Just recently my son has been having trouble cold-starting his 109K
mile Taurus after it sits overnight. It takes multiple tries (5-8) if
you only crank it for 2-4 seconds, or over 10-15 seconds for a
continue try (I told him not to do the latter). On the first try, it
ALMOST starts (as if there is a little gas present). Then, when it
does start and you put it in drive/reverse, the RPMs start going up/
down/up/down several times before stabilizing (seems like it is going
to die but doesn't). The car afterwards is fully driveable; no
problems accelerating, doing highway speeds, etc, and it starts up
fine whether it is hot or warm. Gas mileage has not changed, and the
plugs where changed 10K ago. This was not a gradual change -- he said
one day he went out to start it and that is when it began.
We did check for vacuum leaks but none of the hoses that we could see
appeared cracked (although I swear I hear something -- he says the
noise is coming from the alternator).
Does anyone have any ideas what to check before he has to pay big $$$
to take it to the local dealer?