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04 Audi allroad starting issue

I have an Audi allroad with a 4.2l V8 engine. I am having trouble starting in the morning and now most any time after the car has sat for a few hours. As this problem started, it was sensitive to long periods of not running before having a starting problem and cold weather seemed to accentuate the problem.

If you cycle over and over again, the voltmeter will eventually drop moments before the starter turns the engine over and the car starts perfectly and runs from that point forward.

I have replaced the ignition switch. No change. There seems to be a slight fuel smell now with the car. I did have the fuel pump replaced very recently after it started and then ran really rough and promptly died. The starting problem as I described is still haunting me.

I am suspecting a sensor not recognizing that there is fuel so not allowing it to turn over or some such advanced technological crap.

Help me out here. It doesn’t seem to be the starter because once power gets to the starter, it fires. I don’t see a volt drop when I turn the key. Lights all power up etc.

I really don’t want to replace a starter thinking, “well maybe it’s the starter…” On this car a starter replace is going to run near a grand I am guessing.

What happens if you turn the key to the on position, count to fifteen, and then try to start the car?