My 2001 Accent has trouble starting every few days. When this happens -- the
engine cranks but does not start -- it takes several tries to get it going.
But once started, it gives me no trouble at all for a while. Between
episodes, it starts fine on the first try. What's problematic is that this
starting problem is intermittent, so I'm worried that if I just bring this
to a mechanic he'd have to make a guess and replace a few things.
It's not the battery or alternator (I had them tested at Autozone). It's
probably not the air filter, spark plugs, fuel filter or air filter: they
are all fairly new. Sometimes, I've seen erratic idling on cold start (RPMs
go up and down). Sometimes, the engine seems a little noisy on cold start,
but quiets down after about half a min. Any suggestions on how to approach
First figure out if it's a fuel or spark issue. Check for spark when it
doesn't want to start. Also, make sure that you hear the fuel pump for a few
seconds when you first turn on the key.
None of the things you mentioned will cause the symptoms you describe other
than - maybe - a fuel filter full of water or other stuff. But then, it
would be unlikely that the car would run well between episodes. You could be
looking at a fuel pump, PCM, CPS, fuel pump relay, etc. First, figure out if
it's fuel or ignition.
I had a similar problem on a Dodge. This went on for several months
and it could go for several weeks without a problem. It turned out to
be a cam sensor but it couldn't be tracked down until the check engine
light went on so that the code could be read.
Check for trouble codes in the ECM. It's possible it saw an issue but the
problem didn't repeat, so the check engine lamp is not yet on.
Also, when the vehicle cranks, does it crank normally, slowly, or quickly?
Thanks to you and others for replying. I did not realize that codes could be
set if the check engine light is not lit. Anyway, I had Autozone scan the
OBD-II, and came up empty. Even when it has trouble starting, the engine
cranks normally. I don't get it. Apart from these intermittent starting
problems, the car runs normally.
Could be a bad crank sensor or relay.
When the condition occurs:
Check for the check engine lamp during the bulb test. This means the
computer powers and grounds properly when the ignition is on.
Like the other poster(s) mentioned, you want to check to see if you have
spark and injector pulse. Checking for spark is simple enough. Pull one
of the plug wires and stuff an old spark plug in it and lay on something
metal and then watch while cranking the engine. To check for injector
pulse, you'll need a noid lamp (a lamp which plugs into the harness where
the injector would normally plug in). If the noid lamp flashes, then you
have injector pulse.
The immediate things that come to mind as possible causes are a bad main
or ecu relay, or a bad crank sensor.
Thanks. I'll also listen for the fuel pump (I didn't realize you could hear
it) next time, as another poster said. I'll keep an eye on the check engine
light for another reason, namely this TSB I found on hmaservice:
TSB 01-36-014: 2000-01 Accent Intermittent Crank-No-Start Caused by the ECM
If a 2000 or 2001 Accent experiences all of the following:
- Very intermittent crank-no-start (in some cases, months between incidences).
- The Check Engine Light does not light up when the ignition key is turned to
the on position (normally it does).
- The Hi-Scan Pro cannot communicate with the Engine Control Module (ECM).
- Disrupting power to the ECM and reapplying (for example, by disconnecting
the negative terminal on the battery or disconnecting and reconnecting the
EC01 connector) fixes the car temporarily (the engine starts).
- The vehicle was produced between 6/14/00 and 7/11/00.
Replace the ECM.
I'm not saying I'm positive this is my problem, but I'll keep an eye on the
check engine light. I do have a 2001 Accent, and the no-start problem is
suspiciously intermittent, but I don't think it was manufactured in that
date range. Too bad my warranty expired less than 3000 miles ago. I rather
doubt that an ECM comes cheap.
See, I should check the bulletins more often. Every once in a while,
there's one I don't remember.
You can check your car's production date by looking at the placard on the
driver's door opening pillar. If it's not in the production date range
(which it is likely not since the range only goes to 7/11/00), then you're
extremely unlikely to have this as a problem. The good news, however, is
that if this is the problem, your ECM may be still covered under
warranty-- it's warranted for 8 years/80k miles under mandate from the
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