Need help with intermittent non-starting problem [Archive] - Forum


View Full Version : Need help with intermittent non-starting problem

04-22-2008, 09:04 PM
I have a 99 Grand Am SE with a 3.4 and auto trans, 149,000 miles. Over the last six months it has not started about 10 times. It seems to be getting more frequent, once two weeks ago and once today. I can hear the fuel pump come on and It cranks over as usual, but it doesn't start. It "pops" a little, like its trying, but it doesn't catch. If I leave it alone for a few minutes, it will start up normally. Twice when it didn't start I used brake cleaner into the intake as a test to see if it was getting fuel. I think a lack of fuel is the problem because it will run as long as you keep spraying the cleaner in. I took a guess and replaced the fuel pump relay two weeks ago, but it did it again today. After searching here, I think the fuel pump is going, but I don't know for sure.

Has anyone else run into the same problem? Could it be anything besides the fuel pump? Does anyone know what the pressure and volume coming from the pump should be so I can test? I would just swap it but its about $250-$300.

Cliff's notes: Every two weeks or so, the car turns over but doesn't start. Five minutes later it starts. I think its the fuel pump, but I would like to know before spending $300.

carlos m.
04-22-2008, 10:02 PM
It may not be the fuel pump at all. It could be the fuel pump relay that's going bad. The relay is located in the engine compartment; in a black box. When you uncover this box; there will be fuses and relays. This relay could be no. 37. This part costs about $17-20 and i hope it solves your problem.

04-23-2008, 05:36 AM
Thanks Carlos, but I replaced the fuel pump relay about two weeks ago and it did it again yesterday. I also replaced the fuel filter about three months ago and again last night. I have a new oil pressure sender as well but I haven't been able to install that yet.

04-23-2008, 01:22 PM
I've done more searching and learned about problems with Passlock as well as the ignition. My problem doesn't seem like Passlock because the security light doesn't flash and I don't have to have the key turned to on for 10 minutes to start it.

The ignition is more "notchy" than it used to be, but I don't think a bad ignition would cause it to cut fuel unless it was the passlock, which I don't think it is for the reasons above. Any thoughts on this?

04-23-2008, 05:43 PM
I had the same problem.Scanned computer and found codes for camshaft sensor and oil pressure sensor.Replaced both sensors and all is good.

04-23-2008, 07:59 PM
Mine does the same as well. But I had always thought it may be the battery as it's around 5 years old now and takes a beating with my sound system in it.

Everything else has been replaced and flushed out including fuel filter. Mine does it since the day i bought it but cannot be reproduced when i bring it to a shop.

Maybe 2 times every 2 weeks i get the hard start.

04-23-2008, 09:09 PM
I know the's very similar for me too. Only on occasion it happens and never at the shop..they think I've lost it by now, lol

04-24-2008, 11:52 AM
Thanks for your comments, it helps a lot.

I'm going to change the oil pressure sender tonight. Maybe I will look into the cam sensor as well. I have an OBD II reader and I'm not getting anything right now. Could there be a code stored that won't trigger the SES and won't come up on the reader?

Have any of you ever experienced this problem and had it NOT start? So far, it has always started within 15 minutes.

04-24-2008, 01:19 PM
The most I have ever had was...i had to try to start it 3 times.. but it started on the 4th.