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Q: My car want start and when it do it shut down and want start until 30 minute or so. Now it want do nothing

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My car is turning but it want start. Sometimes it will. And when I cut it off it want start. I'm thinking it's the fuel pump. Because I have put a starter on it and it is not the problem and a new thermostat and it still want start. My head is telling me it's the fuel pump.

My car has 237800 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: When a car turns and won't start, it is...

When a car turns and won't start, it is called a "crank no start". When this occurs, the first thing you need to do is see what is missing. All internal combustion motors need spark, fuel, injector pulse and camshaft timing to run. If one of these is missing, you have a crank no start. Diagnose the car and see what is missing.

The GM 3.8l motor has been installed in Buicks, Pontiacs and Chevrolets for decades. Particularly during the 90's and early 00's, these motors have used an ignition module with three coils mounted to it. This module is prone to just this type of failure. When it gets too hot, it quits working. When it cools off, it starts again. It can also display intermittent no start conditions. This is a pattern failure on this particular motor. Before I would ever replace the module, I would check for spark and injector pulse. If it just lacks spark, I would check for a crank sensor signal and replace the ignition module.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, do a few tests first:

  • Check fuel pressure. If there is none, check the fuse and the relay.
  • Check for injector pulse with a noid light. If this is missing, I would suspect a crank sensor. It could be a bad Power Control Module (PCM). (PCM's are very rare to fail. I have never changed a PCM on one of these cars.)
  • Check for spark with a spark tester. If it is lacking spark but has injector pulse, suspect the ignition module.

If all these are present, I would take a compression test of all the cylinders. If camshaft timing is off, several of the cylinders will have significantly lower compression. Also, camshaft timing won't start sometimes then not others; it will either start and run bad or it won't start at all. It may sound like it is trying to start, but it won't start.

If all of this sounds to daunting, I recommend booking a car is not starting inspection with YourMechanic

Good luck!

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