Car cranks but won't start once per week!

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Old 11-16-16, 04:07 PM
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Car cranks but won't start once per week!

Hi. Maybe someone can help me : ). Here is a list of each episode of my issue with my 1999 Dodge Stratus:

Sept 27: Had an occasion that the car would not start, but cranked. 1 hour later, the car started normally.
Oct 23: Car shut off 30 seconds after starting. Car started back up normally.

Note: Car has not been driven since this episode.

Oct 24, 4PM: Car shut off after 30 seconds and would not restart. Did crank. Still would not start at 7PM. Did crank. It DID start normally the next morning.
Car started normally multiple times since
Nov 5, 10AM: Car simply would not start. Did crank. I VERIFIED THAT THE FUEL PUMP DID TURN ON. Tried also starting with the remote starter (which we never use). Still no start. Car started normally at 7PM as if nothing happened.

My confusion, obviously, is: What condition existed at 10AM that no longer existed at 7PM? What changed between 10AM and 7PM?

I have just one code...P0455 evap leak. I've had this code for 3 years. This wouldn't be the issue.
Is there a likely part that I can point to as "probable"?

Thank you!
 
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Old 11-16-16, 04:10 PM
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I VERIFIED THAT THE FUEL PUMP DID TURN ON.
How did you do that ?

When I feel there is a fuel supply problem.... I connect a fuel pressure test gauge to the fuel injector fuel rail to see where it's at.
 
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Old 11-16-16, 04:23 PM
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Hi PJmax. The verification was simply that I could hear the fuel pump motor turn on.
 
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Old 11-16-16, 04:39 PM
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The difference between am and pm is level of humidity and ambient temperature. it's more humid am and colder.
My wild guess is you have bad negative somewhere. Likely on the engine to body strap.
Or, the EVAP code finally got you. EVAP canister got clogged (this also relates to humidity, btw) and now you have starting issues.
 
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Old 11-16-16, 04:47 PM
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Its an electrical condition somewhere. Its probably a bad/loose connection somewhere. It starts, then quits because of vibration etc & the loose connection, completely looses connection. Later, it may start because the wire or connection may moved just enough to make enough contact to allow it to start.
I'll give you an example. I bought a new Ford Ranger in 1988. The day I bought it, it died. The Ford dealership towed it to the shop probably 30 or 40 times & would work with it for days sometimes. All of a sudden, it would start. As in your situation, it might start now & 10 second later, it may not. It may run for a month, then next time not start. It might run for six months & next time not start.
I had that truck for 3 years with no fix found. I traded it in on a Chevy & never had any more trouble.

About 10 years later, Popular Mechanics magazine had an article on that vehicle & the problem. It was a loose/faulty (wire) connection in the distributor. So, a small wire, with low voltage could be an issue. It wouldn't really have to be a major wire/connection.

We could possibly help you run this down or send you in the right direction if we knew things you have or could check in your electrical system/harness's, etc.
I'll tell you that even for seasoned mechanics, electrical issues can sometimes be very difficult to run down when the problem is intermittent as you are experiencing.
 
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Old 11-16-16, 10:15 PM
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Yes, that is my dilemma, Dixie. I would actually prefer that it not start at all. It would be easier to diagnose that way. The car is not worth enough in value to invest too much into this, but it's so frustrating all these days that the car starts up fine but can't be driven because any day it can be disabled for a few hours. It's hard to part with it because it has been a good car and has served us well. We've been diligent with the maintenance.

I would agree that I'm leaning toward electrical issue rather than fuel issue. And there are so many electrical possibilities. Three people believe that the remote starter, which we don't use, is a prime suspect. But there are so many possibilities. I could see this leading to the situation you had with the Ranger. No fun at all.

ukrbyk, yes humidity COULD be an issue. We've had bone dry non-humid weather here for quite a while. However, it didn't start the one day it rained. At the same time, we had VERY humid weather here from may through mid-September. The problem didn't begin until the humidity left town. But, still, that one rainy day could indicate that it will not start anymore on ANY rainy day.
 
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Old 11-17-16, 10:33 PM
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I ended up doing like Dixie2012 did many years ago and sold it. A mechanic bought it and I replaced it with a similar one with many less miles and none of the issues for not a whole lot more money. Thanks everyone for your help and input!
 
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