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Will not start all the time.

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Rat Rod Mac
New User

Mar 31, 2013, 3:45 PM

Post #1 of 2 (887 views)
Will not start all the time. Sign In

I have a 2003 Buick Century with a 3.1 engine and the car has around 67,000 miles on it. The problem is that it will not start everytime. It may go for a week or two and start twenty five times in a row and then all of a sudden bang, it will not start. It cranks over fine, but it does not fire. Completely dead. Next morning or even a couple of hours and it starts and may continue to start for a week or more. Then out of the blue it doesn't start again. Once it's running, it runs fine. Hard to fix it when it's not broke. Any ideas?? It's very scary when you're out somewhere and you don't know if it's going to get you home or not. RRM

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Mar 31, 2013, 5:49 PM

Post #2 of 2 (845 views)
Re: Will not start all the time. Sign In

 All "crank, no start" conditions are approached in the same way. Every engine requires certain functions to be able to run. Some of these functions rely on specific components to work and some components are part of more than one function so it is important to see the whole picture to be able to conclude anything about what may have failed. Also, these functions can ONLY be tested during the failure. Any other time and they will simply test good because the problem isn't present at the moment.
If you approach this in any other way, you are merely guessing and that only serves to replace unnecessary parts and wastes money.

Every engine requires spark, fuel and compression to run. That's what we have to look for.

These are the basics that need to be tested and will give us the info required to isolate a cause.

1) Test for spark at the plug end of the wire using a spark tester. If none found, check for power supply on the + terminal of the coil with the key on.

2) Test for injector pulse using a small bulb called a noid light. If none found, check for power supply at one side of the injector with the key on.

3) Use a fuel pressure gauge to test for correct fuel pressure, also noticing if the pressure holds when key is shut off.

Once you have determined which of these functions has dropped out,
you will know which system is having the problem.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

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