Trouble starting

Tiny
JALFANO24
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 PONTIAC FIREBIRD
  • 3.8L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 30,000 MILES
My car has an issue starting as you crank the key. At times, the very first start of the day is fine, other times its not. At first it seemed as though warm starts had more of a problem starting as you turned the key to crank but It has progressively gotten worse warm or cold.

No new additions to this vehicle, it's in great shape, oil changes, etc, as we only drive it in the summer. I would add that there are no warning lights or no check engine lights on dashboard.

Thoughts?
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Friday, December 11th, 2020 AT 4:32 AM

10 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

It could be a few things. For example, fuel pressure drop off could cause a delayed start. Do you ever notice smoke from the exhaust or an odd smell? I ask because if there is a puff of black smoke, it could indicate a fuel injector is leaking or an extremely rich fuel mixture. What you could do is check the fuel pressure to confirm it is within spec.

Take a look through this link it explains in general how to check fuel pressure:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-fuel-system-pressure-and-regulator

Next, there could be an issue with the engine coolant temperature sensor. That would require a scan tool to see if it is indicating an accurate temperature. If it is telling the computer it's colder than it really is, it will make the air/fuel mixture to be off. The interesting thing, if the temperature signal is wrong, the computer doesn't know it's wrong and won't set the light to turn on.

If it is possible, record it starting and upload it for me to hear. It may help me.

Take care and let me know if you have other questions.

Joe

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, December 11th, 2020 AT 9:04 PM
Tiny
JALFANO24
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the reply. This morning in Chicago it is around 30 degrees. The car is in the garage and I recorded the starting of the car this morning. It started successfully twice with no hesitation which is the normal way it would always start. We cannot tell anything from it other than the way it should be. I do smell exhaust when starting but that should be normal as it hasn't been started in about 3 days. I neglected to see if there was any black smoke from the exhaust upon startup.

I will need to take it to get the scan tool and run it through to see if any codes come up.

I will let you know what else I find after the car starts after it has been warmed up.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, December 14th, 2020 AT 7:06 AM
Tiny
JALFANO24
  • MEMBER
Here is the video of the cold start this morning. Let me know if there is anything else I can record.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, December 14th, 2020 AT 7:08 AM
Tiny
JALFANO24
  • MEMBER
Okay, here is an update: I had took the car for a drive and sure enough after a short rest it hesitated on the start. I also have a video of running the scan diagnostics.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, December 14th, 2020 AT 1:25 PM
Tiny
JALFANO24
  • MEMBER
Scan tool results video.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, December 14th, 2020 AT 1:29 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

I certainly heard it. The scan tool you used, does it provide live data? If it does, can you check a couple of things for me? I would like to know the short term fuel trims and the engine coolant temperature sensor signal. It sounds like there isn't fuel at first.

The short term fuel trims will tell me if there is a chance the fuel pressure is low and the coolant temperature sensor (ECT) can be sending the wrong signal causing an air/fuel mixture to be off.

One other thing, when cranking the engine, pay attention to the tachometer. If it is cranking, it should move a bit. If it doesn't and then starts to, it could be a problem with the crankshaft position sensor.

Sorry for all the tests, but without codes, this is what we have to do.

Here is a link you may find of interest. Take a look through it and let me know your thoughts.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/symptoms-of-a-bad-crankshaft-sensor

Take care and hang in there. We'll figure it out.

Joe
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, December 14th, 2020 AT 4:35 PM
Tiny
JALFANO24
  • MEMBER
Hi Joe, my apologies for the long delay in responding. Holidays and winter weather do not give us a reason to use the Firebird in Chicago. Thank you for your assistance but I am not sure what I can do going forward.

The scan tool I used was available to me at no charge at my local auto parts store so its limited to what you saw, it records codes and gives the replies.

I assume a mechanic would have better tools, I assume?

As far as the sensor(s), if there are more than one are these easily changeable? In other words, without going from the bottom, can I start changing sensors if they are reasonably cheap? I am somewhat handy, I fixed my supercharger on my 3800 Regal last summer, and have some tools that allows me to work on it a bit.

What I fear is dropping this off at a mechanic, even if I trust them, they might be guessing on what the issue is as well. I feel like this issue has been encountered before.

Let me know your thoughts when you have a moment.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 AT 4:03 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

Good to hear from you. What codes were found and which sensors are you referring to?

Let me know.

Take care and God bless,

Joe
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 AT 2:26 PM
Tiny
JALFANO24
  • MEMBER
Hi Joe, I have an update for you.

In Chicago we have been going through some extreme cold and lots of snow but in between storms I was able to take it to my mechanic.

The short of it is that the Fuel Injection Pressure Regulator was faulty. There was also rust on one of the posts of coil 3/6. Not sure the coil was contributing but these two items appear to be the solution here. Thankfully, it wasn't too costly but like anything else, everything needs its time and money to repair and that is fair.

I am not sure if I can find a great video that illustrates or gives me assistance on where and what it would take to replace the regulator but I have a feeling that I probably could not have done this myself. Mainly because of the location and the tools I would need but also how to get the car started after the new part was installed because it seemed like there was a process that needed to be followed. Not to mention I don't do work under the car and dont have all of the tools, T-bits, like a shop would have on hand.

I would like to take a moment to say thank you for the assistance you have given me this entire time.

I actually have another question I am going to post about my 1999 Buick Regal GS, supercharged, as I have a service engine soon light on. I have clear codes on that one but this doesn't appear urgent as it comes and goes.

Thanks Joe. Take care.

John
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, February 8th, 2021 AT 4:18 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi John,

Fuel pressure can cause it. I could have provided the directions for you if you needed them. Regardless, I'm glad it's fixed.

As far as the Regal, I need to ask a favor. Could you copy and paste it to a new thread? We try to keep the threads specific to one topic. I hope you understand.

https://www.2carpros.com/questions/new

Also, feel free to come back anytime you need help. We'll be here and you're always welcome.

Take care,

Joe
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, February 8th, 2021 AT 4:17 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Sponsored links