You should never remove/replace parts hoping to hit the jackpot. It hardly ever works, and you only wind up spending money that could've been used on a proper repair.
This sounds as if it's your fuel pressure regulator. Inside these regulators are a small rubber diaphragm and pressure spring. Vacuum is applied to one side of the diaphragm which controls fuel pressure to your injectors. When your car is shut off, it also holds gas inside of the engine's fuel rails, so when you're ready to restart the motor, there's fuel available right away instead of having to crank the ignition several times.
Sometimes this diaphragm ruptures, and/or the spring fails, which bleeds the fuel back to the tank whenever you shut the car off. So when your car sits for a long period of time, you'll have to crank it several times in order to get the gas from the tank back to the engine.
If you know how, remove the vacuum hose to the fuel pressure regulator. Smell the inside of it. If it smells like gas, then it's failed. Also, use a hand held vacuum pump to apply 5-10 inches of vacuum to the regulator. If it holds the vacuum, it's good. If it doesn't, then it's bad.
If you don't know how, you'll have to take it to a shop.
It's not guaranteed that this is your problem. It can also be a failed sensor, or if it's freezing, moisture inside of the distributor housing could ice up and cause arcing over. But these are the least likely, according to the symptoms you describe.
So begin your testing with the regulator. And remember, don't just start removing and replacing parts until you find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. (EXPENSIVE!)
Thursday, January 7th, 2010 AT 12:06 PM