems.
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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 AT 10:28 PM
Tiny
TINKERERKJ
  • MEMBER
I found a helper to keep the valve on the rail open while I powered the pump directly from the battery with an external wire. You were right, it just took a couple of seconds to get the fuel to the open valve on the rail. So this inidcates that the fuel system delivers fuel when powered. Now the issue becomes when is it getting power.

To explain further the key/click/starter issue. I am not sure what the key positions are called so I will define my own. In normal opeation when you turn the key it will move through a few positions. The first I will call the ON position at which the odometer comes on, turn further to the RUN position and the indicator lights come on, further still to the START position and the starter will engage. Once the engine starts and the key is released it will settle back to the RUN position.

With those positions in mind and the knowledge that the fuel pump is capable to supply fuel to the rails I again tried to start the engine. Turning to the ON position lit the odometer, as I turned the key to the RUN position I could hear click(s) (probably relays) and a momentary hum shich upon research is the fuel pump powering for maybe a second. When I turned to START I got a much loader click from the starter but no more than the load click. Sounded like the gear engaged but did not attempt to turn. The key returned to the RUN. I turned to START again with the same result. On the twelve cycle the starter crank the engine for as long as I held the key in the START position but the engine did not start. I probably cranked for 15-20 seconds before I let go.

This cycling of the key between RUN and START is what we have been doing for quite a while, maybe a year. However before yesterday, when on the key turn where the starter would crank the engine, the engine would start right away and run fine. It just might be the first key turn to START or the 30th cycle. The past week has been worse than "?Normal?" In the number of cycles before starting. Then yesterday when it does crank it does not start.

After reading things on-line I found someone who said that if blade 86 of the starter relay has 12v when in the START position that indicates that both the ingnition switch and the TRS are operating correctly. I am just wondering what other sensors/relays would keep the engine from starting once I do get it to crank. And what things would cause the need to cycle various number of times from RUN to START before the starter will crank? Is there a sensor/relay that would keep the fuel pump from being powered?
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Friday, October 28th, 2011 AT 12:13 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Okay:

If you are getting one click, make sure all terminals between the battery and starter are clean and tight. If they are, do the test I suggested. Have a helper turn the key to the start position while you check for 12+ volts to the small wire on the starter. If there is power, replace the starter. If there isn't check the starter relay in the power distribution box under the hood. Next, there is a fuel pump relay in there too. Switch it with another relay with the same part number. See if that works.

Let me know what you find from these tests.
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Friday, October 28th, 2011 AT 12:29 AM
Tiny
TINKERERKJ
  • MEMBER
Sorry for the delay in getting to a resolution. It turns out that the solenoid on the starter was bad. It would at times be strong enough to engage the starter but most of the time not. Replacing the starter was the answer to this part of the problem. Even though the fuel pump was working it was not working well. I ended up getting a fuel pressure gauge and found out that the pump was only capable of producing about 10 psi at the rail when the specs called for about 50 psi. So replacing the fuel pump was the answer here. So now the vehicle satrts and runs fine. After talking to a mechanic he mentioned that the possible cause was originally the solenoid which made me keep turning the key until it would crank. The turning of the key was stopping and starting the fuel pump every time and that may have worn out the diaphram enough to cause the low pressure. So I may have caused more problems by not fixing the first problem sooner. Live and learn, at least I am operational now. Thanks.
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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 AT 1:35 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I had a feeling the starter was bad. I'm glad you are up and running. Let us know if you have questions in the future.

Joe
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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 AT 1:39 AM

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