Sometimes starts sometimes dont

Asked by Guitarmandan Aug 03, 2022 at 05:36 PM about the 1990 Pontiac Grand Am 2 Dr LE Coupe

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1990 Pontiac Grand am with
a 2.5 in it the car will start
sometimes and run fine but if you
turn it off it takes forever before it
will start again, seems like when it
won't start it's not getting any fire
because I can spray starting fluid
into the carburetor and will not fire
and at the same time seems that
when it does not fire it does not get
fuel please help

2 Answers


The car's 22 years old and in that time, stuff just wears out. Your problem isn't lack of fuel, it's too much fuel. The car sits for a long time and it starts: the battery is likely fine, but get it checked anyway. Then after the engine warms up, it won't restart. Again, if the starter is turning OK, it's not the battery. But then you try to restart a warmed engine and it won't. Classic sign of worn out, leaking fuel injectors. Leaked fuel collects in the manifold and upon restart, the engine floods. More fuel, as in starting fluid, doesn't work; it just exacerbates the problem.

1 people found this helpful.

It could be a failing ignition control module. GMs from this period were prone to that. When it refuses to start, remove one of the spark plug wires at the spark plug, leave the other end hooked up, stick a large screwdriver in the end of the spark plug wire and hold the metal part of the screwdriver close to something metal that's not painted. Be sure to hold the plastic or wooden handle of the screwdriver so you don't get a shock! Have a helper crank the engine. As the engine cranks over you should see a strong spark and possibly hear it too. Like a SNAP, SNAP, SNAP sound. If not you have no spark the ICM is my first suspect. But if you think it's flooded with gasoline hold the accelerator pedal to the floor while cranking. This puts the computer in "clear flood mode". Is the service engine soon light on? If so do you know how to get the trouble codes out of the computer? It's OBD I and you can use a paper clip to get the codes. Hope that helps! Jim

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