: 01 eldorado ESC "hard" starting and once wouldn't start

10-30-11, 09:34 PM
Hello all, First of all thank you in advance for providing a forum like this for me to seek some answers! I'm a Chevy Corvair enthusiast but I'm not at all confident in my ability to fix these hi-tech modern cars.

My father has a 2001 Eldorado ESC with a little over 200K miles in beautiful shape. Recently we noticed that the engine would crank a second or two before starting (it's always been instant). Gradually over two weeks or so it has increased to three or four seconds before it kicks off.

The car has still been running and driving perfectly, the only symptom is when starting.

Today I went out to the car and it wouldn't start at all. It cranked nice and fast and sounded fine but it gave no sign whatsoever of starting. I cranked for 30 seconds about four times.

Maybe 15 minutes later we went out and the car started after about 5 seconds of cranking and once again ran absolutely fine with no hint of trouble.

Can anyone tell me what common failures would cause this behavior and how to diagnose it? I have a pretty decent shop with lots of tools but I only work on carbureted antique cars so I don't have fuel injection related tools. I don't think I have any way to check fuel pressure but might be able to borrow something if absolutely necessary.

While I'm here I'll post our other two little hiccups with the car. First the gas gauge is erratic, I've searched here and saw something about an additive that might solve it (sounds like a hoax to me!) but I was happy to read that the faulty sender can be replaced without changing the whole unit. Does an additive ever actually work? Any advice on a good one to try before i replace the part?

Lastly I've noticed that under FULL THROTTLE blasts to max RPM the car does leave a little bit of a whitish cloud behind. I'd immediately think head gasket, but the car runs absolutely perfect and we've never had to add any coolant yet. I guess I should check the radiator to see if the coolant looks nasty like it usually does with a head gasket leak. We've recently driven the car on a 2,000 mile trip and it performed beautifully without any hint of any trouble, I find it hard to believe the car could have a head gasket leak however small and do fine on a 2,000 mile trip!

Then again, the cars I work on are air cooled and have no coolant!

Thanks again for any help.

Ray "Grymm" Rodriguez III
hardcore Corvair nut! corvairforum.com if you are curious =)

10-30-11, 09:49 PM
There's a fuel pressure test port on the right (rear) passenger end of the fuel rail - under the beauty cover. Black cap over a Schrader valve. Fuel pressure key ON engine OFF should be 40 - 46 psi..... running, about 40 - 44+.

If fuel pressure is low there's a fuel pump module replacement hatch just in front of the spare tire well (I hope the Eldorado got the hatch in 2000 - otherwise it's a tank drop job.)

IF that's the problem, talk to Chris at Rippy Cadillac parts, over there >>>> or look in www.rockauto.com (http://www.rockauto.com) for a complete module.

I went through a new '61 Corvair 4-speed 98 hp and a new '64 turbo Spyder, built out of the black book.

10-30-11, 09:56 PM
Start with a good TB (Throttle Body) cleaning. See the Tech tips section.

Then get a fuel pressure gauge and connect it to the fuel pressure port (schreader valve) on the fuel rail and get a fuel pressure reading. 40-50 psi is normal.

The fuel additive you are talking about is Shell Techron and is the only additive you should try, but not likely it will help. Most likely a bad sending unit.

Since you are not using any coolant it is unlikely that the HG has failed. That said, the coolant will not "show" any signs of a HG leak. Coolant will still "look" normal. It's more likely oil smoke. Keep doing it to free up the rings.

Oops, Sub beat me to it.

10-30-11, 10:19 PM
I went through a new '61 Corvair 4-speed 98 hp and a new '64 turbo Spyder, built out of the black book.

Nice =) Currently I've got: 66 Corsa 140 (four carburetor) coupe, 65 Corsa 180 (factory turbo) coupe, 65 Corsa 140 (four carb) coupe, 63 Monza 102 powerglide coupe, and a 62 Monza powerglide coupe.

The Corsa replaced the Spyder starting in 65. All the Corsa's are 4-speed cars. I buy them cheap and fix them up.

10-30-11, 10:22 PM
Thanks for the replies. I'll clean the throttle body and see if I can get my hands on something to measure the pressure with.

I was hoping that this was a familiar set of symptoms with a more or less known cause.. I find this is often the case with the cars I'm a guru of =)

10-31-11, 02:17 PM
So I take it if you don't think the problem is FPR related? I'm hoping to get a gauge and measure the fuel pressure the evening.

Submariner curiosity is killing me, what do you mean by "built out of the black book"?

10-31-11, 03:22 PM
A leaky FPR usually causes a hard HOT start. It acts somewhat like a closed choke, causing a rich condition which would usually aid a cold start. It's easy enough to check. Just pull the vacuum hose at idle and look for fuel at the nipple. There should be none.

10-31-11, 07:03 PM
what do you mean by "built out of the black book"?

You decide you want a Flapfish ZRX-99t(3)B2 automobile. BUT you're not exactly happy with the dealer floorplan packages, so you sit down with your salesman and assemble your own car from scratch - he has "the book". He puts in the order and you wait anywhere from 3 - 8 weeks for it to be built. EVERY new car I have owned has been ordered specifically by me. Automobile buying is an impulse expenditure - "Oh, Honey, I love it - can I have it ??? ", and most of the dealer floorplan packages include bells and whistles to sucker in the public - "There's an ass for every seat."