Car will crank fine, but will not start.

gmanfive0
60

Asked by gmanfive0 Apr 11, 2011 at 12:44 AM about the 2000 Pontiac Sunfire

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2000 pontiac sunfire. It will not start.  The computer will not read my car when connected but hasn't for several years and it had no problem running until now.

I drove the car one day (several weeks before it completely failed) and it failed on me one other time.  Then it started fine in about 5 mins.  I thought it was bad plug wires but wasn't sure.  Then, it happened again.  Same thought…then, nothing happened for several weeks.  I assumed it had fixed itself because the plugs were getting plenty of fire through the wires.

Then, one evening, after about a 2 hours drive I pulled into my drive way and turned it off.  The next morning, nothing.  It would not start at all and that's where we are now.  I checked the gas tank as it was a under 1/4 of a tank when I parked, and then I checked the plug wires again.  They were fine.

The car sounds like it is going to start when it cranks.  It ALMOST turns over…and then nothing.  It just keeps cranking.

Now I'm at a loss.

Here is a rundown of what I did, in the order I did it, to figure out what the problem was:

~Checked Battery (charged and tried again)
~Checked plugs (recently replaced but checked the gaps anyway) and plug wires
~Checked the fuel filter
~Pulled the valve cover off and checked the valves. When the car cranks, oil shoots up through them as it is supposed to.
~Checked to make sure the fuel pump was working (it wasn't)
~Finally got the fuel pump to work after hot wiring it and now it works fine while hot-wired and when connected regularly.  The pump works fine.  Turn on the key, runs for 3-4 seconds as usual.
~Checked the injectors as much as we could.  When we crank the car you can smell gasoline as if the injectors were working fine.
~Checked the crank sensor - replaced it just in case.
~Pulled the pan off and checked the timing chain. It is in time…put that back together.

So…ideas?  Anything?  Anything at all?

41 Answers

vietvet
350

I have a '95 Sunfire that I just bought cheap..it won't start...it doesn't get any spark to the plugs..the mechanic I bought it from says he checked everything electrical, crank sensor, coil, etc. etc..said the only thing it could be is the ECM..(computer) so after a long search I found a new computer and replaced it....nothing, nil, zip,....he says he put it on a code reader and it wouldn't read it....I've just about had it...its sad because its really a nice car, perfect inside and out.

35 out of 35 people think this is helpful.
Joeyadams
600

I am having the EXACT same problem gman50. My 2000 sunfire would act like it didnt want to start but would then eventually it just wont start. It turns over great tries to fire and catch then acts like it gives up and you just hear it turning over. I changed the plugs do to them being soaked in fuel, it fired right up. Let it sit for a couple hours.. am back to the same problem.I can also smell gas when trying to start the car. Have changed the spark plugs,plug wires, ignition module, coil packs, fuel pressure regulator, and everything else you said and it just wont start. I have come to the conclusion my plugs arent getting a hot enough spark but for the life of me can not figure out what is causing the problem. Someone please help

60 out of 60 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn
15,245

yellow security light on anyone?

15 out of 15 people think this is helpful.
njmccurdy
65

check the ignition switch wires and also check the coil pack. if either of these are bad it wont start.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
LPoe
200

We are having the same problem as gmanfive0 and JoeyAdams with our sons 2001 sunfire, replaced plugs and wires, new battery... I've read the replies above, but don't see the solution, did anyone figure out why this is happening?

17 out of 17 people think this is helpful.
You think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn
15,245

Is the security light on

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.
LPoe
200

Security light is not on.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn
15,245

Jump fuel pump? There is a lot of possibilities including a handful of electronic items that need to be checked and the need to jump the pump adds more to that list. Start with a noid light set and check for injectors for a pulse and check for spark. Parts may be good but they aren't doing their job BC the computer isn't telling them to

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn
15,245

Also check fuel pressure. At a low pressure the engine won't start BC there isn't enough gas and since its getting gas but its very little it will smell like raw fuel.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
gmanfive0
60

OK folks. Here's what I did... After doing all the stuff above, I went and purchased a brand new fuel pump. It worked fine after that. The plug wires that I purchased previously were faulty and when I checked the plugs again, they actually fell apart. So, I took them back and exchanged them. The new ones worked fine. I changed the plugs just in case. The largest problem seemed to be with the electric in the car and still is. Here's what's happened since I changed all that: The car AC burns through AC switches like none other. The Master Control switch on the steering column is bad as well and this causes no high beams to come on. The car does bog down a little bit when given gas but it's not super bad. Finally, the lights on the dash come on and stay on no matter what I do and the computer will not be recognized by my reading apparatus. In short, the electric is the biggest problem with the car and not an issue that I want to tackle. So, I figured it was just time for a new car. I fixed it up as much as possible excluding the electrical stuff and gave it to my dad - master mechanic. He's using it as a utility vehicle now.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Kelseyab
40

My 2001 Sunfire does this as well. The fuel pump is going out on ours. We have to 'pump' the ignition. turn it in the 'on' position then back off.. then back 'on' position then off.. do this a few times THEN try starting it. sometimes takes longer than others.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Terrie Teague
60

My sunfire 2001 6c I run out of gas put some in it but wont start and its been setting over night

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Barbie63
290

I have a 2000 sun fire, have installed a new alternator, a new starter, a new timing chain, a new battery new spark plugs, was running great, until the other night it stalled while I was driving it, and cannot get it to start...fuel pump sounds like it is running, it cranks just won't start :( any advise??

29 out of 29 people think this is helpful.
cherielin
50

I am having same problem but I have a 1999 and everything seems to be fine the security are flashing and I Changed the switch but still no start could it be the cylinder

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn
15,245

Cherielin have you reprogrammed the security system? Attempt to start the car and then leave the key on for ten minutes, light goes out turn the key off and attempt to start, sometimes it starts sometimes you have to do that 2 more times

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
jphoover87
140

I had a bad resevor so I replaced cranked the car let it run for 5mins went out there the next day and it wouldn't start..the motor smells of gas every time I try cranking it..it turns over but will not crank..i replaced the spark plugs, the fuel filter, checked the fuel pump and it works..when I checked the plugs one was broke so I replaced those and one of the new ones broke..but when I put them on it still wouldn't crank and I don't have a clue whats wrong with it

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.
ironfist1977
0

I might have an answer I have a 2001 Sunfire works and runs great until my dash gage cluster started blowing lights and I have been trying to change them and now went to the bone yard and got a new gage cluster so have it checked

flanny3us
10

I have a 2000 Pontiac Sunfire that was doing all of the above. I ended up switching my fuel pump relay out with my air conditioner relay and my car started right up.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
John Roberts
10

On a 2004 2.2 it was spark plugs with the right gap, it was the coil pack the whole one that plugs in- To the spark plugs, and the EGR, Electro part, that plugs into that coil pack, right on top of the coil pack! Buy all these parts at the chevy dealership runs about $600.00. Spark plugs, before you put them in Spray starting fluid in the holes, Then, install them get some new oil On your finger put only a drop on the upper part of spark plug threads, thats one so small drop from finger, each one, then start them plugs in wirh socket, with extention, then torkem down, Get the old ones out with the tip off dollar three sisers, the plug your pack in just bend that throttle gard back just enough to get it out leave it that way for ever, to put it back in Then take your intake off with a head screw driver, all off not the filter apart just all off, that throttle will be their, push it open with finger Spray starting fluid 15 shots in it put everything back start the dame car!!!! Buy all parts at chevy, I wasted$1,200 bux on aftermarket junk, listen up and start up, also make sure to, make sure the fan Works for your radiatior, or you will Loose the engine. Change trans fluid And radiator fluid, every year.

John Roberts
10

Also I buy fram old filters, they hold seal better, just snug it, check cap for oil type, I run Quakerstate in the Winter, Pennsoil in the summer time, my car has 125 000 miles On it, if you engine tap sound but Is not the engine take the valve cover off, reach down in timming Chain area, pull out the, plasic brokin, timming gard out throw it, In the trash, yea that was making All that racket, then get 3 in 1 oil At store pore it on all the lifters ever two years, the whole can, then buy RTV blue glue, and spread, with finger around the valve cover seal Put all the bolt back in, thata all done, then follow the top directs above these, put it all back together Right. If you have problems, just re read all these directions, if you know how, to do this you know what I mean! Then the power steering look ware you can drill a small hole, in the power steering cap, drill a small hole, in the power stering cap, then buy a full with motor oil same as in the engine now that wont break! Good luck , I did all this and still running, I also add STP, every month its called jet fule STP, ima get 400.000 thousand miles out of my car with no blown head gasket .

John Roberts
10

And one more thing, if your ratator fan does not work wire one to work Ima try, it one wire wraped around the big crome window motor fuse. Then ground it to the frame of the car, then ima zip tie it to the ratator. GM, for life baby, it will start and run when the car does, if it breaks I Will keep buying one, after another As long as my car stays cool running I do not care!

John Roberts
10

Well I was going to edit my spelling, But how do you do it! Darn it !

John Saffrahn
15,245

.......holding my tongue and not saying mean things......., why would you replace the coil module unless you had it tested and it was bad? Fram is the #1 worst oil filter on the planet, look it up they don't assemble them correctly. They didn't start putting the Ecotec engines in the Cavaliers and sunfires until 03 so no coil over plug on any of the cars mentioned here. Egr has nothing to do with the coil, the wires just happen to run in the same loom. Drill a hole in the power steering cap so contaminates can enter the pump and destroy it. Engine oil is NOT NOT NOT hydraulic fluid it is a lubricant, do not use it in place of power steering fluid...... The power steering cap has a special vent in it so when the reservoir is over filed it has somewhere to go. I will be quite surprised if your car makes it to next month without something breaking. Your fan doesn't work? Check the relay, check the fuseable link. Try being a mechanic instead of "tard" rigging it so the next guy that works on it isn't stepping into a boobie trap.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
sunfire2005wontrun
5

i left my 05 sunfire outside for a couple of days and now it wont turn on..the headlights turn as soon as i connect the battery but then they dont turn off unless i disconnect it again the fan also goes on and so does the horn.. any ideas whats wrong with it?

John Roberts
10

Start with all the fuses, in the main fuse box, I pull them out with little plyers, read other forms, one side of a burnt fuse, if you look closely, could stop it from firing. Next try starting fluid, in spark plug holes, & the intake throttle, then if that does not work, put new gaped spark plugs, thats if the car is cranking from the starter, if that does not work take it to the chevy dealer, count on paying $600.00.

John Roberts
10

Make sure that your oil, is not over filled, it could fail the new spark plugs, make sure you look at the plugs before you buy them, for loose end caps, and bad points, Make sure the ponits are not chiped!

John Saffrahn
15,245

Or check for the 4 main things an engine to run, 1. air and 2. fuel in a proper mixture, 3. Spark and 4. Compression. Stop throwing parts at a vehicle and hope it fixes it. Diagnose the issue find the problem and fix that.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
steveo614
10

I have a civic it a 99 or 00 and it wont stort it turns over but wont stort any one know abot them please help me

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
steveo614
10

Everthing works on it and I just got it today I just need so ideds call if you know and thinga bout them 614 2306816

c_hudson123
30

2003 ford focus 4cyl have fire and fuel but will not start

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
scrawford84
0

I have 2000 grand am gt 3.4 while driving it just cut off dash board lite up and then car cut off.....tired everything under the sun....but i have rode with bad 02 sensors and read that can burn out my cat converter do think this can cause to crank and not spark/start guy looking at my car thinks not it and will not check it for me...PLEASE HELP!!!

John Saffrahn
15,245

no, a bad cat won't cause a no crack issue

cassandrabischoff
10

I was having the same problem with my car. about a month ago it would not start right after I had been driving it. the next morning it started just fine. a few days ago it would not start at all. it would aked like it was going to then die. the next time it would crank but would not cach. looked at the page and was able to say what it was not. but I found one guy that said it was the maf (mass air flow sencer). I thought that it would have a check engain light if it was that. but we looked at it any way. (it was not a maf in my car it was a map (mass air presher)) took it out which was supper easy. it was covered in crap. got the cleaner for it ($7.00) you clean it let it air dry and put it back on. it started just fine and has started ever time. To replace it is $35. it is really easy on a pontiac sunfire 1997. it is right on top two bults. thank you all for helping me from trying so many other things. hope this helps someone else.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
hisLady83
0

I am having a similar issue with my 2001 sunfire. last weekend right after I filled the tank (it was running on fumes... i know, i know... don't do that) it started to act like it wanted to die. Got to my son's baseball game and afterward it wouldn't start. It would turn over but that was it. Couple of days ago I changed the fuel filter and it had life for about 30 seconds and then started acting up again. The fuel pump is working, it got new spark plugs not too long ago. Then my husband switched the A/C and Fuel Pump relay and it had life for another few seconds... then back to the same issue. Any ideas? Thanks

krisks
0

we have a 94 sunbird and first would drive till vehicle got warm then would get sluggish and die out completely, we dropped fuel tank, checked pump, checked fuel system fuses, and cleaned EGR valve and after cleaning EGR car ran about 14 miles then when got home went to start back up after hr and wouldnt start now doesnt even want to catch does turn over though

John Saffrahn
15,245

Check for spark, check for fuel pressure and injector pulse. Check for spark by pulling plug wires, take a screw driver and gently, shouldn't even have to push, insert it into the wire, set the screw driver on the valve cover or somewhere where the metal shank is near a good ground. Stand back and crank the engine while watching for spark. Use a fuel pressure gauge (rent at AutoZone) to test fuel pressure, check injector pulse with a noid light set (rent from AutoZone)

krisks
0

Well we do have spark and we don't havefuel pressure

krisks
0

Seams like we're loosing fuel pressure around the throttle body we checked the egr valve already and cleaned that and throttle body and last night found out that if u continuously spray fuel in Carb it'll stay running

John Saffrahn
15,245

You check fuel pump relay? Swap it with another to see if helps. Check resistance from relay to ground on the fuel pump lug, should be the one across from the lug that has constant battery power. Check fuel filter, if the pump is bad then replace the fuel filter with it. Pump should run for a few seconds when you turn the key on then turn off, try listening for it.

krisks
0

well today checked all of fuel pressure and its fine, its got to be a vacuum leak some where, also went and replaced all lines on ECM system, but its weird now its burning rich (lack of O2) im assuming checked fuel pressure regulator, egr valve, map system, its got suction to everything with the exception of the evap canister

edsays
0

if car starts and runs , then dies and then starts again after 5 or 10 minutes and then does this cycle again try pouring a little gas in the hole on the tube that connectsthe air filter to carburator or throttle body.if the carstarts you have a fuel supply problem. The tube that feeds the injector manifold has a capped needle valve - like a bicycle tire valve. Unscrew the cap and press th needle post with a nail or something. if no gasoline comes out try turning the ignition key to the run position.if you still don't get fuel try juming the contact points on the fuelpump relay.Some cars hve a fuel pump relay MODULE. This is a small box thet amplifies the signal f rom the fuel pressure sensor or the ECU AND OFTEN HAS THE FUEL PUMP RELAY BUILT IN. i HAVE SEEN MANY TIMES THE SOLDER ON THE RELAY TERMINALS CRACK WERE THEY ATTACH TO THE BOARD. tHIS IS DUE TO THE FLOW SOLDER PROCESSICH IS BALANCED TO NOT OVERHEAT THE SOLID STADE COMPONENTS .uNFORTUNATLY THE MORE MASSIVE RELAY TERMINALS NEED SUBSTANTIALLY MORE HEAT TO SOLDER PROPERLY.a TOUCH UP INTHIS CASE WITHE A 60 WATT IRON SHOULD REMOVE THE INTERMITANT.

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