1990 Pontiac Tempest Intermittent Start Problems


Engine Mechanical problem
1990 Pontiac Tempest 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic

Same car as the 1990 Chevrolet Corsica with the 3.1L V6.

Once in maybe every 20 cold starts, the engine will need to be cranked a couple of times before it starts. This was particularly bad today when I needed to crank it 4 or 5 times and the check engine light came on.

When I finally did get it started the engine ran great as usual and I ran it through a few warm starts later and it has no problems at all. The check engine light is now off.

I have been getting better than the EPA rated mileage and I've replaced the oil, battery, air filter and plugs recently and all other fluid levels are good. What could a problem like this be? I'm kind of at a loss as to why an engine would have such intermittent problems and run so great once started.

Do you
have the same problem?
Thursday, November 12th, 2009 AT 12:26 PM

1 Reply


The Check Engine light finally started being consistent and so I got around to checking the error by bridging the A and B pins on the ALDL connector under the dash.

I got Error 54: "Fuel pump voltage was less than 4 volts for 0.4 seconds."

I figured low voltage to the fuel pump meant a problem with the wiring somewhere and I checked the relay first. Removed the fuel pump relay which was reading 20 ohms of resistance when turned on. Pulled it apart and sanded down the internal contacts until I was reading the proper 0 ohm resistance. Reconnected it, heard the fuel pump much louder than I did before and the car fired right up.

I replaced the part with a brand new one just to be on the safe side and everything looks good. Check engine light is off and fuel economy is still better than EPA ratings, so a happy ending to this one!

Hope this can help somebody diagnose their car trouble in the future.

Was this
Friday, November 20th, 2009 AT 4:17 PM

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