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My '04 Monte with 89k miles on it has been acting up the last few months. It is not firing up like it used to especially in the morning after it has been sitting over night. It sits in the garage, not heated, but it is getting warmer out. This morning it did not want to start, 1st attempt it blubbered and died, next 6 attempts it just cranked without a sputter. This morning was the worst since this problem started. I had it to the mechanic and replaced the fuel pressure sending unit, fuel filter, to no avail. then decided the fuel pump was not holding pressure and replaced it, it seemed to help but now it has gone south again. Battery was replaced 6 months ago, it is not the starter as it turns over like the day I bought the car. It hesitates to but will start after sitting at work for 8 to 9 hours. It fires up warm without hesitation 98% of the time. Does anyone have any idea what else needs to be replaced or looked at. I have a good mechanic, I think, and he is not sure what it could be now. He was the one that discovered the fuel pump was not holding pressure, which was my assumption after research on the internet. I would appreciate any help. The next step is trading it off but I like the car and I have had it for 8 years and would hate to part with it.
To clarify, it CRANKS over just fine so I do not see how it can be the starter, I read that on another thread to check starter on hard starts. No it is not the starter.
The maniac, no clouds of smoke that I can see in the mirror. Mechanic said spark plugs were good yet and he said he would not replace them if it were his car and I trust him. At work it fires up with a little hesitation but starts with first touch of the starter.
mwjames, mechanic didn't check pressures after the new fuel pump installation but I would think that should be the culprit since it is new. the old pump did not hold pressure with key off. Yes fuel pressure regulator has been changed as fuel was present and it did help but it was short term. Once running cars runs fine and smooth.
Not sure where to go from here, time to trade it in I guess, 8 years is long enough. Thanks all for the replies.
No clouds is a good thing (I was fearing head gasket, but it should be fairly safe to rule that out.
Not sure if I saw this or not, but when was the fuel and air filter last changed?
Also, have you checked for a vacuum leak?
FYI - Factory plugs are good for roughly 100,000 miles. Yes, they can go further, but you can run into issues like bad fuel efficiency and emissions issues. Also, if you changed the plugs (or at least pulled each one out, one at a time), they should all look the same, if they don't, it's in indication of a problem affecting specific cylinders.
Fuel filter was changed at the same time the fuel regulator was put in. Now the air filter on the other hand has been a while. I am thinking back about 25k to 30k mile ago, probably due again. Will check that this weekend. Actually told mechanic to change that if necessary and forgot to ask when I had it in if he had checked the air filter. I have rooted around in the engine compartment and if there is a vacuum leak it is not noticeable.
Did you visually inspect or do a test for a vac leak? If you did not do an actual test, it might be worth a shot. Quick and dirty way to test, get a can of starting fluid, mist it around all areas of the engine, if you have a leak, it will suck in the starting fluid and alter the sound of the idle.