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"No Start" Problems

I have been having trouble starting my 1996 Chrysler Town & Country minivan lately. I had my battery checked and it was just under the 3 yr warranty and so Sears replaced it last week. All seemed fine until yesterday when it hesitated but did start. This morning the same thing but started on second time. I stopped to get gas and then could not start it. I tried intermittently for 20 minutes and then had success. Any ideas?
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Comments

  • cesarpcesarp Posts: 47
    Sounds like the fuel pump is not producing or holding fuel pressure. If this is the case you'll need a new fuel pump. Have the fuel pressure check to verify this. Hope this helps.

    Cheers
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    got a neighbor who was rebuilding an older mopar minivan with a much harder case... only it stayed a much harder case because he didn't want to drop the tank and spend the money for a fuel pump. happened to my sister on the road in a 91 olds. cesarp has an extremely good chance of being spot-on correct with his thought, but it still requires a fuel rail pressure check to prove it. make the appointment monday.
  • desi501desi501 Posts: 66
    I don't know why these guys are jumping to conclusions like a fuel pump. It could be possible but I have heard nothing yet to point to that. You didn't mention if it's still a battery cranking problem that your having. If that's the case and it worked fine for a while you may have an alternator problem. I don't know if Sears checked it but that should be the first thing done before buying a battery is to charge and test the old battery and Alt. At least swschrad said to check the pressure first. People shouldn't jump to conclusions without reason. It ends up costing people a lot of money. try to be more specific with the symptoms and maybe we can help.
  • tmt1961tmt1961 Posts: 14
    i have problem to start it at the first try, there is light and radio but it would not crank. i have to try a second or third time to get it crank. is it a starter or ignition? thanks
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,238
    I would check for a good battery connection (assuming original had been replaced at some point)
  • tmt1961tmt1961 Posts: 14
    the battery is new and connect is good. ignition and starter are electrical devices so they either work or don't work but not going to be broken. so i should look for bad connections? any ideas.thanks
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    I have a 1997 Chevy S-10 4x4 that I use primarily as a winter vehicle. In the winter, when it's driven daily, it usually starts very quickly, without hesitation.

    During the summer, I usually drive the truck once a week, on Saturdays, to run errands. The last two summers, it's become very difficult to get the truck to initially start. Once I manage to do that, it runs very well, and will continue to start easily the remainder of the day.

    Last year, on a suggeston from a friend, I replaced the fuel pressure regulator. That helped the situation, however I did that late in the fall, just before I started driving the truck daily. As a "precaution", I also changed the coolant temperature sensor as well as the fuel pump relay. The fuel filter has been replaced annually.

    This summer, the truck has gotten harder to initially start. It seems to be lacking enough fuel to get the fire lit. As in the past, it will run well once I get it going. In an effort to get this resolved, I thought that maybe the air intake temperature sensor might have gone bad, and the computer thinks it's a warm start up...that didn't help. I checked the fuel pressure, and I get 60 lbs. pressure when I turn the key and engage the pump.

    Does anyone have any ideas?? Thanks in advance.
  • desi501desi501 Posts: 66
    Your just throwing parts at it. You need to get some information and at least have a reason to change this stuff. It could be any number of things. Start of by puttung a fuel pressure gauge on it before starting so you can observe the fuel pressure while attempting to start. If any of your sensors were "open circuit" and sending an extreme cold input, that would put on a check engine light on. It may be a little difficult to find a place for the gauge if thats a TBI engine. They make an adapter that replaces the fuel filter in that case. You need to watch and see if it's holding "rest" pressure after shut off. It can leak back into the tank through a check valve in the pump also. You can also try cycling the key on for 10 seconds and off for ten. Do this a half dozen times and that will prime the fuel pressure. Have you changed the fuel filter recently? Other than these things you'll need a scanner to look at all the data parameters to see if anything is out of whack.
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    I realize that to a certain degree, I am throwing parts at it. However, once in a while, you throw a couple $5 sensors at it, get lucky, and you're back in business. Unfortunately, it didn't work this time.

    As I mentioned, I did check the fuel presure, and it's good. I did cycle the systen a few times. With respect to the fuel filter, I change it every year. The truck is 6 years old, and has 40,000 miles on it. The filter has been changed 6 times, the most recent was 4 days ago.

    I don't have easy access to a Tech II scan tool, so I settled for the next best alternative, and drove over to Autozone last night. As a customer courtesy, the'll run a check for trouble codes. There weren't any.

    This morning, it totally refused to start. It will be towed to the dealer later today, and hopefully they can find the problem. And even more hopefully, it won't cost a fortune to fix.

    Considering how few miles this truck has, and considering that I don't drive it hard, and I'm good with the maintenance, overall it has been a great disappointment to me. Although this is the first time it has, in essence, left me stranded, it's been hitting me with a lot of little problems since it was three days old. Now it's out of warranty, so the fixes are out of my pocket.

     I was fortunate enough to have some extra money on hand 6 years ago, so I bought it with the hope that I would have a reliable winter vehicle instead of trusting the "beaters" that I had been driving in the past. The beaters, believe it or not, never failed me. This truck, however.....
  • desi501desi501 Posts: 66
    Well I don't think I've EVER seen a $5 sensor........:)
    Now that it's died, it will be much easier to diagnose
    without guessing. With no codes it may have been ignition. Let us know what it was.
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    replace the fuel filter.
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    The dealer went out yesterday morning, after the truck sat there overnight, and it wouldn't start. So, they rolled it into the shop, and it sat inside for a short time while they gathered their test equipment. They hooked everything up, turned the key, and lo and behold, it started. All of the readings on the TechII tool showed nothing wrong.

    They tried it a couple more times during the day, and it started then too. I told them to keep it overnight again, and see what happens today.

    Opatience, I appreciate your input, but if you re-read my post, you'll see that I changed the fuel filter less than a week ago (for the sixth time). Secondly, I would assume that if the fuel filter was bad, the truck wouldn't run as well as it does...once I get it started!

    Hopefully, they'll find something today.
  • desi501desi501 Posts: 66
    Don't just throw parts at it unless you were already planning on changing them anyway.
    That nightmare you describe is what happens to us all the time. Wait and wait for something to quit and before you can check anything, it starts back up. That's our world.......Haha
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    The diagnosis is that something in the fuel injection controller of fuel pressure regulator is bad. Early Friday, they "thought" it might have been the fuel pump, as they got a couple of pressure fluctuations. A little later, however, they were able to get it to "not start" again, and this time they were able to do some more scan work.

    After the second round of "scanning", the finger pointed to fuel injection. They've had the truck for the weekend, and hopefully they'll figure it out and fix it by the end of today or tomorrow. Sadly, before we know it, the snow will be here, and I'll need the truck. At least the dealer is truly trying to get to the root of the problem... at my expense, of course!
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    They found some debris in the fuel injector(s), and drew the conclusion that it was from the fuel pump impeller, it was disintegrating. How it got past the fuel filter is beyond me...and them, for that matter.

    They installed a new fuel pump, and so far, the truck is runnng well. The bill, however, was outrageous. I don't have too much of a problem with the labor, as they only billed 4.5 hours for the whole deal, diagnosis as well as dropping the tank and putting in the pump. The pump, however, was a whole 'nother deal, at $540!!

    In other words, the total bill was just under $1000. I've already sent a letter of complaint to GM, and a follow up phone call will be placed in a couple of days. The truck has only 40,000 miles on it, and I've spent just over $1100 in repairs in the last 6 months. This is nuts!!
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I haven't had any (knock, knock) in my two EFI trucks... although, I almost always drive on the top half of the tank. that keeps the fuel pump nice and cool. historically, even back to the add-on inline electrics in the 70s, the short story has been that operating heat kills 'em.

    that $540 is kind of a backbiter price, though. it better have included the fuel level sender, a new sock, gaskets, champagne in the parts office, and all the extras. but that's getting to be typical for changeout of hidden parts, alas.
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Posts: 593
    ...let the tank go below half-full, but the truck is somewhat "thirsty", so once in a while it gets to a quarter before I fill it up.

    The best price I could find for the pump on the Internet was $335, plus shipping. This pump [non-permissible content removed]'y. does integrate the sending unit as well as the strainer. Yes, a $200 markup at the dealer is fairly steep, however they were quite reasonable on the labor, IMHO.

    I don't agree, however, that a 40,000 mile truck is due for a fuel pump. No way....
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    When you let a vehicle sit moisture can get into the spark plug wires causing hard start problems. After the engine heats up and is used on a regular basis it cooks the moisture out of the wires. If the humidity was up the days you had problems the wires are the likely source. When the dealer couldn't start the truck and the pushed it inside they brought it into a controlled environment and if it was cold out they probably had the heat on and that heat no matter how little can get enough moisture out of the wires to let the spark get to where it's supposed to. If you keep having problems before you take it back to the dealer change the spark plug wires, and use high end parts the cheapo stuff will work but it won't last. I use Delco or Accell wires on all GM cars/trucks they last the longest and are designed for the application unlike some of the off brand parts that kinda fit. Cap and Rotor can't hurt either, same thing apples there too, I prefer Accell caps and rotors because they are made with brass terminals instead of aluminium so they last a lot longer.
  • While I agree with your post in a general sense, in my particular case, it appears that it was indeed the fuel pump. Even though the truck is primarily my winter driver, I've made a point to drive it every day since it was fixed, just to make sure that it's truly fixed. So far, it has started every time, and the last couple of days in upstate New York have been very wet.

    I replaced the wires and cap/rotor about 18 months ago. While I did purchase Accel parts, IIRC the contacts in the cap were not brass. Apparently, there isn't a big enough market for HP caps for the 4.3 Chevy, at least at this point. The cap looked to be nothing more than a repackaged Delco part.
  • I have a 1986 dodge ram 250.Had know problem getting it to start,runs smooth and very quite.
    Then one day in just died and I couldn't get my truck to start. Thats been about 2wks now still know luck. Can anyone HELP!
    Could it be electrical.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    so testing needs to be done to isolate what doesn't work from what does.

    > are you getting spark? rig something with duct tape to hold a spark plug wire away from the plug, put a cleverly-bent large paper clip in the connection so it touches the metal cap... and a point sticks out. tape the thing so that point is close to a bare-metal chunk of the engine. by close, maybe .040 inches, or the gap of a dime's thickness, is what I mean. twist about behind the wheel until you can see that, and try cranking the engine. if you see sparks, that ain't it.

    > are you getting fuel? if it's a carbureted engine, you could pull the fuel line away from the carb using a wrench and try to fill a cup in under a minute cranking. if so, kewl. oh, don't try this with your phony spark gadget still hooked up, it can go boom. return spark test stuff to normal first.

    > is it getting air? check the air filter... if that's a grody mess, and the rest of the system is marginal, it's enough. start with it out for tests if you're cheap, put a new one in if that makes a difference.

    > assuming this has a carburetor, leave things apart from removing the air filter, watch the throat of the carb, and crank again. if you're blowing smoke rings from the carb, your timing chain/gears are shot, it needs to be repaired.

    > not-so-silly question... is there gas in the tank? like, more than three gallons, so we all know it should be picked up by the pump inlet?

    the magic triangle of fuel/air/spark makes power. any fault on any leg makes frustration.
  • I wrote a letter to Chevrolet Customer service and related how dissapointed I was that my fuel pump died after only 40,000 miles and the repair was almost $1000. This was on top of the numerous other problems I've had with the truck.

    Their reply... Well, we sort of feel for you, but the truck IS six years old. What do you expect??
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,830
    Hi bill233! I've moved your post to our Chrysler Town and Country EX/LX/LXi/Limited discussion, where you'll get feedback from other owners. Just click on my link to get there.

    kirstie_h
    Roving Host & Future Vehicles Host

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,521
    Well it does hurt I know but the argument that age is a wear factor as much as mileage does carry *some* weight.

    MODERATOR

  • Hey folks,

    The last couple of days my wife's 626 (95, 90K miles, L4, auto) has been showing some signs of starting problems. The first time we try to start it in the day, it'll turn five or more times, and engage after that. The sound from the starter is not 'steady', but it sounds as if each turn has less and less 'umpf'. Also, if you crank it twice, then turn the key to 'off', and crank it again it starts right up, in one crank.

    Since it's been colder these days in Philly, my feeling is that the battery is going. However, I replaced the battery a year or so ago. Granted, I used a 'DuraLast' from AutoZone, so it could be shot already. I also replaced belts (and they are properly tensioned), spark plugs, cap, rotor months ago, and had no problems until it started getting colder. In any case, the fact that it starts right up after I crank it a couple of times tells me that this may not be a battery problem, but a EFI problem - That is the only thing I have not replaced yet (fuel filter) - It is currently sitting in the trunk, waiting to be changed.

    So the question is, could it be the battery (again), or should I freeze my butt one of these days and change the fuel filter (I say freze my butt because changing the filter requires 1/2 of the stuff in the engine bay to be taken out...).

    TIA,

    Guillermo
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,521
    There would be no harm in having the battery load tested. It could have a weak cell, and your car's computer needs a minimum voltage for its EFI to operate properly.

    MODERATOR

  • My '97 LeSabre that I bought only last month (what luck) cranks for up to five seconds before starting, and often when it does, it isn't very comfortably. Tonight when I started it in the cold, it required that usual 5 seconds, and the engine sounded as though it was limping (RPM showed lower than 500 until i gave it some gas, at which time it began to idle at 1500 or so, occasionally settling in around 1000. The car also dies when in Park at idle after a minute or less, and will also die when rolling at 5-10 mph. Please feel free to offer any gut instincts or suggestions.
  • My friend and I changed the alternator last night, but it's not helping.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I never had one big enough to cause this sort of trouble, until I had to remove the brake booster vacuum hose on my exploder to get to something, and forgot to put it back. acted exactly the same as you are describing.

    look for dangling vacuum hoses. if you can't find any, use a pliers to pinch each one closed in order... you will have found the right place to continue searching when the engine idle drops down to normal (500-600 rpm) and the engine smooths out.

    it is also possible that you have a manifold gasket leak, but I'd chase hoses first. when you find the correct problem, chase further down that tree to find the bad connection or open/failed actuator causing the real issue. don't neglect any vacuum controls on heating/cooling, a passenger can kick a hose off and nobody knows about it.
  • Just to let you guys know, the problem with my wife's 626 not wanting to start is solved. Most beautifully, on it's own, and I figured out why. The weekend before the problems started, my wife vacuumed hundreds of cookie crumbs my daughter spread around the back seat of the car, and for that she used a 12v portable vacuum cleaner, which she plugged to the cigarette lighter plug. I asked her and she said she spent like an hour vacuuming stuff. So, that drained the battery pretty good, gave us trouble for a week, but now the battery is fully charged. It was bitter cold here in Philly last week, and we've had no problems.

    Cheers,

    Guillermo
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