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Q: Car sputters and will not start, 1987 Pontiac Fiero

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My car sputtering and now won't start. To explain: I recently installed a new starter and the car was able to run again. However, in just a few minutes it started sputtering. When I am at a red light or a stop sign, my car stalls. When I accelerate, the car does not move forward. I can sometimes slowly accelerate. Today my car is trying to start, but it just can not. But it is good to hear it trying to start. I have been to the auto shop multiple times and can not afford to have to continue taking it in. What will solve my car’s problems?

A: An engine that cranks but doesn’t start is ...

An engine that cranks but doesn’t start is lacking one or more of the following: compression, fuel, or spark. Each of these will need to check systematically to narrow down the cause. Fuel pressure can be checked at the rail using a fuel pressure gauge and injector command can be tested using a noid light inserted into the harness side of the injector connector. Spark can be tested using an inline spark tester and compression can be checked using a compressor gauge and or leak down tester. It sounds like you’ve already spent a lot of time and money trying to fix this vehicle. I would recommend having a professional diagnose the starting issue and pinpoint the problem before you throw any more parts on.

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