Based on what you described, it sounds like the fuel pump is bad. Have you tried to see if it will fire up using starting fluid? If it does and runs a few seconds and then dies, it's not getting fuel. Keep in mind, you may hear the fuel pump run, but it may not be producing enough pressure to run the vehicle.
When you mentioned that you would need to prime the fuel by cycling the key, that tells me there is either a leak in the sstem causing it to loose pressure, or the one way valve on the pump is bad.
Here is a "How To" video and directions for checking fuel pressure. You will need a gauge to check it. Most parts stores will lend or rent one to you. Follow the directions to see what you find. Also, pay attention to fuel pressure drop off. That is when the key is turned off and the pump stops. It should hold full pressure for a few minutes before slightly droping.
Try this and let me know what you find. Keep in mind, the starter fluid will answer basically the same question, but will not tell you if it is the pump or the regulator. However, it will tell you if it is fuel related.
Let me know what you find.
Monday, September 21st, 2009 AT 9:51 PM