Car sometimes has hard starts why? [Archive] - Forum


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11-22-2008, 11:36 AM
Just picked up my 2001 Grand Am GT and now that ive driven it a few times it seems to start kind of funky. Sometimes it will start perfect but other times it cranks and cranks making me let go of the key to try again. Has anyone else delt with this issue before?

EDIT: When i keep the key in the "ON" position so the fuel pump comes on and wait a few seconds it starts up perfect. Could this be a bad fuel pressure regulator?(i think thats what its called, correct me if im wrong)

11-22-2008, 05:38 PM

11-22-2008, 10:23 PM
I just found a post in tsb's call "starting a grand am". I will check with my dealer to see if they have the pcm reflash. What should i exactly ask the dealer about this reflash?

11-22-2008, 11:30 PM
If the dealer is going to reflash your car, thats all you need to ask for. In my opinion, you are not having an issue with the computer. If you just bought the car and it is sometimes not starting well, check your air filter. I'm assuming you have a stock air box. Open it up and check it out. I had a Lumina which would start hard because I opened it up and found debris inside.
If the filter is dirty get a new one and see if it makes any difference. At least you'll have a new air filter if it needed one even if the problem isnt fixed.

11-23-2008, 08:33 AM
its a k&n and yes i will check it today. I think it was sitting for a while on old gas too so i put a full tank of 89 in. Everything in that other post "Starting a grand am" is exactly what my car does. I think ill call my dealer to see if they know anything about this.

11-23-2008, 04:37 PM
I also have a 2001 Grand Am GT and my car did this from the start. I did switch over to the new BP Invigorate(87 grade) a few months ago and I haven't had any issues since. My starting issues usually would happen if the car was drivin say 5-10 minutes and then shut off for a few minutes and then when I would start it up again thats when it seemed like the problem would happen. I just hope switching to this BP Invigorate has cured the problem for good and soo far it is.

P.S. I used 89 octane in the past and for some reason I get better gas mileage and a smoother idle in my Grand Am GT by using 87 octane.

11-23-2008, 08:03 PM
I am still going to get the dealer to update my PCM with all the new updates. It just sucks that a car this good looking can have so many little issues. I will put in 87 next time at refill and see if that makes a difference. If that does not work i will get the dealer to re-flash the PCM because that seems to be the solve to everyone else's issue. What grade of gas are we supposed to be running in our cars anyway?

11-23-2008, 08:34 PM
87 Octane is the recommended gas I believe.

11-23-2008, 08:48 PM
87 Octane is the recommended gas I believe.

Yep, higher octane should only be used if the engine is knocking or you are running boost. Any other reason is a waste of money.

11-23-2008, 10:38 PM
My car has been doing it for 8 years.

My conclusion: it is what it is.

11-24-2008, 09:42 AM
Should i just ask them to do it anyway because im getting an oil change, Or could it cause a bunch of problems in the future?

11-24-2008, 11:06 AM
Going to the stealership for an oil change? Good waste of cash right there.

Any mechanic can do it.

Mike Jung
11-24-2008, 11:34 AM
Going to the stealership for an oil change? Good waste of cash right there.

Any mechanic can do it.
Why ?

Not all dealerships are a ripe off for an oil change.

I go to a local Pontaic dealer for oil changes.
No appointment needed.
Has a drive through pit that you can watch them through a glass wall waiting area.

Regular oil change is $39.95 (?) + taxes = $45.14 Cdn.

I bring my own oil & oil filter for them to us (German Castrol Syntec 0W-30 synthetic motor oil & NAPA Gold 1036 oversized oil filter).
They charge me $19.99 for labour & a $3 recycling fee + taxes = $25.98 Cdn
Worth the $26 to me, for them to do it.

Mike Jung
11-24-2008, 11:53 AM
Should i just ask them to do it anyway because im getting an oil change, Or could it cause a bunch of problems in the future?
I know that I asked about it in the distant past at a GM dealer once (when my car was newish).

They would charge about 1/2 labour rate to do a PCM Update.
Current labour rate is about $110/hour.
& they would charge you the fee whether the PCM needed or had the lastest update anyways.
I never went through with it.

Last summer I had Mark from MP Racing do a PCM Tune.
We were surprised that the PCM had the lastest update already; before doing the tune.
So somewhere along the lines, a dealer (or garage) did a PCM Update for me lol

It still has the hard to start sometimes when hot; like after getting gasoline.
I just learn to live with it. & turn the key to ON (to prime the fuel pump) all the time before starting.

PS: When was the last time you changed the fuel filter ?

PSS: & fresh gasoline will make a difference.
You had older "summer" blended gasoline in your tank. It won't start as easily in the colder temperatures.
"Winter" blended gasoline can vaporize more easily, for easier starting in the cold.

PSSS: Having the lastest PCM update won't cause any problems in the future.

Mike Jung
11-24-2008, 12:15 PM
from: Refining 101: Winter Gasoline (

Like Robert, I once was a refinery scheduler and blender. My job was to write and run computer models (linear programming) to figure out the best crudes to process and to come up with the recipes for various gasoline and fuel blends.

Two problems arise from using winter and summer blends out of season. If you live in a very cold climate and tried to use summer gasoline, the lower RVP of the gasoline will make it more difficult to start the engine. Liquid fuels must be vaporized before they will burn. This isn't as much of a problem with fuel injection as the fuel is atomized and sprayed into the piston. On the intake stroke, the pressure in the cylinder is reduced to below the boiling point of the fuel, so some of the fuel quickly turns into a vapor. On the compression stroke there is not enough time for the vapor to recondense. Cold start problems were common on carbuerator equiped engines.

Using winter gasoline in the summer could cause something called vapor lock, where the fuel vaporizes in the fuel lines before reaching the carb or fuel injectors. Again, this used to be a pretty common problem when cars had mechanically driven fuel pumps that sucked the gasoline from the tank before forcing the fuel into the carbuerator. Cars today are equipped with high pressure electric fuel pumps mounted inside the gas tank. These pumps "push" the liquid fuel towards the engine.

11-24-2008, 12:23 PM
i think alot of us have this problem too with warm starts being hard. my mechanic once told me its the FPR on the way out... idk i suppose at 104k stuff like that starts wearing out.....

dealership oil changes are great dude, usually have very competitive prices and will normally do a good check over of your car.

Mike Jung
11-24-2008, 12:30 PM
Oh, yeah...

If you are going to spend the money on a PCM Update:

I would recommend getting a PCM Tune from MP Racing.

He will make sure it has the lastest PCM Update before "tuning" it.


11-24-2008, 12:36 PM
Going to the stealership for an oil change? Good waste of cash right there.

Any mechanic can do it.

GM dealer around here does mine for $33 (IIRC), when Jiffy Lube advertises $24.99 for most cars.
I personally wouldn't mind spending $32 a year to have it done at a dealer.

Lab Rat
11-24-2008, 12:48 PM
I have changed the FPR on the 2.4 and the "slow start" went away. Did the wifes Taurus, slow start went away. Was gonna do the daughtors and ran into a snag. (that's another thread). Pretty inexpensive and if your's is on the way out it will surely help.

11-24-2008, 01:19 PM
Sorry im such a noob, what is an FPR?

Lab Rat
11-24-2008, 01:21 PM
Fuel Pressure Regulator

11-24-2008, 01:29 PM
Ok it could be the Fuel Pressure Regulator, exactly what i guessed.

Have i changed the Fuel Filter? I have no clue hence i just got the car Saturday, But i dont think changing it could hurt.

How much would a new Fuel Pressure Regulator cost me? Is it hard to install?

11-24-2008, 02:04 PM
i think autozone and such has em for around 40 bucks, so not too bad. theres a how to on here how to do it, i'll prbly just have my private mechanic do mine...

11-24-2008, 02:53 PM
thanks alot i hope this can solve my problem, Im annoying i kno but is there anyway to test if one is bad?

Lab Rat
11-25-2008, 05:20 AM
Pull off the vaccume line on the top of the FPR. If you see any gasoline or can even smell gas it is failing and needs replaced.

11-25-2008, 09:11 AM
mine has similar problems. when i did my lower intake manifold gasket i noticed that my number six coil on the module was a bit corroded. i sanded it lightly and that helped. but i will probably have to replace it. but it does start a bit easier now. check over your ignition ( wires, plugs, coil packs, and ignition module) many places will check a module for free.

take into consideration the oil you use too and the cold time of year thats starting. after i did my gasket i ran cheap conventional oil for about a week to take out as much of the nasty milky oil as possible. even with a 5w30 conventional, that thing was hard to start. once i changed it with mobil 1 and ran that 2 or 3 days, it started easier than ever.

quick question ( not tryin to steal the thread..) the FPR is on the left side of the engine ( looking at it from the TB.) so that would HAVE to be the pressure side, then obviously the right would be the return right? That really has no significance with this thread, but it just crossed my mind

11-25-2008, 10:01 AM
Where is it located? Picture would be great! UPDATE: The starts arent to bad now. I will see if its bad once i get a pic or any info on where its located on the engine bay. Its due for an oil change very soon so if the FPR is good an oil change might help. I will also put 87 in at fillup insted of 89. I actually think the guy before me ran highest grade:( , But im just guessing. Other thank this little issue that car is fantastic.

PS: i cant find the how-to on the FPR where is it?

11-25-2008, 10:07 AM
here it is:

it is an aftermarket adjustable one but still...

11-25-2008, 10:11 AM
I was kind of hoping for a full engine bay view?