The Problem(s) - I'm Living with my grandparents right now, and for the past week or so, all I wake up to is the winding of a starter. I'm not sure why but it takes them about 4-5 tries to start the truck. When it does start is is very rough and usually stalls, followed by some more starter winding to get it going again. (the starter is fine, im just saying winding because its annoying at 5am lol)
After the 2nd time it starts it will stay running...with a little bit of help from the gas pedal. Once its warmed up everything seems to be fine, starts 1st try. Grandmother has said that it seems to be buring up gas a little quicker than usual.
Problem #2 (may be related)
The truck pulls a check engine code (not sure what the code is but if needed I can go pull it) But its for an engine misfire. I've cleared it and it stays off for about 1-2 weeks then comes back on. It usually comes back on after idling for awhile (while driveway is being snow-blowed, the truck is left on for heat and to melt snow etc)
Last tune-up (plugs, wires, dist. cap & button, etc.) ? If it's not had a tune-up in a while, I'd do that first. I'd also run a tank of SeaFoam cleaner through it for good measure. BTW - It's a straight (in-line) six, not a V6. Good Luck!!
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1997 Gunmetal Blue XJ Sport - 4.0 L. I6 - 4 Dr. - 4x4 - 1.75" BB
Hard starting with a rough idle and a tendency to stall without keeping your foot on the gas pedal points to a bad battery. The engine computer is sensitive to low voltage and when the battery is disconnected or the battery itself is weak, the computer will lose the idle settings. After the hard start and stall issues it relearns the idle settings in a few minutes and will run and idle normally.
The battery may have enough power to crank the motor but it probably has one bad cell. Take the battery to a repair shop or parts store and have it load tested. Most parts stores will loan you a code scanner to read the check engine light codes.
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If all the connections and the ground are good, it might be a check valve problem in the fuel pump.
Try just turning the key on, till you hear the hum of the fuel pump, for a few seconds, then off. Do it several times. Then let it crank. It's like priming the pump. If that seems to help, you need to do a fuel rail pressure test, including bleed down.
If I had to guess I would say that it needs a new fuel pump. My 2000 did the same thing and I replaced several sensors before narrowing it down to the fuel pump. It was hard to start especially when cold unless you turned the key to on then off and then you start it. The check engine light would come on sometimes and stay on for a while with a missfire code. I finally ran a fuel pressure gauge taped to the windshield for a day and discovered that the fuel pump was the culprit. Hope this helps.