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Hard to start when cold

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by watatrp, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. watatrp

    watatrp Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    I have a 1996 Chevy w/ a 350 motor. It is a little hard to start when cold. I need to turn the key usually 2-3 times before it will start. Starts on the first turn when warm. Not sure where I should start for diagnosing the problem. Truck was purchased over the summer so I don't know much of the history. A list of things to check, change and replace is what I'm looking for. Thanks.
     
  2. RichG53

    RichG53 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,135

    Miles.????????..
     
  3. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,557

    When you say turn the key, do you turn it over or just cycle it from off to run? If your turning it over, next time cycle the key to run a couple times to let the fuel pump run a couple times. If then it starts up when you go to fire it chances are you have a fuel issue and your pump/sending unit might be on their way out...or you could have a clogged up fuel filter (located on the inside drivers side frame rail under drivers door). My 97 had this issue for a while before the fuel pump let go.
     
  4. watatrp

    watatrp Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    It has 153k miles on it. When I start it cold, I turn the key to start and let the starter run for 3-5 seconds. If it doesn't start, I repeat and the engine will usually start on the third try. When the engine is warm, it starts normally on the first try. I'm going to start with the fuel filter today.
     
  5. BlizzardBeater

    BlizzardBeater Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 420

    Wow, without a lot of other info, its kinda a shot in the dark. For one thing, after 150,000 miles i'd definately invest in some plugs, wires, cap, n rotor, and fuel filter. A fuel pressure check from cold could tell you if the fuel pump is on its way out which is probably one of the biggest culprits. Another common thing was the coolant temp sensor. Timing chain and gears and distributor gears could be loose adding to troubled cold starts. Does it run great warm? Cold? What parts have already been changed? What other problems have you noticed? Any warning lights on? Anything else you can tell us could really help a quick diagnosis.
     
  6. watatrp

    watatrp Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    Other than taking a little longer to start when cold, the truck runs great. I'm just at the start of going down the line with replacing parts. There aren't any warning lights or other problems. That's why I'm asking questions about the priorities when replacing or fixing parts. After I get the fuel filter replaced if it still has the same problem, I will most likely do the plugs, wires and cap. Then I'll have the fuel pressure checked if it's not fixed by then.
     
  7. RacingZR

    RacingZR Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 398

    Give it a tune up for sure. It's a shot in the dark, but my buddy had the exact same problem with the same truck and it was the throttle positioning sensor. Try a tuneup first.
     
  8. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Check the fuel pressure first because that's very very likely what's causing the long crank time when cold. Probably find it needs a FP regulator.
     
  9. watatrp

    watatrp Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    Did a mini tune-up yesterday. New spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor. Plugs looked good, the cap and rotor had some corrosion. No change in the starting issues. Tried to change the fuel filter but the nuts were too rusted to get off. I'll be taking it to the service station this morning to have it changed and will have them check the fuel pressure at the same time.
     
  10. watatrp

    watatrp Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    Fuel filter has been changed. Fuel pressure is within recommended range when starting cold. My mechanic says he wouldn't do anything else.
     
  11. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Mike change your PM settings, can't send your reply back to you. :salute:
     
  12. Holland

    Holland Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    I had the same problem on a 96 chevy i owned. Kicked my ass. Would start hard in the morning and when cold. Started fine otherwise. Ran great too. This was when i was in college for automotive. Mentioned to teacher so he let me bring it in during lab. Checked fuel pressure, was perfect. Checked flow, seemed ok but we wanted to be sure. Pulled in another vehicle with a 350 vortec in it. Checked fuel pressure and flow and compared it to my truck. Fuel pressure was the same but the flow was nearly half!. And this thing ran GREAT, zero driveability issues. Got a new delco fuel pump. ( dont cheap out on a fuel pump, get a good one, and luckily on a 96 you have a serviceable sending unit assembly which means for a good delco pump youll be in it 100 bucks, not 400 if you do it yourself) Fuel pump solved everything. Started perfect. Got curious and tore the fuel pump apart, found out it had a cracked brush and was sticking, only allowing the motor on the pump to run about half speed. Good chance this could be your problem too. Take your time and diagnose it, dont start throwing parts at it. Might have to take it to a shop to be able to have the flow tested, and find another vehicle to compare it too. Alldata and mitchell both had pressure specs, but no flow specs. Good Luck!! Any questions let me know.
     
  13. watatrp

    watatrp Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    Holland-thanks for the info. Fuel pump was my next step. My usual first start goes like this. Turn key on, let the pump run until it stops. Then turn it over for a second and let the pump run again until it stops. Then it usually starts on the next try. Almost like it needs to build up pressure.
     
  14. Holland

    Holland Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    No promises, guarantees or warranties implied, but it sounds identicle to what my old truck was doing. Remember to get a new screen for the tank when you get the pump. And get a delco, a fuel pump is not a place to cheap out. Good luck!
     
  15. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    fuel pump issues im betting on, also at 150k slim chance but could be spyder injectors- normally go out around 150 200 on the vortecs, you would pull a lean code on the injectors if its a 96 and newer. replace the fuel pump and repost!