Sounds like you have a fuel leak. When you shut a vehicle off the fuel system remains pressurized, that is why you don't have to"pump" the gas pedal to get get a fuel injected vehicle to start the engine.
If you have a leak in the fuel system, the pressure bleeds off and causes the hard start condition you stated. This would also giive you the fuel smell, it will be much stronger with the vehicle running.
I won't take much of a leak to cause these systems due to the rather high fuel pressure (appox 65 psi) that the system requires.
If I remember correctly the fuel module in the tank is plastic on your vehicle. The lines that run along the frame are steel and may be rusted. Best bet is to start the vehicle, let it run for a few minutes looking under the vehicle for drips. Then turn the engine off and check the lines from the tank up to the fuel rail for damp spots.
Also check the fuel pressue regulator, remove the vaccuum line from the regulator and check for raw fuel at the vaccuum port. If there is raw fuel present this means the diaphram is torn, replace the regulator.
I did check and found no technical service bulletins at this time that match your sysmtoms.
Just a few ideas, let me know if they work for you or if you have any other questions.
Thursday, August 13th, 2009 AT 8:40 PM